The story of this young girl is not easy to accept.

We wish we never had to make a video like this, but whether we like it or not this story needs to be heard. We have distributed over 3.7 million promise cards to over 150 countries and we have never seen a promise like this.

Sometimes the most difficult thing to do and the right thing to do are one in the same.
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“I grew up in a really great family, in a nice town. I was pretty outgoing and talkative as a little kid. My parents are wonderful and supportive. They raised me to be strong, and always encouraged me to explore and try new things. My family was really close during my childhood. We even had a family game night almost every week.

I tried just about every sporting activity you can imagine during elementary and middle school. Soccer, tee ball, dancing, swimming, figure skating. It was dancing and figure skating that I loved the most and stuck with me through high school.

Like most teenagers, that’s when I started dating. I was 15 when I met a boy who would change my life forever. He was from a neighboring school; he was cute, and so sweet to me. We started dating a few weeks before homecoming weekend. We settled on an agreement. We would go to his high school’s homecoming football game, and he would come to my high school’s homecoming dance.
I was pretty excited the night of the game. The weather was beautiful, and the game was great. His school’s team won. I even got to meet some of the little kids he coached in football. During that game, I grew to like him even more. The game ended, and we decided to walk back to his house. It was only a 10-minute walk from the high school.

We were about a block from his home when he asked if I would sit with him and look at the stars for a few minutes. I had told him during one of our first conversations that I loved looking at the stars. It was cute that he had asked. It was such a romantic gesture, and I was surprised he even remembered, so we sat down in the grass in a neighbor’s side yard a block from his house.

Unfortunately, that is where my life would change forever. In that yard, under that sky, he pinned me down. I struggled. He was not the boy who I thought he was. I wanted to scream, but nothing came out. He raped me.

Everything in my life was separated after this into two parts: before, and after. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents about what he had done to me. A lot of people experience posttraumatic stress disorder after a violent sexual assault. For me, that meant every night, a vivid nightmare would play where dreams once were. A moment you want to forget forever now becomes a flashback during class, lunch at school, at the dinner table with your family, over and over again.

I started to skip school more than I went. The once outgoing part of me became shy and quiet. I began to self-harm. Eventually, the school intervened because I was disrupting class by leaving in the middle of lessons, crying. The school counselor recommended to my parents that I enter an outpatient mental health program. They still didn’t know what had happened, what he had done to me, but later that night, I broke down and told them. It’s a hard thing to say out loud, but with those words, I was finally able to breathe again. I didn’t have to bear that weight alone anymore. After some time had passed, I told myself it was too late to tell the police, that I should try to forget it, but in counseling I learned that this isn’t something that can just be forgotten.

One day, I promised that I would testify. I promised to prosecute, and I did. He was sentenced. The truth is, though, that this story isn’t about me. It isn’t about the person who harmed me, either. I testified against my rapist because of a complete stranger. A person who, in fact, I will never meet. Let me explain. You see, someone who is willing to violently abuse another human being, well … they might do it again, and again, and again. I testified against my rapist to protect a stranger, someone who will never have to know the pain that I have been through because the man who is going to assault them is in prison now. He’s going to think twice before ever doing what he did to me to someone else.
Perpetrators need to know that prosecution looms over their shoulders. Survivors, we need to find the courage to prosecute. We cannot change what happened to us, but we can control whether or not we choose to fight back. You may think it’s too late, but it’s not. It’s never too late to take a stand. It was a difficult time for me, but you know what? I don’t care. I would prosecute again in a heartbeat. I will not stand idle, I will not let this happen without consequence. This isn’t justice, it’s protection. The thought that maybe some young girl out there sleeps better tonight because I scraped together enough courage to stand trial, because I fought so she wouldn’t have to … This story isn’t about me.
My rape doesn’t define me. I’m defined by my actions. I define myself by the good I bring into this world, not by the good that was taken from me. I testified against my rapist because I said I would.”


If you have been affected by sexual violence, please know that you are not alone. Visit http://rainn.org for more information, resources and support. We care about you and so does RAINN.