That’s me in the picture above; I was probably seven or eight years old at the time. Although I can’t remember every violators’ name or face, I probably had ten sexual partners by then. Fortunately, there was no physical damage other than never having the choice to save myself for marriage. But, the emotional and psychological damage was harrowing and changed the course of my life.

The first boy who initiated the sexual abuse used threats to make me comply. If I did something wrong or broke something, the only way he’d keep quiet was if I let him have sex with me. He threatened to not only tell, but exaggerate the story so I’d get into even more trouble. He also created wild stories about how I’d be punished and to my childish mind and overactive imagination, I believed him.

As the months wore on, it infuriated me that I was unable to stop it. My attempts at talking back or running away from him were futile. He simply overpowered or caught up to me. There was nothing I could say, nowhere I could go to prevent it from happening. I was his puppet and I couldn’t get away. And once he was assured of this, he planted the most horrific seed in my head.

While he raped me, he always told me what to do or how I should feel about it.  I always tried to zone out until he finished and I was free to leave. But that night, he whispered, “if a boy wants to do it to you, you’re supposed to let him.”

Shortly after telling me that, his friends started their grooming process with me. They told me they heard about what I was doing with their friend and threatened to tell my mom and everyone if I didn’t have sex with them.  I had been brainwashed and set up. I was too emotionally and physically weak to fight back. No one had ever spoken to me about sexual abuse so I believed I was the guilty one. I was too young to understand the irony of their threats and just knew I’d get in trouble if anyone found out.

Today, I wonder how many more girls feel the exact same way? And are acting out sexually because they were groomed to do so. If you know someone like that. please offer to help. I’m sure she believes no one cares.