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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Adolescent Samantha

Warning: This post will be graphic. Probably, if you read my blog regularly, this is something you'll want to skip.

In my sixth grade year I met Pam. There were only six girls in my class. Four of them had decided that boys were their only reason for existing. Pam was different. She never smiled. She wore one of two windbreakers every day. I had no idea what her clothes looked like. She didn't talk. I wanted her to smile. I wanted her to talk to me. She hunched over constantly and always looked as though she was flinching away from people. But Pam went to church in my ward, so I began talking to her. She rarely answered. I kept talking. Finally, one day, I said something that made her laugh. From that moment we were friends. I invited her to stay with me, which she did often. When she was in our home my mother rarely yelled and we all seemed to cooperate with each other. Pam brought joy with her.

The summer after sixth grade my parents arranged to have Pam live with us. She was, in every sense, our sister. Sister #1 and I made room for her in our bedroom. I slept better when she was there. My nightmares occurred less often. For nearly a month I was at peace.

In June my parents invited cousins Jeff and David to come live with us for the summer and help with the farm. I was uneasy, but because Pam was living with us, somehow I felt everything would be fine. Jeff and David arrived. I was thrilled that Jeff was living with us. I avoided David.

But David seemed to want to be my friend. He spent time with me. He asked about the books I was reading, took walks with me, and acted as if he loved being with me. I was flattered. After all, David was fifteen, and I was not yet twelve. I assumed he was amazed by my stunning intellect.

When David began giving me hugs, or sitting with his arm around me, I was happy. It felt nice to have someone touch me--I could not remember being hugged or touched by an older person--ever. I trusted him. One day I talked to David about what had happened two years earlier. I asked if he remembered. He did. I told him I had been frightened and sad. He put his arm around me and cuddled me close to him. He said he was sorry, and he hoped I would forgive him. I did. I knew he cared about me.

David's physical affection became more frequent. I began to feel uncomfortable with it. He would touch me whenever possible. If we were alone, he would hold my hand. He talked of things he would like to do with me. Most of the things I didn't understand. He told me my body was becoming "sexy". I thought he was joking, so I laughed. I was barely beginning to develop--and I didn't like the changes in my body. My mother had begun telling me I needed to lose weight. I would step on the scale--70 pounds. I wondered how much I should weigh. I watched every piece of food that went into my mouth and skipped meals regularly. My mother approved.

David began kissing me whenever we were alone. I didn't want that, but at this point I wanted David to be my friend. He was the only one who hugged me. He said nice things to me. He told me kissing meant we loved each other--and I did love him. He told me people who love each other like to touch one another. And I wanted him to hold me, I wanted my hair stroked, I wanted to be hugged. So I allowed him to kiss me, fighting the panic and nausea each kiss evoked. I didn't want him to go away, and I would do almost anything to keep him as a friend.

One day David opened his wallet and showed me a condom. He said his father had given it to him, "...just in case..." In case of what? I asked him. He smiled at me and laughed a little. I laughed, too. I had no idea what the condom was for, nor did I know why we were laughing. A few nights later, David came to my bedroom. I asked what he wanted. He came into my bed and held me. I fell asleep in his arms. When I woke the next morning, he was gone.

It became normal for David to visit me at night. He would kiss me and stroke my back. I knew he should not be there. I feared if I told him to leave that he would be angry. And I still felt the need to keep his friendship. He told me often that he loved me. No one else said that. I wanted to be loved.

One night David began touching my breasts. In alarm, I sat up and told him to stop. He hugged me to him and said he wasn't trying to hurt me, he just wanted to be close to me. He asked if I wanted that to. I did. He said we couldn't be close unless I allowed him to touch me as he needed to. I was confused and frightened. He began kissing me and pulling at my clothes. When I resisted, he straddled me, restraining my arms with one hand. He was much larger than I. His hands were rough, hurting my small body. He told me to be quiet, saying that if we were found, I'd get in trouble. Remembering my father's anger when the man had molested me in the bathroom, I knew David was right. In shock and horror I allowed him to touch me, to show me, once again, the condom, to watch as he replaced it in his wallet, saying we probably didn't need it. Continuous shudders wracked my frame as he touched me in places that terrified me. Then he took my arms, pinned them above my head, and forced himself inside me. One hand held my hands in place, the other covered my mouth as I tried not to scream. I had never felt such pain. It came again and again as he moved above me. Every part of me ached. Finally, he released my bruised wrists, moved his hand from my mouth, and collapsed on top of me. His weight more than doubled mine. I couldn't breath. I felt wretched, but lay completely still, frightened that he would hurt me again. Moments later he stood, retrieved his clothes, and walked out of my room.

