I am in 10th grade. 15 years old. It has been 3 years since my rape. I was 13, in 7th grade, still figuring myself out. During this time, I was going to a new school, a high school and middle school combined. I had recently been fitted for hearing aids, and was casted as an outsider. This school only contained 200 students, who were very close and had grown up together, none of which had any sort of disability or ailment. Therefore, I was not one of them, and in their eyes, could not be treated as such. They were cruel. Even teachers, belittling me, calling me out, asking what was wrong with me just because I couldn’t hear. There was one particular group of 11th grade boys who were especially mean. They would scream in my face, call me names, beat me. The first time they hit me, I fought back. For weeks they would bring me out back during breaks and would pin me against the wall while one took a few kicks or punches. They were always careful not to let me bleed, or hit me in the face in fear of the bruising being visible. But I always fought back, which only aggravated them. At one point, they threw me on the ground inside a classroom, when there were no teachers around during a break, and I hit my head on the corner of a desk and was knocked unconscious for a few minutes. A cover story was quickly compiled, and witnesses were told what to say. I went home and to the doctor on the notion that I had sustained a concussion from a fall in a classroom over my shoelaces. They threatened to hurt me, Cutting out my bellybutton, slicing my stomach, brutal things, if I ever told of the violence.
My home life at that point was very unstable and very messy, so I wasn’t going to be heard anyway. I didn’t fear for my life, because I knew they were desperate to keep their torture a secret. I also felt that I could take care of myself, as I had already inflicted enough pain a few times to get away from the break beatings. One day, a day before Christmas Vacation, It was a free day at school. With every classroom full of candies and snacks, parties going on. I was walking to the front office to get a paper for a teacher when I saw the group approaching me. I noticed they had 2 less boys with them, the 2 boys that were always reluctant to hitting me. As they headed towards me, I felt this sinking feeling, and my mind just said “run”. Instinct took over and I ran. I wasn’t sure where I was running to. I ran out of the building, leaving behind my key card, the one that tracks students and alerts the office if they leave the building during school hours. It had fallen out of my pocket. The one device that could have saved me. I ran to the side exit, one commonly used by our janitor, and jumped down the stairs. I could hear only my footsteps, and my breathing. I don’t think I thought of anything really. I don’t really remember. I just ran. I ran to the complex across the street, a building that was up for lease. I was set on having my tracking card alert the office, as well as the boys cards being flagged. I stopped running in front of the building and watched cars pass lazily by. At that point, I felt like I wasn’t there. I could see them coming towards me, a hurried bunch. I am not sure why I stopped. Maybe because I felt secure because other people were around. They stopped in front of me, not saying a word. The middle boy came two inches away from my face, and in his hand held a knife that resembled a K-bar (military issued knife). I froze. I didn’t feel like I was in my body anymore. I felt lie my soul was somewhere else, merely viewing the ordeal. He looked at me and said “go”, and pushed me in the side with the tip of his weapon. I was brought to the back where the boy with the knife shoved me into the wall and came very close. He said, “Lets begin with the shirt”. I was determined to fight them. I still thought our key cards would be our saviors. At that point, I reached into my pocket, and felt nothing. I was drowning in the pits of hopelessness. I refused to accept this fate that had been presented to me. “Eat shit, because I would sooner die than have you touch me.” I said in my calmest voice. Still I felt like I was watching from far away, but rooting for myself. Like I was watching a Futbol game on the television, rooting for a team, telling them what to do.
His friend slapped me and they all started hitting and pushing me to the ground. I couldn’t fight it off anymore, I was being tugged and dragged and hurt. My shirt was ripped off in the midst, and my face was held to the ground by my hair. That is when it happened. I felt like I was screaming. I think I remember yelling for them to stop. I remember just the fire, the intensity. But I felt so dull, so… fuzzy, almost. Like I was going numb in a world that was so sharp. I remember, thinking of fighting back, and I thought I did. In the process of throwing me on the ground, I hit my head and I knew I would be going dark soon. But I was praying for it, just to make it stop.
Afterwards, I woke, and found the boys gone. My clothes were spread around, and my shoes and socks scattered. my hair was a mess in my face. I felt this immediate sharp pain when I tried to move and realized the gravity of what had just happened. I got up, naked and alone, just feeling cold. I glanced at my watch which read 1:42. I don’t know why I remember that. I don’t remember putting on my clothes. I remember fixing my hair in the widow of the vacant building. I just know that that time, will be forever etched in my brain. I had only been gone a little over an hour. I don’t really remember going back, either. I guess I entered the door I came through? Everything has this foggy, hazy, cloud over it. Like I can only see parts of the memory. I went to the bathroom, and just silent ly cried in a stall. A friend came in, and said my name. I knew she had been looking for me, and opened the stall door. She came in and told me teachers had been looking for me, I had left my key card in the class. She was concerned but seemed to know that the problem I was dealing with was sensitive. I told her my dog died that morning, and that I went outside and fell down the stairs, to explain the scraped knees, and muddy, tattered pants. She brought me to the office where they called my mother, who picked me up. She told me I was clumsy, and needed a hero to save me all hours of the day jokingly. I silently sat in the seat, crying quietly, to what my mother thought was embarrassment, and felt the weight of the world sinking in on me. I wish I had a superhero. I really could have used one.
3 weeks later
Christmas break was over, and I had told no one. I felt I could be strong. I could cover it up, because I was tough. I went back to school to find that 2 boys dropped out and the third had no help. He threatened to kill me, but I knew I was leaving soon and had no fear of him without his friends. I just felt terribly alone. Alone all the time. The constant nagging of no one knowing what I had gone through.
5 weeks later
I had changed to online school and was at home more often, per my request. My mother noticed a dramatic difference in me and sent me to therapy. For 9 months, I talked about my problems, except what I had been through. I didn’t want to have to depend on anyone else for support, because I could do this myself. Or so I thought. I began the middle of 8th grade at a real public middle school and met amazing friends.
3 years later
I have since confided in two people of my experience. An investigation is now ensuing. I recently set up with an appointment with my pastor, to talk to him, and I feel I am ready to reveal my dark and well kept secret. My friends have helped heal me. I don’t feel so alone. My hopelessness still haunts my nightmares, but I don’t feel so sad all the time. I feel like I can move on. Because being strong doesn’t mean keeping it a secret, it means speaking out and fighting back. They hurt me once, and threw me to the wolves, but I am ready to come back and fight, teeth bared, leading the pack. They cant hurt me anymore.