I remember the first time my step-father came in to my room. My mother was gone for the weekend. It was just him and me. I was scared at first, but he told me to relax, that were just going to have a sleepover. I was happy to have my first sleepover so I went along with it. This became a trend; every time my mother left he would come for a sleepover. I never questioned it; I thought it was just his way of making me feel safe till mother came back.

One night he made me take off my clothes, his excuse was that it was too hot to sleep fully clothed. I was only 6; I didn’t understand this was wrong. So I took them off and he touched me, I asked him to stop but he said it was ok. I fought him and he left, angry. I knew I had done something wrong. I was now scared of him. I started locking my room at night to keep him out. He scared me but I couldn’t tell my mother. I didn’t even know what I would tell her, I didn’t understand it myself.

He started watching me. Every time I turned he was there, looking at me like a starving man. I spent as little time as I could in the house. I did not feel safe in my own home. I started wishing more and more that my father had not died, that he would come and take me to a safe place.

Everything changed the night my mother had to travel for business. I cried, begged her to take me with her. She didn’t understand why I didn’t want to stay with Uncle Jim. Scared and confused, I let her go. That night, the locks on my door were pointless. He broke them and got in. He ripped off my clothes and got on top of me. My screams and struggles only made him laugh. I felt a sharp pain and he started breathing heavily and he was done. That night, I knew what rape was.

My mother died a few months after it started, I was now fully under his care. Every night, I would hear his footsteps; see his shadow at the door, the smile on his face. Hiding under my bed was futile, he always found me, and it seemed to excite him more when I hid. I stopped fighting him and let him have his way. I dreaded the night; I wanted daytime to go on forever so I would be safe. Gone was the girl who smiled all day, in her place was an empty shell that was barely alive.

Every night I ask myself why I have been left alone to suffer. As I kneel down to pray I hear him come to my room and I ask myself, is there really a God? If there is, where is He to save me?