Jackie- 29

Today marks the anniversary of my assault, sharing this today is very important to me. When I was 11 my parents divorced, so within the next couple of years my mom began dating again. She started dating my neighbor. He had a step son who at the time was 17, Craig , one of the popular seniors in my high school. My siblings and I had already been friendly with him and his friends. On this day, at 3 am we were all in my basement watching some scary movie. My brother noticed i fell asleep and my brother and the rest of Craig and his friends went to the other side of my basement. I woke up at 5 am because I felt someone undressing me. Craig was on top of my legs stripping me down as his other two friends took videos. I was laying on my stomach so i fought to roll over to push him off, but i was not strong enough, i tried to yell but one of the boys covered my mouth with my shorts and pushed my head into the pillow. Craig and his two friends took turns raping me and recording the entire time. When they decided to stop i covered my self with my blanket and ran to my room until they left for practice later that morning. I told my mom and his step dad what was done to me and NO ONE believed me. They kept saying how nice he was and that he’d never do such a thing. I told them about the recording. I wanted to tell the police, i wanted to tell everyone what they did. But no one would listen. The following day, I told the guidance counselor at my school. She immediately called the police, who told me they would look into it. The video got shown to the entire football and basketball ball team. But it couldn’t be proven to be me as it was dark and my face was not in the video. For years after, I tried to keep pushing through to get the justice I deserved. It wasn’t until 2018 when I publicly shared at my high school what happened to me did a few peers of mine step forward with proof and almost identical stories. They were finally arrested, I could finally breathe again. I was finally just a bit safer than I was the day before.

To anyone scared to speak up, to anyone who has been assaulted, to anyone who was not believed, do not stop sharing your story, DO NOT give up. You will get your justice, you will get your breath of air back. You will be a bit safer than you were. You are strong, you are POWERFUL, you are resilient, you are change. I believe you, we can fight together.

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