I grew up knowing sex was a bad thing. I was born 9 months after my mother was raped. She was only 16 and her mother had forced her to keep the baby.  My mother never let me forget this fact. Every day, she would remind me that men were beasts, that my birth had sealed her fate and ruined her life.

Filled with shame and guilt, I was a shy girl. I avoided all men, even my teachers. High school was not easy for me. My mother took it upon herself to take me to school and pick me up so she could make sure no boys talked to me. I was living in a prison.

Mike was his name, he was my desk mate. We spent four years sitting next to each other yet I never uttered a word to him for the first three. He struck up a conversation and insisted on talking till I responded. Before long we were friends. I was still terrified of men, but he was nice to me. So I plastered on my fake smile and laughed at all his jokes to avoid him getting angry with me.

He was the perfect gentleman. Not once did he say anything inappropriate or touch me in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. We only spoke in class; once we got outside I ignored him. My mother would have killed me if she knew I was getting friendly with a boy. I was supposed to run in the opposite direction if one said hi to me. He never understood why I did this, but he came to accept it. Stolen moments during break and lunch where we confided in each other. He told me his secrets, I kept mine to myself. He was my first crush and I felt guilty and sad that I was going against my mother.

After high school, we kept in touch. He asked me out for lunch and I gladly snuck off to meet him in secret. It was just like in the movies I watched. The adrenaline of a secret rendezvous excited me and I was no longer scared of my mother. In one moment, everything changed.

I had snuck off to the park to meet him for a picnic. We talked for hours and before I knew it, it was dark. Panic hit me and I started making excuses to leave. He agreed to walk me home and put his arm around me. This was new, panic bells went off in my head but I ignored them. I was happy to have a guy pay me attention, just like in the movies. He leaned closer and kissed me, I resisted and he got angry.

In four years I had never seen him angry. In my state of shock I didn’t notice him push me to the ground and take of my clothes. Reality dawned on me as I felt a moment of pain. I tried to push him off me but all I got in return was blows to my face. When he was done, he told me I was to blame for this, that he never meant to hurt me, i had teased him for years. He walked of and left me there, battered and used.

Shame and guilt washed over me. I dragged myself to the bridge and stood there. My entire life mother had warned me. All I had wanted was to be like the other girls, to have a boy interested in me. To prove my mother wrong. She hated me for what had happened, she would agree with him, I had asked for this. I stood on the edge, tears running down my face. I had a decision to make, live and move or to end it all once and for all