We are women of faith who have had our children sexually assualted by someone we love. We are tired of hiding. We are tired of being mis-judged, condemed, and questioned. This is our personal holocaust, and we wanted someone to know. Most of all, we wanted to reach out to others who may be stuggling with a similar issue alone. We’ll add applicable links and resources as we stumble across them. We pray that you will never know how it feels to walk in our shoes, but that you will have the compassion and drive as if you had.
When the RS president gave me the DI form she said you probably wont find four frames and box springs but at least you should be able to find one to get your daughter off the floor. I was happy for the chance to get one or how many ever they had at the DI. My husband went to the construction sight next door and asked them if we could use the scrap wood. The guy there said his buddy had already requested it. Our plan was to use the wood to make the kids frames. When that fell through we were really happy that the DI order came through.
When we got to DI and asked where we could find the used box springs and frames they looked at our order and told us that with Bishop’s orders you get the new beds. They told us to come around back after we check out and get four box springs and frames! When we got items and went to check out the manager came to the line and said, “why don’t you guys get the wooden bunk beds?” We said we didn’t know that was an option. She said they come apart and are nice. They came with a thin box spring and we already had mattresses. PERFECT!!! The lady called our Bishop and then looked at us and said, “your Bishop would rather you have the other beds.” It felt like a punch in the gut. It was embarrassing and humiliating. There were tons of people in line, more than I have ever seen in DI. We didn’t ask for the bunk beds we were happy with used ones. But to have the Bishop say he didn’t want our kids to have the nicer ones was so hurtful. I want to know why!! I will be asking… If the new beds are for Bishops orders what makes other kids deserve the bunk beds and not mine? If we would have received the two sets of bunk beds it would have cost an extra $190 (total) but it would have been so exciting for the kids who so deserve it!
After that the manager said there was a problem with the number of socks on our order. She said the order had been “doctored”. I had to give the lady at DI my RS presidents name and number. The RS president was not home and the manager at the DI told the person on the phone that she was informed that Sis____ was a RS president and asked if that was true. There were tons of people standing around. I felt like a criminal. Who ever was on the other end gave the DI lady a number to reach the RS president. The DI lady then confirmed with the RS president that she had changed it to two packs of socks instead of one for all the kids to share. . . Really, she thought I was trying to rip off the church by getting one additional pack of socks?
We have done everything we possibly can to not have to ask for help. We cashed out my husband’s retirement, We both went back to school, we have gone without and have let medical bills pile up etc… It is already hard enough to ask for help but to be treated like scum for being poor is the exact opposite of what Christ would do.
I know there are so many compassionate, loving Bishops out there. I just wish it wasn’t luck of the draw…
One more thing, The DI is really expensive here in Rexburg. The used plates are $1 each and some of the glass cups that are also used are $2.50! The clothes are the same way. It is cheaper to go across the street to Wal-Mart. I have found some good deals from time to time but not usually. Are all DI’s overpriced or is that just Rexburg?
I would like to start by saying we have had some really kind Bishops in the past. They are all human and are all going to make mistakes. I think that it is a problem that Bishop’s have way too much control. If I know what is best for me or my kids, why can’t I make that decision by myself, I am 36yrs old. Why do the Bishops who have no training get to decided what is best for my family over the advice of professionals. Can’t they acknowledge that it is out of their expertise and work with us as we work with professionals? Besides I can pray too, I can get answers too, my husband and I know better then the Bishop what our family needs. Can’t he listen to us? I know if he did or prayed about it he would see we are good people trying to take care of our family. He would know that we did nothing to bring these trials on ourselves. I hate it that people think it is something we did to cause our trials. It is our fault kids “go astray”. Have they never heard of Lehi and Sariah , or Heavenly Father & Heavenly Mother? I am pretty sure they were awesome parents and they had kids fall away…..
When I first got back to Rexburg my husband met with the Bishop and told him our situation and all the things we were going though. He explained that I was having a hard time and asked him to please wait a while before giving me a calling.
Two days later I got called to Achievement Days.
I accepted. I can’t shake that immediate feeling of “Bishop knows best”. The Bishop acknowledged that my husband had spoken with him but said that he and his counselors decided I needed a calling.
