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Survivor Stories

On May 10, 1998, I walked into my best friend's store, just like I did every other day. My friend Lawrence's cousin, Ziyad, was there. I had never met him before. I was helping out at the store, it was no big deal- I did it every other day. My mom worked there too, but she wasn't there that day. I was an innocent little 13 year old girl, I basically knew nothing about sex, and I never thought that I could be raped. I always said "It could never happen to me." But it did. And to this day, I live with the regrets that I thought nothing like that could ever happen to me.

I was doing the cash register, it was a Sunday, so liquor sales didn't start until noon. Lawrence and Ziyad sat in the office until noon when the liquor sales started, then Lawrence and I traded places. For the longest time Ziyad and I sat in the office talking and getting to know each other. We talked about people, sports, cars, just small talk. Then he began making perverted comments to me. Feeling very uncomfortable, I went up to the cash register with Lawrence. I didn't tell him about his cousin. Now I know I should have.

At about 2:30, Lawrence sent me and Ziyad into that back room to do some work. I was back there, minding my own business and doing my thing. Ziyad grabbed me by my arms and drug me into the bathroom. I screamed. He put this hand over my mouth and started to undo his pants. Knowing what was about to happen I froze. My whole body went numb. I couldn't move. After he was done, he got dressed and walked out of the bathroom like nothing happened. He left me there with my tears. When he walked out the door, he took with him my pride, my security and my virginity. I had so many thoughts going through my mind. What if I tell someone and they don't believe me? Was it my fault? I thought Lawrence was my friend, if he was, how could his cousin do this to me? Not to mention the multiple feelings I had. Shame. Guilt. Anger. Fear. But most of all disbelief. How could this happen to me?

About 10 minutes later I walked out of the bathroom, past the office, and up to the cash register, where Lawrence, not knowing anything yet, was standing. As I walked past the office, I noticed that Ziyad's cousin Firas was there to pick him up. As I walked by he said "You know what Lindsie, you're a slut". So, that means that Ziyad went in there and bragged that he "Got Some."

After Ziyad left, I began to cry. Lawrence continually asked me "what’s wrong Lindsie, what's wrong"? Finally I blurted out "Your cousin raped me." He hugged me and gently kissed my head. At first he told me not to tell anyone, later on he told me to do what I felt was right. He also said he'd always be here for me. The funny thing is, I believed him...

Later that night my sister came to pick me up. As soon as I got in her car, I started crying. I told her what happened. She told me I had to tell my parents. I didn't want to. She did. My whole family was crying...my parents...my 2 brothers.. and my sister. My mom called the police. After they got there and we made a police report, they took me to the hospital to have a rape kit done. We pressed charges. Later that night, they went to Ziyad's house. He told them it was consensual. I didn't want to do it. He forced me. It was RAPE!

Over the next few days it finally sank in that it happened and I became completely oblivious to the things that were going on around me. All I wanted to do was sit in my room and listen to the radio so loud I couldn't even hear myself breathe. I had to go to the police station for more questioning. Through visits to the police station, and calls with the officer handling my case, I found out that Ziyad had told a different story quite a few times already. It was consensual. I gave him oral sex. I gave him oral sex and then had sex with him. I forced him. With those different stories, don't you think that would make it obvious that he did it? I mean, he couldn't even keep his story straight. It wasn't. The police took my case to the state prosecutor before the rape kit results came back. They said there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute and dropped my case just like that. Too bad they didn't have all the evidence yet! So, instead of just dropping the whole thing like nothing happened, we went about things in our own way....

Lawrence was calling my house everyday asking if we could settle outside of court for money, and asking if I would still help him out at the store. My mom worked there too, so he was asking if she would come back to work. We got so sick of it. Finally we called the police and told them, which turned this into a police report also. If Lawrence, his family, or his friends called my house again, they would be arrested. Then we started our civil case. We're currently in the process of that. We're suing the store and Ziyad. I had my deposition a couple of months ago, and since the defendant has the right to be in the room, Ziyad was there. As I had to describe in detail what was done to me, he sat there laughing. Since I'm a minor, my parents had to be in the room with me. Ziyad was staring at my dad, laughing, and the whole time we were in the room, Ziyad had a smile on his face. My dad couldn't take t any more. He had his fists ready when Ziyad's lawyer made us take a break. During the break, they realized that Ziyad wasn't making things any easier for me, and they made him leave. Our court date is September 21.

I'm currently in counseling 2 times a week, and I'm on pills for depression. I can't fall asleep at night without the TV on. And I've already given myself an ulcer from worrying so much. I know things will get better and eventually I will be able to live a normal life again, but right now it is hard. Very hard.