Gasping with pain, I wept. Slowly, I climbed from my bed and turned on my lamp, careful to keep it turned from my sisters who were sleeping in the same room. I glanced at my bed and saw my own blood on the sheets, mixed with a fluid I could not identify. It had an odor that made me shudder. I quietly pulled the sheets from my bed, wrapped my discarded clothing in them, gathered clean underwear and a night shirt, and walked downstairs. I went to the laundry room, and as quietly as I could, put the sheets and my clothes into the washer and started it. I went to the linen closet to get clean sheets and a towel. In the bathroom I found a wash cloth and began to scrub my genitals. They were bruised and painful. I didn't care. I wanted his smell to come off me. I wanted to be clean.

The enormity of what had happened began to fill my head. Overwhelmed I slid to the bathroom floor, shaking with pain and fatigue, and rocked myself. I have no idea how long I sat there. Finally, I cleaned myself one more time, dressed, and went upstairs. I forced myself to put the clean sheets on my bed, but I was too tired to do more than that. I wrapped myself in my blankets and lay down. I slept fitfully, afraid my cousin would come back, grateful when he didn't.

The next day, David acted as if nothing had happened. For two more days he spent time with me whenever possible, hugging me, talking with me. I felt incredible fear toward him. He knew this--it seemed to make him feel powerful. Two or three nights weekly, he would visit me, rape me, and leave me to clean up whatever was left behind. With all my heart, I wished someone would come help me. David told me this was happening because I wanted it. Eventually, I believed it truly was my fault and that I was powerless to stop it.

After three weeks I stopped crying. The pain was the same, but I was prepared for it. I no longer fought back or reacted in any way. This seemed to infuriate David. His assaults became more imaginitive as he thought of different ways to rape me. I no longer cared. I waited until he was finished, then cleaned up after he left. I stopped talking to family members during the day. I rarely laughed. I escaped whenever possible to walk in the mountains.

Jeff and Pam knew something was bothering me. They tried to help me feel better. In late July, Jeff became ill and went home. Pam went to visit her aunt. I was left with David. My mother, not understanding why I would no longer talk or participate in family events, became more abusive. I didn't care. Nothing could penetrate the constant pain I felt emotionally and physically.

One day in August I sat in my bedroom. David came up the stairs. He said he was going home. He said he would miss me. He hugged me. I said nothing. He asked if I would miss him. Still I said nothing. He shook me and asked me to answer him. I wouldn't look at him. In disgust, he pushed me back on my bed and walked away. I lay there and for the first time in two months, I laughed. He was finally gone.

I turned twelve three weeks later.


  1. Well, I suppose this is why I should only blog about our outings and events. I don't normally use blogging as a means of sharing my personal views. I don't like confrontation or getting wrapped up in complicated issues. And though your comment did not seem necessarily confrontational, I do wonder why you felt to leave one. Perhaps you think I need correcting. Perhaps we offer each other a broader persective to draw from. I'm sorry if my post seemed insensitive. It started as a silly line from a movie, no harm intended. I feel a certain weight after pondering your comment and skimming through your blog. I am sad for your pain. And no, after the ressurection you will not feel that "Hell" you refer to. Part of me wishes to dismiss this feeling, whatever it is, and "delete" the whole post/comment; yet another part feels drawn to respond. I am responding because I am not callous and do not wish to be numbered among those you feel are insensitive. First, I want to clarify that my only associations with SSA persons are outside the church. I do not "fear" people like you nor do I feel that they should be excluded from the church. You must remember that not all LDS people are intolerant or ostracizing. We should be quite the opposite. The general authorities have always counseled the members to reach out with love and understanding. You may feel otherwise because what you have chosen to accept is contrary to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. True discipleship merits a higher standard. Regardless of whether SSA is the result of nature or nurture, it goes against natural, physical, spiritual and God given roles for men and women. A struggle with it does not excuse one from God's commandments. It's the same for any struggle, weakness or tendency. We should always seek direction from the Spirit and not "lean unto our own understanding..." You are not a plague or a scourge. And people who think otherwise are self-righteous and wrong to judge. But there are those among the gay rights groups who mock God and His laws. There are some who would try to dissuade. And when I ask if we become desensitized by such association, it is because slowly we may begin to agree, when in truth we do not. That is how the adversary works. He "leadeth them away carefully down to hell." 2Nephi 28:21 Notice the word, carefully. He is cunning and subtle. I do understand wanting to be "bound" to the one you love, regardless of gender. But I do not understand the need bring so much attention to oneself over it or to change the laws. It conflicts with the entire purpose of our existence-to become like God. Consider our creation. Consider the counsel, which you know if you profess to have studied the gospel more deeply than most "straight" members. And I do agree that Christ understands but understanding and approval are not one and the same. I appreciate your comment and apologize for my equally long response. I have sought for greater understanding but only through official church resources. It is counterproductive for me to entertain others. Please know that you are loved and accepted. It's okay if we disagree. We are all entitled to our own views and opinions. Sadly, so many of us butt heads because we limit our perspective and fail to become truly converted.
    "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

