The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Dream Guy, Nightmare Experience

I’m lying on the floor in a dark room, unable to move. Then I see him standing over me, laughing. I try to move but I’m paralyzed. He gets closer and closer and right when he’s about to kiss me, I wake up screaming. After that I’m too upset to go back to sleep, so I sit up and cry all night.

My nightmares aren’t as vivid as before, but they’re there. Just when I think it’s finally over, the memories come back to haunt me. I keep thinking that maybe I could have done something to prevent it. Maybe if I hadn’t been such a sucker for a happy ending. Maybe if I had thought ahead. Maybe...Maybe...

He lived in the neighborhood and was always hanging around. I used to see him in the morning, before school. He was about 16, kind of tall, with short, dark hair, and the most beautiful gray eyes I’d ever seen. He’d say “hi” when he saw me and even though I didn’t really know him, I started to like him. Occasionally I’d stop and talk to him—nothing too personal. We talked about the movies we’d seen, music, and stuff like that. I began to look forward to our little talks and was disappointed when I didn’t see him around the school. I was 13 at the time.

One day, he was waiting for me outside after school. I was talking to my friend Charlene and I pretended that I didn’t see him, even though he kept trying to get my attention. I don’t know why—maybe I didn’t want Charlene to know I had a crush on him.

After I said goodbye to Charlene, I walked slowly to the end of the block. “Hello,” he called out to me.

I turned slowly and smiled at him. “Hi, Eric,” I said shyly.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

I told him I was going to the subway station. He asked if he could walk me there, and, being the lovesick puppy that I was, I said, “Sure.”

Eric carried my books and we talked all the way to the subway station. When we arrived, he asked if he could have my phone number. I was so excited that I gave it to him without any hesitation.

He called that night. We talked for at least two hours. Eric told me that he lived with his aunt and his brother. He said he’d been wanting to talk to me for a while, that he liked me and wanted to get together sometime. That phone call made me the happiest person in the world. After I got off the phone with him, I called some of my friends and told them. Being liked by a guy made me feel important.

The next time I saw him, he walked me to the subway station again and we talked some more. Then he kissed me goodbye. It was just a small kiss, but it made me feel wonderful. I was convinced he was a great guy.

Eric called me again that night. We talked for a while and, just as I hoped, he “popped the question.”

“Yes! I’ll go out with you!” I half screamed. For the rest of the night I was so happy, I was practically floating in mid-air. “Somebody loves me,” I thought.

We were “boyfriend and girlfriend” for a grand total of five days. He called me and we saw each other throughout the week. Then after school on Friday, he was waiting for me in our usual meeting place, on the corner by the schoolyard. He said he wanted to take me someplace special that afternoon. I was thrilled. I thought maybe we would go to the movies or something. “But first,” he said, “we have to stop by my house for a minute.”

image by Aaron Lilly

It was a pretty big apartment, but it looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years. He brought me into the kitchen and got a glass of water. Then we went into the living room and sat on a sofa with the stuffing coming out of it. He told me to leave my books on the floor. Then he turned on the TV and shut off all the lights and said, “We’ll go in a minute. I’m tired. I want to rest for a second. Sit down with me.” So, I did.

We sat in the darkness and watched TV for a while. I asked him where his aunt and his brother were. He stared at me with those eyes and replied, “Out,” plain and simple. He was acting kind of weird, but I didn’t want to say anything because I thought he might get mad or something. He took my hand and started to kiss me. At first it was kind of nice. But then he started getting too aggressive, putting his hands in places they didn’t belong.

I remember thinking to myself, “This doesn’t feel right. What’s he doing?” I started getting scared and told Eric to stop. But he didn’t. I tried pushing him away, but he was a lot bigger than me. He forced himself on top of me and pulled my pants down. No matter how much I struggled, he wouldn’t let up.

He held me down by the shoulders and raped me. I was crying and screaming, “No! Stop! Please stop!” But he wouldn’t. Exhausted from crying and trying to get him off me, I stared into the blackness, tears sliding off of my cheeks.

It all happened very fast. As soon as I could, I fixed my pants, tried to wipe the tears away, and got the hell out of there. I walked the eight blocks to the subway station and waited for the subway in a daze. I kept telling myself that it didn’t really happen, that it couldn’t really happen—not to me.

On the subway, a guy pressed up against me and tried to talk to me. I just turned around and walked through to the next car. Then I caught some girl looking at me, like she knew. I gave her a really ugly stare and she looked away, embarrassed.

When I finally made it home, the first thing I did was jump in the shower. I washed my entire body, but I just couldn’t seem to feel clean. I dried myself off and put on some clean clothes. Then I looked at the clothes I was wearing at the time it happened. I noticed blood on my pants and shirt. I had a small cut on my chest and my legs were scraped up—I guess from struggling. I took the clothes, balled them up, and put them in a plastic bag. I carried them to the incinerator and threw them out. Then I went into my room, lay down on my bed, and cried. Thank God my mother wasn’t home.

I didn’t want to think about it, but I couldn’t help it. I’ll never forget the look Eric gave me afterward, like he was proud of what he had done. Then something else popped into my mind: what if I get pregnant? I closed my eyes and tried to block the thought. (Thankfully, I wasn’t pregnant, but I was really scared for a while.)

I saw him once more when I went to the store with Charlene one day after school. I was getting some juice and, while I was walking up to the counter to pay for it, he and two of his friends came into the store. My heart raced and I dropped the bottle. It smashed on the floor, but I didn’t hear it. Charlene grabbed me and pulled me out of there. She knew something was wrong, but she kept her mouth shut. I didn’t leave my house for a few weeks after that. I was afraid I might see him again. Playing sick seemed to be the only escape.

One day my best friend was over at my house and I decided to tell her. I just couldn’t keep this horrible secret inside of me any longer. “Kate, I need to tell you something,” I said. I took a deep breath and sat down. I tried to go slowly, but the words raced out of my mouth. “I was going out with this guy and I thought he was really nice but he wasn’t. Kate, you’re my best friend and I want you to help me. I was raped.”

Kate just stared at me in shock. Then the expression on her face changed to one of disbelief. “Well,” she said, “how do you know if he really raped you?” I couldn’t believe it. My best friend doubting me, almost accusing me of lying. Things between us were never the same from then on. I can’t say that I hate her, because I don’t. I just don’t talk to her—about anything.

Eventually I told some other friends and a few adults. I’m happy to say that all of them really helped me. They always listened when I needed to talk, anytime. Even if it was 3:30 in the morning, and I had trouble sleeping, I could call them up and they’d help me get through it. Now I regret not speaking to anyone sooner.

It happened almost three years ago, but I still think about it as though it were yesterday. I have to stop asking myself if it was my fault, if I “asked for it.” It wasn’t my fault. I didn’t ask for it. I had no control over the situation. The only thing I did wrong was wait so long to get help.

Rape is a horrible thing. It can happen to anyone. And yes, you can be raped by someone you know. One minute you’re watching TV, riding along in a car, getting help with homework. The next minute you’re fighting to get away, gasping for breath, staring off into the blackness. If it does happen to you, remember, it’s not your fault. Tell someone fast. Get help. It’ll really make a difference later on.

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