Last December, a 14-year-old Maine girl stood before a judge and faced the woman who sold her for sex to numerous men. She described the agony she had endured. Was life not worth living? she asked.
She didn’t talk about being repeatedly raped by strangers in Bangor and Boston hotels. With the words of someone far older, she shared how it changed the way she saw herself, stole her sense of self-respect and self-love, and made her feel less than human.
She talked about how she wanted to preserve her sanity to make sure what she’d been through wouldn’t happen to others.
“It doesn’t matter that I trusted them, and it doesn’t matter that the trusting was the first instinct,” she said. “I’ll turn the other cheek, sticking up for everybody who needs it.”