After a couple of days had passed, it was Julia’s turn to testify. She wasn’t afraid of testifying anymore. She wasn't even afraid of Justin anymore. After watching Carlyn tell her story in front of Justin and the whole court, the little bit of fear that Julia had left completely vanished. Julia was ready to testify, almost eager; she couldn’t wait to put Justin behind bars and she knew that’s where he was destined to be. Julia had stayed up all night with Rick, preparing and practicing. She wanted to make sure she got everything right and that she didn’t leave anything out. Rick had been very patient with Julia, every time she broke down and cried he just held her until she calmed down. Then they’d start all over, they did it again and again until Julia thought she had it right. So there she was, sitting on the stand, being sworn in and getting ready to testify.
“My friends and I had decided to go to a party, Rick was supposed to meet me there so I rode with Jess. When we got to the party I went straight to the bathroom to call Rick, I wanted him to know that I had made it to the party safely. As soon as he answered the phone I knew something was up, the tone of his voice was different from how it had been earlier that day.
‘What’s the matter?’ I remember asking him.
‘I can’t make it babe.’
‘What? You promised,' I said.
‘I know but I just can’t," he said. I could tell he was going to say something more, but I was too angry to listen.
I hung up on him and stomped out of the bathroom, it was silly but I was really looking forward to seeing him. My friends had been telling me that he was going to break up with me, we had been together for almost two years and I knew it was completely possible. I already thought of it as a miracle that he was with me in the first place; I was just waiting for him to realize that he could have any of the other girls and for him to decide to go for one of them. In my mind it was only a matter of time.
“I tried to have a good time, to enjoy myself even though Rick couldn’t make it. My friends were all drinking which meant I was the designated driver for the night and couldn’t drink. I wanted to though, I usually didn’t drink but after finding out that Rick wouldn’t be there I wanted to...really bad. It felt like my life was on a down wards spiral, like I was losing everything I lived for. Trying to party with all those feelings was like trying to swim through quicksand… impossible. My friends could tell that I was devastated, they tried to get me to dance, laugh, and to just have a good time. But they gave up after a while; it was a lost cause, my mood would only get better if Rick was there and they knew it. I went and sat in a corner for a while and just watched everyone having a great time. Seeing that made me sick, I just wanted to be happy and to be with Rick. But I couldn’t.
“After sitting there for about 20 minutes I told my friends I was going to go find somewhere quiet and to come find me when they were ready to go. I searched the whole house for somewhere quiet, the only place I could find was someone’s bedroom. I went in, closing the door behind me and sat on the edge of the bed. It was quiet in there, I couldn’t hear anything; the music, kids, yelling, nothing. So I decided to lay down, what could it hurt, it looked like it was just a guest bedroom; there weren’t any pictures around, posters, nothing that would personalize someone’s room. I would be left alone here, everyone was having too much fun to worry about where I had gone to. I knew I wouldn’t sleep, but I closed my eyes anyway, I just lay there thinking about what I would do if Rick left me. He was, and is, my whole life, I'm more than just in love with him. After thinking about it for a while I had begun to cry, already mourning the break-up I thought was coming.
“I had been there for a long time, about two hours, when I heard the bedroom door open. I sat up immediately, shielding the light from my eyes, to see who was there. I couldn’t tell at who it was at first, just that it was a guy. He kept coming towards the bed and as he got closer I was able to tell who it was, Justin Black. He came and sat right next to me, he didn’t say anything. I went to stand up, not wanting to be in the room alone with Justin I didn’t want people to start any rumors, I knew that if they did then Rick would break up with me for sure. When I tried to stand up he grabbed my arm, I tried pulling away but he yanked me down onto the bed. He was drunk, I could smell the alcohol on his breath, and I knew he wasn’t going to stop. But I still tried, I told him no, told him to get off of me, I tried to scream but no one could hear me. He still hadn’t said anything, he just ripped my skirt and panties off and raped me.
“I remember it hurting, worse than any pain I had ever felt in my life. Not only was this my..first time...he hit me too. I was a virgin before that night, he took that from me, along with my health. He took it all away, violently, in 5 minutes. He took away something I had been saving for my Rick, saving until the time was right. When he finished he just stood up and walked out of the room, didn’t say anything... just walked out. I lay there, crying for what seemed like hours. Finally, I got up, found my clothes, got dressed and went to look for my friends. I didn’t make it far, I got to the hallway and collapsed in tears. My friends found me there a couple of hours later, but they didn’t ask why, they just assumed I was crying over Rick… And I let them. I knew right then that I wouldn’t tell anyone about Justin, if I did Rick would surely break up with me and I didn’t want that. I would keep my secret forever. And I did for a long time, until the day I found out I was infected with HIV and was forced to tell.”