Lindsie


My story of rape is a long one--it started when I was 7 and continued until I was 31. First my father, then various boyfriends, and at last my husband of 8 years.

A little over a year and a half ago, my husband chose to molest my 6 year old daughter and threatened our lives if I didn't photograph it--mentally, emotionally I shut down and didn't know how to deal with it. I honestly couldn't cope with what was happening. I did what I could to stop him from touching her--everything from allowing him to hurt me sexually to accepting verbal abuse.

I finally gained the courage to leave in August of last year. In December I found the courage to go to the police with my story. Unfortunately, my life has turned into a nightmare since then.

My children were taken from me and are in the custody of Social Services and I'm being charged with a felony, despite the circumstances. Worse, the restraining order that was supposed to protect me, doesn't. My husband has violated it on numerous occasions, and the police keep telling me they won't do anything about it.

It hurts in ways I can't explain to most people--I've watched many turn away from me, because they really can't comprehend what it is like to be brutalized by someone who is supposed to love you. They don't understand the fear, the pain, or the hurt I feel when I see my children each week.

Happy ending pending....

Jenni


Hi. My name is Kristi and I'm nineteen. I've been through some therapy, and have done some great work through one particular organization, but I've never written my story. I guess it's about time. I'm really scared ...

The first instance of abuse in my life occurred when I was two. I remember being in the car, afraid to go to my relatives' house ... just dreading it ... and I remember walking down the stairs and going in the bathroom. It hurt so bad when I peed ... Teddy, my cousin, had told me not to tell, but the pain won out, and I called my mother into the bathroom. I'm not really sure what happened after that (my mom has a lot of interesting differing stories) ... all I know is that I never saw Teddy again except in my nightmares. I do remember being on his bed, but I've never talked about that and I don't think I'm ready.

Shortly after that, my brother Gary started abusing me. I was about two and a half when I told my mother. She tells me that she sent me to a child psychologist. He told her that incest wasn't important, I wouldn't remember and it definitely wouldn't affect me. We did play some sort of memory game, though ... so I would forget ... but I loved the memory game so much that it was the thing that triggered my memories to come years later.

So my brother would sneak into my room late at night (my mom rarely left us alone cause she was afraid he would sexually abuse me) ... at least three to four times a night. At least one or two of those times he would rape me. And he raped me both ways ... analy and vaginally. I remember that he would choke me. I think that once I passed out.

I had this teddy bear that was given to me when I was two ... he was a care bear named Tender Heart. I called him "tendie." He was my friend. He was always there .. when it happened. And he loved me so much. I kept him by my side every night until about nine months ago when I left him at my friend's house across the state. she won't send him back ... even when I sent her money and everything. that's really sad. I call my inner child Kiss-T, she's really heart broken over it.

Anyway, my brother Gary abused me at least until the age of eight. I'm not sure if it went on longer, I think it did. I remember once when I was eight it happening ... and I remember the next day at school. I don't know how I knew that was the day because I didn't even act or think as if it had occurred. My most vivid memory was this time when I was playing with my blocks in the basement ... my brother was baby-sitting me and his friend was over. I remember the colors of the carpet. He called me over and then told me touch his thing ... and I did ... and then he made me touch his friend. And he made me put them in my mouth. And then he touched me and stuff in front of his friend.

Another one of my brothers sexually abused me. He never raped me ...I just recently remembered about him. He used to squat and open his arms whenever he'd come home from the coast guard ... and I'd run to him. And I remember walking to him shakily when I was really young. He lived with us for six months then ... he used to take my panties off whenever we played together. He'd make me get naked in my playhouse. Sometimes, we sit ...he'd be in the rocker and unzip his pants. I'd sit so that I was on top of him ... not on top of his thing, but touching it without my panties on. And sometimes he would stroke me down there when he read me stories. My parents don't have a clue that he ever hurt me.

My friend's dad also abused me at that age. He was like the town pervert. He looked at me in this park once ... forced my clothes off ... and just stared. I zoned out. I remember him taking me in the shower with him when I was at his house. Can't talk about that yet.

As I grew up, things were a little off for me. I remember thinking I was absolutely going crazy when the flashbacks first started. I got suicidal ... and my friend finally told her mom who told mine that I remembered about the abuse. My mom admitted and told me about my cousin, but then she said, "Your brother never touched you, did he?" And I had told her he did when I was two, so she did know.

