I wanted you to know I love the way you laugh

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain away

I keep your photograph; I know it serves me well

I wanna hold you high and steal your pain

‘Cause I’m broken when I’m open

And I don’t feel like I am strong enough

‘Cause I’m broken when I’m lonesome

And I don’t feel right when you’re gone away

-Broken by Seether (ft. Amy Lee)

They let Ginny leave the next day. The mediwitch told her after her wounds healed the stitches would disappear on their own, so she wouldn’t have to come back. She was thankful for that. Ginny hated this hospital with its sterile white walls and cold floors and bright lights.

As her parents wheeled her out in an old rickety wooden wheelchair (the nurse insisted it was standard procedure) Ginny saw him again. Draco Malfoy. His arm was healed and he had changed out of his torn clothes. Their eyes met for a split second before she was wheeled out of his line of vision.

She remembered that first night back home clearly. It dawned on her, quite suddenly, that since the…incident, she had not showered. Sure, the nurses had cleaned the blood off of her, but she herself had not been able to wash her body. Ginny ran up to the bathroom she shared with her brothers, stripping off the clothes her mother had brought her from home and turning on the water to scalding hot.

She knelt in the shower as the water poured down her, scrubbing at her skin until it was red and raw, crying into the water. The tears didn’t seem to want to stop flowing. And it seemed, no matter how hard she scrubbed, she couldn’t wash herself clean. She was stained. Stained by their dirty hands, their bodies, their words. She broke down then, away from everyone else, and didn’t come out until long after the water had run cold and her hands became pruny.

When she was going downstairs later that night to eat dinner she heard her parents speaking. Stopping at the top of the stairs where she was out of sight, Ginny craned her neck and listened to their conversation. They were at the fireplace talking to someone whose voice she didn’t recognize.

“We have her clothes here from the alley, Misses Weasley. And her wand. It’s broken in two.” The voice was very formal and apologetic.

“Thank you,” her mother whispered and she heard the rustling of cloth and the whooshing noise the fireplace made when somebody left by floo. There was silence in the room.

“What should we do with her clothes, Mum?” Ron’s voice. A long pause.

“Burn them. Burn it all. Don’t let her see.” Ginny thought she heard her mother crying.

“Her wand? We can’t afford a new-” Fred was interrupted by her mum.

“Burn it all! Just…get rid of it. We’ll get her a new one.”

Ginny crept upstairs when she heard footsteps coming her way. From her bedroom window she stared at the bonfire as her brothers tossed everything on it that she had been wearing that night. In the flames she could see his eyes. The eyes of her rapists.

At home, her parents didn’t seem to know what to do with themselves. They fussed over her, her mother cooking pans and pans of Ginny’s favorite foods, even though she insisted she wasn’t hungry. Her father paced, sometimes looking angry, other times just helpless. Her brothers were silent, each of them coping in their own way. And in the midst of it Ginny sat and stared blankly at the wall.

Days passed in this way. Sometimes her parents would try to talk to her. That was the worst. She didn’t want to talk about what had happened. She didn’t want to remember it. She just wanted…to be honest, Ginny didn’t know what she wanted. She wanted her life back. She wanted to rewind, to start over, to pretend this had never happened. She wanted to be left alone.

That was the problem. Nobody would leave her alone. They came and went, her brothers, her parents, her friends. All offering their condolences, as if someone had died. Harry came, Hermione with him, but Ginny had the feeling it was more to comfort Ron than herself. He walked into her bedroom where she sat alone, staring out the window, and stood awkwardly, unsure of what to do. Finally, the raven-haired boy stepped over to her bed and sat on the edge of it, staring at his hands.

“Ginny…” His voice was quiet. “I…I’m sorry…”

Why did they always say that? That they were sorry? It was not as if they had committed the crime. And more, there was nothing they could do to fix it. So why apologize? It annoyed her to hear those words again and again. So she said nothing in return.

