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When I was 15, my then boyfriend Luke took advantage of me. I decided to break up with him, but my horrifying experience didn’t end there. So I was sitting in class when my teacher approached me and asked me if there was a video with inappropriate content connected directly to me that I should be concerned about. I felt my blood drain from my body. Not only had the experience been traumatic, but now my teacher overheard other students talking about a video possibly showing that intimate and scary event. I was told to head over to the school office and talk to the school police officer. Luke was interrogated before me. I walked over to the office well aware of the stares, the hushed comments around me. I was sweating. I wanted to cry. I felt everyone was looking at me like I was dirty.
When it was finally my time, the officer sat with me and explained that he had talked to Luke and he seemed to be shocked about the breakup. He said he checked the video in his camera and could not find evidence of the video other students were gossiping about. Better yet, he proceeded to recommend me to get back with him to show everyone that it was nothing but a rumor. There was no evidence. I had no case.
Luke began to stalk me. I no longer felt safe in school. One day, while I was at my friend’s house, he started calling me, leaving messages saying I was going to regret leaving him. The next morning, he left a message saying he was inside my house. We found him inside my apartment. The police showed up shortly after. He was arrested and I requested a restraining order. When I also shared with the police about the video, I was told they couldn’t do anything without evidence. Having been abused was not a criminal concern. But the restraining order was issued and retained.
I decided to go back to school. I wanted to be part of the Film and Media School, but I was informed by its principal that Luke had signed up for that school and because of the restraining order, I could not attend the same school. I joined cross country in the hope of making new friends. He joined the day after. I was told by the team to drop out because it was unfair for HIM. After the restraining order, things got very violent. I was not only bullied verbally but also physically. Not that many people wanted to talk to me. The restraining order caused me problems because I was restricting HIS life. Because it was unfair to HIM. I dropped out of school shortly thereafter. I slept with a knife under my pillow and a baseball bat next to the main door. Fear, guilt, and self-loathing drowned me for years.
Today, this all seems too surreal to be true. I was neglected by the adults whose vocation is to teach, help, and protect their students. They weren't particularly keen on condemning a young person's future for a crime they committed when young. They said that it would affect HIS life, but in the end, it affected mine.
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