It all began when they became my best friends. I was the only girl in a very small neighborhood in the country. There was no business within miles. A mile long dirt road curving through a hill by a river. I was 9 years old when it began. The leader was already practicing criminal activity and drug abuse. He talked 3 other boys into his plan of action. After school we were dropped off by our school bus at the entrance of the dirt road. The school did not consider the neighbor city limits so we had to walk a half mile home. Between the bus stop and home was nothing but forest. Before the bus was even done turning around they jumped and kicked me in the back then choked me, poking a thumb in my right eye. I was punched and slapped then dragged into the woods by 2 boys a little older then me. They ripped off my clothes and raped me. After they said if I told on them they would kill me. And they were going to rape me whenever they wanted. If I ever complained they’d beat me or kill me. Then I was left naked in the forest. The next few times was also rough because I fought back. A faded memory is where they dragged me into the tree’s behind a house and threatened to tie me to the tree’s and leave me there. They were caught spying on me in the shower and I often saw them outside my window in the middle of the night, but couldn’t get in because the window was locked. They shot at my parents house to scare me while they were at work. They made a fool of me at school to show off how much power they had and to prevent me from having friends. After a year of that some more people with more boys moved into the neighborhood. They locked me in the room with one. Said I had to do it because they owed the guy a favor or wanted something. I started running away from home when I was 14. Now I live far away from the nightmares and the stigma that I’m the slut that “got around”. I spent many of those teenage years trying to drink away the pain. Finally I realized that ALL the healing I needed was in God’s loving arms. Listening to the word of the holy bible has led me to many wonderful beautiful adventures. Today I am strong, intelligent, a loving mom, hard worker and adventurer. I still love the outdoors. I do work hard to not spend too much time working so I can provide safety for my children and know exactly what they do day to day and protect them from those I see red flags in. Prevention is key. Living a happy life and filling our life with people we trust and love us enough to not hurt us is also very key. Staying in tune with our environment. Being ready for the worst. I’m a warrior now. Knowing that there are sick people out there is scary. But we can’t continue being scared to live. I did for too long. It didn’t help in any way. In trying to hide I was an obvious victim and bad people love a good victim. Don’t be a victim. Be a survivor.