I am a 19 year old girl. I am a lot of things. I am kind. I am honest. I am respectful. I am caring. I am loyal. I am smart. I am everybody’s rock to lean on. I am an athlete. I am a scholar. I am a future nurse. I am a family girl. I am a lot of things. I am broken. I am lost. I am sad. I am confused. But most of all, I am a rape victim. It has been so many years since the day that my innocence was taken away from me, yet I am still sitting here trying to pick up the pieces that were shattered on those nights. People say that it is a tragedy, while others say that it was my fault. Somedays I believe them. I believe that I am not strong. I am not strong enough to put my broken pieces together. There are a lot of innocent children that get struck with this pain. A pain that is dealt by someone else in this chaotic world. I was only six years old. Six years old and almost every memory can be replayed in my head as a 19 year old girl. It w as summertime and it was the kind of year that you needed to be in your pool every day from the mucky hot weather. I remember that my parents were both hard working people that provided everything they could for their family. They would give everything they had to the people surrounding them. They were and are some of the most genuine and honest people in this hectic world. It was a day like every other. The sun rose and instantly put down that red hot rays onto your skin. It was a day like every other. I got in the car and was on my way to the neighbors where I stayed while my parents worked to give me a stable home at night. It was a day like every other. I showed up and instantly ran to the chest that held all the baby-dolls for me. It was a day like every other. I went to the room where the not much older girl resided. It seemed to be like every other day. I thought that I was going to play with the girl that always loved to play with me. People think that these thing s are always something that happens instantly, but in this case it was a gradual process. The first day that changed my entire summer was just a simple game of “doctor”. The girl had to examine me to make sure I was healthy. She simply just made sure my flat chest was not injured, and as a six year old girl, I played along. Now this is where people say that it might be my fault because I chose to play the game the girl lied out for me. It was that decision alone that made my life a living hell because after that day my summer turned into a living nightmare. Every day after the first got a little bit worse. I don’t remember what happened on every specific day, but I do remember the moments that I could feel my innocence being taken away from me. It started out as a small check of the chest and progressed to a NAKED exam. This day was mostly all look and no play, but as I was standing there I could remember thinking to myself that this isn’t normal. We almost got caught that day by her parents, so to make sure that we would never get caught, she started to make these doctor examinations in the doctor’s office, hence the closet with the red walls. This started to become an everyday thing. It would slowly progress to her having to use restraints, or should I say belts, to keep me still. I would be naked and tied up in a little red closet almost every day. The thing is, I think that if it would of stopped at just looking at me, I would be okay, but the day that she penetrated me with a curling iron was the day that started to shatter me. I remember the pain I was in, it was like no other. I remember bleeding and then getting in trouble because I got blood on the carpet. I remember going home that night and thinking to myself that I didn’t want to play that game no more. But as I went back day after day to play with this girl, it only got worse and worse. If it only stopped there, maybe I would’ve recovered. It was in the middle of the summer, and it was like every other day. I was lying naked in the red closet. The girl got done with her “examination” and instead of untying me and letting me out of the closet, she said “I think I need a second opinion”. She left me in the small closet and was gone for only a short time. When she returned, her 15 year old brother was standing next to her. He just stood there staring at me. He was always a very pale man, but as he was standing in the doorway, I could truly see how flushed he was. You would think that a 15 year old man would know that this was wrong, what the girl has been doing to me was wrong, but he never said a word. He just closed the door, unzipped his pants, and put his penis inside of me. This pain was like no other. It was far worse than what the girl had been doing to me, and when I cried and tried to push him off of me, he just hit me until I stopped making sounds. The thing about this man is that from the minute he stepped in the doorway, he never lost eye contact with me. He looked me straight in the eyes the entire time and when I would try to turn my head, he would grab my face and pinpoint it directly towards his. It’s like he wanted me to remember every detail. When he was done, he would get up, zip his pants back up, and