THESE ARE THE WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS OF TEEN SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND TRAUMA
For- Real--For- Real: THE FACTS
Youths have higher rates of sexual assault victimization than adults.
The majority of sexual assaults reported to police occur to juveniles.
60.4 % of female and 69.2% of male victims were raped before age 18.
25.5% of female victims are assaulted before the age of 12.
Resources Just for Kids Hotline: 1-888-594-KIDS (1-888-594-5437) National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-792-5200 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-846-5678) National Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000 TDD: 1-800-621-0394 FL Abuse Hotline: 1-800-962-2873 TDD: 1-800-453-5145 www.kidsrights.com
Front cover artwork by H.E.A.R.T.S. Summer 2008 Members Title Design by H.E.A.R.T.S. Spring 2009 Members
This publication was made possible by the Rape Crisis Program Trust Fund, administered by the State of Florida, Department of Health (DOH). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of DOH.
To My Little Sister-Sissy I love you Sissy I was born to be your protector It’s what big sisters do I chose to suffer in secret for you I chose to suffer in silence for you Since you came along all I do is for you I promised God that I would take your place I promised me that you would never lose your innocence I promised me that you would dance in liberty So, I told daddy I’ll do it I’ll be the sacrifice I’ll be violated Smile Sissy, I’m not sad I love you Sissy For you, I would do it all again For my Sissy, I freely give my body Smile Sissy, I love you! For you Sissy, I gave my life Sissy, you’re free Sissy, don’t cry Sissy, you’re safe, I destroyed the monster Sissy, the monster is gone forever Smile Sissy, YOU ARE SAFE, YOU ARE FREE I love you Always Love Your Big Sister, Shawn Le’Shawn, 15
A Note to the Readers: This book is written by and for teen survivors of sexual violence. The teens who contributed to this work have used their journal writing and artistic expression to aid them on the journey to healing. They wish to share their body of work with the community and the people who love and support them. These supporters are counselors, friends, family, police, prosecutors, advocates, nurses, doctors, teachers and many more who have taken the time to hear their stories and nurture their souls. The teens who have chosen to share their work in this collaborative effort are not alone. According to national statistics, 1 in 4 girls will and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18 (Finkelhor, et al., 1990). This work came as a suggestion from the Program Director of the Alachua County Rape Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center. The members of the Spring 2009, H.E.A.R.T.S. group embraced the idea and put together this finished work. For some survivors the works may cause some discomfort or even be a trigger. Please find some place that is safe and a place where safe people can assist you. The Rape Crisis Hotline is open 24 hours a day 7days a week. The hotline numbers are 352264 6760 or toll free 18662525439. Special thanks to Loretta Golden, Karon Walker, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jolene Williams for your unconditional love and support for these young women.
Trust Me Dear Ladies, Thank you for sharing your journey with me. I am forever changed by your power, beauty, and inner strength. You have shown me how to heal in all my broken places. As you continue your journey into the future and back to the whole you, know that I am always in the distance cheering you on. You have found your voice and I am so proud of all of you. Each week you touch my life and remind me that the work of healing is just that; work. Keep your head up and never let anyone or anything keep you bound. You are wonderful, beautiful, and brilliant. From where I’m standing, your futures look bright. I believe in you but most of all I want you to believe in yourselves. Run don’t walk to your next destination in life. Destiny awaits you. Go with excellence!
Taking the Journey with You, Kenya
Do you trust me? I trust you Do you trust me? I trust you Trust me, I’ll never hurt you Trust me she said I believed her I trusted her and she betrayed me Trust me he said I believed him I trusted them and they lied I trusted them and they betrayed me I trusted them and they touched me I trusted them and they stole part of me Trust me you say Trust me You must be crazy What? Trust who? Trust YOU? NEVER Le’Shawn, 15
HEALING THE SHATTERED ME
MY LIFE MY HOPE MY SELF WORTH MY RESPECT HOPE LOVE DIGINITY COMFORTFEARDESIRESCONFIDENCE EMOTIONAL WALLS SPIRITUAL RESTORATION FATIHHAPPINESS ANGER JOY HONESTYSPACEWISDOM MINDBODYSOUL FORGIVENESS FREEDOM MOTHER FATHERJUDGEMENT DESTINY LIBERTY RELATIONSHIPSSTRENGTH LEADERSHIP FAMILY FRIENDS SOMEBODY CAPABLE ADORABLE LOVEABLE DIRTY CLEAN GRACEFUL MISGUIDED SCARED HOPEFUL The journey back to me has had many stops.
Every step I take is one step closer back to me. Le’Shawn, 15 February 2006
Hell The voices in my head tell me that I am crazy. But then, if I am crazy, why do I hear them. If I say that I can’t hear them, they say I am crazy because you do hear us. They say I am crazy hearing them. But, I am not crazy! I can’t be crazy! I can hear them all the time. I can’t be crazy. They talk to me all the time. If they hear me and can talk to me then, I can’t be crazy.
