Copyright Notice - Copyright ©2005 – Published by DeweyWriter Ltd.
This work of fiction is copyrighted by the author and the author retains all rights. This work may not be duplicated in any form, physical, electronic, audio, or other forms known or unknown without the author’s express written permission. All applicable copyright laws apply and will be enforced. This work is published for the exclusive use of our audience. Any other use without express written consent from the author is prohibited by law.
Warning: This work contains themes that some people may find disturbing, including descriptions of sexual abuse. If you are sensitive to this type of description, please consider not reading this work.
The ground rushed up at me as the aircraft descended toward the surface. A tremendous shudder shook the plane as the rear landing gear made contact, and the jet engines revved up to maximum reverse thrust at near deafening volume to slow us as we raced down the runway. Another jerk and a gentle vibration indicated the pilot had applied the brakes, slowing the plane even more. As the engines cycled down, the pilot steered us off the runway and onto the taxiway leading to the terminal.
The flight attendant’s voice came over the intercom system. “Let me be the first to welcome you to Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California, where the time is exactly two-thirty. The temperature outside is seventy-two degrees with winds from the west at ten miles per hour. Please remain in your seat until the aircraft has come to a full stop, the captain has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign, and the ground crew has excavated the aircraft from the crater our pilots have so thoughtfully created. We know you have a choice of airlines when you travel. We thank you for choosing us, and we hope to see you again very soon. Have a great stay here in Oakland, or wherever your final destination may take you.”
I chuckled at the flight attendant’s not so subtle jibe at the pilot and looked out the window toward our destination, the number two terminal. It was getting hard to sit still, and I stretched to the best of my ability in the cramped window seat, wincing slightly as my shins struck the frame of the seat ahead of me. It’s never fun being over six feet tall and traveling in coach.
A grin creased my face as I imagined the reception I would receive from my friend’s parents. ‘Dad’ LaSalle would pretend not to see me until I was right in front of him, and then he’d try to rip my arm off with a crushing handshake. I realized the two inches I had grown in the last six months would make me taller than him, which left me feeling weird. Mom would wait patiently until I recovered my balance and got free before hugging me within an inch of my life. Mike would stand back, observing quietly until the adults were done, leaning against a support column or wall with his arms crossed and a slight smile. When I got to him, we’d shake hands and go fetch my bags, all the while talking about what we’d done and what we were going to do.
A low hum sounded throughout the plane when the pilot applied the brakes for the last time, stopping the aircraft outside the jet way. People were up and in the aisle before the plane had truly come to rest, pulling their bags out of the overhead compartments and trying not to hit anyone under them. A few minutes later, I was walking off the plane, following a crowd of fellow passengers as they made their way toward the gate.
I was so happy to be in Oakland. Mike and I had been looking forward to this visit since spring break when we got the idea, communicating via e-mail and occasionally talking on the phone. I didn’t like long distance communication. Actually being with Mike in the same room, exchanging friendly insults with him or sharing the latest news made me feel better, feel less alone.
We had been pals since first grade, and Mike had gotten us in more trouble by dragging me into his schemes than any one kid deserved, but we always had a good time. Mike could make a corpse smile he was so happy, and he had regularly pulled me out of a depression when we were younger. At fifteen, he hadn’t grown much taller than he was at age twelve, but his sense of humor added stature where he lacked inches in height.
When the crowd reached the security checkpoint I started scanning the area ahead and found the LaSalle family looking much as I’d pictured them, except Mike had his hands deep in his pockets and his face set in a bitter scowl. This puzzled me.
As I reached Mike’s father, he held out his hand and I shook it firmly.
“Hello, Paul. It’s good to see you again,” he said, looking up at me for the first time.
“You too, Dad,” I answered with a smile.
“Come here, Paul,” said the woman standing next to us as she pulled me into a tight embrace. “We missed you.”
I whispered into her ear, “I missed you too.”
She released me “You had a good flight?” She asked, staring into my eyes.
Shifting uncomfortably, I dropped my gaze. “Yeah. The pilot tried to bury us in the runway, though.”
“Well, it’s good to have you here.”
“Thanks, Mom,” I said, and then turned to face my friend.
Mike, dressed in pants and long sleeves, was watching me through uncharacteristically cold eyes. His scowl seemed etched onto his face. As I approached him, Mike took his hands out of his pockets and crossed them. The motion left me feeling uncertain.
