038: Surviving Sexual Assault within an LDS Community Part 2

525542_10150749597630636_1607548935_nNatasha Helfer Parker interviews Chelsea Weidmann regarding having been sexually assaulted on several occasions in her life – the youngest being during nursery at church.  They discuss openly some of her experiences – so please be aware that this interview may be triggering to some of those who may be going through their own sexual assault recovery process.  Please also be aware that every recovery process from sexual assault is unique and different.  Things that Chelsea experienced or found useful – may not be things that will apply to everyone in similar situations.  This interview is meant to be an open dialogue about a generally taboo topic in our culture in hopes of helping others who have been assaulted, as well as helping family members, friends and church leaders know better how to respond and support those in their circles.  Comments will be carefully moderated to protect the safe space we have attempted to create through this setting.

Chelsea has a BA from BYU in English Language and Literature.  She recently finished her certification in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum and has been teaching ballet for 15 years as well as working as a guest artist with local dance companies.  She’s been married for 11 years and has two children.

The Courage to Heal 

The Courage to Heal Workbook

The Sexual Healing Journey

The Path to Wholeness by Carol Tuttle from an LDS Perspective that some have found helpful

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to James Estrada of Oak Street Audio for audio production of this podcast.

1 comment for “038: Surviving Sexual Assault within an LDS Community Part 2

  1. Ihearyou
    October 15, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Dear Sister, I’m so glad you shared your feelings so openly. I can so relate to you. You are so not alone. What you describe doesn’t even scratch the surface of what I’ve been through, and I’ve had all the feelings you’re feeling and then some. I’ve lived many decades with the aftermath, with bouts of major to severe depression from time to time, but after getting effective medical and therapeutic help, I can say hang in there. There is still a lot of fulfilling life for you. I really believe that, and I’m a real skeptic about pretty much everything. But every time things have gotten really bad for me, better times always came after, and that’s what I tell myself every time it gets bad. Believe me, you can’t imagine any what if’s I haven’t asked myself, but that’s a loop that goes nowhere, so there’s no point in it. I eventually built the ability not to bother with those.

    I still can’t go near a Mormon chapel without bordering on a full-blown panic attack, and even listening to one General Conference session puts me in deep despair of ever being enough for them, but I know I have great worth to myself and my friends, and deciding I’m enough for me was one of the best things I ever did. I still take it one day at a time, and I make sure I do something every day just because it brings me joy, and I’ve learned that the only way I can ever really be happy is to be myself and not try to be someone else. As for all the why’s, over time I’ve learned to let it go, be in the moment, and allow myself some peace.

    You may be able to attend church again, you may not, each story is different, but either way, it’s okay.Taking care of yourself is the only way you can ever have the energy to be there for anyone else or be happy yourself. Pray to the kind of God you can believe in, the One who is far too intelligent to be like some represent Him, the One who loves you unconditionally, and does understand everything you’re going through. He made this incredible, intricate, elegant universe. He’s too smart to be a jerk. It’s the men who are the jerks. “We’ve learned from sad experience that it is the nature of almost all men….” He knows that love is the only thing that really matters. And loving yourself is not a sin. It’s survival, and more than that, it’s the only way to health.

    I hope you persist in seeking the medical and therapeutic help you can feel is really effective for you, and don’t give up until you find it. Depression is a serious illness, but with treatment, things really can improve for you.

    I hear you, and I’m with you every step of the way. May the Lord bless you in ways that really help you feel better. Lots of love from a Sister you really cares about you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *