I am very passionate about victim’s rights and that they should be able to speak out without worrying about others. But I am a hypocrite. Let me start by saying that I now have a family who adopted me and would never let anything like this happen to me. When I was still with my bio “mom,” Dawn, she was married to a terrible man. He molested me from ages 5-9. I didn’t speak up until I was 9 because it started when I was so young that I didn’t realize it was wrong at first. I thought this was how father figures showed love. Until I got older, made friends, and he wouldn’t sneak into my bedroom while they were over. This tipped me off to the abnormality of the situation and I confronted him. He threatened me and beat me. I was about 7 or 8 the first time he actually penetrated me and I stopped caring about the beatings, I told my bio. She pretended to care and claimed she’d have him “taken care of.” She lied, he was her source of money to support the drug habit. He was abusive to her as well so we had no family around, but one day we ran into an aunt who we had not seen in years. She gave me her phone number and after things continued and got worse I called her. She took me and I ended up as a ward of the state due to finances on her end. I was just thrilled to be free of the abuse. From 9-16 I tried to be as normal as one can be after everything I’d seen and been through. And then at 16, I made friends with an older boy I met while I was working. He was a great friend. Until he raped me. We were in his room as we had been many times and I thought nothing of it, I thought he was a trustworthy friend. But that changed when he climbed on top of me, held my arms down and kissed me. I said “no, stop. You know I have a boyfriend.” I tried to get him off of me but he was tall, fit, determined. I was 5’2″, 110 lbs, terrified and fighting flashbacks. He overpowered me. I became numb. He forcefully performed oral on me while I continued whispering “no” quietly under my breath. He fingered me as I cried. He had non-consensual sex with me while I bit a pillow and wept. I told my foster mom of this, hoping for help. I was told that I was “asking for it by being at his house when his parents weren’t home.” So I stopped there. If she wouldn’t support me and back me up, who would? So for months I cried myself to sleep, lost weight, became depressed, and lost my zest for life. The boyfriend and I stayed together for another year, he was amazing. I focused on school while I was battling my thoughts and graduated at 17. I never spoke up and he now has a kid and a fiancé. And I still feel hypocritical when encouraging women to speak up because I was too weak, too afraid to relive my own assault. But now I’m 21, I have a great life with a guy who is patient and respectful. I still have the occasional nightmare but I’m putting this all behind me.