“Hi,” I greeted him, looking in his eyes.
“Hi,” he responded quietly before dropping his gaze to the floor.
I asked, “Are you okay?”
“Fine,” came the abrupt answer.
Taken aback, I peered at Mike, trying to discern the source of his sour mood. After a moment, I dropped my carry-on on the floor. “I’m going to get my bags. Back in a minute.”
I turned away and walked to the conveyor to await the luggage from my flight, continuing to ponder Mike’s mood. His restrained greeting and reserved manner were so far removed from what was normal. It was disconcerting seeing him like this.
The carousel began to turn, and a few minutes later I had my bags. Dad picked up the largest, leaving a medium sized bag for me. Mike hoisted my carry-on over his shoulder and led the way to the exit without a word or a glance. I looked back at the adults, who seemed oblivious to Mike’s attitude.
Mike led the way across the street, into the parking lot, and to their car. Dad unlocked the SUV, and I loaded my bags into the rear cargo area before sitting behind the driver’s seat. Silence reigned as Mike’s dad drove out of the lot onto Airport Drive and toward Interstate 880.
Once on the freeway, Mom turned in her seat. “So, what have you done so far this summer?” She asked.
“Not much,” I answered. “Been doing a lot of biking, skating… the usual. They built this cool skate park not far from the house, and it’s great as long as the older guys aren’t there; they take over sometimes.”
“Sounds like fun, doesn’t it, Michael?” asked his mother.
Mike shrugged, continuing to look out the window. “Sure.”
“Oh, we went out to Big Bear, too,” I reported. “Forgot about that. Spent an entire week in the sun without getting burned.”
I looked at my friend, hoping for some sort of reaction. When Mike had last visited, we went to Big Bear and had a wonderful time, but Mike made no acknowledgment.
“Michael, you’re being rude,” said his mother crossly.
“Sorry,” Mike mumbled, just loud enough for me to hear.
“Talk about it later?” I asked, at the same low volume.
Mike glanced up at me. “Maybe.”
I sighed and closed my eyes. Mike’s actions were so strange to me, and I knew deep down that there was something seriously wrong. I managed to doze off, my friend’s strange behavior topmost in my thoughts.
A gentle hand shook my shoulder. “Paul, we’re here.”
“Thanks,” I said through a yawn. “That was quick.”
“You just slept through most of it,” Dad chuckled. “I’ll help you with your bags.”
I looked around and saw Mike disappearing into the single story home. Frowning, I asked, “Dad, what’s wrong with Mike?”
“He’s just being a teenager. He’s been impossible since he got back from my brother’s place in Oregon last week.”
“I’ve never seen him like this,” I said.
“Well, if you can snap him out of it, we’d appreciate it,” the man replied as he opened the cargo door.
I grabbed my carry-on and smaller suitcase, and followed Mr. LaSalle into the house. I automatically turned down the hall, coming to stand in front of the room I thought I would be sleeping in.
“We forgot to tell you we converted the spare room into an office now that Gabe is off to college,” Dad said. “You’ll be staying in Mike’s room. I hope that’s okay….”
“Sure,” I replied with a moment’s hesitation, wondering if it would be okay with Mike.
When we walked into the room, we saw Mike on his bed lying on his side, facing away from the door. I looked at Mike’s father, who shrugged and put down the suitcase he was carrying. I continued into the room and put my bags on the spare bed that had been moved into the room for my visit. Mike’s eyes remained closed as I sat on the edge of the bed and watched Dad walk away, leaving us alone.
“I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
“Did I do something?” I inquired, concerned.
The silence stretched out into minutes. I sat on the bed watching my friend’s immobile body, his breathing the only sign he was alive.
I asked tentatively, “Did something happen to you, Mike?”
His penetrating gray eyes snapped open and bored into mine for a long few seconds, and then closed again. He didn’t speak.
“Mike,” I pressed, “what happened?”
“I told you,” he answered with some heat, “that I don’t want to talk about it.”
I stood, uncertain what to do. Memories of times when Mike was scared or hurting filled my mind, prompting me to sit on the bed behind Mike, and rest my hand on Mikes shoulder in an effort to comfort him.
Mike’s body jerked, almost in a spasm, and rolled away from me, allowing the smaller boy to get to his feet.
