I was 5 years old when the maintenance man in our apartment complex violated me. My mother worked nights and he
had a daughter my age and we were friends, so I would spend the night over there.

I was raped twice by the maintenance man in our apartment complex, molested all of my life by a cousin, my father, and
others who just wanted to “tickle” me.  I was raped again by someone I knew at age 16, then sold into sexual exploitation
by a female at age 18, where I was raped repeatedly at house parties.

MY STORY

When I was 5, we lived in apartments and there was a guy Richard, who was the sweet older guy. He gave gifts to me
and my friends, made us sandwiches, and gave us candy.  Until that fateful day, I didn’t know he was someone I now
would keep our kids from.  He sat on the couch wearing shorts that exposed himself to us.  We kept going over there,
because he kept buying us stuff and we didn’t pay attention to his weirdness.  We never told anyone because we just
thought he was “weird”.  

One day, my friend Allison & I went to Richard’s house.  She went into his bedroom and all of a sudden, she started
screaming.  I was scared, ran out the front door and didn’t help her.  That bothered me for a long time, wondering if I
couldn’t have helped her, and yet I still didn’t tell anyone.  

The next day I saw Allison and she wouldn’t talk. Not to anyone, not to me, not to her parents, not to anyone!  I went back
over to Richards’, like nothing happened.  Then it happened to me. I was tickled, forced to touch and then I was being led
into the back bedroom to get a gift that he said he had for me. Then, there was a loud banging at the door. Allison
apparently saw me going to his house, and ran and told my visiting grandmother what had happened to her.  She told
her that she just saw me going into Richard’s apartment.  My grandmother first called the police and before they
came, she came to his apartment and rescued me.  This man raped Allison and I was next. We weren’t the only ones
either; there were several girls who lived in that complex that suffered the same horrifying experiences.  Richard was
arrested and was sentenced to 50+ years in prison.

Allison & I had been best friends since we were 5.  I was always able to sleep over at her house and her parent’s always
let us stay up later than we should have.  She always let me sleep in her bed and she bunked on the floor in her sleeping
bag.  Her door was always kept open a little, probably for her parents to keep their eyes on us, to keep us from mischief.  

Allison’s dad was the maintenance man in our apartment complex.  Someone we thought we knew well.  He was a loving
man, always hugging and patting us on the bottom.  One night, I was awakened abruptly to some weird sounds; Allison’s
dad was masturbating over my face.  I was too scared to tell anyone.  I was scared and it was a while before I ever slept
over again.  

The next time that I slept over at Allison’s house was when I was 6. This time I asked her to sleep in the same bed, her at
one end and me at the other. This time if Allison’s dad came in, she would be able to be there and catch him. He came in
like clockwork, but this time it was different.  He held his hand over my face, dragged me into the closet and had his way
with me.  I never felt so worthless in all of my life.  Allison’s dad told me that if I ever told that he would tell my mom that I
was a bad girl.  At 6 years old, that is the worst thing in the world.  Why do people hurt children?  It is strictly a power trip,
not really about sex at all.  People go after children, because they can overpower them and manipulate the adults by
saying the kids are just making it up.  This is what happened when I told my mother about this.  But thank God, my mom
still moved “just in case”.  

I had a hard time trusting people, so I stayed around my family.  I loved my cousins.  Most of them were quite a bit older
than I was, especially one of them. He was my favorite; he bought me stuff and seemed to love me a lot.  He was always
hugging and kissing, petting and touching. Things kept happening, very sporadically though.  As I got a little older, I hit
puberty. That, according to my cousin, made me so special. So he often touched my changing and new growing areas,
making sure that they were "growing correctly" or those "other boys" would like them.