I mulled it over for a day or so and decided to call and say that I just can’t do it. It is hard enough to get through each day at this point. When I called I got the voicemail and left a message knowing if I didn’t, I would chicken out. No one called me back so I thought all was good.
After we accepted both our callings the Bishop approved a food order. The RS President came over and we filled it out. About a month went by and I hadn’t heard from her at all.
Later that night, after we made the food order the Bishop showed up with some church food. He said there is a man that is a non-member in our ward boundaries that recently went to prison and the ward was helping him by selling everything for this guy to have a defense attorney. This man had been getting food orders so the Bishop brought us food from this guy’s cupboards. Some of the food was open. Before the Bishop left, he said he would be calling the RS president to subtract from our food order the items he had brought us from this mans house. I had to throw away the opened food. I know nothing about this guy and didn’t want to chance it, especially with all our health issues. My family gets sick so easily.
About a month went by and that was the only order we received. We had also asked for a voucher to DI because we didn’t have enough silverware for the whole family and needed to get the kids off the floor. When I moved back here, I didn’t have room in the van to bring the kids beds. I gave them to a needy family in my ward in Oregon. We were able to bring mattresses and just wanted to look at DI for box springs and frames. The Bishop said he didn’t know how to do that and we never heard back from him.
Last week, my husband made an appointment with the Bishop to discuss our needs. We were desperate for food. The Bishop said he would meet him on Saturday night but he wanted me there too.
It was so hard getting out of the house to meet with the Bishop, but somehow I managed. The Bishop asked if we could open with a prayer and immediately asked if he could say it. The prayer started with, “please help soften their hearts so they will be willing to serve”………..I hate that word “willing!” I am very willing, just not able right now!! The Bishop began to tell us that he has good kids in the ward that will be good for our kids. I tried to tell him my kid’s strengths but he wouldn’t hear what I was saying. My kids were abused but they are fantastic kids with a lot to offer.
He said he was surprised to see my daughter at girls camp. My husband and I were both surprised at that statement. My daughter went to two camps last year! So this was her third! When I told him my 16yr old was excited that no one else showed up for activity on Tuesday. Because of this, he got all the snickers. The Bishop got defensive and said it was summer and that is why “his’ boys were not there. Isn’t my son one of “his” boys?
I mentioned my son had made a friend down the street and told the Bishop who it was. He quickly replied that he was annoyed by this boy because he had no umph and only wanted to play video games. My husband tried to ease the awkwardness of the Bishop mocking this young man and said “sounds like a teenager,” and laughed. Both of us felt so bad for this boy and his mom.
The Bishop then went right into saying he wanted to call me to the primary. After trying to tell him how challenging it is to raise traumatized children, he showed no compassion or understanding. I tried to explain my heath issues. He said he gets it, his wife works for the school district and so she doesn’t like callings in primary either. Okay….apples and oranges. Whatever. I told him I would be willing to do some graphic design, R.S. website updates or whatever. These are things I could do during the times I was feeling well. That didn’t seem to be good enough. He looked at my husband and said, “what about you”? My husband reminded him he DOES have a calling in scouts. The Bishop’s reply was something like, “oh yah that’s right”.
I told him how much I love to quilt and that often my therapy was quilting.
He said his therapy is RELOADING. He compared cell phones to guns, called himself the armorer and brought up shooting several times which gave me serious anxiety.
We asked if we could talk about the food & Di order. He said there are lots of people in this ward that pay “substantial” fast offerings and he wanted to make sure “THEIR” offerings were used properly and went into the, “it’s not meant to sustain a way of life” speech. He then told us to get rid of any extra “bling” and that he eats his own dog food…. Whatever that means??? I told him we pay our bills according to which one will be shut off next. After which he proceeded to tell us that he drives a 20 yr old truck, made the dog food statement again and added that he did go through a mid life crisis recently and bought himself a sports car. Huh?! Okay?
I tried to get back to the topic and asked if we could just please have some milk and toilet paper. He told me we didn’t need extra stuff or the coolest new things out there.
I told him that my 9yr old desperately needed shoes and he only had one pair of pants. He responded saying he would like us to meet with some guy in the ward that is good with finances and go over ours. He wanted us to fill out a financial planner put out by the church.
I asked if we could do it right then. No financial adviser needed. He said no.