“I…I know what I said about breaking up…and…” He fumbled over his words. The breakup? Why was he talking about that? That was at the end of the school year, after Dumbledore died. It was before this happened. It didn’t matter anymore. Ginny had thought she loved Harry once, and when he told her he wanted to end their relationship, the pain was so unbearable she thought she would not move on. But now…now it seemed trivial. “I…I was just trying to protect you…” Neither of them said it, though they both shared the same thought. What good that did. Harry cleared his throat. “I just want you to know…I’m here for you…and what I said about breaking up…well, I didn’t mean it…”

Ginny was suddenly overcome with anger. What gave him the nerve to think she wanted him back? After all she had been through, did he think this would help her? She did not let her face show her anger, but merely whispered, so he could barely hear, “You don’t want me, Harry. After all, I’m used goods.” The bitterness rolled off her tongue and there was no fake smile on her face, no joking tone of voice. Harry stared at her in shock, as if she were a stranger.

“Ginny, that’s not…I mean…we can work this out…we…” He was at a loss of words to say. She knew it was the truth. She could see how uncomfortable he was around her, knowing what those men had done to her. He didn’t want to touch her, as if she were infected. As if he would catch some deadly disease or her bad luck would wash off on him. The truth of her words hung between them and she hoped that would be the end of their conversation.

But it wasn’t. Of course not. He had to play the hero, try to save her. He was too late for that. Harry reached over, his hand brushing her hair. Ginny flinched away from him. “You have such pretty red hair, Ginny.”

That’s what triggered it. Those words. Pretty red hair. Those words, his voice, echoed in her head, again and again, until it became his voice. And it felt as if she were falling, falling into a black oblivion and she couldn’t stop, couldn’t block out the voices, the touches, the screams, her screams. And before she knew it she was back there again, in that alley, and they were touching her, defiling her, raping her. And he was there, the leader, whispering in her ear. Such pretty red hair. And she was screaming, screaming at the top of her lungs and trying to fight him off, trying to make him stop. Please stop.

Harry stared in shock as Ginny began screaming, then thrashing. When he tried to grab her, to keep her from hurting herself or him, she tried to fight him off. She was crazed, her pupils dilated, her eyes unfocused. She clawed and bit at him, forcing him to jump back out of her reach. And no matter how he tried to talk to her, to stir her from this waking nightmare, she didn’t seem to hear him.

There were footsteps on the stairs and the door burst open, a swarm of male Weasley’s falling into the room. Arthur ran to Ginny’s bed, grabbing at her, but it only seemed to make things worse. Ron turned on him, his eyes blazing, his wand raised at Harry’s throat. “What did you do to my sister?!”

Harry lifted his arms in shocked surrender. “Nothing, I swear! All I did was touch her! She just started screaming.”

Arthur was lifting his still-thrashing daughter in his arms. “Let’s get her to the hospital. Now.” His voice was a barking command, something Harry had never heard from the soft-spoken Mister Weasley. The group rushed Ginny back to St. Mungo’s only a week after she had left the place, ignoring the stares the patients and visitors sent Ginny’s way. The mediwitches had to sedate Ginny to get her to calm down, and by then she was so worn out from yelling and fighting that she passed out.

Harry stayed by his girlfriend’s side. Or was she? She hadn’t seemed ready to accept him back, not that he could blame her, after leaving her at Dumbledore’s funeral like that. And he thought he was protecting her…how stupid of him to think she would be safe without him. He held her hand as he listened to Arthur and Molly Weasley talk to the mediwitch.

“What’s wrong with my daughter? Why is she acting this way?” Molly’s voice was fearful.

The nurse sat them down. “Misses Weasley, I believe your daughter is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” The nurse answered their questioning looks. “We often see it in soldiers after war, but it can occur in assault victims as well. Some symptoms of this disorder are flashbacks, like what your daughter experienced today, in which the victim relives the incident. Anything from certain sounds to smells to feelings can bring back these memories and quite suddenly.”

There was silence as they absorbed this, and then, “Is there any cure?”

