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by Staff Writer

“How would you rape an elephant?” These are just a few of the many rape-related jokes I have heard recently. I’ve never understood why people enjoy making jokes about rape, and I don’t think people even begin to realize the impact of these thoughtless and seemingly harmless jokes. Discussions about topics such as sex and rape have a huge impact on me personally, and most people have no idea that it affects me or why it hurts. You see, I have been a victim of this extremely painful abuse. I was raped when I was 13 years old, and I haven’t been the same since then. For a long time, I kept all of this to myself, but more than anything now I want to tell my story. I want my story to be heard so that other people may learn from my experiences. First of all, I want to clear up any misconceptions you may have about rape. Rape is not a crime that only affects a few people. According to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 1 in 6 women in the United States have been a victim of attempted or completed rape. And, not all victims of sexual abuse are girls. In fact, 9% of victims are male. Rape is also considered by the American Medical Association as the most under-reported of all violent crimes, often because of the fear involved in sexual abuse. As few as 10% of rapes are ever reported. Also, most rapes are not committed by strangers, as many people believe. According to the Women’s Rape Crisis Center, 47% of victims were raped by a friend or acquaintance, 17% by an intimate relation, and 3% by a family member. But the numbers aren’t what makes rape such a terrible crime. The atrocity of sexual abuse is truly shown in the individual stories of victims and abusers. My story started a few weeks before I started eighth grade. I was away at a camp for a week. It was my second year at the camp, and I was excited to be back for more adventures and excitement, although the excitement I found was not what I had in mind. On the first night, I met a boy named David. He was 8 years old, and he was really cute. We started innocently flirting for a few days. I thought nothing of this; to me, he was just another guy that I would never see again and who wouldn’t make any difference in my life. By the third day of camp, he started telling me about some of the other girls he had been with over the years. Again, I still didn’t think much of it until he started talking about having sex with them. I was only 13 and still just a kid. I barely knew what sexual abuse was, but based on his descriptions of his relationships with these girls, I was pretty sure that something was wrong with his statements. I was away from my parents and unaware of how to handle the situation. So, at dinner that day, I sat down and talked with him, letting him know that I didn’t want to pursue any sort of relationship with him other than a friendship. I assumed that that would be the end of it and relaxed. The next day, we spent the day at a rope course. I was assigned to a group different than David’s, so everything was fine, and I had a great time. When we got back that night, we went straight to dinner. David sat at the opposite end of the dining hall, so I assumed that he had understood that I didn’t want to be with him. After dinner everyone took a break, but I went upstairs to the training floor to work on a few small projects for our mission later that week. I was hard at work, so I didn’t notice that someone else entered the room. It was David. “What’cha working on?” He asked. “Rewriting,” I answered, still engrossed in my work. “Can you take a break for a few minutes?” He asked. “I’d rather not,” I answered. “I need to get this done tonight.” “C’mon,” he said, “It won’t take very long.” Before I could answer, his

arms were around my waist. “David,” I said in surprise, “What are you doing?” He said nothing but slid his hands under my shirt, running them up and down my body and feeling my breasts. I wasn’t completely sure what was going on, but I knew that something was severely wrong. Before I could fully comprehend what was going on, he took off his jacket and his T-shirt. For the first time, I saw his bare arms. Each one was covered, from his hand to halfway up his forearms, with scars and scabs, and they were streaked with fresh blood, still wet. Next he took off my shirt, kissing my shoulders and neck as he pulled it off. I had never been so scared in my life. “David, please stop,” I begged. He ignored my pleads. The next thing I knew, I was lying on the ground and he was on top of me. His pants were off and he was unbuttoning my shorts. “No, David, please no,” I whispered. I tried to fight back, but I couldn’t find the strength. Just in the nick of time, a good friend of mine named CJ found us. I’m still not sure exactly what happened. I remember that David was gone in a flash and CJ was helping me up from the floor and handing me my clothes. That night, I was up until 5 AM crying, but I didn’t want anyone to now that I was crying or what happened. I was so ashamed, and I couldn’t help but feel like it was somehow my fault. The next morning at breakfast, I could hardly eat. I was terrified, and I felt guilty beyond belief. Then, as if to add insult to injury, David came and sat down across the table from me. “Good morning, Sexy,” he said to me. “Don’t call me that, David,” I answered, fighting tears. “Hey, it’s all right,” one of my friends reassured me. “Yeah, Babe, relax,” David said. I pushed my tray away from me and got up to leave. As I walked away, David grabbed me, pulled me close, and whispered, “You little slut.” The words pierced my heart like a knife. I could no longer fight the tears. I went into the bathroom and tried to throw up, but since I hadn’t eaten, I couldn’t make myself. I went to the sink to wash my face. As I looked in the mirror, I felt like I had a sign on my forehead that read, “SLUT.” “Damn,” I whispered. “Damn, damn, damn, damn.” Then, a little louder, “Damn, damn, damn.” With complete disregard for who might hear me, I cried out, “DAMN. GODDAMN IT!” I fell to the floor, pulled my knees up to my chest, and cried. “Why?” I whispered through the tears. “Why?” David continued to harass me for the remainder of the week, and the pain didn’t become any more tolerable. The next night, after everybody else left, I went into the computer lab, closed the door, and screamed. I screamed until my voice was gone. Once I could scream no more, the tears began to flow again. I was furious. I was a bit angry with David, but more than anything, I was angry with myself. I seemed to know that it was my fault. I told myself that I could have stopped him or that I could have done something to prevent it. When I got home, I didn’t tell anyone about what happened. Night after night, I cried myself to sleep, but I refused to let anyone, including my parents, know what happened to me. I spent most of eighth grade slipping in and out of depression. I had always been shy, but I became much more reserved and even quieter. I couldn’t stand being around large crowds of people and being with friends was even harder than it had been before. I even took my pain out on some

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Feature // page 5

The Cardinal Issue 2  

December 2011