“Comment,” Ensign, Sept. 2006, 79
Your article “A Hole in Her Soul” (July 2006) brought with it a flood of tears and memories of my experience some 27 years ago as a teenager. I met a young man at a stake youth dance who claimed to be a member of a ward in a nearby town. We began dating. My mom didn’t like him, but she never told me this or forbade him to come over. I suppose she feared it would make me like him more. One day he dropped by the house when no one else was home, and that was when he assaulted me. I was in shock and had no idea what to do or how to handle the situation. I felt like my life was over and there was nothing anyone could do. I was “dirty,” and no one would want “used merchandise.” Like the girl in the story, I followed a path of self-loathing and destruction that lasted nearly four years.
The mother of the young woman in the article rightly explains that being a loving parent and providing “a soft place to fall” was key to the daughter’s recovery.
For the rest of us, prevention is of utmost importance. Your dating-safety inset is fine but may not go far enough.
Parents need to come up with as nearly foolproof guidelines as they can, no matter how strict. There were a few times I didn’t give my daughter permission to attend a social function simply because I had a bad feeling about it. She would complain and say I didn’t have concrete evidence, but my point was that if something bad were to happen, there would be no reversing the effect of it. We would never know what might have happened, nor did we want to know.
As we move farther and farther into these perilous times, we cannot be too careful in protecting the minds and bodies of our precious children from the predators who would do them harm.
I appreciated the perspective shared in “Yelled At, Barked At, and Rained On” (July 2006). Offering prospective missionaries an honest and realistic preview of what missionary service entails is valuable and commendable. As more of them understand that even sincere and obedient missionaries often experience profoundly difficult challenges, the quiet strength and maturity of our missionary force will increase.
Cameron Turner, Indiana