Sarah’s Story: I Was Only 14

Sarah’s Story: I Was Only 14

Starting high school was a huge transition for me, as I am sure it is for most young girls. I lived in a city with two high schools. Many of the friends that I grew up with either went to the other high school or were no longer taking the same classes that I was. Then I met A in my 9th grade English class. She was 15 and she was the most fascinating person I had ever met. She invited me over to her house and I found out that she lived in the same neighborhood that I did.
She introduced me to so many new people, including him.
I had on the two-piece dress that she let me borrow. It was spandex. Light-blue and white plaid with daisies printed all over it. It fit my 14-year-old body like a glove and I could hide the fact that it exposed my lower stomach from my grandma if I slouched a little. So I did, until I got around the corner from my house; where I confidently walked the rest of the half-a-mile to her house in my clear, jelly sandals that only the coolest girls wore in the 90s.
I noticed a new car parked near the curb of her house as I got closer. She motioned for me to come over and introduced me to her boyfriend, C. I stood there as she finished talking to him and kissed him goodbye. Then we went into her house to watch MTV and act like teenage girls do.
That night, my grandma called me to the phone. “It’s for you.”
“Hello?” I answered.
“Hey, my name is S. I saw you at your friend’s house today.”
S began to explain that he was A’s boyfriend’s younger brother. A’s boyfriend was 27. S was 24.
I don’t know why I didn’t hang up the phone. Maybe it’s because A was so cool and if she was dating a 27-year-old man, I could be cool too.
S continued talking to me for a while. He called me daily, when I got home from school. He flattered me with compliments about my body. Before long, he convinced me to meet up with him. The perfect opportunity presented itself when my after-school practice was cancelled. Instead of letting my grandmother know about the cancellation so that she could pick me up early, I told S that he could pick me up and drop me back off when practice usually ended.
That afternoon, I focused on walking as much like a woman as I could as I scanned the parking lot for his tan-colored pick-up truck. There it was, right where my grandmother usually parked. I walked up and hopped in the cab, seeing him for the first time. He pulled out of the parking lot and began driving. He lived in the next town over, about 20 miles away. I sat nervously as he talked about how excited he was to meet me. He told me he could rap a freestyle for me with my name and then he did, ending with “except Sarah, cause she’s my baby.”
Eventually we pulled onto a dirt driveway. There were a few empty mobile homes scattered around. He drove up to a single-wide and parked. I climbed out of the truck and followed him in. There was no electricity. It was furnished with an old couch in the living room and a queen-sized mattress in one of the bedrooms. He sat down on the couch and pulled me onto his lap. He reached his hand down the front of my pants and began feeling around, then snatched my pants open and said “I don’t like ‘em bald, now!” A had talked to me about shaving and how much her boyfriend liked it.
He took me to the room with the queen-sized mattress and told me to lay down. I don’t recall saying much of anything. I remember being very nervous. I was so far from home. No one knew where I was. I didn’t know him. I did what I was told. He took my pants and underwear off and began performing oral sex on me. He paused and put his hands on my stomach, “Look at your little flat stomach.” He smiled wide, revealing the large gap between his front teeth. He got on top of me. I don’t remember anything after that.
That night, I took a bath. I felt myself and how unusual my vagina felt. It was sort of…open.
A couple of days later, I was very itchy. There was discharge. I had to ask my grandmother to get me some medication for a yeast infection. He called again. I told him about it. He asked if he could see me again. There was another cancelled practice soon and this time he took me in the woods and parked his truck. He had a mattress in the back. I told him I was worried that the yeast infection medication would break the condom.
At some point he started asking me to sneak out to see him. It was like I became insatiable and I was sneaking out several nights a week. Sometimes we were in his car or truck, we went to his mom’s, and eventually he got his own apartment. I felt so much guilt for wanting to have sex with him so much. It went on for several months.
The last night I went with him, we went to his apartment. He left me there to go pick up his brother, A’s boyfriend. He told me to go in his room and wait for him. After we had sex, he asked me to go get something off of the tv stand in his living room. Naked.
“But C is out there!”
He pulled a gun out from under his mattress and held it against the side of my head. “Now.”
I went. C was asleep. S laughed. I told myself that was it. If I made it home, if God would let me get home safely, I would never go with him again.
I kept my promise to God, but S wouldn’t let me be. He continued to call me and tell me all about things he had seen me doing each day. He would drive past my house or show up at football games and watch me perform. He would park near my house and follow me when I went out with new friends or boyfriends.
When I moved off for college, I figured I was done dealing with him. I was wrong.
10 or so years later I got a friend request from him on Facebook. He started messaging me, calling me by my first and middle name. He told me how much he loved me. I got the courage to tell him that he was a pervert and a 24-year-old man had no business with a 14-year-old girl. He messaged me and tried to act like we could have been together if it weren’t for my grandparents being racist. He made a Facebook post about it being such a shame that people couldn’t look past skin color and allow love to exist.
I thought that was it. I was wrong again.
In July of 2018, I went to Atlanta, Georgia with my friend J. We were attending a fitness conference and enjoying a girl’s weekend. We shared selfies with all the appropriate hashtags and tagged our location. On the third day of the conference, we went to our first scheduled class and worked out extra hard. We were starving and we decided to return to the in-house restaurant at the hotel we were booked at. When I walked into the restaurant, I locked eyes with him, and quickly looked away. I ushered J to the first available booth seats, facing away from him. I felt my breathing getting faster and I started to get tunnel vision. I whispered to her “Can we please leave?” She could see I was not okay and nodded her head. We walked to the elevator, quickly. I didn’t speak until I sat down outside the door of our next session, curled up in as tight of a ball as I could get in. I was trying to hide. She asked if I was okay and I told her that S was a stalker. I texted my husband. He asked if I was okay. He immediately blocked S on all social media from his accounts and our children’s accounts. He told me to block him too.
I have spent years beating myself up for being so stupid. Why did I go with him? Why did I talk to him on social media? Why didn’t I block him?
Then I watched Surviving R. Kelly. Everything his victims, the psychologists, and the people who knew him began to resonate with me. It has been a rough week trying to process all of the realizations of how I was abused. What he did to me was not okay. I was only 14.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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