“Don’t touch me!”
Shocked, I could barely speak. “I…”
“Don’t touch me. I don’t like it. ”
“Mike, this isn’t like you,” I stated. “What’s bothering you?”
“Nothing is bothering me!” Mike snapped. “Look- drop it, okay?”
Our eyes met, and something passed between us. He was pleading with me to leave him alone.
Puzzled, I nodded. “For now, but you’ll have to tell me eventually. I’m going to be here a month, you know.”
His anger or frustration, whatever was fueling him, drained quickly. He turned away from me and sat on the bed. I shuffled over and sat next to him, looking at my hands in my lap.
“Mike, do you want me to be here?” I asked gently.
“Okay,” I replied. “I wasn’t sure you did.”
“Can we just leave this alone? Please?” Mike begged. “There’s nothing to talk about. I just have to get some things straight in my head, and then I’ll be all right. Okay?”
“Okay. Whatever you need.”
“Thanks, Paul.” Mike’s relief had an indefinable sadness in it. “Just… I want to take a shower, and then I’ll be out.”
“Okay. I’ll be in the family room.”
I rose and walked out of Mike’s room, not in the least reassured. I found Dad and Mom sitting on the back patio, talking. I opened the sliding glass door and joined them.
“All settled in?” Dad asked.
“Uh, not really. I was talking to Mike.”
“And?” Mom prompted.
“He’s taking a shower. He says he’s okay.”
“He bathes more than a fish,” quipped Mom.
“That’s what he told us, too. I think it’s just part of being a teenager,” Dad said with a sigh. “Hopefully he’ll work it out. It’s been a rough week since he came back.”
I asked, “Did he say anything about his trip up to Oregon?”
“I asked him how he liked it,” Dad answered, “and he just shrugged. I thought he would enjoy it up there, with the horses and fishing in the river. There’s a lot of land up there he could’ve explored, but my brother said he hardly ever left the house.”
“How long was he up there?”
“Three weeks,” Mom replied. “He seemed excited to go, but when he came back…” She shrugged with helplessness. “I think he’s just going through a phase, or finally wanting his privacy. He’s always been so open.”
The door opened, revealing Mike wearing a thin, fake smile. His eyes were red and his voice was low and rough, like he’d just been crying. He sat at the table next to me and across from his mom.
“Sorry, Mom. Sorry, Dad. Sorry, Paul. I know it’s been… I’ve been hard to live with since I got back home. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and no, I won’t talk about it. It’s something I need to deal with on my own. I’ll try to let it go and get back to being Mike, instead of this person I’ve been.”
I didn’t believe a word he was saying, but I let it slide for the moment, not wanting to confront him in his parents’ presence. Conversation surrounding what was happening with my family and new events with the LaSalles dominated the remainder of the afternoon. Every time Mike’s trip to his uncle’s was mentioned, he gave short answers and changed the subject as quickly as possible.
Dinner held another shock for me. Rather than eat the huge amount he usually did, Mike took only meager portions of the wonderful barbecue Mom and Dad put together for us. I couldn’t help but stare at him throughout the meal, trying to figure out what had changed him so drastically.
My scrutiny made him uncomfortable, causing him to fidget in his seat. He wouldn’t meet my eyes. He asked to be excused as soon as he had cleaned up what little food he had taken, and stated he was going to take a shower. His parents acquiesced, and their worried gaze followed him out of the room. I looked at the adults to gauge their state of mind and found them in much the same place as I was: confused and frightened.
On impulse, I stood and followed Mike down the hall to his room. He had his back to me, rummaging around in his dresser drawers. I walked up behind him, not being particularly quiet, and spoke.
He jumped and spun in mid-air to face me, letting out a yelp. I took a quick step backward, giving him some space.
“Fuck, Paul! Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“Mike, I didn’t sneak.”
“The hell you didn’t!” He angrily stalked into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.
I sat on the bed to wait him out. About fifteen minutes later, he stood in front of the door with a towel wrapped around him, staring at me. I stared back, waiting for him to speak, but he instead stomped into the room, retrieved some boxers from his dresser drawer and sweatpants from the floor before stomping back out.
I rose and followed him, preventing him from closing the bathroom.
“What now?” Mike asked.
“Mike, what is wrong with you?”
“I want to get dressed, and you’re in the way!” He barked. “That’s what!”
“This isn’t like you,” I said quietly. “You’ve never been afraid to change in front of me before.”
“Paul, just get out. Okay? Just go.”
“Fine,” I snapped, turned on my heel and shut the door firmly.
I stood outside the door, not certain what to do. We had both been looking forward to this visit for a long time, and now it seemed that Mike didn’t want me there. His entire demeanor spoke of nothing but antipathy and distaste.
Returning to the bedroom, I pulled out my book and settled in on the bed to read for a while. Mike came into the room a moment later, and then walked back out without saying anything. I made no effort to pursue him, determined to let things settle out before asking Mike once more if he wanted me to go home or stay with his family.
As it was, I didn’t get the chance. I fell asleep while reading, and woke up only briefly to undress and get under the covers.
I awoke in the middle of the night to hear someone talking. I listened more closely and realized it was Mike mumbling in his sleep, something I didn’t recall him ever doing before. As the minutes passed, his voice changed from mumbling to fearful whimpers, and then clear speech.
At that point I became concerned, realizing that Mike was having a nightmare. I sat up and looked at him, his form dimly illuminated by the stray light from the street lamp outside. As my friend continued his verbal denials, he began to move restlessly. I knelt on the bed and opened the window blinds so I could see what was happening.
Mike’s face was drawn up into a harsh frown, his head turning from one side to the other in harsh motions. His voice became louder and he raised his arms as if warding something off.
With a final, violent jerk, Mike screamed and sat up, looking around the room while pushing himself into the corner. He bent his legs and hugged his knees to him, staring wildly at me with no understanding. Only seconds later, the comprehension of his surroundings penetrated, and he collapsed into loud, heaving sobs.
I was off my bed and onto his in an instant, but, once there, I hesitated. How would he react to me? I didn’t want to startle him or hurt him, and I didn’t want him to hurt me either.
Crying, he shook as the body-wracking sobs continued. He did not respond to me.
“Mike?” I tentatively reached out and placed a hand on his arm. The moment I touched him, he flailed around, smacking his hand painfully into the wall, and tried to back further into the corner.
“Don’t…” he barked, and then his eyes met mine. “Paul?”
“I’m here, Mike,” I answered immediately, relieved that sanity appeared to be asserting itself. “I’m right here.”
“Paulie!” Mike wailed, and then launched himself toward me.
I had no chance to prepare, so he collapsed on top of me, desperately clutching at me, trying to hold on to whatever he could grab. I rolled toward the wall, laying us on our sides. Mike took advantage of it and wrapped his arms around me, burying his face in my neck, his crying unabated. Caught unaware at the whole series of events, I shifted around, trying to get into a position that did not threaten to rip the tendons in my arm. As I moved, Mike tightened his embrace to the point of pain
Mike growled, “Don’t leave me!”
“I’m right here, Mike,” I assured him. “I’m not going anywhere, but you need to loosen up so I can breathe.”
Mike relaxed his grip slightly and continued to cry hard for some time. My mind was whirling the entire time, wondering what could possibly upset my friend that much. Nothing short of a catastrophic event made sense, and that begged the question as to why he would hide such a thing.
I held him as his crying eased and then subsided. When I thought he was calm enough, I decided to ask him what was the matter.
“Mike, what was that?” I asked cautiously. “You had a nightmare. Do you remember what it was?”
He nodded, face still buried in my shoulder.
“Can you tell me?”
“Don’t – don’t want to,” came the muffled reply, broken up by a sharp intake of air. “You don’t want to know. I don’t want you to know!”
“Why not, Mike?”
“You’ll hate me.” He started to cry again.
“Mike, that will never happen, bro,” I said quietly. “Never. There is nothing you can do to make me hate you.”
“You j– just don’t know– ow…”
“Not unless you tell me, I won’t. C’mon, Mike. What was it?”
Time passed. I counted my breaths as I waited for Mike to make up his mind. I wouldn’t force him any more than I already had. If he didn’t want to tell me, then he wouldn’t.
“He– he hurt me, Paul!” Mike said a moment later.
“Who hurt you, Mike?”
“My– my uncle. He hurt me, Paul! Every day he hurt me!”
“He beat you up?” I asked.
Mike shook his head.
“Then what happened? How did he hurt you?”
