L.A. Youth writers react to the rape essays
Where to get help if you’ve been sexually assaulted
What to do if you are assaulted
University HS students react to these essays

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For the essay topic, "Who do you trust?" L.A. Youth received about 200 entries. It was shocking to discover that 12 of the essays described rapes and attempted rapes. The essays were usually written by a friend who was told that his or her friend had been sexually assaulted. As a reader, reviewing essay after essay, the effect was immense. Most of the girls were assaulted between the ages of 9 and 18.

The essays have inspired this special section on sexual assault to educate our readers on the issue and encourage them to get help.
—Ann Beisch, 18, Marymount HS

My friend was assaulted

Author’s name and school withheld

I think it is important for everybody to have someone to depend on. Most people depend on and confide in best friends, boyfriends and relatives. I depend on my best friend, and she depends on me. I now know this because she told me something that really opened up my eyes.

The day was Sept. 3, 2003. We were sitting in my room. Then my uncle came into my room and gave me some money to buy new shoes. Then she told me, "Wow, you and your uncle have such a close relationship. I wish that my uncle and I were like that." Then she broke down crying.

I asked her what was wrong. Then she slowly wiped her tears, and started telling me. "Well, I lived with my parents for 12 years of my life. Then my uncle and aunt called my mom and they offered me a better place to stay where I can go to school and achieve some of my goals. My parents hesitated, but since it was my mom’s brother they let me go. A year passed, and I was living the dream life. They gave me allowance and I got pretty much everything I wanted.

"Two more years passed. My aunt and uncle had a huge argument and got a divorce! I was sad and I was asked who did I want to stay with. I picked my uncle. How was I to know that I’d make a wrong decision? Weeks passed and my uncle seemed to be getting frustrated with me. I didn’t see why he should be mad at me. I did my chores, and went to school daily. What more could he expect?

"It was the weekend of Halloween. I had made big plans that Friday. When I told my uncle about the plans I had made he slapped me. I stood in shock, and then asked why. He then took his shoes off and slowly moved toward me. He grabbed me by the neck and threw me to the bed. He stripped off all my clothes, and took off his pants. I repeatedly screamed for help. But he just put his hand over my mouth.

"When he was finished he locked me in the closet, and left for work. I was afraid, and felt lonely. At that moment I felt that suicide was the only way out. So I slowly got up and pulled the light switch on. I found a long rope. I tied a knot and hung it on the hook above me. I slowly tied it around my neck when all of a sudden I heard the front door open. It was my aunt. She said, ‘Hello, is anybody home?’ I untied the rope and banged on the door. My aunt heard me and quickly unlocked the door.

"I jumped out and grabbed her. She asked me repeatedly what happened, but I was crying too hard to explain. Finally I calmed down and told her everything. She quickly got me to a police station. I told them my story and my uncle was quickly arrested." And that’s where the story ends!

Before I could open my mouth to say anything I threw open my arms and busted out with tears. She told me not to cry, and to be strong like her. So I wiped my tears and hugged her.

My friend told me all of this because she trusts me and she knows that I love her. Till this very day she finds it hard to be around her family. She tells me that suicide is still an option in her mind. But I just give her all my advice, and offer her a place to stay. My friend told me that as long as I continue being her best friend that she will block out all the bad things and start to think about the future. Sometimes talking to someone helps clear your mind. It makes me feel at ease when I talk to my best friend, because she can always relate to me. Confiding in my best friend gives me just enough strength to get through another day.

I never told my grandma
Author’s name and school withheld

When I was about six years I used to visit my grandmom every summer. I used to have a lot of fun. As a family we would go places and spend the whole day together. On my dad’s side of the family we were very close and if anyone had a problem, we could talk to any one of the family members. We tried our best to understand one another, but on the other hand my family had many problems with the men being in and out of jail and having many babies back to back. On top of that, my aunt had kids that she couldn’t take care of because she was on drugs, so my grandmom took them under her wing. That was hard on her because she was old, tired and had cancer. So I tried not to make trouble. She always told me to tell her everything that happened to me, even things my family did wrong. I never did because I didn’t want to hurt her.

So anyway, I used to sleep over at my aunt’s house a lot because I had a cousin around my age over there. One night I was up by myself in the three-story house on the top floor. My cousin was in his room watching T.V., so I went in his room to watch T.V. with him. I really don’t want to go into details about what happened but all I’ll say is that I was raped…yes raped by my own blood cousin. Later I found out my female cousin also was raped. I never told anyone because I didn’t want to hurt my grandmom.

So now I don’t trust anyone, anymore. Just when you think that family is the one by your side, they prove you wrong. I told my friend but now I have to let the world know that family can harm you just as well as people you don’t know.

