I’ll never forget their faces, even though I only met with them once: A mother and daughter, both looking terribly shaken, both wishing they could be anywhere but where they were.
Where they were was with me, inside a small room used for counseling at our local rape crisis center. They were there because the 14-year-old girl had been raped a little more than a month before by a young man she knew. He’d ignored her when she said she didn’t want to have sex, and when persuasion failed to do the trick, the blade of a knife convinced her to comply.
She hadn’t reported the rape for a week. That’s not unusual. There’s no telling how someone might respond to a rape. Some become “expressive” and are visibly upset. Others turn it all inward and try their best to pretend nothing happened. They might feel numb and look stunned, but won’t talk about the attack or seek help.
The teenager in front of me had tried to keep it all inside, but after a week, she finally told her family. They took her to the hospital for treatment and a police interview, but it was too late by then for her to make use of the “Plan B” contraceptive pill. All they could do was wait and see whether the unthinkable happened.