Johnny's been on my mind a lot this past week.
I was eighteen. Just out of eating disorder treatment (the first time), trying to figure out who I was. And hurting, but I didn't understand that back then.
He was the Elder's Quorum President and my home teacher. He was the kind of guy I thought my parents would like me to date. Although I knew I was in no place to get married, I also knew that was the next step. The only way for a girl to progress...
I wasn't really interested in him, but I wanted to progress. He was nice. He brought scriptures over all the time. He was desperately trying to reactivate me. Teaching me lessons. Discussing the gospel. We also went on several dates.
That night, I was wearing a t-shirt and overalls. We were sitting in the car. He reached his arm around my lower back and put his hand under the overalls and touched my stomach. I was gone.
If you've never dissociated, this will sound so strange. I have no memory of what happened next, but still... I have nightmares of what happened. I CAN'T tell you for sure. Which makes me feel crazy. I could talk about it back then.
I told the bishop. I felt horribly guilty for him touching me and for all that happened. He listened enough to tell me that I had done nothing wrong. There was no sin on my part. I remember him also talking about forgiveness and love.
I told my friend Shawn some things. He told me to love him and forgive him. He told me about all of the nice things that Johnny did for their Elder's Quorum.
My roommates were frustrated with me that I wouldn't listen to the home teacher anymore.
My (non-member) friend, Matt, asked where Johnny lived, so he could kill him.
Matt's response scared me, but as I think back on it, it felt REALLY good to have someone validate my hurt and my anger. If the bishop knew enough to know I did nothing wrong, why didn't he suggest I call the police?? Why didn't he suggest counseling? Why didn't he DO anything with Johnny?? He was also Johnny's bishop... Why didn't he at least release him??
I have often talked about Johnny as the catalyst to get me back to church. I directly blamed MYSELF for what happened. If I had been a "good" girl, that never would have happened. I became BEYOND obsessed with being good. Church. Service. Callings. Read the scriptures. Do what everyone told me to do, so I wouldn't deserve to be hurt.
I don't know how to say this strongly enough... I BELIEVED I DESERVED WHAT HE DID, BECAUSE I WASN'T GOING TO CHURCH. I deserved what he did, because I wasn't good. I had an eating disorder. I was bad (although I haven't really come up with WHY I was bad, I just knew I was bad).
That belief has motivated me for a long time.
It motivated me after Larry left too.
Its different now. I don't believe that anymore.
I don't want anyone to believe anything like that.
It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, what you haven't done, what you think, what you feel, what you want or don't want, you don't deserve to be hurt.
You are beautiful.