By Author's name withheld
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*To protect the people involved the names have been changed and the writer’s identity and school have been withheld.

While I was online trying to finish my journalism homework in November 2002, an instant message popped up on my computer screen. It was an old friend from Girl Scouts, *Kyrie. I was surprised she IM’ed me seeing as we hadn’t talked for more than four years.

Kyrie seemed much happier than the sad girl I had known. She had finished high school early, and was now in college.

Then Kyrie asked if I could keep a secret, and I assured her I could. For about 20 minutes neither of us typed. I sat there staring at the screen, waiting, yet nothing popped up.

Then finally: "I was raped."

In a matter of seconds, I wanted to solve her problem, kill the guy who did this to her, and get some peace of mind. But I realized that was impossible. Kyrie asked me if I could write an article about this for my school newspaper, and I wondered why. She was in college, and I couldn’t understand how a story in my newspaper would have any effect.

Kyrie then told me that the guy who raped her was a well-known student at my school. She was hoping that when he saw the article, he would realize that she’d never forget what he did. My heart began to pound when she typed the boy’s name. It was bad enough that he went to my school, but it was even worse to learn he was someone I interacted with.

Why did I have to go through this now? Was this guy going to hurt anyone else? Would he try to hurt me? I brushed aside my emotions and confusion and focused on helping Kyrie. I told her that if I wrote an article she would have to talk about it, so that I could accurately portray what happened. She said OK, as long as something was done. Her courage and determination astonished me.

Kyrie and I planned a time when I could call and interview her. I jotted down some questions: "How did you feel after you were raped?" "How has your life changed from this experience?" I made sure to make the questions as broad as possible to let Kyrie say as much as she wanted.

I felt ready for my first official interview, but when I heard Kyrie’s voice on the phone I forgot everything. Instead of asking her one of my prepared questions, I told her to start anywhere she wanted. Kyrie paused for a moment and then began with when she met this guy. She told me how they became a couple in just a few days and how he became verbally abusive after a few weeks. I felt almost as though I was there during their short-lived relationship, and when she felt sad, so did I. When she was scared, I felt that, too.

I was surprised that she didn’t cry or pause when she told her story.

The guy tried to convince her to have sex by saying she was never going to find anyone better. He called her "ugly" and "worthless," which made her cry at first. Kyrie stopped crying when he was around though, because he would end up yelling at her. After a month of emotional abuse, Kyrie decided not to take it anymore and ended the relationship. He pleaded with her, told her he loved her and promised to change. But she broke up with him.

It was painful to hear about it

One night he came to her house around 11:30 in a fit of anger. She didn’t want him to wake her parents so she let him in. He told her that he knew about her new boyfriend. When Kyrie denied it, he grew angry. He told her how much he loved her and wanted to be with her while he pulled out a condom. Kyrie tried knocking the condom out of his hand, but he persisted. He smothered her face in a pillow to drown out her screams. Kyrie dug her nails into his back, and hit him continuously, hoping he would stop. But she knew it was too late when she felt him inside of her. I felt like vomiting when she recalled him saying he loved her throughout the rape.

I wondered how her parents couldn’t hear them fighting. Kyrie explained that they woke up only after he accidentally hit the wall, making an abrupt sound. Her mom screamed from the other room for her to go back to bed. Fearfully, the guy cleaned himself up and walked out the door, saying nothing to Kyrie.

I had a hard time concentrating on writing the facts when she explained her story so vividly. I worked really hard to keep her from hearing me cry. I told Kyrie that I was there for her.

After I finished the article I prayed that it would help Kyrie. I immediately sent her the article and printed a copy to show my journalism advisor. Kyrie was extremely impressed, and thanked me over and over for what I had done. She kept telling me that I had helped her so much, but I felt I should do more.

The article never got published because my journalism advisor felt it was too risky to put in the school newspaper. I was extremely upset because I felt other girls who had been raped could relate to it. However, I was also terrified of what the boy might have done to me if the article had appeared in the paper.

My school got involved

Four months after I wrote the article, I drifted away from Kyrie. I was really busy with school, but I was still mad that the article did not get published. When I got the opportunity I complained to my school counselor.

I told my counselor that the school wouldn’t publish articles on sexuality, teen pregnancy or eating disorders. As an example, I told her how the school wouldn’t publish my story about the rape. My counselor looked at me weirdly and asked why I wanted to write about rape. I explained to her that it was my friend’s experience, and that it was crucial because the guy who raped her went to our school. The color in her face disappeared. She quietly asked me who my friend was. I refused to say, but I assured her that my friend didn’t go to our school. My counselor then asked me who the guy was that raped my friend. Was she crazy? I had promised I wouldn’t tell, but my counselor kept pressing me. She told me that a boy on campus had been charged with molestation and she wanted to make sure it wasn’t the same student. When she told me the boy’s name, I confirmed for her that it was the same person. We both stood in her office shocked.

My counselor asked me if she could speak to Kyrie. She hoped it would help the other case, or maybe even help Kyrie’s.

I was terrified. I didn’t want Kyrie to be mad at me for telling her secret, but I couldn’t let the counselor down. I truly believed I was helping Kyrie through her rape for a reason. I hoped Kyrie saw the good I was trying to do instead of thinking I sold her out. Kyrie wasn’t angry and agreed to meet with the counselor. She asked me if I could go with her. I was only a junior in high school and there I was helping my friend through a rape. I had only seen it on television, and it scared me in make-believe land; but no show could prepare me for what I was living.

The first thing the counselor told Kyrie was that everything was confidential. Kyrie made it clear that she didn’t want to notify the police because her parents would find out. I could see the same fear in the counselor’s eyes as I had when Kyrie told her story. I felt sick to my stomach all over again. But no matter how scared I was, I had to be strong for Kyrie.

After Kyrie and the counselor met, I thought this madness would finally end. That day when I saw that boy around campus I felt like throwing up. Why should he have been allowed to stay on campus when he raped Kyrie and sexually assaulted someone else?

The day after Kyrie’s visit to the school, the principal brought me into his office to ask me for her number and address. I gave it to him not realizing why he wanted it, but then he told me he was going to have the police call her. If they called her house, then it would be my fault her parents found out. I was the one making her life more difficult.

Meanwhile, my GPA dropped from a 4.0 to a 3.3. At one point my journalism advisor confronted me. I used to have this drive to make the newspaper the best, but during all this I didn’t care. I started to scare myself because usually I am a motivated person.

Eventually, I got bored being sad, and my poor grades motivated me to study more. My best friend *Cody also helped me. He had no idea what was going on, but he let me confide in him. I still tried to help Kyrie, but I distanced myself from the situation. I didn’t mean to avoid her, but the rape made me feel sad and confused, and I was tired of those emotions.

I apologized profusely for drifting away but Kyrie never got angry. She has thanked me for being there for her. That was a blessing, because I felt I was only adding to her problems. I told myself that if it weren’t for me she wouldn’t be dealing with investigators and having to relive her worst nightmare.

I still pray for her

The only good thing that came out of this was that I found a wonderful friend. Kyrie is a beautiful, intelligent, witty girl. Even though the rape was what brought us back together, when we went out for coffee a few months ago it was as though everything was normal.

Sadly, the thing I was hoping for most—the boy going to jail—didn’t happen. Kyrie and the detectives tried a couple things to get a confession from him, but unfortunately they haven’t gotten anything that could hold up in court. The police said the only way he’ll probably be punished for his crimes is if he does it again.

So what happens next? I wish I knew. Toward the end of school a detective interviewed me. He told me I might have to testify in court, and I hope I do. I want to stare the boy straight in his eyes. I want to tell the judge all I know, and show Kyrie’s rapist that I won’t back down, and she’ll get justice.

Every night I pray for Kyrie. I pray that God keeps her safe, and helps her to find peace. There are still times I cry, or feel sick to my stomach. No matter how many times I think about Kyrie’s rape, I still can’t understand why this boy would take away something so personal from someone. I find myself growing angry whenever I bring these questions up. So for now, I will continue to help Kyrie any way I can, and pray that the boy will pay for what he did.

Get help

If you’ve been a victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence, you can get support and referrals to counseling centers by contacting:

Los Angeles County Rape & Battering Hotline (24/7)
(310) 392-8381

National Sex Assault Hotline (24/7)
(800) 656-HOPE (4673)

Find a rape crisis center in your area at this Web site: