We had been friends for nearly a decade. As a best friend to my brothers and like a son to my father, he was freely trusted.

He told me he was in love with me—that the only way for him to show his love was physical. I told him I felt his advances were cruel, that they showed me only hate. He proved his hate regularly under the guise of "love." I was confused because he believed he did love me. I thought that it would change if only I could explain to him that his "expression of love" hurt me. But reality and rationality were far from his mind. Somehow he convinced me that if I didn't give myself to him, I was torturing him, hating him, making him depressed and miserable. He convinced me that I was evil and cruel for withholding from him. He even convinced me that when I felt shame and guilt I was twisted and wrong for feeling such things. I thought that I was the one who was messed up, so I told no one. 

I can't count the number of times I cried about the things he did to me. The number of times I closed my eyes and imagined I was in another place far away from his "love." I mastered the art of separating my mind from my body and blacking out, needing so badly to be anywhere else. The first time he got me drunk and drugged me, but the many times after that I blacked out on purpose.

He never noticed. And he always told me he was the only one who could ever put up with my flaws: constant crying and "a guilt complex." 

I still wonder if it was real, if perhaps I simply am making this up so I don't have to face my guilt. But the nightmares of rape every night for over a year tell a different story, assuring me that my subconscious knows what my mind can't bear to face. I was raped many times by a man I thought loved me. And still, many years later, I can't bear to tell my family. Nobody but God saw the tears I have cried. 

And now, I am ready for a new start. For redemption and restoration. I believe it is coming. I believe in the new day and sunrise and resurrection, and look forward to its arrival.