Although I’m a man, and not the usual target for sexual assault, I feel it’s important for my story to be heard. I have to start from the beginning though. My parents were a lesbian couple. I was adopted at birth by my adoptive mother who raised me and my brother with my birth mom until they divorced when I was five. After that, we spent time with both parents. My adoptive mom (who I began calling Nancy, and not Mom) changed. She began drinking and taking painkillers. She moved us out to a foreclosed farmhouse, surrounded by a mobile home park which was overrun by crime and drugs. Nancy beat us often. She would punch the back of my head and kick me until I couldn’t move. She had no love for us anymore and used us as punching bags. I was too afraid to tell anyone, and the abuse went on until I was fifteen. We were forced to sleep in the basement, which had a dirt floor and was infested with bugs and mice. Every so often, she would sexually assault me. I don’t want to get into exactly what she did, but it was horrible. I don’t even think she got pleasure out of it, I think it was just to make me feel helpless and alone. We never had new clothes; I grew up with three T-Shirts, Three pairs of tattered basketball shorts, and a worn out pair of Heelys that my toes would poke through. I rarely bathed, and this made me a constant target for bullying. I grew up being called “the poor kid” and “white trash.” Even my teachers didn’t care. I wasn’t smart, I didn’t get good grades, so I guess they assumed I’d just grow up and fade away. I always had to be home at a certain time. 4:23 PM. No sooner; no later, or I would be beaten. I had not have a watch, so it was always a jump ball. I almost always received a beating for being early or late. When I was fifteen, I started smoking marijuana and skipping school. It was the only thing that ever made me happy, and I would do anything to experience happiness. When Nancy found out, she was furious. On December 13th 20–, Nancy allowed me to shower upstairs, and attacked me once I got out. She repeatedly beat my head into the toilet. She clawed at my face with her nails and literally ripped my skin off. She began clawing at my neck and choking me, and I blacked out. When I woke up, her hands were no longer around my neck. My pants were uneven and ruffled at the top, and I realized she had sexually assaulted me. She was holding a flat-head screwdriver. She proceeded to slice my throat and stab me three times in the chest and right thigh as I struggled to get free. I was able to escape… somehow. I ran through the snow and ice, barefoot and bleeding, with only my shorts on. I managed to make it to a hose and the two women there called 911. I was taken to a hospital in nearby Streamwood, where I received treatment for my injuries. Nancy was never taken into custody, as I accepted a plea bargain in the hospital. Nancy, in the end, lost her license as a therapist. I have a permanent Restraining order against her. She never served any jail time, as her plea agreement requires her to participate in over 40,000 hours of community service (about five years), which is to be served out over a period of several years. She does not have to register as a sex offender, as Illinois law does not require females to do so, even if they are convicted of a violent crime. Afterwards, I went to go and live with my birth mother. Regardless of her punishment, I am lucky to be alive. I want to share my story, so this will NEVER happen to another innocent little boy or girl. I suffered for a long time before getting help, and I hope that by sharing my story, I can inspire children of abuse to tell someone before it’s too late. Although I survived, many children are not so lucky.