“No potions that we know of can cure it, no. But often psychological therapy can. We suggest you take her to see our therapist here at the hospital.”

“We…we don’t have enough money for one.”

The nurse looked upset. “We used to have a free clinic but with the Ministry making cuts, we couldn’t keep it open. I’m sorry.” Ginny’s parents glanced at the sleeping girl despondently. Harry would have offered to pay if he thought the Weasley’s would listen to him, but he knew how stubborn and proud they could be when it came to money. He kept his mouth shut.

Rita Skeeter was in a rut. It seemed no matter where she looked she couldn’t find a good story anywhere. All of the talk surrounding Dumbledore’s death was starting to wind down. Harry Potter, usually her favorite victim, wasn’t doing anything particularly out of the ordinary for her to report on. Her current assignment, researching the possible use of Pygmy Puff meat in Hogwarts’s school food, was dull and very unjuicy. Yes, Rita Skeeter needed a story, a good story, and she needed it bad.

Ask and you will receive. Her perfect story fell into her lap in mid-June. Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter’s ex-girlfriend, who was recently raped in an alley, was taken to St. Mungo’s in the middle of a panic attack. Of course, none of that really interested Rita. No, the inspiration for Rita’s idea came from the facts that 1) Ginny Weasley claimed her attackers were Death Eaters and 2) the Weasley family was known for being incredibly poor. The ideas were swarming in Rita’s mind, itching to be written down, before she even had the chance to finish eating her lunch.

Without even bothering to give her idea to her boss (or finish her salad) she was out the door, headed for the Ministry where she would find the location of the Weasley household, known as the Burrow. Rita Skeeter had an interview to get.

After Ginny’s breakdown the reporters started coming, all looking for a story or an interview. They stood outside her house bothering her parents for hours. At first her family tried to ignore them, then her brothers went outside, threatening their lives if they didn’t leave them alone. That made some of them hightail it, but not all. Finally, Ginny, tired of it all, stepped onto the porch and meekly asked if they would leave, as they were disrupting her sleep. Most of them, after taking her picture, found pity in their hearts and packed up and left. Most of them.

Some stayed. After the night those few that stayed dwindled down to just four. A day later there were only three. Then two. And then just the one. And she didn’t leave. For two weeks she camped on the edge of her parent’s property, watching the house. Despite the threats, despite the pleas, despite her father going to the Ministry and requesting someone to force her to leave, she still stayed there. Ginny learned her name from Harry. Rita Skeeter. She was the reporter that liked to make him look bad in the Daily Prophet. She was a sneaky, horrible woman, more of a Rottweiler, really, who sank her teeth into a story and didn’t let go until she got it.

Finally, fed up, Ginny went out there in the middle of the night. Her parents had told her to stay away from the woman, claiming she was no good and she would be gone when she got tired of sleeping in a tent. Harry had described how she could twist words and warp the truth. Ginny didn’t heed their warnings. After all, what could this woman do to her that would be any worse than what those men had already done?

When Ginny finally made it to the edge of the woods, Rita Skeeter was waiting outside her tent for her. The woman gave her a falsely sweet smile that Ginny didn’t return. “If I give you an interview, will you leave?”

The reporter held open the tent flap. “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

Draco got a job. Yes, the Draco Malfoy, who had never worked a day in his life, got a job. After he was allowed to leave the hospital he went to the Leaky Cauldron. It seemed the only logical solution. The first night he stayed there his father showed up, ready to kill him. He could see the gleam in the man’s crazed eyes as he held his wand to Draco’s throat, who still lay in bed half-asleep. The two stared at each other for a long time before Draco finally spoke.

“You know if you hurt me or try to force me to go home, someone will report you. The owner and about twenty witnesses saw me get a room here this afternoon. You won’t get away with it.”

Draco knew that was why Lucius hadn’t killed him yet. “And you can’t force me to go back. I’m seventeen now—I’m a legal adult.”

