Ashlynn Mitchell
Ashlynn Mitchell 1 pledge

Over the last 13 months we have been coping with the fact that someone we love & trusted sexually abused our daughters in our own home. The emotions we have gone through & continue to go through are quite the spectrum & in the end we have been reassured that the road we have taken has been the road less traveled by many but it is the right one to take. I don't know if you are a church going friend or not but either way sweeping this issue under the rug is not the answer. It won't go away.

How could something like this happen you might ask? We taught our girls from the beginning the correct anatomy of bodies, we let them know they could tell us anything no matter what & we educated them on what is appropriate behavior. If we had not done this I fear my daughter would have never come to me that December night & told me what had happened to her & her sister. (FYI the LDS church & text books encourage all parents to teach this because if you don't how will your child know something bad is happening). We decided long ago sleepovers with friends would never happen in or outside our home, but we did allow family to stay in our home. We were cautious of who we let our kids play with, who we had babysit & we even put our kids to bed before babysitters arrived feeling like this was a safer route. I don't feel like we did things wrong ... we tried to protect our girls but the problem was that the person we loved, trusted & most importantly who our girls trusted made us feel safe. This person didn't fit the creepy, stranger lurking in the van role, it was someone close.

We went to therapy 2-3 times a week because we know that professionals can help us & they have. Don't be embarrassed to reach out & ask for help, it doesn't mean you are weak, it means you are strong.

My daughter is courageous, she is beautiful, she is strong, she is a truth teller & she is smart. In her 5 years of life I have been told by people that she is the most "people aware" child they had met, she remembers names & who goes with who. I believe my daughter with every fiber of my being & I will continue to protect them both for the rest of their lives.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints & I am not perfect & the person who did this to my girls is not perfect. As we seek to forgive those who have hurt us we realize the consequences will still be there & that we must also prevent future abuse. Forgiveness will come & we are working on it daily. To quote President Gordon B. Hinckley "Little children are innocent and precious in the eyes of God. Jesus Christ experienced some of His most tender moments with children and reserved His strongest language for those who abuse them. "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matthew 18:6)." The Prince of Peace spoke these harsh words, what does that say about abuse? The Church's role in the community war against the evil of abuse is to learn what we can, deal with the problem as it exists, and share our experiences with others who are equally motivated.

So for those out there who can empathize with what we are going through or what my daughters are going through know that there are many resources to find that strength & guidance to get through it. For those of you who are family members of victims or perpetrators please seek understanding on their behalf. Although you may not be affected physically you are making an effect on them.

I appreciate all my family & friends who have reached out to us, shared their stories of abuse & who have supported us in this hard road we are on. My girls are doing good & are healing but we still see the affects of abuse in small everyday things. It is part of our lives & will be forever. Be aware - 90% of sexual abuse is by a loved family member.

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