  2. You may feel otherwise because what you have chosen to accept is contrary to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Hahahahahaha. No offense, baker, but that's hilarious! Yes, Sam, being an active LDS wife and mother is truly contradictory to the teachings of the Jesus Christ.

    It's the same for any struggle, weakness or tendency.

    My trouble with this one is that it's not a struggle, weakness, or tendency. I think that's a matter of opinion. There are plenty of animals that are gay and there have ALWAYS been gay people—when their societies accept them and when they don't.

    I just object to religious groups deciding that gay people can't get married because it's against said religious groups' beliefs. For example, you may believe that my skin color (something equally inborn and unchangeable as who you're sexually attracted to) is horribly immoral and wrong. If you had my skin color, you might use bleaches or darkeners—of course depending on WHY you found it immoral! ;) However, just because *you* believe that my skin color is wrong and that I'll go to hell for not correcting it, *I* do not believe that and I should not have to be marginalized and treated as if I don't really matter or as if I'm really all that different from everyone else because that's the way *your* beliefs shape your way of looking at it.

  3. The comment I came here to make originally was that, I appreciate the warning at the beginning of this post and I almost wish I'd taken it. This was pretty disturbing. I don't know, though, I think it's important for people to know that things like this happen and hear from the people it happens to. Plus, I'm curious about you as a person and this is a part of who you are and knowing this may help me understand you better. . . I guess that's kinda creepy coming from a stranger. . . I don't mean it like that. I'm curious about lots of people. I'll even re-read a book I just read and sort of hated because I care that much about the characters (they were such interesting characters!)

  4. I suppose this is beginning to take too much of our time but I want to say a few more things. I am not offended by your bluntness and I am sorry for my misunderstanding. I unfairly (or ignorantly) assumed that you thought it was okay to act on same gender attraction. That is what I meant by accepting something contrary to the teachings. I stand corrected. Remember my only association with SSA persons is outside the church and sexual behavior is what dominates my perspective on this struggle. I commend you for having chosen to accept a lifestyle that will seal you to your spouse and allow you to have an eternal family. What you said next is inspiring to me. ("What I have chosen to accept is that the gospel is true--and I have yielded every part of me, including my sexuality, to that acceptance.") Yes, you SHOULD have a voice. I am grateful for our exchange because I have never known an LDS person in your situation. I like to think that I am accepting and that I do not judge others-since we never really know a person, where they're coming from, or what they are dealing with. I'm sorry if I came off as being otherwise. I am concerned (or I would not try to become more educated). I care about others including the youth, who you mentioned. My friend's daughter (age 17) has same gender attraction and acts on it. They are not LDS but maybe gospel knowledge doesn't really make it any less confusing. I know she cuts herself (she doesn't know I know; her "girlfriend" (also 17) confided in me wanting to know how we could help her). I want to know how to help. I want to be sensitive and kind, loving and accepting. Since my first comment, I have read Dallin H. Oaks 1996 article on same gender attraction. But I also I have much to learn from someone like you. Thank you for your willingness to educate me on this matter. I am also sorry for quoting scriptures. Those are just two that help me recognize the adversary and turn to the Savior for help.

  5. I meant to leave you my e-mail address:

  6. [hugs] I'm so sorry that you have been hurt in so many awful ways.