just leave with a piece of me with him. It was pretty much the same thing every day from there on out, and every day the girl made me promise to keep this “game” our little secret. I don’t really remember the direct time it stopped either. All I know is that around the time that the air began to get cooler, the pain was no longer there. The family was no longer in my family’s life. As I sit here today, I wonder if the son and daughters’ parents found out, and they moved away to save their children. I wonder if the people that hurt me think about what they did to me. It truly messed me up. As a teenager, I kep t this secret with me for a long time. I thought about it every day and as the days piled up, the pain of it all got worse. I needed something and someone to take all of my bottled up emotions out on. I started to rebel and party way too hard. I just turned 16 and I went to a party that I wasn’t suppose to be at. I drank way too much from people I really didn’t truly know. I only remember the first drink from that night and nothing more. I woke up that next morning naked with no remembrance of the night with no signs of anybody around me. I drove home that morning when I probably shouldn’t of been. I went around a bend way too fast and wasn’t able to stop at that red sign. I collided with a big diesel truck. I wasn’t wearing a seat-belt so my head hit the windshield a little too hard….As I was lying in the emergency truck the EMT took my shirt off to put the stickers on my chest that monitor my heart. I look down and see writing all over my chest. The EMT looked at me and my teary eyes and just grabbed my hand. I was so scared. How could this be happening to me again? The EMT looked at me and asked ‘were you drinking last night, you can trust me”. I told exactly what I remembered, which was nothing. I couldn’t say anything. I was frozen for words. The doctors examined me that day, and all I could think of was how? I didn’t know how to deal with all of the emotions that were bottled up in me. Three months have passed and I was now sitting on a toilet peeing on a pregnancy stick. Those were the longest three minutes of my entire life. Was I carrying the child of the guy that drugged and raped me? Some doctors say now that it was a false positive or that I read the test wrong, but others say that I simply just miscarried shortly after. I bled a lot and was in a lot of pain, but I hid it from everyone to bare them the pain I was in. I felt that it was never going to stop. The bleeding, th e pain, and as time passed on I continued to feel numb. All I wanted to do was scream but every time that I tried, I could only breathe out air. How could this be that in my life, I was not hurt once but twice in my life by three different people? I could only ask myself what I did wrong in my life that made me deserve this. Just why. I was 16 when I first told somebody. I will never forget the day. My very close teacher and guidance teacher helped me a lot that day. They helped my battle this war with myself and added the troops to help me win. They helped me tell my parents. The helped me tell my friends. They helped me express what happened to me. But the story I tell people is the story I want them to hear. I don’t tell them about the belts, the red walls, or even that a guy was involved. I tell them what they want to hear because who wants to hear about how broken I was,how broken I am. I brushed it off like it was nothing, but how could it be nothing? I feel like I have never had the chance to feel innocent. I am always feeling dirty and disgusting from what has happened to me. I feel like all I want to do is cry, but it is bottled up inside of me. I am now 19 and I am still hurting, but I’ve come to the realization that I will forever be in pain from these traumatizing events. This is what happens when a person is raped. That person is ridden of their innocence and can no longer look in the mirror and see beauty. They can no longer trust others. They can no longer believe that everyone is good. They can no longer love the way that they should. They are being stripped of the important things it takes to make us human. Rape victims don’t feel like we can be loved. We can only rely on ourselves, and with all of this we still have to try to be a good person. Being raped has taken a lot of things from me as a human being that I will NEVER get back, and now because of this I have to live my life not looking like a victim. I h ave to be strong. I have to be wise. I have to be kind. I have to love. I have to trust. I have to give myself the ability to be human, and to not feel weak. This is my life, and this article is not for anyone else but for myself because of what I went through, I know what the true meaning of life is and that being human is not as simple as just breathing. It’s a lot more than that and this is my remembrance to never give up because the pain may never get better, but it doesn’t mean that we can not make a life for ourselves. So, for anybody who is reading this, please remember to respect the life you have and to never take it for granted because it is worth more than you think.