My friend was almost raped

Author’s name and school withheld

It was about two years back from now when I told my best friend about how one of my friends almost got raped. She told me that she was sitting on a bench at the park. When she saw two guys from the ages of 21 to 23 come and sit next to her and stare at her. Then they started feeling her up. She told the men that she would scream. One of the men put his hand over her mouth so she wouldn’t scream. She told me that tears were running out of her eyes when they wrapped their hands over her mouth and carried her to a car. Luckily, a car was coming and the driver saw two guys trying to put her in the back seat of a blue car. She kicked one of the men in the nuts and scraped the other on the face. She then managed to escape from the two guys. They got into their car and drove off. The girl ran up the street and banged on my door. When I opened it, she ran inside and told me to shut the door. She looked shaky. I went to the kitchen and got some water for her to drink. After she drank the water, she told me what had happened to her, and told me never to tell anyone what had happened to her. Two years have passed and I never told a soul. So the only person I can trust is myself.

I helped save my friend

Author’s name and school withheld

Trust. A small word, but what a big meaning it has. What is trust? What does it mean? Well everyone thinks of honesty, keeping secrets, someone who you can confide your most private moments or your ugliest ones. But what does trust mean to me? Trust is someone that you know is like a teddy bear—when you tell them something you know they won’t be spreading it around. Someone that is there for you. You know as a child you would trust anybody. You would give out your trust without ever thinking about it twice. But as you grow older, everything changes. You have to earn trust. You can’t expect anyone to give you trust in a day or two and of course you can’t buy trust.

I remember events that happened to me as a child—good moments and bad ones. But there is one event that gets to me every time I think back. One afternoon like any other I was with my friend. We were talking about what we wanted to do in high school. We talked about everything and everyone around us. I told her that when I talked to her I felt safe, that I didn’t care about what they think about me, that she had gained my trust and that I wanted her to feel the same. Later on that day she called me on the phone. My friend sounded a little hesitant. I was scared that she had bad news for me. She told me she was going to tell me something I had to keep with me. She told me that I couldn’t tell nobody, that it was between me and her. I agreed to keep the secret. She kept telling me not to say anything. It made me nervous and a knot formed in my throat. My heart pounded; I could hear my heart beat. So finally after a few minutes of silence she started to tell me that her boyfriend kept pressuring her to have sex. Every time that she was alone with him he would try to take her pants off or touch her in her private parts. That she was scared to tell anyone but that she couldn’t and didn’t want to keep it inside her. As she told me her voice trembled and she began to cry. I had no words but all I could think of was ‘Why don’t you leave this guy? What are you waiting for? Why don’t you dump him?’ She said ‘I can’t because he told me I will regret it. He will kill me,’ and the look he gave me was scary. She has tried almost everything, but this guy was always a step ahead. He had threatened to kill her or hurt a family member. I was confused, scared for her, but I was willing to confront this guy. So I encouraged her to talk to a counselor or just go to the police. She agreed to talk to a counselor, not the police; she was scared. So the next day we both went to speak to a counselor; I told her she just had to tell her what was going on.

Inside me, I felt her pain. It was something that squeezed my heart every time I looked at her. I kept thinking that it was the best thing we could have done. As we got near the counselor’s door, my friend burst out in tears. I held her hand tight to give her some of my anger and courage, to make her stronger. I grew angrier to see my friend like this. As we walked, she said ‘I am scared.’ I told her not to be, not to let a pathetic, disgusting animal make her feel like that. We walked in and the counselor was already waiting for us. She thought it was going to be a friend’s problem but this was not even close to that. So as my friend began her story once again I was there to hear her and understand her. The counselor was shocked and couldn’t understand why had she waited this long, but she was willing to help. My friend didn’t want her parents to know about this so it was confidential. The counselor filled out some papers, but because she was assistant principal she barely had time for us.

So I decided to act upon my instincts—I reported it to the police. They gave me a case number and they asked me to bring in any evidence of what I had told them. I grew anxious and mad and wanted the police to arrest this guy already, so I asked the counselor what I had to do and I got some papers that she had. I took them to the sheriff station and provided them with phone numbers, addresses of this guy. I trusted the police to act quickly but they did nothing, so once again I went to the counselor and explained what was going on. I asked her what are the police waiting for? For her to get hurt, for them to go after her. I told my friend to avoid him, to not see him, and to be with someone at all times.