“Clever little bastard.” The man finally straightened up, putting his wand in his cloak. Draco was surprised he was thinking so rationally and not beating him to a bloody pulp. “You may be safe for now, but trust me boy, if you step out of this building I will know and I will get you.” With those parting words, Lucius apparated away with an angry bang.

Draco didn’t see him again. Of course, Draco only left the inn at midday when it was the brightest and there were the most people milling about. But soon his money began to run low and he knew he couldn’t afford to stay there anymore. His father had closed his bank account the day before his birthday, leaving him penniless. That was when he put away his pride (he had already buried most of it when he ran away from home to live on his own) and begged Tom the innkeeper to give him a job. The man, miraculously, agreed, allowing Draco to work as a waiter serving drinks. In return he got room and board for free and could keep whatever tips he was given. To be honest, now that he was seeing the world through new eyes and all, he knew he had it pretty good.

Draco read about her in the papers, just like everyone else. At first, it had just been a side article “Girl raped in Knockturn Alley” and “Death Eaters may be involved in the rape of teenage girl.” Things like that. He first saw the article in a newspaper a customer had left on his table and was going to trash it when he saw her picture. It was the same girl from the hospital, the one he caught staring at him. He knew she was a Weasley but he never could remember her first name. From the article he learned her name was Ginny and that she had been raped somewhere in Knockturn Alley by a group of Death Eaters. That was about all the article stated. He couldn’t stop staring at her picture, though. It was an old picture of her from two years ago, according to the caption. She had flaming red hair, a scatter of freckles across her tanned cheeks, and bright chestnut brown eyes. And she was laughing and smiling as if she didn’t have a care in the world. For some reason Draco found himself attracted to that smile, and he cut the picture out, keeping it in a drawer in his room.

But those articles didn’t get much publicity, and soon everyone forgot about the rape incident, everyone except Draco. Yes, Ginny Weasley’s rape case was old news and long forgotten to the public when Rita Skeeter’s article was released, stirring up trouble and causing quite a lot of controversy. Draco was reading it…for the twenty-seventh time. Every time he did it made his blood boil just a little bit more.

Ginny Weasley: Rape Victim or Poorly-Paid Escort?

Many of you have read recently in the papers about the Ginny Weasley case, a girl who was supposedly raped in an alley by Death Eaters. I read the same story as all of you and had to admit, it didn’t add up. For one, what was a seventeen year old girl doing in Knockturn Alley in the middle of the night? And why, when she didn’t return home, did nobody go out looking for her? And if she was actually raped by Death Eaters as she claimed, why had they not left their tale tell Dark Mark in the sky that night?

My curiosity piqued, I went to the Weasley household in search of the young girl. Unfortunately, her family, consisting of her two parents, six brothers, and two friends Hermione Granger and Harry Potter (which you can read about in my other articles), was less than friendly. After making threats on my life they forced me to the edge of their property where I had to sleep outside in the woods with little shelter or food for two weeks. But I did not give up easily. No, I am a fighter and do not take to intimidation, so I camped out there watching Ginny Weasley for some time, and eventually, I was rewarded.

The girl came outside to me in the middle of the night offering to give me an interview. I’ve included this picture of her and you can see she clearly is not in a stable mental state. She is covered in cuts, whether they are self-inflicted or a result of her supposed rape, and her hair is very short and choppy, as if she cut it herself with a crude knife. When I questioned her about her appearance she would not answer.

I kept my concern, and fear, to myself and began the interview. It went as such:

Me: “What is your name?”

Ginny Weasley: “Ginny Weasley.”

Me: “How old are you, Ginny?”

Ginny Weasley: “I would prefer if you just call me by my last name, thank you. I’m seventeen.”

Me: “Okay, Miss Weasley. What happened on the night of June 5th?”

Ginny Weasley: “I was…raped.” (I noted the pause in my journal).

Me: “And who raped you, Miss Weasley?”

Ginny Weasley: “I…I don’t know. Death Eaters. They wore masks and robes, so I couldn’t see their faces.”

