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I was nearly twenty years old, and you were my friend. It was supposed to be a night to remember, but I never saw the many nights before telling me that you were dangerous. The night you locked the door and refused to let me out until you were done getting high, despite my pleas to leave. The night you tried grabbing my shorts as we walked down the cold and empty streets, telling me how pretty I was. The night you wanted to drive away in your car intoxicated beyond belief, and I had to throw myself onto your car so you wouldn’t drive.

But, the last night. . . the last night would turn my world upside down. I would never be myself again after the last night. You knew I was intoxicated beyond my cognition, as I stumbled onto the floor and you continued to put drinks in front of me. My eyes blurred and I was unable to focus on anything ahead of me. You sat me on the ground and stroked my hair telling me how beautiful I was. Then I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. You laid me on the floor, my body numb. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t find the door. I couldn’t feel the floor I was lying on. I didn't know where I was anymore. You had my life in your hands, and you took it away from me.

After the last night, I thought I would never speak of you. I thought I would never speak of what happened to me, but the pain became too much. You never got to see the countless nights I would lay on the cold hardwood floor crying over the shadow of the body that lied on your floor, but now follows me everywhere I go.

You never got to see the night I tried to get my heart to stop. You never got to hear the cries of my parents as they sobbed over the phone helpless from thousands of miles away. You failed to speak the truth. The case was thrown into the shredder. You got away, and I have to walk past you in fear on my university campus. 

You took away my safety. 

You took away my trust. 

You took away my dignity.

You took away my home.

But you did not take away my hope. My hope that there is light amidst darkness. My hope that there are better days to come. My hope that there is still good out there. My hope that I will keep fighting this fight. My hope that I will be okay. I still have hope, and as long as I have my hope I know it will conquer the shadow you cast upon me.

I will never give up.

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