While Ms. Rodriguez and I were handling the paper work with the police, my friend was terrified every day. The police wanted us to set him up to arrest him. My friend was not sure about this; she trusted me but not the police. So finally I convinced her to call him over to meet him at the park near her house so she could break up with him. The police surrounded the place and my friend was talking to him and when she told him to leave her alone, he slapped her. Thanks to her courage and her trust, we got this guy. He is now in jail. My friend moved away and feels safe. To me this experience was something shocking, but worth it. So trust to me is someone that cares, and sometimes keeps a secret when they know they should, but sometimes acts when they should. Trust to me is something unexplainable.

How could a father do such a thing?

Author’s name and school withheld

There’s this girl in the tenth grade that I’ve known since the seventh grade. She was a beautiful girl whose life was shattered in a matter of minutes. This beautiful young woman told me that at the age of six, she was raped by her father. Her father told her that she was going to be playing a little game. She was too young to understand what type of game her father was speaking of. When he had put himself inside of her she realized the game wasn’t fun, and asked daddy to stop. Her father continued to have sex with this beautiful little girl. As she got older she grew smarter. She began to realize what daddy was doing was wrong. She told her mother what had been going on with her father behind closed doors, but her mother did not believe her. She swore up and down that her daughter was lying, but began to observe the father and his actions with their daughter. She realized that every time her daughter would attempt to take a bath, the father would also enter the bathroom with her. This little girl’s life was ruined not only by the molestation, but her mother’s disbelief in her. Although her mother didn’t believe her at first, she soon came around and pressed charges against her husband, and the father of her children. Yes, her father went to jail, but that doesn’t change the pain this little girl feels inside every day. This beautiful girl is now starting to reconcile with the situation, but knows she’ll never be the same. She’s 15 now, and has never spoken to a boy in her life. I don’t think she’ll ever be able to trust another man in her life. She told me "If you can’t trust your own father to do right by you, then who will?" I guess she’s trying to say your father is supposed to be your protector, not the abuser. This beautiful girl tries her best to forget the past, but I don’t think she’ll ever be the same. So I guess in this situation it’s hard to say who you can trust and not trust.

A terrible uncle

Author’s name and school withheld

When my friend was 9, her household was crowded with other family members in addition to her father, mother, two brothers and a younger sister. One of her uncles, who was only 16, kept watching her. One day when no one was home, he demanded she take her clothes off. She said no and he tried to force himself on her. But then a door opened somewhere in the house and the boy ran to another room, leaving her with her heart pounding. Several other times where he continued his attempts to sexually abuse her, but each time was interrupted when someone came home. The last time he touched the little girl, he told her: "If you ever tell anyone about this, I will kill you and rape your sister." She was frightened but she felt she had to tell her father. Her father said, "Yeah, I don’t believe you." She would never speak of this again, because her uncle moved out.

Now my friend is 17, and I don’t know what I should do now or what I can do to help. Her asinine uncle is in his own home at the age of about 24, and has a wife and visits his oldest brother from time to time. And the girl never says, "Hi." Hopefully whatever he has coming to him in life, he will pay. I just want to grab the guy and hold him down to say, "If you ever tell anyone about this I will kill you, because nobody will ever get away with hurting my girlfriend!"

The secret I shouldn’t have kept

Author’s name and school withheld

Secrets. A hard word for me. Sometimes it is good to know how to keep a secret, but there are also secrets that you just can not keep. If you keep them, it could bring bad consequences. Like I did. I decided to keep a secret that I shouldn’t have.

Two years ago, in a regular day of classes I went back home and took a nap. While I was sleeping somebody knocked on the front door and it woke me up; the knockings were hard. I went and opened the door and there was my best friend. She was nervous, and her eyes were tearful, and when she saw me she hugged me and started crying. We went to my room and when she calmed down, she told me how her stepfather tried to rape her. I didn’t know what to do. I was confused, and surprised. I just told her to calm down and go back to her house, that nothing had happened and there was nothing to worry about, just that she should be careful. She agreed and told me that she did not want anyone to know what had happened. So she went back home. The following days she told me that her stepfather had changed with her, that he was nicer, gave her money, and treated her better, and that she felt strange. I told her maybe he was doing that to keep her from telling her mom what he had tried. She agreed.

After six months she came back to my house crying and told me that he had raped her. That was hard for me because I could have stopped it by telling someone the first time her stepfather tried to molest her. But I did not do anything. Then she found out that she was pregnant. We went to the police station and declared all what had happened but it was too late. Her stepfather had left. We could not do anything at that time. If we just could bring back that time, we would tell someone or get help. Those were the consequences for not knowing which secrets should be kept and which one should not be.