The Bishop then looked at me and said he would like me to clean the church weekly with my kids on Saturday mornings. I tried to tell him that as soon as I get settled and my kids are in a good place, I will be the first person to sign up. I explained that I love service. That right now, I physically and mentally can’t. My kids need everything I can give them. He then looked me in the eye and said, “I hope you can go home and pray and soften your heart”. HUH? Soften my heart?
Of course by now I was sobbing and begging for him to understand what we were going through. He kept saying you will get blessings.
As I was sobbing I said please give us some time. He said over and over “it’s just an hour a week”.
I tried to explain what night terrors, and PTSD breakdowns were like and that I CANNOT commit right now. He then said that if I missed a week, it was ok.
Again I asked if we could please at least have milk and TP. Again he mentioned cleaning the church.
At this point I couldn’t take it anymore. I said to Bishop, “It is hard enough to get through the day without wanting to kill myself, how can I commit to clean the church weekly?!” I then got up and walked out. My husband sat there for about five seconds and as he stood up the Bishop, still kicked back in his chair, said to my husband, “shouldn’t you follow her?”.
After we left the church my husband pulled over and held me while I sobbed. We took our time getting home so I could gain my composure for the kids. We got home around 11 PM and got a text from the Bishop that said he was bringing groceries and signed it bishop. That was it.
He and his wife showed up around 11:20 with a few groceries.
I honestly didn’t know how to respond. He simply walked into my house! My kids were FREAKED out! I was too upset and sick to even come out of my room. I hid from my own bishop while he handed the groceries, in the middle of the night, to my kids. My kids asked for several days why the Bishop and wife came so late with groceries. It caused confusion and anxiety. They were really happy to have milk though.
To give the Bishop credit he did have his wife bring us dinner the next day. He texted my husband and said…..we are bringing dinner and the RS president will make a voucher to DI! All day I tried to figure out in my head how to connect with this Bishop. Since they were bringing us dinner I thought it would be a good time to try again. I thought maybe I would try and break the tension and put it back on me. I though it would be funny to shake his hand and say something like… next time we meet I’ll take a Xanax first. Well, only his wife showed up. I thanked her and shook her hand. She wouldn’t look me in the eye and would only talk to my husband.
A couple of days later the RS president and the Primary President showed up to make our DI voucher. Due to the devastating, traumatic meeting with the Bishop I was having a terrible Lupus flare. I was sick and they were cold as ice so it was so very uncomfortable. When we got to the end of the order I asked if I could look for a sewing machine at DI because I could earn some money. Mine isn’t working and I have eight quilts cut and waiting to be sewn together and sold. I can help bring money in that way. They added it to my order.
Before YW camp the primary president who works for Madison cares had picked my daughter up and got her a pair of shorts, sweats and a shirt from the crisis center so she could go to camp. Madison cares is a program here in Rexburg that I will tell you about later. She had nothing, due to a growing spurt. Madison cares told us to keep asking the Bishop for a DI voucher. They also encouraged me not to take a calling and to take a break from attending church. My physical and mental health need to come first so I can take care of my kids.
While we made out the order I mentioned that my 13yr old had the crisis center cloths so she got skipped on the voucher. I asked for socks and got put down for one package for the kids to share. I mentioned my 16yr old can find some lawns to mow and buy his clothes. At this point we are so desperate I am happy with anything. I also tend to ask for the bare minimum. It is so hard being on the receiving end. I don’t know how to do it yet. Of course anyone would rather be giving. It makes it so hard when you have to ask for help and you are treated like you are less of a person, its devastating. Later I asked if we could get two packs of socks so my 9yrold son and 6yr old daughter could share and my 13yr old daughter and 16yr old son could share. She changed it to two.
The Bishop texted and said we could have a food order. YAY!!! We had a food stamp card coming but could really use non food items like toilet paper.
I texted the RS president to see if we could make the food order. She said if I could be at her house at 7:15 am because she leaves for work at 7:30 and she will have to see if the Bishop will sign it and was going to the ward picnic after work and then it would be to late. No more food orders going in for three weeks because of the July 24th holiday. I said thanks and we will wait until next time. She said sorry and she will bring us toilet paper and asked if we needed anything else.
