Ed. note: The following essay was written by Kelly, a local mother who asked to remain anonymous.
It has been months since my daughter was raped.
The word "rape" still catches in my throat. It can't be true, but it is.
My daughter has never been in trouble a day in her life. If it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone.
While attending a party with a friend, someone in the crowd of both familiar and unfamiliar faces slipped some GHB -- the date rape drug -- into my daughter's drink. This did not happen on a college campus or in a far-off big city. It happened right here in northern Michigan, in our own neighborhood.
What happened to my daughter next is only clear in her nightmares. Flashes of memories tell random details, but not enough to answer all of the questions that haunt her.
Who was it? Was there more than one? Where were my friends? Why didn't they help me? Where did the drug come from? Do I pass him in the hallways at my high school? Has he done this before? Will he do it again? WHY? WHY? WHY?
Unfortunately, we will never know the answers to most of those questions. The insidious nature of the date rape drug virtually erases most memories from the victim, who may not even be able to piece together what has actually happened until it is too late to gather any physical evidence.
This was the case with my daughter. Because she can't remember the face of her assailant, it can't even be a case of "he said/she said" as so many rape cases become.
So for now, he seems to have gotten away with this most unspeakable of crimes. It is almost more than I can bear, to think of her perpetrator carrying on his own life, unscathed.
My hope is that somehow, someone will still come forward and speak out. His friends know, I am sure of it. There were too many people there that night; someone had to have seen what was happening. I pray that the guilt they must feel for carrying around this secret will outweigh their wishes to remain uninvolved.
This event forever changed my daughter's life -- and mine, too, for that matter. What I have tried to make her understand is that this part of her past does not have to define her future. She is a remarkable young woman and I could not be more proud of her for the courage she has shown in handling this violation.
He has taken away her innocence, but not the promise of all of her tomorrows.