“It seemed impossible at first, the sight of a grown man touching on me and me allowing it to happen.”
Denise, a struggling teenage girl from the swamps of Caldwell, says she would never have imagined that a man she knew very well would abuse her.
Sixteen years old and just out of high school, Denise says what happened to her three years ago under the pouring raindrops that drench Liberia during the rainy season, is a day which she will never forget.
“This man was someone my entire family depended on, but whenever he and I were left alone, he harassed and molested me to his satisfaction,” the fragile teen recalls.
“At first I thought maybe I threw him signs or something that made him attack me the way he did. I don’t know, but I’m sure that it was my fault one way or the other,” she accused herself.
Denise clearly blames herself, something that many victims tend to do. And for her, she feels she’s at fault for the counseling, sleepless nights and nightmares that she’s now faced with.
“After he jumped on me the first time, I was terribly afraid to tell anyone. First of all, I was in so much pain and was too busy trying to find ways to make it all go away,” she recalled.
“I couldn’t tell my family because I knew that they would look at me like dirt. I couldn’t let that happen, so I handled it alone and allowed him to constantly have me. All in all, he had me more then 10 times, I counted each time and will never forget it,” she recollected.
During the interview, Denise, who asked that her real name not be mentioned, anxiously looked around as if trying to see something that might appear.
She says she’s afraid of her assaulter and wished that she had reported him to the police many years ago.
“Years ago when this thing was happening to me, I contracted some kind of sickness that made my stomach swell and that’s how my family found out what was happening,” she shared.
“I didn’t plan to tell them but the infection was serious and while I was getting treated at the hospital one day, I overheard my ma saying she would ask the man if he had raped me.”
According to the teen, the man escaped questioning. “When we came back from the hospital, the man was gone.”
Though the family says no charges were ever pressed, nor were there any police reports supporting the allegations, Denise says she has been hoping to catch the alleged rapist.
“He’s no doubt a monster who hurt me for months. Not small pain I went through and I know he’s somewhere doing it to some poor little girl. The same kind of girl I was when I was 13 years old,” she added sadly.
Meanwhile, Denise has decided to speak out about her ordeal and is pleading that women who have been assaulted and raped do the same.
“The rapist aren’t many and if we catch the ones who have done it to us and are still doing it because people like me are afraid to tell the police, we can control this wicked act,” she added.