That night was the ward adult picnic. My 13yr old helped babysit for the activity. My husband worked and I was sick. Later that night the RS president showed up with the butter and knives and handed it to me with a couple of pieces of chicken. The kids divided the meat off the chicken but kept asking what the plate of butter was. It was so mangled and had so many knives that it was unrecognizable to them. I saw the hurt in my older kids faces when I told them. Yes, beggars can’t be choosy but come on at least take some of the knives out. I have been the compassionate service leader, I would have never taken that to a family. The next morning we woke up and our house, only our house, had been toilet papered. Does the whole ward know we are out of TP? Is it such a big deal that everyone knows, even the teenagers? I am assuming it was teenagers. I’m pretty sure the Bishop and RS president didn’t do it:) LOL
To be continued…. it gets more humiliating :(
For the last couple of days I have tried to write up what we have been going through here in Rexburg trying to get help. I have been filled with so much joy from the outpouring of love form online friends that it has been a challenge to write about the icky stuff. It doesn’t sting as bad anymore.
After the meeting with the Bishop I was so upset that my Lupus flared. Because of the kindness of the donations from you wonderful people I was able to go to the Dr. I had enough money to go to the Dr. and to fill ALL 6 of the scripts he wrote. Sometimes I just pick the most important ones. The Dr. actually seemed happy about it and said we should work on my thyroid (the radiation I had killed most of my thyroid) and wrote me the new script I had needed. He also said I have to see a Rheumatologist ASAP and is helping me get in faster. I have enough money now to be able to go! THANK YOU!
This is by far the worst flare up I can remember. The dr. put me on 80mg a day of prednisone for two days and then taper off for a week. The prednisone has made it hard for me to talk let alone type. The side effects are rough but worth it! The other meds are helping without any side effects. I don’t know yet how to thank everyone. I will find a way;)
I don’t know how people feel about names so I am going to stick with stories. Not only did we get donations that are helping beyond belief, people have come to my house! I am not a leper after all!:)
I had no idea how having our basic needs met has changed our situation. We were burning off so much of our energy trying to just feed the kids that things felt like they were getting darker and darker and there was no where to turn. Being able to get groceries, gas and medications has taken off such a great burden that we can start planning for the future.
All these years paying tithing and fast offerings I was so impressed with the church welfare system. I bragged about it to all my friends and family and it was just another witness to me that the church was perfect. Now, actually having to go and ask for church welfare I am blown away. It was nothing like I was told it was. I feel strongly that my fast offerings, from now on are going to go directly to the needy. I am not handing it over for it to be given at the Bishops discretion. Not all Bishops are humble enough to want to help the needy.
A super sweet family from Logan stopped by our house Friday with a box of food, toilet paper and a ton of clothes for my 13yr old girl. She is even set for school! It has been like a fashion show around here! In the box was also a pair of shoes for my son. I wish they could have seen the way he screamed when he got them. Here is a pic of him changing from his ratty shoes to his brand new ones!
Today was the best Sabbath day I have had in a while. This fantastic family from Utah came to visit with us and brought us some stuff. They gathered donations and brought them all the way to Rexburg!!! It was so nice to visit with real people. Yes there are some real people here in Rexburg but the majority fall in to the “Rexburg Culture” and it is hard to connect with them. We do have 1 really awesome family that is our friends and have been so good to my kids. I also have a fun quilting buddy here. I am a little worried that when they read my latest post and the ones to come it will strain those relationships but it feels so good to get it all out!
It is amazing, maybe even a miracle that all the cloths donated to my kids fit! They all are happy and it has been another fashion show around here today!
We officially now have enough money for me to see the Rheumatologist, have enough gas money to take my 9yr old to SLC to see his neurosurgeon, and pay off the most important medical bills. We have enough toilet paper to last at least two months. I also got a special treat in the mail from bath and body works and a gift card to get more! I have a friend in Alaska that has been through it all with me. I haven’t told her about how hard it has been lately but she must have some sort of ESP… I got a huge box of Bare Mineral and brushes from her. Yesterday when I checked the mail there was an anonymous note and $20! I hope I can thank this person someday. I feel so pampered!
I can’t wait to pay this forward someday. I also can’t explain how many ways this has helped us. One really big thing is having the medications I need. When I don’t, it really effects my mental and physical health. Lupus affects so many parts of the body and is really sensitive to stress. Not having to stress on basic needs helps me physically also.
