This story was published on the Exponent, link HERE.
I sat in front of my bishop, sobbing after sharing my secret. Cautiously, I poured out details of daily verbal assault, physical intimidation, financial control, and sexual endangerment by my spouse. I felt relieved, but it did not last. My bishop was someone I trusted and needed. He looked at me and said, “I don’t believe you.”
The realization hit me like a wave of nausea coupled with a heart-stopping moment of shock: the implications of his opinion will escalate these things. I needed to be prepared for that when I got home. What about my children? Will they have to continue to see this? How can I get help? If my bishop doesn’t believe me, who will? He was someone I counted on to be God’s hands on Earth. A judge in Israel. A representative of Christ. And he said to me, “I don’t believe you.”
I knew things would escalate. And they did.
I hold my bishop very accountable for NOT holding my husband accountable.
For telling me I was not being honest.
For telling me to go home and be a better wife.
For telling me it is normal to be called horrific names by my husband.
For telling me that I was the problem.
For telling me my feelings of fear were not real.
For telling me I was too controlling.
For telling me that I was just trying to get my husband in trouble.
For telling me that I must have done something to deserve this.
For telling me to stop being selfish for having aspirations to further my education.
For telling me I was failing in my job as a mother.
For telling me I needed to focus on my husband.
For telling me this behavior is normal in marriages.
For telling me everyone loves my husband.
For telling me that I just needed to get over it.
For telling me to stop making my husband mad.
For telling me that I just needed to trust my husband after he’s had multiple affairs.
For telling me that no one believes me and no one would believe me.
For telling me that I needed to be better.
It took me months to even start to recover and heal from my husband's abuse AND the abuse by the bishop. I suffered multiple PTSD-like symptoms because of the ecclesiastical abuse I suffered when seeking help.