My world is gone. I can’t seem to find it. I have no family to take care of me. They have left me for their evil hands. I don’t like their evil hands; they grab at me. They make me feel like I’m a dirty slut. I want to feel normal but, I can’t because they have changed me. They raped me and raped my mind. I can feel their hands on me even though, they’re not touching me. When everyone leaves, I feel the safest. When there are a lot of people around, I feel like I’m going to die. I want a normal life. I feel so deranged, so helpless. I want to be somebody. I want to feel I hate feeling numb. Jennifer, 16
May 13, 2009
Rollercoaster brush your self Brush your shoulders to the ones you hate Do the 2 step on the females that call you fake Pray everyday God will guide you out of darkness to the light I know you feel alone and it’s not right Just know that your battle belongs to the Lord, and no more you have to fight Tijuana, 17
I feel like I’m on some kind of rollercoaster. I hope it don’t stop. I’m finally happy again. I feel like I finally belong. He won’t hurt me like the others. Will he? Jennifer, 16
May 27, 2009
Who is the Most Wonderful Man? My one Love is the Most Wonderful Man! He is everything a girl can ask for. I find it hard that he wants me. I know he loves me and he’ll keep me safe. He’ll love me. I love him and I always will, even when he starts to get bored and angry towards me. He is the most wonderful man! I know that he doesn’t judge me or criticize me. I feel like I belong. I feel like he’s the one I will love for the rest of my life. He makes me laugh. He makes me feel like I can do anything I feel like myself. I don’t have to hide from my feelings and he don’t make me angry. I am not afraid he is going to hit me. Yeah, I know he has a temper. But at least, I know he would never hit me or my child. He is the most wonderful thing that has happened to me. He’s the only man that has ever made me feel this way. My hearts stops beating for a couple of seconds; that has never happened to me at all He makes me feel like I don’t have to watch my every move He is the most wonderful man Jennifer, 16
May 27, 2009
I AM ME
I may have been broken, but I am Healing. I may have been lost, but I’m finding my way. I may be shy, but finding my confidence. I was innocent once, I will be again. I will always be special. I will always be a lady. My tragedy doesn’t define me. I may be a lot of things. I am not you, her or she. I AM ME! s. DENISE, 13
I know you’re going through some things that may cause you a lot of pain. I know you’re losing a loved one and it seems strange. I know you feel lost and like fire in your vein. I know they’re never coming back and things will never be the same. Keep your head up high and pray for a better day. My grandma always told me, “if there’s a will; there’s a way”. Tijuana, 17
Dear Journal, My life is going fine. I guess as long, as I’m still breathing I can’t complain. Tijuana, 17
Innocence Gone When laughter filled the air, I was innocent When I played the games of children past, we knew no different When I believed in fairy tales I was sweet and pure When I was safe, I was secure Before he touched me, I only lived innocently Before he touched me, I didn’t believe in monsters or nightmares I was innocent! I was pure! I was clean! I am no longer an innocent little child Because he touched me, I know that monsters are very real Because he touched me, I know that nightmares are real Because he touched me, I don’t believe in fairytales Because he touched me, laughter no longer fills the air When laughter filled the air, I really was INNOCENT! Le’Shawn, 15
Mother Did You Know?
There are a thousand words in this world but none can express how much I miss you. There are a million tears that I can cry but the puddles never get as deep as the love I have for you. You are one in a million and no less than a zillion I know I really miss you, for this is entirely true. I just can’t understand this grief from my point of view. You’re gone and I’m all alone and I pray that I atone for our un-buried bones. I wish we could have traded places instead of playing cat and mouse chases. Mama, I really miss you too. There’s no other person, I’d rather you because you meant a lot to me. Tijuana, 17
Tell me Again
Tell me again I’m lying in the midst of my crying. Tell me again I’m not trying when really I am. Tell me again who I am cause apparently I must have forgotten. Tell me again why all the lies and you continue to deny. Tell me again why all the anger and why you don’t know you’re in danger. Tell me again why you think you must know me and you think you come before me. Tell me again why you pretend to love m, yet you put everyone above me. Tell me again why all this strife and nothing’s left in life. Tell me again why all strain and piercing pain. Tell me again why what I think isn’t important but what you think is. Tell me again; no don’t tell me cause I don’t care. You don’t owe me and if this is the way you treat me; I’d rather live my life lonely. Tijuana, 17 March 2009
As I sit here and stare into the mirror seeing things, I wish I could deny. I know why mama told me to be glad with what you’ve got. I’m starting to believe that it was all just a great lie. I try to look harder into these eyes that are staring back at me. Then I realize that those eyes belong to nobody other than me. As I look away, I let out a confused sigh. I came to realize that God made us all at the right time and right pace no matter what the case may come to be. God has made us all for a purpose. We are entitled to let our light shine. Tijuana, 17
Surprise! He told me that he loved me and I thought it too good to be true But something blew my mind when he claimed me as his boo Told me I different from the rest, my body real mature ‘Til I went to the doctor and found out the deadly truth Took the nurse a while to give the hurtful scoop She said that I was dying, surely of and STD and that the positive test she held was the stunning proof. Tijuana, 17
One’s Fear My heart drops, my feet stops. The pain’s too great to bear. I guess it’s really true when people say, “life’s unfair”. I guess we all get our share. I tried to show love with despair. When I walk by people stop and stare. I’m pretty sure now that people don’t care. I keep hoping that I will disappear and where my life made some sense would soon reappear. But I know when I look back over my life, I won’t even shed a tear because deep down I have conquered my fears. Tijuana, 17
Words and expressions to teen survivors of sexual violence and trauma