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Radio Free Mormon: 146: That Time I Got Molested as a Kid

TRIGGER WARNING!   RFM tells how he was sexually molested when he was ten years old.


26 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 146: That Time I Got Molested as a Kid”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” I’m sorry as a young boy you experienced this trauma, and your story brings to light the longstanding effects an experience like this can have on someone for years afterward. The imagery of leaving a tomb, leaving the trauma behind and reclaiming one’s life was very powerful. I hope your telling of this story helps you, I’m sure it will help others.

    1. Thank you so much, Martha! I thought the idea of Good Friday and the tomb came together nicely at the end of that podcast. I am not going from a script for most of this, and just fleshing out ideas in my head. Sometimes they work pretty well. Other times not so well. I’m glad you liked the way this one turned out. Thanks for listening!

  2. I have my own story. I was a grown woman and court was terrifying. I can imagine a lot but being 10 years old and going through that is unimaginable. Good for you. You saved a bunch of other kids. That’s what kept me going. Knowing the women after me were safe from this guy, for now.
    I’m near the same age as you and in 1970 it was not common for kids to speak up, so a double good for you. I understand about having to tell it over and over.
    This was upsetting but no triggers only admiration. Thank you for being so brave.

    1. Thanks, K. I was fortunate to have supportive parents who both went with me to court. My dad was the one who went with me to the police department for the first interview with the detectives and later for the line-up. There was never a time when I even thought twice about whether my parents supported me. It would have been a lot worse, I know, if they had not. Your post reminds me of the famous line from Saul Bellows’s “Henderson, the Rain King,” which I had to read in high school for AP English. It is actually the only line I remember from that book. But it’s a good one. “The brave man holds the evil.” (I’m sure Saul Bellows would be happy to extend that to, “The brave person holds the evil.”) The idea behind it, if I recall correctly, is that evil circles around and around from one person to another; one person has evil done to him and he passes it on to another person, who then passes it on to somebody else, and so it goes forever. There is one thing that is needed to stop the proliferation of evil in the world, according to Bellows, and that is a brave person. If a person can “hold the evil” and not pass it on, it stops and dies with him or her. That is why the brave man (person) holds the evil. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us!

  3. Thank you for sharing that. It’s disturbing that these kinds of ocurrences are so widespread. I come from your generation and we were simply clueless. The adults I knew never warned children (effectively) of how and why these things happen. I was 18 before I really understood why you don’t get in cars with strangers even in a perceived emergency (picture action movie and leaping out of a moving car, thank God not going fast). I only hitchhiked once and it was a mistake. OMG I was naive and very lucky. There are more predators out there than most people imagine. And of course, those in our generation don’t talk about our experiences, imagining it might be our fault because no one ever talked about it. Thank you for talking about it. It helps, in ways we’ll never fully know.

    1. My parents were really good about warning me against hitchhikers. Both hitching a ride myself as well as picking up hitchhikers.

      Warning me about stranger-danger on the ground, they weren’t quite so good, unfortunately.

      But I know they did their best. I sometimes wonder how bad it was for them going through this whole experience.

      I expect it was a lot worse for them than it was for me.

  4. I’m so sorry. My heart aches for the years you spent in fear and the anxiety you experienced. No child should have to experience such a thing. I just cannot imagine!Thank you for having the courage to share this. Fifty years is a very long time. I hope that this can be helpful for those who experienced anything like it and possibly help someone.

  5. I woke up at 4 AM and reflected on this episode thinking, “I’m sure glad nothing like that happened to me.” Then I remembered something. When I was about ten my parents were helping a family that was in some kind of strife. As part of this help a fifteen year old, or so, boy stayed with us. He slept in the top bunk I was in the bottom bunk. One night I woke up with him snuggling close behind me. I rolled away and rearranged myself under the blankets figuring he was just cold and wanted to share some body heat. However, it was strange. He had been ready to enter me and was a quarter of an inch from doing so. I was so oblivious that I didn’t really figure that out until I was older and then it didn’t cause me any shame or emotional trauma, fortunately. It was a non event, or so it seems. Something changed his mind and I went back to sleep. Thinking about it tonight and not going back to sleep anyway I thought maybe I should put this down in the chance that it might be of some value to someone.

