I have a friend who has had bad experiences with men and priesthood leaders in the past, which has made it hard for her to open up to bishops, and men in general. She has been doing better recently, but even the fact that Jesus and Heavenly Father are men has been hard for her in the past, and she has prayed to Heavenly Mother in those times. What advice do you have for women who are struggling to feel understood when so many leaders in the Church are men?
Because of His Atonement, Christ is able to heal all of our wounds, including those of your friend. However, such healing takes time. Since you are the one writing to me, I will direct my advice to you. Be patient. Be a good listener. Suggest therapy if she is open to it. Fast and pray for her, and then trust that the Lord can heal all wounds. Often survivors of sexual assault have difficulty trusting men, if that is the case here, Sister Cheiko Okasaki gave a wonderful talk that includes advice for survivors, family, friends and leaders. It’s called Healing from Sexual Abuse.