I keep thinking of more things:) The neighbors had a moving sale and we had enough from donations to get a couple of things we really needed like a trash can! I was also given two books that look like they will be great reads.
My friend Ruth and her whole family have been such a support. I am sure they are wiped out. They are like family and I hope to not be such a pain in the future:)
Thank you for everything and as my Lupus fog lifts I will add more to this list!
I am going to lay it all out. I have been so afraid to. When there was such an outpouring of love online for my situation I asked my friend Ruth not to say it was me. I did this because I was afraid the love would come to a screeching halt! I know that sounds weird and it has to do more with how I feel about me. As I write this I hate me. I hate that I didn’t protect my kids better, I hate that I didn’t stand up for my family, I hate that I see some of those ugly traits from TBM’s in my kids because they learned it from me. I hope that through letting it all out I can make some friends who can love me with all my faults and know that I am trying to do better everyday. I love people. All people. I need people in my life. So, if you hate me like I hate me, that is fine. I am a Mormon convert, and from the wrong side of the tracks, When I met my husband his mom asked me if I had a middle name since she couldn’t call me by my real name because it was alcohol. Leah isn’t my real name;) My family moved to Rexburg two years ago after finding out that our kids had been sexually assaulted by their stepbrother, my stepson. When we found out our world was shattered.
When I approached my bishop, (bishop K), in the back of sacrament with tears streaming down my face and told him my stepson had been arrested for abusing my kids, I was met with a contentious stare. I told him that serving in YW was to much for me right now. I was teaching 14-15 yr olds and I took it very seriously. I told him I didn’t have the energy to be able to properly prepare the lessons. At that time I was worried about the girls not getting the lessons they deserved, not that I might need some support too. Bishop K glared at me and said, “let me know when you’re willing to serve again.”
During those dark days, I could barely get off the floor. I would wait until the kids left for school and collapse on the floor and cry for hours. How was I supposed to serve?
One Sacrament meeting I couldn’t stop crying so I had to leave and go home. My therapist called Bishop K and told him I desperately needed support. He told her I was at church and was fine.
I made an appointment to see the Bishop a few week later. I begged him to please tell the RS president or to assign me a friend. Again I was met with contempt. He asked me if I coached the kids or asked leading questions and so on, regarding their abuse. I explained that I personally cleaned the blood from my sweet baby girl’s (3yrs old) body, that my kids had all had forensic exams on their little bodies, and that my stepson had admitted way more than we even knew about. My stepson was charged and convicted. He continued to ask about the perpetrator’s well being. He asked if we were visiting him regularly. Not once did he ask about the victims, my children. I told him that my 10 year old daughter, just wanted to shake his hand. (Our previous Bishop knew all the kids by name and would shake their hands). That was all the my sweet girl was asking for. After the meeting Bishop K walked out looked at my, 10-year- old square in the eye, and walked away. My husband and I were in shock.
You would think that this would anger me to no end but it didn’t. I had learned to put my self worth in the hands of the Priesthood. That worked well when all the bishops loved me. In my mind was I thought because the Bishop was treating me like this, then Heavenly Father must feel the same way towards me and my kids. But why? Why did Heavenly Father not love me? Why did He hate my kids? They were innocent!! Was it because He hated me and by default, they get shafted? I grew up in foster homes, groups homes, and at home where I wished to be back in a group home. I had no sense of belonging anywhere. So when I joined the church, 14 years ago, I knew I was home. I finally found my home. I was an instant TBM, just add water! I put all my faith in the priesthood and slowly lost faith in my own promptings, strengths and ideas. I was so exited to find a place I belonged, a place I could serve non stop just to show how grateful I was that these beautiful members allowed me to be a part of their church. When the Church turned its back on me I knew that feeling all too well. If my own mom couldn’t love me then why would I think God could? But please God don’t turn Your back on my kids, that was my prayer…
At the same time, the perpetrator’s Bishop was a blessing. Before my stepson went to jail the Bishop would ask when is he going to jail. He was amazing enough to recognize his congregation was not safe. What about the little boys in the bathroom when my stepson was in there? My stepson had no preference in sex, he abused both boys and girls and animals. This Bishop sat down with my husband while they were chaperoning a youth dance. They found a room and the Bishop cried with my husband. I was so grateful for the little glimmer of hope he gave us.
