As a child I thought my life would be flowers and happiness. Up until the summer in august when I was around 9. I didn't realize my life would change. My grandmother begged my parents to take in homeless 40 year old son. It was my dad's brother so he said yeah. He was in the spare bedroom down the hall. Two months of him staying here it was fine. In the third month he got a lock on his door and a TV in his room. He became my brothers and my babysitter. He locked me in the room at first just to watch inappropriate films. Then he played with my hair. I said nothing because I didn't understand what was happening. Until one day my brother was at a friend's. I was making my bed because my parents were a little strict about it. While I was bent over I felt someone's hand on my side. He then covered my mouth and turned on the bed. I remember kicking and trying to scream while he was touching me. But I lost myself as soon as he put a bit of his tip in my vagina. When he was done and finished on my shirt. He told me that there was stuff to do which was normal for little girls. He then made me get a bag and throw out my clothes. When I did he turned on the tub and put me in. He said you are to keep this between us or I will do bad things. As I child I was scared. When. I was 12 years old. I had a chance. My brother was downstairs watching TV. I was walking to my room from the restroom when I felt someone try to grab me I tried to run. But then he grabbed my leg. Tripped me. I shielded my face. But he grabbed my legs and started to drag me to his room. I screamed. My brother tried to come upstairs but my uncle’s door was locked. I instantly lost hope through that. He went deeper than usual I seen more blood. I remember telling my mom that my tummy hurt and she made me stay home. The years while he was living with us until I was 13 and he had to leave because he couldn't pay bills. I as a child had many monsters to deal with. I was 13 thinking about suicide. Feeling alone depressed because at home I was constantly being raped and disciplined. If I failed it was on me. So if I brought a bad grade almost every year home to my parents. I'd get punished. If I told them what he was doing he threatened me and said he would hurt everyone. But they didn't know it was because of him. I was stuck. But when he left I was ecstatic. But he started to come by and visit around the holidays. Not for one day but weeks every year. My parents allowed him to. My mom and dad had to run out to get something for thanksgiving when I was 16. So he sent my brother next door and I didn't know. I just came out the bathroom and he was there. He tried to grab me but it didn't work I kicked him and ran but he ran after me when I ran on the enclosed porch and he followed I went to get on my bike and he touched me and said. This isn't over yet. He was right because I thought I didn't have the power in me to tell. I went back to school and stayed silent. I was trying not to cry. I went to lunch and we'll told my friend what happened and started hysterically crying. My other friend seen. She sat next to me and told me to see her cheerleaders coach about it. To talk to her. After lunch I did. She called my parents. Called the cops. One week later I went to OBGYN. They determined I was no longer a Virgin. That there was a breakage in my wall. My mom and I devastated. I knew he took my happiness away. Not only that but my virginity. I remember officers arresting him a week after that. He had two days until he went to city court. There they lowered his charges and put a bail on him. He was released the next day. I had a therapist and also a restraining order. We talked about stuff other than the case and the rape. I felt like I was useless. Now skip to now I am 20. I lost my grandmother Dec 6th and we were planning her services. He said he'd be there. We brought my restraining order. My family offered him an hour between the services where no one would be there. He didn't show until I was there. My heart dropped. I started to shake. I cried when I see all the men in my life move from their chairs to follow him out the church. One family member did beat him up. Am I pleased by it? No. It doesn't change what he did or how I felt. Yes, I'm still upset about what happened. I'm still majorly depressed and my anxiety is through the roof. But I can say I've become stronger. I did accept a man in my life who supported me through my grandmother's death. Also through this event. The man I accepted in my life has definitely but a spark in me. He made me realize that it's never my fault and to reach out to other victims who are lost to help my sadness. I am a victim. I was silenced. If you're reading this you must be one too or just a person who supports many sexual abuse or rape victims. I want you to know. You are worth more than your story. You are a warrior and you are still pure and beautiful in my heart. If you haven't come to speak up. Please do. I've held this in my heart for almost half my life. I guarantee when you tell you will be relieved. I wish you all love and just to remind you. You are not alone.

B. Santiago