A Friend Gave Me Date Rape Drugs, And I Got Pregnant. My Church Told Me To Repent.

After years of being quiet, I am no longer afraid.

Warning: Some readers may find parts of this post to be triggering.

I was raised Mormon. For the most part, I was a decent kid. I went to church every Sunday and participated in weekly activities with the other Mormon youth. 

During my teen years, sometimes I’d slip up and get into trouble. No biggie—I’d confess to the bishop, be given a proverbial slap on the wrist, and move on with my life.

But then, in 2004, I got pregnant. I was 17 years old and a senior year in high school, just weeks away from graduation. 

It’s worse than it sounds. 

Before I got pregnant, a male friend gave me a ride to an all-night high school party. He offered me a few caffeine pills, promising they would give me enough energy to stay up all night and have fun. I took them without a second thought. I had no idea they were actually Klonopin, a drug used to treat seizures and panic disorders. 

Klonopin is also commonly used as a date rape drug. 

Apparently, I spent the night walking and talking before leaving the party, which took place at the high school. The party was chaperoned by teachers and parent volunteers. It was supposed to be a safe space for the soon-to-be graduates. So what happened?

I don’t know. I don’t remember. I completely blacked out.

Somehow, I managed to get home. The next day, I woke up in my bed, but I knew something was wrong. I was afraid of getting in trouble, so I stayed quiet.

Weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone except my best friend. I was supposed to attend BYU, a Mormon-owned university, in the fall. I knew if my secret came out, I’d lose my college admission. 

Have I mentioned that the guy who drugged me was a fellow Mormon? ... Ironically, he was one of the few people my parents trusted me to be alone with.

Eventually, I had to tell my parents. I’d never been good at keeping things to myself, and a teenage pregnancy was the mother of all secrets. Plus, I had major morning sickness and it was getting more difficult to explain the constant puking. One detail led to another, and soon the whole story came pouring out of me, including how I’d taken pills and blacked out and thought maybe I’d done things I wasn’t supposed to do that night. 

Have I mentioned that the guy who drugged me was a fellow Mormon? Well, he was. His family lived a few streets away and belonged to our congregation. Our families ate dinner together. Ironically, he was one of the few people my parents trusted me to be alone with.

My mom called his mom, and the two of them came over for a long chat. He admitted that he’d drugged me with Klonopin, because he thought it would be “funny.” But he insisted we didn’t have sex. He said he lost track of me during the party, and figured I’d ended up getting a ride home from someone else. A lot of questions about what happened to me that night were going unanswered.

The situation was getting more complicated, so my mom asked our bishop to come over for backup. Looking back, a church leader should have provided comfort and guidance and told me it wasn’t my fault. Instead, I was prompted to confess my sins. Regular appointments were made for me to meet with the bishop so I could start repenting.

When BYU heard I was pregnant, sure enough, I was out. Under no circumstances would they allow an unwed pregnant teenager to be one of their students. My mom pleaded with them on the phone, trying to explain the circumstances, but they stood their ground. Being pregnant meant I’d had premarital sex, and that meant I’d broken their Honor Code. 

I was called to stand before a disciplinary council to be tried for my sins. A disciplinary council is made up of Priesthood holders. You have to be a man to hold the Priesthood in the Mormon church. I was left alone in a room full of adult men, and they decided my fate.

A church leader should have provided comfort and guidance and told me it wasn’t my fault. Instead, I was prompted to confess my sins.

To my relief, I was not excommunicated. I did go through a horrible, humiliating repentance process that lasted as long as my pregnancy. I spent most of those nine months alone in my bedroom, crying over the pages of the Book of Mormon and praying God would forgive me.

After placing my baby for adoption, I was eventually given the stamp of forgiveness. But there was a caveat: I was told to never discuss my wrongdoings, because, as my bishop told me, talking about a sin is the same as repeating a sin.

So I stayed silent. And I tried to be a good Mormon.

Eventually, I met a Mormon guy and we had a Mormon wedding. I felt safe enough with my new husband to tell him what had happened to me. 

He got mad. 

I’d expected this reaction. 

What I didn’t expect was I wasn’t the one he was upset with. He was angry with the Mormon church for treating me like the perpetrator. This shocked me. All this time, I’d been convinced I was the one to blame. 

As my bishop told me, talking about a sin is the same as repeating a sin. So I stayed silent. And I tried to be a good Mormon.

Together, my husband and I eventually left the Mormon church.

Our exit was a long time coming, but for me, it was the Mormon church’s support of California’s Proposition 8 that woke me up. I didn’t agree with their anti-gay policies, so I left. It was surprisingly that simple. 

Leaving Mormonism finally opened my eyes to the injustice that had been done to me years earlier. I realized it wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t a bad person. 

Now, I’m the angry one. I’m angry because rape culture and victim-blaming is still a problem in our society, and I don’t know what is going to make it stop. 

I wish someone had spoken up for me years ago when I was a lonely, pregnant teenager. Maybe I can be that person for others. I will share my story. I’ll do whatever it takes to be heard. 

After years of being quiet, I am no longer afraid.

_____________________

Need help? In the U.S., visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN. For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

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