I decided that maybe, possibly Bishop K was wrong and so I decided to fill my lamp by bypassing the bishop and going straight to Heavenly Father. I felt my strength coming back. I felt so guilty for thinking that the Lords anointed could be wrong. I wrestled with that.
The Victims of Violent Crimes Compensation Board decided to give us an emergency relocation fund to get us out of Alaska. My husband had a good paying job, our kids had been going to school with the same friends since they began school. Alaska was all my kids knew but, we knew it was what we had to do. My husband quit his job and we left everything behind in Alaska and got on a plane. We decided on Rexburg because my husband had got his associates degree at Rick’s. Little did we know that most of his classes form Ricks wouldn’t transfer to BYUI. My husband was unemployed for eight months.
Before we left, we met with Bishop K and told him the good news and that we would be moving to Rexburg and both of us would be going back to school. He got really angry and stern and asked how we could leave my stepson behind, in jail and alone? We tried to ignore the comment and asked for him to sign our ecclesiastical endorsements. He said he would sign my husband’s but he would not sign mine because he didn’t see me at the ward picnic! Something snapped in me and I stood up, grabbed the endorsement from his hand and said, “I don’t need your endorsement,” and walked out. Oh man it felt good!
After we got here to Rexburg we had a great Bishop. Times were really hard though. We had 4 of the 7 kids with us, all traumatized. We had one at BYU/Provo, one in jail and my 17yr old stepson in Alaska with his mom. I got called to be in the YW. On top of that at Christmas my husband and I got called to the Christmas party decoration calling.. We made a ton of decorations and I was busy with YW and I cried A LOT. It was so hard to fulfill those callings with children in turmoil. I had no Idea I could say no!
Before we left Alaska, taking my kids to therapy was a full time job. We had 7-9 appointments a week. After we got to Rexburg I tried to find my kids a therapist. There are not many. I took my youngest who was now 4yrs old to a lady who worked for LDS social services. She wanted me to tell my 4yr old every detail that had happened to her. I couldn’t even read the charges without wanting to kill myself there was no way in hell I was going to read them to my baby.
During this time, my 8yr old son was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation in his brain, and needed surgery. He had his surgery at Primary Children’s Hospital. He was in the Neuroscience Brain Trauma Unit for a week. Around the same time he swallowed bucky balls had to have them removed in a emergency surgery, them split his head open and had to go to the emergency AGAIN!! Traumatized kids seem to always get hurt.
The Primary sent him letters from the other kids and gifts to open each day he was there it was really thoughtful. I felt support in a lot of ways in that ward but also felt very alone. In the wards I have been in since my kids were sexually assaulted I have been told not to tell anyone,s so I didn’t for a long time. I have been in my step kids life for 10yrs so it is natural for me to say I have 7 kids when people ask. I accidentally did that in a presidency meeting. They started asking where the other ones were. I glazed over it the best I could but now everyone knew my step kids names. I was so afraid they would ask my kids about their brother “____”. I worried about it for a couple days and finally worked up the courage to against the Bishop’s advice and tell the YW president. Shouldn’t she be aware that she had a SA survivor in her YW program? I told her everything. She said she would call the first counselor (her husband) because he is a therapist. She said he would call to help…he never did.
The YW moved on and did activities that I was supposed to be in charge of. I am sure they were trying to help but it just felt like they were turning their backs also. I asked to be released.
While all this was going on, my 17yr old stepson was calling me and saying he was going to commit suicide if we didn’t let him come live with us. We took him in.
When he got to Rexburg my kids began to have night terrors and wet their pants again. We thought it was because he reminded them of their perpetrator stepbrother. We were so wrong. Turns out he was abusing them. My brave kids had enough therapy that they finally told…again. That stepson is now waiting for the DA to refile in adult court and is facing 99yrs for abusing his siblings. the kids had had two perps in their lives.
Because my husband was unemployed for so long, and trips back and forth to Utah for my son, and therapy, and my poor heath, we were broke. We cashed out my husband’s retirement and lived on that. My husband got a job for BYUI making less then half of what he made in Alaska and only 30 hours a week so we burned through his retirement fast. With mounting bills we started sinking fast.
