I was 14 years old. I had very little experience with boys, nothing beyond kissing, and I had even less experience with alcohol. The night that it happened I was invited over to my friends house for a small party with a few other guys from our neighborhood. I was encouraged byt the rapist to drink more and more vodka straight from the bottle. At that point, things became hazey, and my memory is in clips. I remember vomiting on the floor, I remember being to drunk to even walk, I remember him putting me into his truck and promising to take me home even though I only lived 3 houses away. I remember my head thumping repeatedly against the truck door and being completely unable to move, I remember him pushing me out of his truck onto my front lawn. Eventually I managed to stagger into my house and up to my room. I had started to sober up at that point and I started to feel sore all over and there were bite marks on my neck. I looked in my panties and saw tiny blood spots that had no reason to be there. I reported this rape to the police and I was questioned repeatedly by doctors, detectives, and even my parents. A few days later, I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for cutting myself and attempted suicide by taking pills. Eventually he plead guilty in exchanged for a reduced sentence and in 3 years he was paroled and released. This is not the end of my fight. Over the next 6 years, I abused drugs, I drank nightly, and eventually I became a stripper and engaged in prostitution to support my habits. I continued to cut myself, I attempted suicide a few times, one was especially bad after he came in to the strip club where I was working. I saw him, he saw me, and yet again I was vulnerable and defenseless in front of him. When I was 20 years old I met someone to help me get my life back on track. I stopped using drugs, I only drink occasionally, I enrolled in college and was on my way to being a nurse when he reentered my life and threatened to derail everything. I was forced to go to court and testify in an effort to keep him on the sex offender registry. This was heartbreaking. I had done everything I was supposed to, I reported it, I had a rape kit done, I went to court and I am still living with what he did everyday. If he was removed from the registry then he would be able to move on and pretend that this had never happened, but I would never have that luxury. Thankfully he is still on the sex offender registry, but it has been 14 years since this has happened and I am still terrified that he will somehow become a force in my life again. Everyday is a struggle, it effects my relationships with everyone, I have very little trust for people, and I am constantly worried about this happening to me again. I fear for my niece and nephew I fear for my friends. I think about it when I am alone, I sometimes think about it when my husband and I have sex. I can’t cry in front of anyone, I can’t talk about i t because I am the strong one, I’m the put together one, I’m the funny one, I’m the shoulder to cry on but I have no shoulder to cry on myself. I have managed to build a good life for myself despite my struggles. I am about to graduate from nursing school, I have a job offer at a great hospital, I have a home and a family that loves me unconditionally. I have so many things to be thankful for but there is still a hole there that I don’t know how to fill. Thank you for listening.
— Stephany, age 28