Amazing Grace

                                 ~Hilda Martinez

       The obstacle I had to overcome was being raped. It happened the first week of December, ten years ago in Mexico City . I was hardly seventeen. That morning, as usual, I took the bus to go to school at about 6:30 a.m. As I was walking down the street, I instinctively turned back to see my mother. She was standing at the door of our house waving her hand charmingly. She said something that I could not hear because I was in a hurry and shivering. A cold wind touched my face; it reminded me that Christmas vacation would come very soon. I did not know when and how, but two men got into the bus with handguns and started shouting and shooting at us. They wanted money, so they stole cash and some jewelry such as rings, bracelets, earrings, and watches from all of us, but they stole more than things from me. They destroyed my dreams, my peace, and my tranquility. After that my soul was captured by anger, hatred, and revenge. My omniscient mind did not remember how it happened. As a shield to protect me, my memory blinded and blocked it out. I also did not know how long I was unconscious on the ground. The first thing I saw when I woke up was the moist tongue of a skinny, white puppy dog licking my face. A strange foul odor of waste invaded my nose and made me sneeze. After awhile, I realized that I was in an open garbage dump. Suddenly, I heard the sweet voice of an elderly lady, singing like an angel as bright as the shining as the sun.  I got up as fast as I could. Running from the filth of that place, I came upon my angel whom I implored for help. I have never forgotten this beautiful woman who rescued me and helped me to reconnect with my family again. After the storm calmed down, my brain was able to connect ideas, so the first thing I did was make a two-page report at the police station. However, the police did not help me much because I could not identify the men who had raped me. The only thing they gave me was a pile of abortion pills. The pills were my right according to the law, but they only made me feel sick and horribly depressed. At that time abortion was prohibited in Mexico except in cases of rape.

When I finally arrived home, my family embraced me. Their patience and love made me feel comfortable and secure. My mother taught me how to smile, laugh, and express my feelings again;  meanwhile, my father felt powerless because he could not protect me from such evil deeds.  I also had many therapy sessions with a psychiatrist, but for two long years I was still afraid to go outside by myself. Then my family came up with the bright idea that moving to another place might help me, so I did. I left the crowded and dangerous city for a small but peaceful island, Isla del Carmen Campeche , Mexico , located south of the Gulf of Mexico . Moving to this place was the best decision I could have made because I started going outside and making friends. Another positive step I took was to learn the power of healing forgiveness by reading religious and self-esteem books. I also attended conferences and connected with women who had been raped like me, which helped me to better understand my problem. But it took me more than five years until I could forgive. After I forgave my assailants, my soul was free. I threw away the heavy chains of hate that I had been carrying on my shoulders. Now I can say “love is a strong and beautiful feeling that pervades my life.”  Love is my amazing grace.