Right before before Christmas the kids disclosed the additional abuse. from the other step son. I loaded the kids up and moved to Oregon. I was running. I couldn’t take it here anymore. I thought if I left they would leave my son alone and give him some time to heal before having to testify. I was wrong. We had to travel back and forth to see the DA and for my son to basically be re-victimized over and over and over. The DA here wanted/wants my now 9yr old son to testify. My son had been through so much. When can he heal? The DA told my son that if he testified it would help his brother repent. WTF? I was tired of the manipulation and didn’t let my son testify that day. As of right now we still have to prepare my little guy for a long trial with a jury and he doesn’t want to. I understand the need to protect other kids and my son should testify but he can’t. It is breaking him.
Oregon is a magical place. A perfect place to heal. I wanted it to be my our home. In Oregon we would go to the ocean and just be. No pressure, no judgments. I am a big lady. My kids have never seen me swim. I have Graves disease and Lupus. My health is rapidly declining. After I got radiation twice on my thyroid it killed my thyroid so I gained a lot of weight. After moving to Rexburg with all the stressors, judgments, llack of support, I gained another 100 pounds in the first year there.
I felt that the ocean was so healing and the Oregon people were so NONJUDGMENTAL! I actually went swimming with my kids and no one even did a double take. No one cared that there was a huge momma swimming with her kids. Someday Oregon will be my home.
We were so blessed when genesis service dogs had compassion and matched my son up with the perfect best friend who was raised to be the BFF to someone with PTDS. He has changed our lives. If anyone would like to donate to a nonprofit please consider them. They are amazing people who raise these dogs out of love. They even lets us stay at their house and we went to church with them. The pastor knew I was Mormon and was still so kind and accepting. He even gave me a coffee cup! I may have filled it with coffee and to finish the last 5 hours of our dive. SHHH don’t tell my Bishop! HEHE
My husband moved in with his mom and sent us as much as he could. With him being the only one who can work we fall well below the poverty level with his wages from the university. I couldn’t make it in Oregon. My husband’s work was asking him when we were coming back and he was afraid of losing the only income we had. So here we are back in “zion” with medical bills mounting and kids basic needs not being met. So, I went to the Bishop…. Bad Idea
TO BE CONTINUED….
This is a letter we got form SAM’s therapist. I am so glad I have grown enough to write him back and tell him how I felt. A year or so ago I would of just cried. It is shocking that all the support goes out to the perpetrator and not the victims. I have had to fight for support for my victimized children, even with me fighting it is minimal.
I attempted to make contact with you twice this weekend and have not heard back from you. I am attempting to make contact with you to discuss your want or lack of want to be a part of your Son SAM’S Treatment process. I obtained permission from you for SAM to write you. He has sent 2 letters, and has yet to hear anything in return. Part of SAM’s treatment process is rebuilding the trust lost within the family. My opinion, and proven previous treatment shows higher success rate with the involvement of the parents.
Right now I understand your family is hurting…but SAM is your Son and he is hurting as well. You are the single most important person to him. He has been struggling lately with the fact that you have not responded to his letters, or even tried to call him. So…what he is asking is for something…a “I don’t want to talk to you”, a “screw off”, something, so that he can at least not sit here and hope.
Can you please let me know if you will be available to participate in Sam’s CPM Monday April 2nd at 1500 Alaska time.
McLaughlin Youth Center
my response back……
When my husband and I read your letter we were blown away. It was so unprofessional and inappropriate.
Number one, we know SAM is our son. That is one of the hardest parts for us. We don’t only ache for our three little ones, but we ache for SAM. Who do you think you are with the, “your son SAM”? You know nothing about the hell we have been through and the hell we live every day raising traumatized children, SAM’S victims . You are not up with our little ones with night terrors. You are not dealing with our beautiful 12yr old daughter who is developing a eating disorder because of what SAM did. Don’t try and minimize our pain with the, “Right now I understand your family is hurting but”. You have no idea.
Number two, SAM writes me one letter and my husband one Letter and we are supposed to jump? He gave up the right to be #1 when he sexually abused and terrorized 3 of our other children for 2 1/2 – 3 years. You expect SAM to be our priority? Seriously? We think about SAM everyday but our number one priority is to get our victimized children the help they need along with ourselves. We would much rather our family be whole. SAM chose to destroy it. He doesn’t get to call the shots. We have to make our priority picking up the pieces he left behind.
