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Friday, October 4, 2013

Dealing with Rape - Part 1 - What Happened, and What Now?


What follows is the first in a series of posts about a very serious and very sensitive subject.  These emails were sent to me quite a while ago.  Now that enough time has passed it seems appropriate to share them.  I am doing so with the original writer's permission.  She is doing well, and hopes that others in the same situation can learn from this trial she has had to endure.

Rape is a Violent Crime.

If you have been, or suspect you may have been, the victim of rape, regardless of your age, sex, situation, location, or the identity of your attacker, I want you to know that it's not your fault.

It never is.

I plead with you to get help from a trusted relative, authority, friend, crisis center or counselor.  If at first you don't get the help you need, please don't give up trying.

And, most importantly, I want you to know that I know that the Savior Loves You, that you have Value as a Child of God, that you can survive this ordeal, that you can heal and be whole and live a great and wonderful life.

I love you, and I know that Jesus and Heavenly Father do as well.

- Bro Jo]

Dear Bro Jo,

I have been reading your blog for a long time now, and I have written before. And I have been thinking about writing this letter for a long time. I just haven't known how to start it.

Or really what to say.

So I will start with my story.

A couple summers ago I went to spend some time my aunt and uncle who live out of state. The plan was to spend a week at their house, go on trek with their stake. Then spend 5 more days with them and after go spend 3 days with my friends family who lived about 3 hours from my uncle and aunt's house.

So before trek I got to meet some other people who would be going with us. Then trek came around and I met tons of other people.

One man, I like to call him Bad Daddy, saw me playing with snakes in a field one day so he started talking to me. I found out he was close friends with my uncle and he had a son who was just a year or two older than me.

He and my uncle made plans for both families to go to dinner so I could meet his son.

His son, I will call him Bob. (I can't think of a creative nickname for him.) Bob was kinda quiet and weird at first but after dinner we went to a rodeo and I entirely forgot my first impression of him. I thought he just needed time to warm up.

At the rodeo he ended up running off with his other friends.

My uncle's family decided to leave early. And that was the last I saw of Bob.

The next day my aunt got a text from Bob's mom asking if Bob could have my number. She said he didn't have time to get it ‘cause we left early.

I said yes.

He got my number and we started texting. We texted for the next few days.

Then it was time for me to go to my friend’s house.

My cousins had something to go to that afternoon and my friend had work. So the plan was for my aunt to drop me off at my friend's work and I would just hang out there for 10 hours until she got off.

But Bob's family was at their beach house for the weekend and it was only 10 mins from where my friend worked so I decided I would hang out there until my friend could pick me up.

Bob had his friend, his friend’s girlfriend, and the girlfriend's best friend at the house. Three girls, two boys.  Safe uneven number.  And we decided to go watch a movie in their theater room.

During the movie Bob's parents left. They said they were just going to pick up hot dogs and stuff to make s'mores, so we could have a bonfire on the beach later that night.  Fun!

During the movie the girlfriend’s friend had to go home. So Bob's friend and his gf went upstairs to say goodbye . . . and they never came back down.

Bob and I ended up in the room alone.

He locked the door and started to hit me.

He knocked me out and while I was unconscious he started to undress me.

He raped me and when I woke up he did it again.

I finally forced myself to throw up.

He let me out and I called my friend.

I couldn't tell her what happened, I just said she needed to get off work and pick me up.

Her brother was able to get off and he came to get me.  I didn't remember anything that happened over the next week or 2 until I had been home for a while.

After all that Bob sent me death threats on a regular basis. He would call and leave voicemails or he would text me or email me.

He would say he was going to do it again then drown me.

He said I would only be safe if I never ever told anyone.

After 9 months of torturing myself with the "what if's" and everything else, I had a night where my head was clear.

I realized I didn't want to be depressed anymore, and I could tell someone what was going on, there was no way Bob was going to be able to get to me. He lived 5 states away!

So I told one of my mother's friends.

I knew she had a daughter that had been abused too. And she was like a second mother to me.

She told my parents.

My parents got a hold of law enforcement and we started talking to my Bishop, and my parents got me into therapy.

I don't really know what happened to Bob.

I know he isn't locked up in jail, but I also don't know what happened to him Church-wise.

It isn't my place.

All I know is he doesn't call, text, or email anymore.

As for me . . . I have worked through almost everything.

I still have some bad days where you can see the shadows of that depressed child I once was.

But I have great friends who know what's going on and they are patient with me and try to help in any way they can.

Now that you have the story I really only have one question. And I'm not really satisfied with the answer my Bishop, therapist, and parents gave me.

The question is, "Why is someone able to put another person through the kind of pain that I was put through?"

My Bishop just said it wouldn't happen if we didn't let it happen.

My therapist said it is because some people are A-holes.

And my parents just said "agency".


- Not Satisfied

Dear Little Sister,

Your email made me cry a little.

Not because I wish you hadn't written; I'm glad you did; but because it hurts when those I care about hurt. 

Still, I'd rather know than have you feel like you couldn't or shouldn't tell me.

I wish you hadn't had to go through what you did; I'm glad you're safe, and proud of both your courage and the way you handled yourself both during and after.

As I've read and reread your email I've been filled with the desire to hit "Bob" repeatedly . . . perhaps with my van.  Not that it would make you or I feel better, but because he deserves it. I know that doesn't sound very "Christ-like" (and it certainly isn't the right thing to do) . . .

I'm comforted that the Lord will see justice done; if not in this life, than the next. 

Probably both.

As for your question . . . the truth is . . . I don't know.

I'm not sure about what your Bishop said . . . I may be viewing that out of context, but it sounds to me like he's struggling to deal with the same question you are; perhaps he's afraid that what happened to you could happen to someone else very close to him . . . perhaps he's being very naive; and there's always the possibility that, despite being a Bishop, he's still an imperfect person and doesn't know how to handle what you've shared (which I understand, but don't excuse) - no one "deserves" to be raped.


No one "let's" it happen.  That perspective is, to my mind, totally unacceptable.

But maybe we just misunderstood what he meant . . .

I think your therapist is right.

And I think your parents are right.

Sister Jo would say that whatever happens here, in this life, though we often don't understand why, happens because we're supposed to learn and grow from it.

Even the bad stuff.

Bad Things happen to Good People. I wish they didn't. But they do.

Usually even the bad stuff eventually works out okay.

I do know this: whatever happens, no matter how bad it is, we're always loved by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry if that's not the answer you're looking for.

I know that time heals, but that some pains linger a very long time.

And I know that you're not alone.

I've gotten more letters like yours than you might imagine . . . At any given point there's quite a few guys on my list of "people I need to punch in the face" . . . I'm so, so, so sorry for your pain.

Perhaps if I could offer just one more thing:  knowing this doesn't change how highly I think of you; you're a great girl, and some day some man is going to be smart enough and lucky enough to marry you.

My hope is that he's good enough to deserve you.

- Bro Jo

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