I shouldn’t have trusted my classmate

Author’s name and school withheld

May 23, 2001 my life changed completely. It all started like this. I got out from school at 12:30, and I was worried because I didn’t have a ride or bus money. It was really hot; I didn’t want to walk home. I asked my friend to let me borrow her cell phone to call my mom, but she couldn’t pick me up. I made more phone calls, but nobody could pick me up so I decided to call my friend Mike. He came to pick me up; I felt relief, but I didn’t know that my life would change that instant. He told me that he had to get something from his house. I was OK about it because he was giving me a ride. We got to his house; he comes out telling me that he was going to take a while, so he didn’t want me to wait in his car. I went inside his house. I thought it was a bad idea, but I had no choice. I didn’t know what city I was in. His house was really far away from my house. I was waiting in the living room, and then he told me that his mom was coming and she didn’t like his friends waiting in the living room. So again I had no choice. It wasn’t my house. He took me to his room, shut the door and he locked it! I was like, "What’s going on? What’s wrong with you, Mike?" He’s like "Nothing, we’re just going to have some fun!" I was like "No! I want to go home now!"

He was like, "Don’t panic, I’ll take you home later!" He started to push me towards the bed, while I’m screaming and I’m telling him that I want to go home and not to hurt me!

He threw me on his bed and grabbed both of my arms. I screamed no! He took advantage of me. Minutes later he took me home. No words. From that day my life changed. I hated the world, I hated everything. I started to ditch school. My grades went down. I would drink hard liquor. Sometimes I would go home drunk. My parents were working by that time. I felt disgusting, ugly, lonely, sad, mad and angry at the world. I had so much pain inside that I would cut myself. I got worse and worse every day. I got really depressed. I began to have suicidal thoughts. I would take a lot of pills; I drank rubbing alcohol and it only burned my stomach. I wouldn’t eat for days and when I ate I would throw it up. I wanted to end my life. I didn’t see a future, I didn’t have goals, and I just didn’t care about anybody, not even myself.

After six months of cutting, drinking, feeling lonely, feeling depressed, and having suicidal thoughts, my mom noticed and took me to the doctor. The doctor sent me to the E.R. A social worker came to visit me and she began to ask me a lot of question. Then she sent me to a psychologist. He asked me questions and more questions. That same day I was hospitalized: January, 14, 2002. The first three days were a nightmare. I hated that place. I wouldn’t say anything. After the third day we had group time. Gary, my counselor, asked me what was wrong with me. At first I refused to talk. He told me that he was there to help me and not to hurt me, so that made me feel happy because nobody would ask me how I was feeling. I let everything out. That same day, my parents came to visit me and I told them. They were not happy at all. They wanted to kill Mike and send him to jail, but I didn’t let them—I was afraid. The next day my whole family and friends came to visit me, and then I realized that I wasn’t alone. My counselor told me that if I wanted to get out soon I had to speak up and get better physically and emotionally. So I did, I got out on January 21, 2002. I had therapy and took a lot of medications, but none of them worked. Finally I got one that worked. I took it, but I didn’t like it so I decided to stop taking it.

I got along with my parents. I started to go out and I was seeing someone. I’m still with him. Things got better for me every day. Trusting my parents and my counselor helped me to move on with my life. It made me see life differently, it made me more motivated and it made me have goals and accomplish them. I changed my life around because I learned there was a way out. I realized that I have my family that cares about me and that they will always be there no matter what! I was living in the darkness, but now I’m living in daylight.

The police caught him in the end

Author’s name and school withheld

Trust. It’s the biggest bond you can have with a person. To have trust you must know a person as well as you know yourself. It’s more than just trust, it’s dependence. You have to be able to depend on a person. I know someone that has been through a pretty tough situation when her roommate got raped and she told my friend what had happened. The roommate begged my friend not to tell anyone because she felt ashamed and dirty.

My friend thought about keeping it to herself but she had a talk with my sister and my sister told her to go to the police because no matter what, that is the best option in any situation. My friend really didn’t want to tell the police. She said that if she told the police that her roommate had been raped, her roommate wouldn’t talk to her anymore. So she told herself she will sleep through the night and figure out what to do in the morning. The next morning my friend came over to my house to have a talk with my sister. She kept saying that her roommate would wake up and start crying. She said she feels bad knowing what happened and keeping her secret. She wanted to tell the police but she had second thoughts.

Two days passed and the roommate went to the police and described the man that had raped her. They questioned her and within a month they had caught the guy when he went to court for a traffic ticket.

My friend said that it was the hardest thing to keep to herself, seeing her friend suffer and she couldn’t do anything about it. It’s been about eight years since this happened and I guess she’s all right now. Trust was the conflict in this story because the roommate trusted my friend to tell no one.