Then, at about age 14, I went to visit my dad, who at that time, had moved to West Texas. He lived with a girl there and
called me to come for a visit one summer. When I got there I had a great 2 weeks.  My dad didn’t stray long from his old
ways, though, which consisted of him drinking and passing out by mid afternoon. One day, I was in the guest bedroom
just listening to my radio when he asked me to come into the living room and spend some time with him.  He had been
drinking and stunk to high heaven. He hugged me and rubbed my shoulders, then rubbed my breasts, though he said it
was an accident. I let it go, because, my dad loved me, right? Then he put his hand up my shirt and tried to get his hand
down my pants. I took off running and went and lay out on the trampoline that they had, which was out in the yard, but a
long way from the house. My dad went into his room and passed out. I waited until his girlfriend got home, told her what
happened, and she called my mom. Within hours, I got an airline ticket to fly home, and his girlfriend moved out, too.  So
my life just seemed to be filled with the wrong kind of “hugging & loving," and I had, had enough.  

When I was 16, and living in Beaumont, Texas I was involved in all sorts of extracurricular activities, especially NJROTC
(Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps).  One day we were invited to take a test for the military. It was an aptitude
test to see where we would place for those of us who planned on going in the military right after high school.  I signed up
for this test and on a Thursday, I took that test.  It was easy and we were allowed to miss our first 4 classes in the
morning for it.  When the test broke, it was lunchtime.  

Some of us thought it would be cool to ditch the rest of the day of school and head out to the mall to hang out. This was
the first time I ever even considered ditching. The city buses were our best mode of transportation in those days, so off
we went.  We were all going in different directions with the intention of meeting at the mall later. What was the worst that
could happen, right?

Well, there was a guy named Calvin at my school who was an honor student, I had worked with him in the office. He
wasn’t in NJROTC, but had plans to go to military academy after high school so he took the test, too.  He asked if I
wanted to go with him to his house where he was going to change his clothes and then we would head out to the mall.  I
didn’t think anything of it, as we were all going to be meeting at the mall in an hour. Once we got to his house, he looked
at the bus schedule and the next bus didn’t come for about 20 minutes.  So while we waited, he turned on the TV and we
talked. His grandfather was in the other room, had Alzheimer’s and didn’t even know we were there. Calvin also had his
own separate outside entrance to his room.

He was starting to kiss my shoulder, and getting closer to my lips.  Then he started kissing me violently. Then he started
going further, faster and I was scared. I asked him to stop and he would not. He covered my mouth and forced himself on
top of me. I fought and fought and finally it felt like it was an out of body experience. I fought so hard that the only thing I
could hear was my heart beating faster and faster.  I cried and cried and it hurt so badly and I knew this was not because
he liked me. This was rape.

After he was finished, he got up and yelled at me because I had gotten blood all over his sheets. He pushed me off the
bed and told me to get out. I told him that this wasn’t right and that he raped me.  He said that I was a whore and a liar
and nobody would believe me.  After all, he was an honor student and so highly esteemed at our school. I asked him to
take me back to school and he told me off. Then I said what about all of the people who are waiting for us at the mall?  
He said that he wasn’t going now, because if he didn’t get the blood off of the sheets, his mother would kill him.  He
shoved me out of the house, with
my pants still down.

I walked in the general direction that I vaguely remembered the bus dropping us off.  My legs seemed very wet to me.  I
looked down and my pants were full of blood, blood had started filling up my shoes and I was bleeding heavily.  I knew I
was really in more trouble now. I started walking up and down the street and got lost.  I saw two African American men on
the front porch of a house near by and told them I had just been raped and I needed to get back to school. One of them
freaked out while the other headed to his car to take me. He thought I was going to accuse him of doing it.  I was shaking
so much and thought to myself that I must be crazy asking strangers for a ride.

Even though this crazy white girl had just stumbled upon them and begged for a ride to school only miles up the street,
the one gentleman gave me a ride back to school.  He put a cardboard flat box on the seat and drove me back.  He
questioned me the whole ride to school.  I didn’t say anything.  He begged me not to tell the authorities that he did this.  I
assured him, I knew it wasn’t him and knew very well who had done this to me, and I explained that I was grateful for the
ride.  

I always kept a gym bag in my locker with an extra set of clothes; I was in a lot of activities, so I would need to change
clothes from time to time.  If I could only get the gym bag, head to the locker room to take a shower, all of this would be
fine, I thought.  I was dropped off in the rear parking lot, by the track/football field. A friend of mine that I played all kinds
of sports with walked up to me and freaked out.  I told him I was too weak to go to my locker and needed him to go get my
bag.  He was scared and yelled as he was running to the building that he was going to go get the school nurse.  I was so
scared I was going to get into trouble for ditching school.

