I was raped at 15, by a man in his 40’s, in a trusted position, who locked me in a horse stall and did whatever he wanted to me. At 30 I finally found the strength to take my rapist to court. Before that, were years of low self-esteem, abusive relationships, and self-sabotage. Years of thinking it was my own damn fault, because I was from a nice family, and I was a smart girl and I should have known not to get myself in a position where a man could lock me up and steal my virginity. Years of thinking this was all I was worth and all I was good for. Years of not coming anywhere close to reaching my potential academically or socially because I was unable to see my own value. Then I became a mother and realised I had to deal with my demons to raise my kids right. After several years of counselling I felt brave enough to face that bastard in a courtroom. And I did, for me and for all the other girls I knew he had access to. He ran a horse boarding farm. Potential victims were plentiful, and I knew — and the police knew — of at least two more young girls he’d raped, who had told their stories, but were not ready to testify. I was ready. And it was horrible. The trial was horrible. The judge was horrible. Looking at that smug face across the courtroom was horrible. But he was convicted by a jury. That kind of made it all worthwhile. Until the sentencing. He got four months. Out in one, with time served. The judge’s reasoning? I had not grown up to be a drug addict or a prostitute, so obviously, I had not been very affected by the rape. True story. Rape culture, yes. That’s what we live in.