Me: “They didn’t use names when talking to each other?”

Ginny Weasley: “No. At least, not that I heard. I don’t remember much from that night. I had a concussion.”

Me: “And how did you get a concussion? And all of those scars, for that matter?” This she refused to answer, so I asked another question. “Miss Weasley, is it true you have six brothers, all older than yourself?”

Ginny Weasley: “Yes.”

Me: “And how would you rate your family’s income? Average? Below average?”

Ginny Weasley: “Below average, I suppose.”

Me: “And you have two guests staying with you as well, am I right? What are their names?”

Ginny Weasley: “Hermione Granger and Harry Potter.”

Me: “Ahh, how is your relationship with Harry?”

Ginny Weasley: “That’s rather personal. Can we please get finished with this?” (Referring to the interview).

Me: “Yes, of course. So, how do your parents manage to feed and clothe themselves, seven children, and your two guests? Especially considering your mother doesn’t work.”

Ginny Weasley: “Fred and George own the joke shop and only one of my brothers-”

Me: “Is it possible that you, Miss Weasley, were not raped at all, but that you merely had a bad encounter with one of your customers?”

Ginny Weasley (looking worried): “I don’t understand what you mean.”

Me: “Miss Weasley, just between us girls, have you ever worked on the streets? As an escort?”

Ginny Weasley: “Escort? Are you implying…I’m not a…I would never!” She stood suddenly, rushing towards the door.

Me: “Miss Weasley! How did you come across the five Galleons, ten Sickles, and three Knuts in your purse?” At this Ginny Weasley said some profane words I would rather not include before throwing a lamp at me.

Ginny Weasley: “This interview is over! Get away from my house!” With these parting words Ginny Weasley ran back to her home and I was physically forced to leave the property by her brothers. As I said, I do not usually give into intimidation, but this time I did for fear of my life.

Well, readers, do not be worried, I escaped the property unharmed and with my interview, which, as you can all see, clearly indicates that Ginny Weasley may not be as innocent as we all think she is. Look at the facts. She does not exactly have a clean record, having gotten into quite a lot of trouble at her school for mischievous behavior. Also, she has shown past behavior with a multitude of young men at her school that many might not consider suitable for a young girl (much of this behavior was with one Harry Potter). Not only that, the girl is incredibly poor and her actions when I questioned her about her lifestyle point to the conclusion that she was working the streets on the night of June 5th, whether to earn money for herself or because her family forced her I do not know. And finally, there were no signs of Death Eater involvement in the alleged raping, no witnesses besides Miss Weasley herself, who admitted to a concussion to the head during the incident, no Dark Mark, and as we all know, the terrorist group known as Death Eaters has been out of action for almost eighteen years ever since the accidental vanquishing of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named by the young Harry Potter.

I can only conclude, from all of this evidence against Miss Weasley’s case, that she was escorting a group of young men who became too rough for the girl to handle. Obviously, when her lifestyle was exposed to the public, she quickly claimed she was raped to protect her virtue (what of it is left). However, I will leave it to you, my readers, to decide for yourselves. Ginny Weasley: innocent rape victim or just poorly-paid escort?

Draco crumpled up the article angrily, throwing it at the wall. It didn’t give him a satisfying thump that a heavier object might. He stared at the picture of Ginny he had cut out of Skeeter’s article. She looked much different from his other cutout of the girl two years ago. If he hadn’t known they were the same person he would have thought they were complete opposites. When she was in the picture (and not hiding somewhere else) her hair was short and choppy, her skin pale, the bags under her eyes noticeably dark. He couldn’t see the scars Skeeter mentioned in the article, but he could guess. He had heard the Sectumsempra was cast on her, and he knew from experience, having been hit with it by Harry Potter, that it was a nasty spell and could leave horrid scars.

Draco thumped down onto his bed, running his fingers over the girl’s face. She stared at him with a heartbreakingly sad expression, and he wondered, not for the first time, why he was so concerned with this girl he hardly knew. Why did he care so much about her?

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