Number three, my husband is the number one most important person in SAM”S life? What a joke. Right before SAM got kicked out of his last treatment center I received a 4 page letter from SAM where he stated the reason he abused the kids was because of my husband having more kids. He also told me “god” doesn’t give the kids anything they couldn’t handle. God didn’t do this to my kids, SAM did.
Number four, After we got SAM’s letters we were very impressed with the honesty. It is the first time in years we have seen honesty from him. We raised SAM and know the constant games and manipulation he can play. So,we have every right to be a little skeptical. This could be just another one of SAM’S angles to get sympathy, especially because he had a completely different angle at the last treatment. It takes more than one letter to start building trust.
Number five, We have the right to heal at the speed WE choose, not the speed SAM chooses.
Number six, You have no idea what is going on with us in our home. Our 8yr old had brain surgery a week after we received the letters. He was in Primary Children’s Hospital for a week. He underwent one of the two most painful surgeries that they see in their Neuro Science Trauma Unit. We have been back and forth between here and Utah for him to see the neurosurgeon for the last couple of months. He is still recovering at home. We have been dealing with SAM”S older brother who we had to ask leave if he couldn’t respect boundaries. Up until Freddy left he was seeing two therapist a week and our Bishop once a week. He is struggling with sexual addictions, stealing, compulsive lying, OCD, and depression. Just getting him to therapy was a part time job in itself. Jake just started a new job. Douglas and Mary both had a birthday in March. Douglas is getting Baptized and
Mary went to the Temple for the first time last week. These are all things we would love to share with SAM but they are his victims so we struggle with what is appropriate to talk to him about. I have started to write SAM probably 100 times and just sit there and cry. This is a battle we deal with and we will write SAM in our time frame, not yours not SAM’S.
Number seven, “your want or lack of want to be a part of your Son SAM’S Treatment process”. It has nothing to do with “want”. We want our family back. We want all our kids to be okay. We want to be able to say SAM’s name without feeling like dying. We wish we could speed the healing process up and get to a peaceful place but we can’t.
Number eight, “SAM is your Son and he is hurting as well”. SAM is
hurting because of HIS choices. The rest of us are hurting because of HIS choices. He needs to take responsibility for his actions and stop having easily manipulated people in his life to feel sorry for him.
My major is in Social Work. I showed your email to two very experienced therapist/professors. They both thought it to be unprofessional & uneducated. One therapist commented it was the single most hateful letter she has seen written to a parent.
My husband and I have a lot of love for SAM. We wont let your lack of judgment stop us from reaching out to him when WE are ready. I will however, expect an apology from you and will be forwarding your email to your superiors.
Leah and Jake,
I am sooooo sorry. I read your response yesterday and it hurt me to read about what you all are going through, and that I offended you and Jake the way that I did. You are absolutely right about the fact I did not take yours and Jake’s feelings into consideration. It’s not that that was my purpose or intention at all, but I just didn’t put myself in your shoes when I wrote it, and for that I am DEEPLY sorry. I have re-read what I wrote a hundred times. Each time I read it, I can understand more and more where you and Jake are coming from. I understand that I was coming off as unprofessional, inconsiderate, and having no empathy toward your family. I have two children of my own and I cant even imagine what you and Jake are going through. PLEASE give me the opportunity to apologize to you in a phone call. You are absolutely right that I owe you the utmost sincere apology. I do feel that I have basically re-victimized you and Jake here, and that is not settling well with me. My lack of empathy toward your family has me feeling so sad. I am on my weekend at the moment and I am back to work at 3:00 pm on Friday, and I will be in all day on Saturday from 7am until 11pm. I just could not wait until Friday to respond to you. I would like the opportunity to apologize to you and Jeff, and hopefully you can forgive me for not taking yours, Jake’s, and the rest of your family’s feelings into consideration. Again I am soooo deeply sorry.
I’ve started a new blog! Check out what I’m up to and how I’m progressing at http://gleaningthefields.com I will also continue to post and crosspost here. Leah and I wanted this blog to be a safe place for women of faith to turn to when dealing with the devastation of sexual abuse, and we will continue to maintain this blog as a jumping off point for anyone researching this subject. Thareading all who have reached out to us. Please let us know if you are interested in guest posting, or linking up to us to share your own journey.
Crosspost from Ruth: http://gleaningthefields.com/2012/04/04/forgive-part-one/