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Middle school can be absolutely awful.  It’s bad enough being surrounded by hormonal bitchy friends and having to publicly go through awkward new body developments, but it’s also the breeding ground for rumors.  Middle school sucks.

I grew up with strict parents who kept a pretty tight leash.  So when my mom let me go to to a Halloween party by myself I was floored and I think they were pretty unprepared.  Naturally she made me participate in some stupid “Just say boo to drugs” event first, but the fact that she was trusting me to go to a party without them or either of my brothers was a new concept.

It was the fall of 1997.  I was 13, but I wasn’t like most of my friends at all.  My libido hadn’t kicked in yet and I was more interested in boys for their fart jokes than I was for them thinking I was pretty.

Of course I was late to the party and rather then holding the entire party up, two of my guy friends fell behind to wait for my mom to drop me off so we could go trick or treating together.  Things were going great.  It was my first night of pseudo-freedom, I was with two guy-friends (lets call them Jared and Jake) who I actually enjoyed being around and I was getting free candy.

Jared, Jake and I were approaching a house when we saw a group of guys correlating in front of a house; two of which we knew from school and church (let’s call them Craig and Peter).  Craig was about five feet and pretty porky.  At least double my size back then where as Peter who was tall and slender. We decided to approach them to say hi, but something was off.

As we approached the scene it was pretty apparent that the group had been drinking.  With such straight parents, I wasn’t too familiar with was “wasted” looked like, but I can remember as bizarre slur of words and the weird smell of peach schnaps.

Everything happened so fast.  I can remember Craig taking me aside, putting his arm around my shoulders and flirting with me which I just thought was weird. Then he started to say foul things to me. Once I regained my personal space, I tried to leave, but then noticed my friends were cornered by the rest of the goons.  The scene was very 80’s brat pack where the big older bullies try to steal candy from the small nerdy boys…not that either boy was nerdy at all.

I tried pleading with Craig to let us go, but that seemed to just piss him off.  He grabbed me and put me in a headlock.  All this time I thought he was kidding.  That was until he started insisting that he’d let me got if I’d give him a BJ–keep in mind that at 13 I had just learned what a blow job was and the idea of anyone’s penis being within 12 inches from my face made me want to throw up.

The rest of the moments blurred together, but two things I clearly remember; one was the disgust I felt as I saw him reaching for his zipper with one hand and pushing my locked head with the other. The second was standing over him after flipping him over my knee.  Silence.

Seeing their 180 pound friend being body slammed over the knee of some scrawny 13-year-old girl gave us our chance to leave and we walked away.

Walking back to the party my friends kept asking me if I was OK and my thoughts were, I’m not bleeding, the penis stayed inside his pants and I just flipped a boy twice my size over my knee…I’m awesome.  It wasn’t until we got back to the party that the overwhelming emotion surrounded around the question “why” took over my body and I feel to my knees and started to cry.

Naturally, the on duty parent made a call to my parents and my mom-or maybe it was my dad-sped to the party location, picked me up and called the police after what had happened was confirmed with both me and my two companions.

I can remember the next week was a nightmare.  The police had contacted my parents to let them know they had picked up “the suspect”.  The next couple of days were spent re-telling my story to teachers, social workers and even the school resource officer.  It was embarrassing.

Craig eventually returned to school and that’s when the harassment began.  There was his side of the story, my side of the story and then there were the rumors.  I wasn’t really interested in ever seeing speaking to Craig ever again, but my parents demanded that I never have to see him again which involved an entire change in my schedule.

At some point I can remember being harassed by some of Craig’s friends and just hearing one person call me a liar made me feel like everyone thought I was.  Once I even heard someone say that I had accused him of rape.  By no means did I ever feel like he was going to rape me, but it felt like every time I attempted to extinguish that rumor, someone else would over hear me say the word “rape” and a new rumor would start.

As everything in the world, the hype eventually died down and my “event” was talked about less and less and then someone in our class got pregnant which was like god-send to me.  The less drama and chat surrounding Halloween of 1997, the better.

When I got to high school I learned that Craig had dropped out.  That was a legal choice you could make at 16 in Florida.  Whether that was true or not, I had no idea.  I basically never heard from or about him again until three years later.  That’s when I learned he had died…allegedly from an Oxy overdose.  I was in psychology class when the announcement was made.  I don’t even know why my teacher announced it.  I remained silent, but my own paranoia made me feel like everyone was staring at me.  There was maybe one or two peers in my class who probably were staring at me because they had remembered the rumors…but my stomach turned much like it did every time I saw Craig in the halls when I was in middle school.

Almost 14 years later, somehow my fiancee and I were discussing sexual harassment issues when I told him my story.  He was so dumbfounded that I had never discussed the matter…I was more amazed about how much I could and how much more I could not remember.  I knew that another 14 years from now I would probably forget the event in it’s entirety so I needed to get the events on paper…or at least on the internet.