Mike refused to answer. “You’ll hate me!”
“Mike, I won’t hate you. No matter what it is, I won’t hate you.”
He looked up at me, his eyes wary and guarded. “You promise?”
He continued to look into my eyes, and with a deep, deep sigh, Mike put his head back down and mumbled something unintelligible.
“I can’t hear you, Mike.”
He looked up again, his eyes now glaring, his face set in a mask of anger.
“I said, he made me do things with him!”
“What?” I asked, incredulous, as my stomach dropped. “What do you mean?”
Mike was quiet for a moment, and then took another deep breath. “He made me do stuff with him. Sex stuff.”
“Like… like jerk him off. Suck him…” Mike’s voice dropped to a whisper, “…and more. He… he… he fucked me, Paul.”
Stunned, I couldn’t speak. I didn’t know how to respond.
“You hate me now, don’t you?” Mike asked.
“No, no, no, Mike, of course not!” I said, hugging him closer. “I don’t hate you. How could you think that? I told you nothing can change that.”
Mike began crying once more, but this time with palpable relief. When he quieted, he spoke again.
“It’s my fault. It’s my own fault.”
“How was it your fault?”
Calm now, he pushed away from me and lay on his back, staring at the ceiling. I could see tears glistening in the light. “Because I asked for it.”
“You asked him to fuck you?” I asked, once more amazed at his assertion. “You asked him to fuck you.”
“No, not like that… He caught me, you know, playing with myself in the bedroom a couple days after I got there. He just… came right in and jerked me off, then asked me to do it to him, but he asked like he was going to beat me up if I didn’t.” Mike’s eerily flat voice dropped. “So I did. From then on he was, like, always touching me and stuff. He said that if I didn’t keep doing things with him, he’d tell my dad, and Dad’d kick me out because of what I’d done; because I’m a pervert. And then he started… doing it.”
“That’s bullshit!” I said. “You’re not a pervert any more than I am. You were being hurt and blackmailed!”
“Yeah, Paul. I am. When he was… When he was doing it, I got hard. I even came a couple of times.” Mike curled up in a ball, as though protecting himself from an unseen threat.
“So what?” I asked. “You get hard a hundred times a day without anyone touching it! Of course you’re going to get hard when someone is playing with it.”
“But I came, Paul!”
“Your dick doesn’t know the difference,” I replied. “Maybe you couldn’t help it. It’s not like you can control what your dick does. You know that. That’s why you carry your books in front of you at school!”
A slight chuckle escaped from Mike’s mouth, but his voice quickly returned to the helpless, dead tone he’d been using. “I’m gay, Paul. He made me gay.”
“Where are you getting this stuff from?” I wondered aloud. “Why do you think you’re gay?”
Mike shrugged uncomfortably. When the silence continued, he said, “I must be.”
“Because he forced you to do things with him?” I demanded.
He shrugged again and looked away.
“Look, Mike. You know that being straight or gay isn’t something that can be changed, right?”
“So, who do you want to have sex with. Guys or girls?”
He was quiet for a moment, and then answered, “Guys, I guess.”
“Not what you guess. What would you choose before this happened to you?”
“Girls,” he stated definitively.
“Okay, then. You’re not gay. You’re straight.”
“But… he said…”
“Mike, there is something you need to understand. He raped you! That was so fucking wrong I can’t believe it! And of course he’s gonna tell you all this shit so you won’t tell and get him in trouble! Nothing he told you is true! It’s all lies! You’re not gay, you’re not a pervert, and you didn’t ask for it! You need to understand that.”
“But, how do you know? How do you know that I’m not…”
“Because you just told me you’re not! Nothing – he – told – you – is – true, Mike! Nothing! He lied to you to make you think you were gay, to scare you. And even if you were gay, or Bi, or whatever, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Mike sank into me for a minute or two, lost in thought. I held him, letting him know he wasn’t alone.
“I can handle this,” Mike said suddenly. “It wasn’t that bad.”
“By waking up screaming every night? No offense, but if that’s how you’re going to handle it every night, I might have to sleep in the office anyway.”
“No, Paul,” Mike pleaded. “I want you… I need you in here with me. Please?”
“You can’t handle this on your own, Mike. No one can. You need help.”
He looked at me, biting his lower lip, much as he had as a small boy when making a tough decision.
