"I am 14 years old. One morning, when I was walking to school, a man approached me. He said that he was an undercover cop investigating gangs at my school. I told him that I was not in a gang. He pulled a gun, handcuffed me, and dragged me to his car. He told me he was taking me to the police station. Instead, he drove in another direction.
"While he was driving, I turned my face to look out of the side car window. I tried to get the attention of people in passing cars by silently mouthing the words, 'Help me, help me.' Finally, at a stop light, I made eye contact with the man driving the car next to me. But when the light changed, my kidnapper drove off and turned onto a road leading up into the mountains. I started to remember all of the news stories I had heard about girls being abducted, raped, murdered and abandoned in a deserted area.
"The kidnapper drove onto a dirt road and parked the car. He removed my handcuffs. He told me that he would shoot me if I did not cooperate. He forced me to orally copulate him. Then he raped and sodomized me. When I asked him to stop, he raped me again. When he was done, he pushed me out of the car. I started to walk down the mountain road, facing traffic, trying to flag down a passing car. A man and a woman pulled up alongside me. I told them, 'I've been raped, I need to go home and take a shower.' The woman put her arms around me and gently told me that showering could wash away evidence of the crime. The woman explained, 'We have to get you to a hospital where you can get the care you need.' The couple wrapped me in a blanket and drove to a phone booth where they called 911.
"I later found out that an hour earlier another 911 call had been received at the same police station. The earlier call had come from the man who had seen me in the car on the highway mouthing the words, 'Help me, help me.' He had given the police the license number and a description of the car.
"The paramedics took me to the Rape Treatment Center in Santa Monica, California where a counselor met me and stayed with me while I received emergency medical care and an evidentiary examination. Then I was taken to Stuart House where the police showed me a photo line-up. Instantly, I recognized the rapist. The police had already taken him into custody and photographed him while I was in the hospital ER.
"For months, I received counseling and other support services. Stuart House also provided Court School to help me prepare for testifying in criminal court.
"When I went to court, 20 gang members were there. The kidnapper who told me that he was working undercover to investigate gangs was himself a gang member. In court, his 'brothers' gave me the 'death stare' which is intended to scare witnesses and make them withdraw from testifying. But I was not intimidated. I was determined not to let them hurt me any more. My testimony and the other evidence was strong enough to convict the rapist. He was given a life sentence."