I prefer to remain anonymous unless advised to take this to my bishop, but I was wondering about something. I was sexually abused by my oldest brother when I was young (about 6 or 7) and I never told anyone. In fact, I let him continue to do it when he was home with protests, but I still didn’t say anything. He was away a lot to boys ranches and he was very troubled so I really didn’t see him a lot. He beat my brother up so much when he was home, I was very afraid of the same punishment if I told, or if I made too much of a fuss when he was abusing.
I have always felt guilty though of not saying anything. He has since taken his own life and I wonder if this is something I should talk to someone about since I continue to think about it. And I wonder how I will tell my future husband when he asks that I’m not perfectly clean.
Is this something I should continue to feel guilty about? And is this something that might keep me from having a temple marriage? Is it something I should be repenting for? Any advise for me?
Anonymous, from Utah
There is one thing that you should establish firmly in your mind. You were a victim, not a perpetrator!! Secondly, you were only a small child when these things happened. Thirdly, you were undoubtedly threatened with dire consequences if you were to tell anyone. Fourth, you saw what he did to your other brother when he was upset with him. You have nothing to be ashamed of!! You have nothing to feel guilty about!! You have done nothing that would keep from entering the holy temple or having a temple marriage. Do not believe that you are not perfectly clean. You understand that you have been robbed of your virginity, but that was a robbery!! If you feel any guilt for your participation, please forgive yourself, and hold up your head in front of all people.
As to whether or not you should tell a future husband, do you think that you should go into some confessional and reveal to him all the sines that you have committed? And this circumstance was not a sin that you committed. It was a sin that someone else committed against you. You deserve the sympathy and compassion of every person who would come to know what you have been through. What does the Savior do with the sins from which the perpetrators have repented? Not only does he forgive the sinner, but HE FORGETS THE SINS!!
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more (Doctrine & Covenants 58:42).
So by remembering and feeling guilty for something that you are not even guilty of, you are needlessly punishing yourself. There is no requirement for you to bring the subject up in an interview with the bishop. However, I think that it would be very therapeutic for you to discuss the matter with your bishop and ask him to help you feel all right about yourself, since you have committed no wrong.