She loved to sing and dance. She was a talented writer and a brilliant student. Her laugh was distinctive and could be heard across the cafeteria. She was the perfect daughter; never lied, obedient, helpful, didn’t drink or smoke. Every Sunday she attended church with her family and many friends. Her only main weakness was her low self-esteem, especially around guys. In high school, her closet friends, including me, talked to her about her habit of saying yes to dating any guy who showed interest. She knew we were right, but at the same time, she seemed to need that feeling of being wanted or desired by anyone.
Three years after high school graduation, we sat around a table at a friend’s wedding reception. I hadn’t stayed in touch with her as much as my other friends, so I didn’t understand the jokes about her “reputation.” Afterwards as she was driving me home, she asked me, “Do you need to go home now?” I knew she had something important to say to me; we’ve done this before. “No,” I replied and so we kept on cruising the streets. That’s when she told me what all the jokes were referring to.
In college, she was helping some guy with a troubled past get back into Christianity. As they started to see each other more, they began to fool around. At the time, she had just left another relationship was not interested in going any further. She was always the “wait till marriage” kind of girl. She told me that one day as they were fooling around, the guy just did it without asking or warning her. She described in detail how she laid there confused and shocked. Like many other rape victims, she blamed herself. The months after, she attached herself to him and spiraled downwards. She confessed that she became an alcoholic to kill the pain and even slept with her ex. Eventually she left the guy and told her family what had happened. She knew she needed help, though her family was reluctant at first to admit there was something wrong.
She’s been receiving therapy and tells me that it has helped. I am relieved that she was strong enough to break the downward spiral and seek help, but I am incredibly angry that something like this could happen to someone so kind and loving. Even if therapy is helping, how does one ever get over something like this? How can those other people poke jokes at her especially when they knew what happened? She told me that one of her high school exes, whom she is a still friend with, said it was her fault.
After she told me the story, we drove around for a little more without speaking. Every time a love song came up on the stereo, she changed it. The girl before would have been singing at the top of lungs with the wind blowing through her hair.
Death of Innocence
Posted Apr 21 2012 - 5:04am
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