We moved. I became a little promiscuous ... I didn't have sex yet, but fooled around, was really dependent on guys. And the depression started to sink in. We moved again. And it started to get worse. My sophomore year of high school, my relatives came to visit. My cousin, Adam, was there. One night, he touched me. I froze and went completely numb. He touched me for three nights ... the last night, he tried to have sex with me ... and I finally kicked him off. Something came over me and I realized I had a voice or a choice or something. He left my room, and I cried very loud. No one heard me. My parents found out, but didn't understand what was going on.

My junior year, I started going to therapists ... I was severely depressed. I was in a car accident, and suddenly I wasn't the perfect kid anymore ...and the depression that was always lingering hit full force. I had some really bad experiences ... one doctor over medicated me, tried to put me on an anti-psychotic drug after lying to me bout what it was ... so I stopped going. One morning, after a really bad night crying and yelling at my mom(who wouldn't leave me alone) that I DID want to kill myself, I just couldn't get out of bed. It was frequent, but this time my mom called the church. I ended up talking to a great priest, who helped me immensely.

But then ... I was just at the point where I was stopping taking my sleeping pills. I had suffered from horrible insomnia ... and it was starting to get better, and that was the whole reason I almost didn't go on vacation with my best friend at the time. but I did ... and on that trip, I met a man I considered to be a hero. He was just really cool, and I wanted to be like him. We never were really alone until the day before we left. And he was changing and everyone was out and I was downstairs ... he told me to come watch or something. I laughed nervously. We all went out that night. It was really weird. And I can't go into it right now cause I know I'll fall apart.

Anyway, we were at a park, at about midnight. I needed a drink (I'm diabetic), so he took me. On the way back, he was talking about his wife and cheating on her (which he'd been joking about in front of her for the whole time we'd been there) and mentioned something about me. I thought he was joking like usual and made some stupid remark that I'll regret for the rest of my life. I told him that he hadn't made a move. He then led me up a hill (we were in the countryside and I had no idea where we were going ... he said it was a shortcut). He kissed me and I froze. I couldn't believe it. I don't even know how he got me on the ground, I was so frozen in place. I do remember pulling my jeans backup and thinking, "I didn't want to do that."

He spent the walk back convincing me that he couldn't get in trouble with the law and telling me it wouldn't be a good idea to tell anyone ... and somehow trying to make me believe he cared. My friend and I were planning on staying up for the whole night, so I thought I'd tell her anyway, but she fell asleep ... and in those hours, somehow, I decided I'd rather be anything than a victim again. So I "became" an adulteress. I even ended up kind of sleeping with him later... long story ...I was pregnant from the rape in the woods ... and we had this fake relationship ... his wife even knew ... and she was going to leave so I could move in with him ... it was so screwed up.

The night I lost the baby, I freaked out. I took ten or eleven of my sleeping pills. He ended up calling and did the only respectable thing he probably did the whole time we knew each other ... he told me that I'd better go tell my mom right then. I did, and went to the ER. I was BAker Acted, a process I will forever hate ... after the urge, I didn't want to anymore ... I just needed help ...not to be stripped of more dignity. I told them I tried to kill myself over school work and grades and pressure ... they never even talked to me about my childhood abuse which was blatantly on the admittance form I'd had to fill out.

I met a guy who tried to save me. He did in a way, simply because I probably would have succeeded one of those times I tried ... but he was always there to stop me. And then he couldn't take it anymore and left me. and I thought my whole world was gone. I got into therapy at a rape counseling place... and saw this therapist to work on my anger management. things started looking better. I then went to my college pre-orientation where I met my fiancé.

We immediately hit it off ... and even talked all night the first night we met. We stayed in my room and didn’t "do anything" ... and I told him a little bit. we started dating a week later ... and he went to that great course I mentioned that weekend. I was having a rough time of it because it was the anniversary of my rape ... he talked to me about the course, and I've gone through twice ... and I gone back two other times to help. We've decided to go every time for the next year, a commitment that will be wonderful since this is the therapy that has worked best for me. I guess that's about it. My boyfriend proposed to me two weeks ago exactly today.

I'm scared to go back to school ... cause I was miserable last year ... and I'm going absolutely nuts cause my employer has me looking up stuff cause he wants to offer a service to notify businesses that cater to children about sexual offenders in the area. It's too close to home ... and I just realized earlier that this is the second year anniversary this week ... and I guess that explains feeling so bad all of a sudden. Well, I'm not sure if I'm ready for everyone to read this yet ... yeah, I guess I'd like them to ... because I really need some friends out there who know and understand and can possibly help me. Please write me at RedDayze@hotmail.com I need someone ...

Kristi


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