The school nurse came rushing out with the wheelchair, they picked me up and put a blanket over me and wheeled me
into the nurses office.  Due to the amount of blood, she put me in the bathroom, which was in the nurse’s office.  I was
getting weaker and more scared.  She called the local police officer in that patrolled our school and they questioned me
about all of this.  I finally told them who had done this and they all giggled.  They knew this kid, because he was an honor
student, smart and outgoing. They told me that the accusations were very strong and they didn’t think he was capable of
doing this type of thing.  They asked me why I would say something like this. I told them this wasn’t a lie. The school
nurse thought I was having a miscarriage because of all the blood. I told her that I hadn’t had sex before, so it was not a
miscarriage, but a rape.

Finally they called my mother who worked about 20 minutes away; she came very quickly.  I told her what had happened
and that I was getting dizzy.  I was losing so much blood.  The school didn’t call an ambulance until my mother demanded
that they did.  She couldn’t understand why they hadn’t done so, but they told her it would be a nightmare trying to
explain this.  They finally called an ambulance and off I went to the hospital.  The hospital staff immediately saw that I was
in grave danger.  The ER nurse came in and put a bucket under me.  Within a few short minutes, I had filled it with blood
and then they got worried, then brought a 2nd bucket.  I was getting weaker and weaker.  They called for me to have a
blood transfusion.  I had blood going in each arm.  I was wheeled into the pre-op area, because all of my medical vitals
were almost gone and time was of the essence.  

I was put under anesthesia and woke up in the recovery room.

The police never came to take a statement, but the doctors did. They told me that the reason for all of the blood loss is
that I was cut. I couldn’t figure that out. The doctor had asked me if the guy who did this had a knife or anything that he
was using. I told him I had seen nothing. He told me that I had been cut 9 ½ inches up, tearing my uterus. They did a test
and found that there wasn’t a weapon or object used. It was the force that caused extreme trauma. I had no idea what the
complications were.  The doctors told me then that I might never be able to have my own children.  I stayed in the
hospital for 3 days.

When my doctors said it was OK for me to go home, my mom picked me up. It was a completely silent trip home.  I
thought she was mad at me.  I was right.  When I got home, I went straight to my room to rest, and my room had been
trashed.  There were papers; notes, yearbooks and all of my clothes had been shredded.  I yelled curiously down the hall
to my mom to ask what had happened to my room.

John came out of his bedroom, and this man had a whole other look on his face.  He came out and got in my face and
said that he was ashamed of me and that I made him sick. I didn’t understand what this was about and he threw the local
newspaper in my face.  My high school counselor that I had worked for in the office for 2 years gave the report that was
on the front page.  She was in the nurse’s office too that day.  She told the newspaper reporter that I was gang raped by
a group of teenage boys (none of which they said went to my high school), while passing by our football field house. The
article also reported that I was wearing a provocative miniskirt showing my bottom and was the extreme “flirtatious” type.  
The article went on to read how out of control the youth of today are and how it is a parental problem that I was out of
control, and then it named my mother and John specifically by name.   I about died right then and there.  Weird thing
was, is that I had on a sweater and slacks and I wasn’t out of control, I was raped.  Truth was really distorted there, but
that didn’t make a difference to John.

John became furious at my dumbfounded expression and beat me up like a man. He punched me and knocked my head
into the wall and tore up everything in my room that pertained to school, boys, or anything else.  He called me all kinds of
racial epithets and a bunch of degrading words. He said I deserved it because I was asking for it.  This man beat me to a
pulp.  I had bruises and had just come out of surgery and was beginning to bleed again due to this trauma.  They didn’t
take me back to the hospital; just put me in the spare bedroom.  My mom was looking on from the end of the hallway and
never said one word.  I woke up 2 days later.

