The following submission is made available via Youth Resources:
I always thought it was my fault. The abuse, the pain, everything. I never considered the possibility that I could be the victim. I struggled with having relationships with friends. I even struggled to open a computer because of the people online who abused me. I thought hope was lost.
I fell into pornography. I truly thought God didn’t love me anymore. During general conference when President @RussellMNelson said that “those who perpetrate” abuse are accountable to God and that the Lord “mourns and we all mourn for each person who has fallen victim to abuse of any kind,” I teared up (“What Is True?,” general conference, Oct. 2022). I knew the abuse wasn’t my fault, and I knew God still loved me. I felt His love in that moment stronger than ever. I repented of the pornography, and I’m grateful that He forgave me.
I still have troubles today, as I can’t get over everything instantly. I go to therapy to help me through my trauma. I know that God is looking out for me and that He isn’t letting me do this alone. I know the Savior loves me and He always will. I know that because of Jesus Christ’s Atonement I can be forgiven and made clean again. I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. —Ellie
“Being a victim of any abuse or assault does not make you guilty of sin. Please do not feel guilt or shame. The Savior loves you. He wants to help you, heal you, and give you peace. Professional counselors, your family members, and your leaders can also help” (For the Strength of Youth: A Guide for Making Choices).
Link for more resources: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/youth/childrenandyouth/youth?lang=eng
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse please talk to an adult you feel is safe. This could be a parent, grandparent, church leader, teacher, or friend. You are loved!
Artwork by Jen Tolman.