Picture it, Missouri, 2013….wow, to finally announce a time it sounds like such a long time ago, but in my mind it feels like yesterday. I was 16 years old. He was “19” so I thought. I gave this man my virginity. Part of me spent such a long time blaming myself for the events that unfolded, but a much larger part of me now sees the bullsh*t of justifying what he did! He beat me when I called, when I didn’t call, if I texted him too much, if I didn’t text enough, if I brought up my future plans, if I didn’t know the answer to something, if i disagreed, if I agreed too much, when it rained, when a restaurant got his order wrong, when he was drunk, when he was high, and when he was stone cold sober. This “19” year old guy who turned out to be 26 was the man I “loved” more than anything. I stayed. He “loved” me. This led to the night. The night I will never be able to forget. He beat me as usual, but this night he was particularly mad. As he was choking me, my eyes watering, hot tears streaming down my cheek, he pulled my pants down. He looked me in the eyes and said, “I love you and you love me, you are going to show me how much you love me” He stole those words from me, because still until this very day, 4 years later, I have never been able to tell another person I love them. I spent nights on his bedroom floor crying, finally fed up I dialed 911. His words, “call them Bruce and Steve (our small towns only two cops) won’t believe you anyway. You are just a teenage girl looking for attention.” I never called, I was quite the opposite, I was not looking for any attention. At 16 I was number one in my class. But being beaten and raped and sneaking out to go meet my assailant took a toll on me. I received an A- in one class. That A- later caused me to lose my rank. I graduated second in my class. But I graduated and I lived to tell my story. I survived! And you will too. He was arrested on a drug charge three years ago. Today I’m in medical school growing closer to closure. I’m a work in progress and my story is far from finished. He may have won the battles, but I won the war!
— Abigail, age 20