Fear silenced me. Love helped me speak my truth.

Three weeks before my sixteenth birthday, I was sexually assaulted by three of the most popular boys in my school. They threatened to kill me if I ever said a word.

For two years, I kept my head down and my mouth shut. And then Ian happened. When the new running back from out of town asked me to tutor him, something made me say yes. Even though all of my survival instincts were screaming at me to run, something about him made me feel safe. Safe enough to trust him with my truth.

But when the people who had ruined my life found out I’d broken my silence, Ian and I found ourselves playing a dangerous game we didn’t know the rules to…with people who would stop at nothing to duck the consequences of their actions.

Note: This story was previously published in 2019 as What Doesn't Kill You, but it has been reworked with new content edits.

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