    1. I appreciate your sharing that experience, Jim. I think just the sharing of it can be therapeutic to both the speaker as well as the hearer.

  6. Thank you RFM for sharing this difficult experience which took courage. It gives validation to others with similar experiences and hopefully helps them heal their shame. A powerful book for me in overcoming my own family shame was Healing The Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw. Owning and talking about our shame authentically allows a richer healthier life. I listen and look forward to each of your podcasts.

  7. Its so unfortunate that in spite of what your parents did in seeking justice for you, they were unable to reassure you, thereby minimizing the years of anxiety imagining the worst about the perpetrator fixating on your demise. It’s tragic how the shame of such abuses kept you from being able to lay your fears to rest once this man had been dealt with by the law.

    Even though your innocence and the carefree nature of your childhood was altered forever after that, I wish you could have been comforted in your fears.

    I cant help seeing how this damage must have made the structure of the Mormon church particularly appealing to you after years of insecurity. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless you.

  8. Gutsy move Maverick. Thanks for sharing this important episode with all the details of your thoughts and feelings, the aftermath and the court system. I’m glad you had a family who supported you. So many people do not tell. There is shame and confusion related to one’s own part in the process.
    When I first saw the title of the episode, I thought, “Oh no, not him.” I didn’t want you to have experienced this. It took me a few days to finally listen to it.
    Thank you for all you do. Big fan!

    1. Thanks, Maureen. Glad you finally were able to listen. I know it isn’t easy. Who wants to hear this kind of story? About anybody? That was one of the thoughts that almost made me ditch the whole effort. But still there was something nagging at me to do it anyway. It was like a still, small voice of some sort . . .

  9. RFM:
    I have thought of emailing you many times regarding your wonderful episodes but have never sat down to do it. However, after listening to this one, I knew now was the time. Your writing and presentation of this particular episode was so beautifully done. Thank you for the vulnerability that you shared and the wisdom of hindsight. So many people forget that children aren’t able to act with logic regarding their abuse. Your narrative was very touching in the ways that it demonstrated this. There is a collection of essays that I discovered last year by Roxane Gay called “Not That Bad” which I have found incredibly healing and have recommended to many folks- not just survivors of abuse. As someone who enjoys literature, I suggest you check this book out if you haven’t already. The audio version is especially wonderful because each story is read by the author and lends to the poetic magic. Thank you for sharing this story and for the time and dedication you give to each episode of this podcast. I’m delighted each time I see your name pop up in my podcast feed. Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Natalie!

      I seem to have really hit a nerve (in a good way) with this podcast.

      I just this morning received a phone call from a lady I have known for decades, and who is a true believing Mormon through and through, and who wanted to share with me two times when she was assaulted; once as a little child, and once when she was a freshman in high school. By the father of her best friend, no less!

      These are stories she had locked away and rarely told anybody about; even (especially) her best friend.

      She said that, even though these events happened so long ago (she is now 83), she still can feel their impact to this day.

      She said that I had opened the floodgates with this podcast and expected I would be hearing many similar stories.

      Thank you also for the book recommendation!

      I will definitely have to check that out!


  10. Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Such a brave thing to do. I know others will gain courage from witnessing yours!

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer!

      I sure hope this podcast has that effect.

      It is what I was shooting for!

      Thanks for listening!


  11. Thank you for your story.
    I am working my way through the back catalog and came across this episode today. I for one am enjoying these alternate topic episodes mixed in with the typical doctrinal analysis. It’s so strange to hear echoes from the first few months of Covid.
    I’m curious, is your Robert Lyons the same one who appeared on “To Catch a Predator”?

  12. Count me in on those that had to listen even though it was hard. Thanks for sharing and being willing to be vulnerable. I’m so sorry that happened to you… It may be a mild case as you call it, but it sure has its ramifications and power over us. One of these days I’ll tell my story. Thanks again.

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