Local Crime, News

Lynn sexual assault survivor hopes to help others by sharing her story

Liquea Hill, of Lynn, has been raped three times and says by sharing her story, she hopes to inspire other women to come forward. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — Liquea Hill thought she should have been safe spending the night at her cousin’s house seven years ago. Instead, her drink was spiked and she was gang-raped by at least six men.

Hill, 35, who had been invited to the home for a birthday party, doesn’t remember the rape. What she does remember is blacking out minutes after taking a sip of her drink, being passed out on the couch and waking up in the morning on her cousin’s bathroom floor bleeding with a knot on her head.

A rape kit performed on Hill — now a Lynn resident, she was living in Boston at the time — at Tufts Medical Center revealed sperm from at least six sources.

“I was supposed to be able to feel safe at my family’s house, but I guess I was wrong about that,” Hill said. “I still feel like it was kind of my fault for putting myself in that situation. I thought it was my fault because I went to (the) party, but no woman should be getting raped at a family member’s house, period.”

The incident has left her traumatized. If she sees a group of men walking across the street, she gets anxious and has to walk to the next street over. She doesn’t like being touched and drinks and smokes marijuana to ease her pain.

It was her third time being raped and by sharing her story, Hill is hoping she can help other women come forward and speak out as well. She wants women, or any other sexual assault survivor, to know they’re not alone in their situations and there’s help out there.

“I want to be able to have women know that they’re no longer victims anymore,” Hill said. “You’re a survivor. A survivor means you’re out and you’re trying to move forward and move past what happened to you.”

Hill thinks her cousin, a woman, set her up to get raped that night. The drink that was spiked was the one she had asked her cousin to watch over while she went to the bathroom that night. Instead of watching her drink, Hill came back to find it unattended and blacked out minutes after taking a sip.

Hill arrived for the party that night around midnight, had a few drinks, and left with her cousin to go to the bar to drink some more. But the night took a horrible turn when they were walking back to the house for a nightcap.

When she was outside waiting for her cousin to get back from the bathroom, a man she didn’t know jumped out of nowhere and told Hill that her cousin had sent him to watch out for her. When the man asked to use the bathroom at the house, her cousin let him inside.

She heard him talking on the phone about making money and how there were drugs laid out on the table, and then saw two men that she and her cousin grew up with had also come into the home. The men used the microwave to heat up a liquid in a glass jar and came back to sit at the table where she had left her drink.

After waking up, Hill said she doesn’t remember how she got to her caseworker’s house in Boston, but from there, he called an ambulance that brought her to the hospital. Hill and her cousin no longer speak — she didn’t even come to the hospital to check on Hill.

It was her third time being raped. Hill was first raped when she was just 14 years old. She had been hanging out with random guys she had met after chatting with them online.

On one occasion, she went to meet up with one of the men at his family’s house and was sexually assaulted. Police responded and found her unconscious. When she went to the hospital, she was told she had pills in her system and stayed overnight because she was out of it.

A short time later, after Hill was assaulted a second time, she was found nearly lifeless on the side of the road. What kept her alive was her faith, she said, and when doctors were about to take her off of life support, she started breathing on her own.

After her third assault, in 2012, Hill went to stay with her mother for awhile because her son was living there, but she’s no longer on good terms with any of her family.

She believes a “false” child abuse and neglect claim that she says was filed by her mother and aunt with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is the reason her son was taken away from her. She’s recently contacted a lawyer to try to get custody of her son.

Hill said her son is about 7, but then explained it’s been so long since she’s seen him that she can’t even remember his birthday. Hill doesn’t have visitation rights.

What makes her situation worse is that she frequently sees the men who she believes took part in her rape, who she says laugh at and harass her. No arrests were ever made and Hill believes the justice system failed her.

Instead, Hill said she was told to seek counseling and take medication. Along with self-medicating with pot and alcohol, Hill takes medication for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and bipolar disorder. She credits her long-time boyfriend, whom she refers to as her husband despite not being legally married, with providing the support to keep her going.

Because her rapists are still out there and she says her family harasses her, Hill said she’s been placed in protective custody. But even if it threatens her safety, Hill said she won’t stop sharing her story to try to help other women come forward.

She acts as a mentor for women on social media, recently working with four teenagers who have also been raped. She wants to be a voice for sexual assault survivors, and stand up for the women who didn’t make it out alive.

“This story is about trying to help somebody else,” Hill said. “And that’s what I’m trying to do, inspire someone else to stay strong.”

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