I have never been asked to share my story. Since the day everything came to light I was more or less pressured into silence. Be silent because the less you talk about it, the easier it is for everyone to forget about it. I am a survivor and this is my story.

When I was 13 I was sexually assaulted by my older brother’s best friend. It took me years to say that out loud to myself, much less anyone else. I remember every detail. I remember crying and begging him to stop, I remember trying to push him off but my arms just weren’t there. That night changed the course of my life forever, and I knew that if I opened my mouth, my life would never be the same.

I remember when I finally got alone I called my best friend. I was crying and couldn’t stop and she couldn’t understand anything I was saying. I remember her saying stay where you are I’m on my way. When she arrived, I was still crying. She looked at me and for the first and only time in my life I seen her cry and just told me she’s taking me to the hospital.

She knew even without me saying. When I arrived at the hospital I was taken to a private room while doctors and nurses were asking me a million questions I slowly started to shut down. I couldn’t handle it. A few hours later I was rushed into emergency surgery. I was a virgin before this, and apparently the amount of blood I was losing wasn’t normal. I remember my parents showing up right before I went back and my dad just asking why. Why? Why what? Why did I put myself in the position? Why was I here? Why what?

I remember blaming myself. I was going over in my head was there something I had done? Did I send any mixed signals? Did I do this? After surgery was done and I was being pulled back into my room, I remember the police. They wanted every detail, there were to be no blanks... Fast forward to the day of his arrest. He went willingly, he said he thought I wanted it. The next day I received three death threats, me and my mom were ran off the road by his family while we were driving.

My school called to say they thought it would be best if I done my studies at home until everything cooled down. Me? I need to do my studies at home? While the people who made the death threats were allowed there? I complied and I stayed to myself. Two days later my rapist was released from jail. Two months later my parents moved us two towns away. 5 years later I finally got a call from the DA office. It was time for this all to go to court and be over. He agreed to plead guilty, and in a strange way this made me feel relieved. I wouldn’t have to get up in front of a room full of strangers and recount every detail from the worst night of my life. He pleading guilty meant he was accepting what he had done.

After three years in prison I received a letter stating he was being released. While a part of me hopes that he has truly found God, another part of me hopes he suffers just an inch of what I have. To anyone going through this, I have one piece of advice. Talk about it! This is your story, don’t let anyone silence you.