“You’re not going to let this drop, are you?” He asked, hope in his voice.
“Mike, listen to me. You were raped. That is not something that you should hide. It hurt you. A lot. You need to get checked out by a doctor, to make sure he didn’t hurt you. You’re gonna need help dealing with what happened, too.
“Maybe you need to tell your parents,” I said after a pause.
His response was immediate. “No! I can’t!”
“Why not? Why can’t you tell them?”
“Because…” he trailed off and took another big sigh. “What if they don’t believe me?”
“Mike, listen to me. Your parents love you more than anything in the world. They’ll believe you.”
“And if they don’t?”
I thought about that, and realized he had a valid concern. His abuser was also his father’s brother. What if they didn’t believe him?
“Then we find someone who will. I’m here for a month; I’ll help you. I really think your parents will believe you, but if you don’t want to tell them, I can understand why.”
“I don’t want to tell anybody.”
“Mike, you had something terrible happen to you. Do you want it to happen again?”
“Fuck no!” Mike exclaimed angrily.
“Then why are you trying to protect him?” I asked pointedly.
“Yes you are!” I shot back. “Look at all the excuses you gave me for not telling: you’re gay or a pervert, so your dad will kick you out if he finds out. You wanted it. Bullshit you wanted it. What else? Your mom and dad won’t want you when they find out what you’ve been doing? Come on. Your parents love you and you know it.”
“Not after they find out,” Mike nearly whispered.
“Your mom and dad love you. It’s your uncle that doesn’t want them to find out! He doesn’t want to go to jail! That’s why he told you all that stuff!”
”But, nothing! He lied to you again to keep you quiet. Tell me I’m wrong!” I couldn’t believe what that guy had done to Mike’s thinking.
“Bro, you have to tell someone.”
“I can’t, Paul.”
“I’ll help you, okay? You need to do this! You need help. You’ve been having nightmares every night, right? I know you haven’t been yourself, and who knows how bad he hurt you?”
Mike began crying again, and I tightened my hold on him until he calmed down again.
“I’ll help, Mike. I’ll help you find someone to tell. I’m here with you, and I’ll help you. All right?”
Mike sighed. “Okay.”
“We’ll find someone. You aren’t alone, Mike. You are not alone.”
One night when I was ten years old, a man in his late-forties molested me and raped me for eight hours while I was in his care. From that night forward, I was unable to access the most basic part of who I was. It wasn’t until eighteen years later that I could finally put everything together and realize than I am gay.
The moment my abuser initiated the contact, my mind had to make sense of something that it was not ready to deal with. It was at that point I ceased being a child. At ten years old, I was not cognitively able to understand what was being done to me. I didn't know what sex was, or what it was about. My perception of the world and relationships was skewed by what was done to me. I was victimized from that moment, and my life changed.
Why have I put this here? Why would I want something so intensely personal to become common knowledge? There are a lot of things that a survivor can do, among them: become a predator/perpetrator, remain a victim, or become a protector and defender. I am putting this here because I know that at least one in ten are survivors of sexual abuse and, if by reading this I can help them, then the momentary embarrassment and vulnerability is worth it.
Why am I putting this here? Because I will not let that bastard keep me silent any longer. If I remain silent, he wins. If I do nothing, he wins. If nothing good comes of what happened to me, he wins. And I will NOT let him win any more. He took twenty-four years of my life from me, and I will NOT let him take even an instant more.
Sexual Abuse can be described as any unwanted sexual touch, or any sexual relationship in which there is an imbalance of power, be it physical strength or age difference. Perpetrators of Sexual Abuse can be an adult having sexual relations with a minor, or an older child having sexual relations with a younger child, whether voluntary or coerced.
No matter how minor you may think it was, no matter whether or not you believe you wanted what happened, it is still abuse. What happened to me was pretty low on the scale as far as abuse goes (one night as opposed to years), and it still damaged me badly enough that I couldn't realize I’m gay.
If you are being abused, TELL SOMEONE. Tell your parents if you can. If you can’t or don’t trust them, tell a teacher or a friend. Call your local abuse hotline. No matter what your abuser says, you are worthwhile and there ARE people out there who can help you. Don't keep secrets like this. Get help to stop it!
If you are being abused or have been abused – by a family member, family friend, or a stranger – it doesn't matter who – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
September 10, 2005