I was sixteen years old. Arrogant. Naive. I thought nothing could ever go wrong, so when a strange man approached me I thought nothing of it. I was raped in the building right next to where I lived. To this day I’m upset that I could not fight back, instead it felt as if my soul escaped my body, taking my voice with it. I was helpless, able to only watch, praying that someone would come. No one did.
Even though I suffered this tragedy, the worst part was not being supported by the justice system. It took one year before my case was brought to a judge… Four more years before my attacker was to be sentenced. I was trapped in limbo. By that time, I was lost; in a bad relationship, far from friends and family. I did not know what had happened to me, it was the furthest thing from my mind. In 2012, all charges were dropped.
It has taken me years to try and build a life. I’m twenty-four yers old and only now pursuing my education to be an an early childhood educator; very happy to be with someone who loves me. I want to continue getting better but it is hard. I am often afraid that Omar Peter(s) will attack me again. My fears reignited when in this year alone I have seen him twice close to where I live. I continue looking for the courage and strength to not fall apart.
I hope that every survivor continues to be strong. The stories I have heard and read give the the motivation to make a positive change in this world. I will try my best to provide a haven for children to learn and be safe.
– Hazel, age 24
P.S. The only advice I would like to give is GET LEGAL REPRESENTATION! Someone who is there on your behalf and looking out for your personal interest; someone who will help YOU get justice.
Best of luck in all your endeavors!