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The Morning After
Author: Whitney Richards





It’s over! I’m home and I can’t stop shaking. I 
hope my heartbeat doesn’t wake up my mom. My 
footsteps are heavy. “What happened?” I plead with 
myself for an answer but there are too many thoughts. 
I flip the light switch, look in the mirror and 
remember.

I met Ben through my friend Mark once before. He was 
funny, cute, nice, rebellious, and showed a lot of 
interest in me. I ran into him at Mark’s house on a 
warm night in June. We started talking and decided to 
go to a party together. We immediately started 
flirting in the car, poking, laughing, and tickling.  
I’m so good at flirting; I got the “best flirt” award 
in school. I think sometimes it gets me into trouble. 

The party was at a guy named Matt’s house. There 
weren’t many people there, but the beer on the 
counter was calling our names. We had a few drinks 
and were feeling tipsy. One thing led to another and 
we began kissing. He had a weird kiss; it felt like 
he was trying to eat me, spit me back out and eat me 
again. I guess he was just vicious. 

He took me to the front of the house and asked if I 
wanted to take a walk. After two steps, it hit me. 

“I want to go back,” I say, and the world turns over. 
I’m in his arms and he carries me down the street. I 
look up at the dark sky; I think of my mom. My family 
flashes before my eyes, how much they care about me, 
how much they love me. He throws me down behind a 
bush. 


“Let’s just go back,” I say. “Come on. You can’t 
tease me,” he replies. Tears roll down my cheeks. I 
get a sharp pain in my stomach.  I put my hands behind 
me to help myself up, but they are stuck under his 
heavy arms. I’m pinned down.  I remember wrestling 
with my sisters and what a struggle it was to get up, 
and how I threatened them I would tell mom and they 
would get in trouble. “Who am I going to tell this 
time?” I wonder. Reality kicks in. I’m under this 
stranger I barely even know. I hear my friends 
calling out my name but only silence escapes from me. 
Their voices fade, until they give up and leave. 

He takes me to his friend’s house, to a place where 
he can tear me apart once more.  He’s ignoring the 
heavy tears running down my cheeks. Is this a dream? 
Oh god, let it be a dream. I plead with him that I am 
waiting to lose my virginity until I am in love and 
married. I guess he feels for my proposal: instead of 
me losing it, he steals it. A sharp pain hits; he’s 
in me. I freeze up. My heart stops. Words try to 
escape from my mouth. I turn over, telling myself to 
wake up. He turns me back over and climbs on top. My 
jaw locks as I try not to burst. 

“Wow you’ve got a nice body, just one more time 
okay?” “No!” 

He continues like he doesn’t know what “no” means. 

“You won’t tell anybody will you; they will just 
think you’re dirty,” he says. After what seems like 
hours, he finally falls asleep. I attempt to get up 
but he tugs me back into his arms. I tell myself, it 
will all be over soon. Just breathe. 

At 6 a.m. I finally stand my ground and insist to be 
dropped off at my house. At my house my fingers shake 
as I try to punch in the garage code. It seems like 
forever until I finally get it down. I glide to the 
bathroom, trying not to feel the pain.

I look in the mirror and see a battered girl staring 
back at me, tears rolling down her bruised checks. I 
can’t help but stare in curiosity. She opens her lips 
to say something but nothing escapes from her mouth. 
The only sounds heard are the tears dropping into the 
bathroom sink. Who is she? And why? Inhale. Exhale. A 
familiar face. Oh my god. It hits me like a knife to 
the heart. This girl is me. I take my blouse off and 
a faint scream escapes. My 14-year-old body, the body 
that was mine, the body that belonged to me, is 
destroyed. 

“What’s wrong? Why are you home? You’re supposed to 
be at a friend’s.  Are you okay honey?” 

Oh god. My mother. If I open the door, she might 
know, and that will kill her.  “I’m ok…Mom, I was 
just fighting with my friends, I’ll be right out.”

Her footsteps fade as she walks up the stairs. I 
watch my childhood escape my body, as if I aged 40 
years. I miss it already. I don’t think I can take on 
this maturity so soon, but I have no choice. I sit on 
the toilet and my legs won’t hold still. The sharp 
pain, the blood.  My mind goes blank and my tears 
fall down my chest. I tell myself, “please don’t 
remember,” but I remember. Reach and turn the faucet 
on, hop in. The water trickles on my aching back. I’m 
so weak. I grasp the soap bar and wash my whole body. 
I feel so dirty. The soap bar is starting to hurt, 
but I am still dirty. I don’t even notice how long I 
am washing until a rush of cold water starts taking 
over. I sit down in the bath. I keep asking 
myself, “What happened?” I stare at the shampoo 
bottle, the one that once belonged to a beautiful, 
young, innocent 14-year-old girl. I wait a while then 
turn the shower on again, and repeat. Eventually I 
get out of the bath and put on a hoodie and sweat 
pants to cover my fresh flaws. My mom drives me to my 
dad’s house to stay the night with him. At my Dad’s 
house I hop into the shower and repeat the bitter 
cycle of grief over someone that I will never be 
again. In my bed I cuddle up in my sheets, thinking. 
I call my best friend Lindsey but she doesn’t answer 
the phone. I’m alone in this.

 A couple weeks after my assault, I turned him in 
to the police. It was the most challenging thing I 
have ever faced in my life. I opened up to my family 
as well, and nothing will be more painful than 
watching the tears roll down their cheeks once they 
heard. The rape was minor pain compared with the pain 
my family and I faced afterwards. I also found out 
that I wasn’t the only girl that he sexually 
assaulted, but I hope that I will be the last of his 
victims. Knowing that I might have prevented him from 
doing the same thing to another human being makes the 
tarnished image of my self more beautiful. A light of 
courage now shines through me and always will.