A Survivor This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   A Survivor

by J. S., Fairhaven, MA

It's hard to realize that one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually molested by the age of 18. I could tell that to all the students in my high school and about three quarters of them would say "It would never happen to me, I wouldn't let it." I'm sure I would have said the same thing when I was 13, but it did happen to me. I was molested for two years. No one understands why people don't say no and stop it from happening. It's easy to say that until you put yourself in that situation.

"Doug" and I were the greatest of friends. We used to do so much together like go the movies, restaurants and do homework. Most of the time we talked. Life was great. At times he was my friend, other times he was like a father and often like a brother. But one day he added something to our great relationship that I never thought would be there. You see Doug was a pedophile, someone who sexually desires children. There are far more molesters that operate this way than by using force.

Doug was a friend of the family and was very active in the town's baseball and basketball leagues. He was well-liked, respected and trusted by many parents. That's how pedophiles work; they deceive as many as they can and make themselves look like a good neighbor. They try to get as many people to like them as possible, so when there are accusations against them, it's their word against ours, the victims.

The most important thing to me in my life besides my family are my friends. To me friendship is the greatest gift in the world. That is why what happened to me isn't all negative; there is a positive side too. I learned who my real friends were, who was going to stick by me through all of this. The friends I thought would be by my side were, and the ones I wasn't sure about were on Doug's side. This really bothered me at first, but after a while I got over it. I realized I had the best friends in the world.

My mother was really torn apart because she trusted Doug as much as she trusted my father. Sometimes she got really upset. She felt she shouldn't have let it happen, but she couldn't do anything to stop it. Sometimes it really bothers me because he was such a good friend, and he was always there when I needed to talk.

When it first came out, I felt it was all my fault. But now I realize it was no one's fault but Doug's. It was really weird the way some people would look at me when they heard what had happened. I never let it bother me because I knew I was doing the right thing. The right thing was taking him to court.

It took a little over a year for the trial to begin. On the first day of the trial I was scheduled to go on the stand. I felt better knowing that there in the courtroom watching were people who backed and supported me. People like my step-father, my grandparents, my uncle, my best friend and my wonderful girlfriend who stayed by me through it all. I was more nervous than I had ever been. When I was finished on the stand, I was really relieved. I felt that I had done really well.

The second day of the trial I sat around in a little room with family friends while other people testified. The third day more people testified and then the jury left to deliberate. We waited for about three hours, but because they still hadn't come up with a verdict, they ended up sending us home.

The next day was really nerve-racking. About 10 minutes before the jury came out, my lawyer took my parents and me aside and told us that it didn't look good. So I had a feeling Doug was going to get off. Then the time for the verdict arrived and the jury came back and filed into the courtroom. In one hand I was holding a silver charm Jesus that my mother had given to me before the trial. In my other was my girlfriend's hand. Finally they came out with the verdict, "Guilty on two counts of rape!" That was the greatest feeling in the world, I had won.

Doug is now serving three years in prison. It took a long time, but it was worth it.

When I get older I am going to go around and share my experience with young children. I'll tell them not to be afraid to come out and tell people that it happened to them. Trust me, I tried to keep it a secret for awhile, but it just kept haunting me. I believe people like Doug shouldn't be walking the streets, they should be locked up.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 2:17 pm
i love this so much!
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