Due to the fact that Calvin was black, John felt justified by calling me all of those dirty names.  He went and pulled out all
of my yearbooks and was mad because this was a predominately black school and that all of my teammates and stuff
were black.  What was I supposed to say?  He is the one who moved us there, right?  He said that as long as I live, I
better never look at him, be in the same room with him, or let him hear me breath.  

A few weeks after my hospital discharge, I had to return to school and was told I had to go to the principal’s office first,
before entering class.  I was suspended for 3 days to an offsite suspension hall that was a school, but for troublemakers.  
I was suspended not for getting raped, but skipping school.  The one time in my whole life I ditched school and look what
trouble happens.  When I got to this suspension hall, guess who was there with me?  You guessed it, Calvin.  How scary
was that?  He didn’t get in trouble for what he did; he got in trouble for ditching school, too.  They had all of the time in
the world to punish him.  Why did they wait to punish us together?

I was petrified and begged to come again at another time, but they said I did the crime, so I would have to do the time.  
That was almost as cruel as the rape itself.  I was so freaked out, I told my mother.  She tried to press charges, but the
police interviewed the school staff and they held tight to their story that not one of their students were involved in this and
that it was a group of teenage kids from somewhere else.  I asked my mom to get an attorney because they were lying
about me, and she said that John wouldn’t have it.  He didn’t want any further humiliation.  No convictions were ever
brought for this case.

Eventually, after a rebellious phase, I was sent to live with my father in Washington.  I left Washington, only to befriend a
girl, who ended up selling me at house parties into sexual exploitation and then into a crime ring in Chicago.

HOW IT IMPACTED ME

It changed my life in a way that, if you haven’t been sexually violated, you can’t comprehend. I tortured myself for years,
didn’t have healthy relationships, didn’t have any type of self-worth, and instead of proving people that they were
wrong about me, I decided to show them that they were right.  

I didn’t live out my dreams or goals. I made excuses to self-sabotage and it messed me up mentally where I needed
treatment for a long time.  It wasn’t for many years that I found the right type of therapy, the right type of man, who
didn’t hurt women, but came to restore me.

WHY I AM SPEAKING OUT IN THE "NO MORE SECRETS" CAMPAIGN

I believe that the "No More Secrets campaign" is vitally important because we as women are worth more.  We aren’t
defined by our past, by what people said or say about us, and our past doesn’t dictate our future.  

God doesn’t like what happened to us, but he will use those who are strong enough to survive, to help others come
through it and to even go as far to help prevent future victims.  

Women are more powerful than people give them credit for, and it is time to flex our power – going from Victim to
Survivor!

MY WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVORS

There is life after violence, there is restoration, and there is hope. Take life one day at a time, learn to trust yourself
again, and become a survivor – going from Victim to Victory!  You can do it.  I believe in you.
If you have been sexually violated and need to talk to someone, you can do so confidentially and safely with RAINN. Get
the help and support you need at 800-656-HOPE or visit
Kimberly Benson had her innocence stolen
at the young age of five.

Multiple violations at the hands of those she
should have been able to trust left her broken,
stripped of esteem and emotionally tortured.

Today, Kimberly shares her story of how she
went from victim to victory and tells others
there truly is hope and life after violence.

"We are not defined by our past," she says,
even when it is full of painful memories.

This is her story in her own words.
Kimberly Benson
The "No More Secrets" campaign is sharing the stories of courageous women who survived sexual assault
and are now using their voices to let other survivors know, they are not alone. Warning: Readers may find
sexually graphic details extremely disturbing
© 2015 EEW Magazine. All rights reserved. Award-winning urban faith-based media specialist Dianna Hobbs has launched the “No More
Secrets” nonprofit campaign to make it safe for sexual abuse survivors to open up.
DISCLAIMER: The personal accounts of sexual violence you see on DontKeepSecrets.org were voluntarily submitted by participants in the
national “No More Secrets” campaign. These descriptions are based on their individual experiences and memories. EEW Magazine and
RAINN shall not be held liable for any statements, views or information shared. Testimonies do not necessarily reflect the views of EEW,
RAINN, Lamp Mode Recordings, or any agents or affiliated organizations