I Never Expected This

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Hey guys, I'm writing my English exam soon, and would really appreciate it if you can give me some suggestions one how to improve this piece. The word limit is 400~450, so I'm a little over the limit here. Topic is: This is the story of a young man/woman who was able to escape from a difficult past to make a success of his/her life.

My essay:

“This is the story of a young woman who was able to escape from a difficult past to make a success of…” I tuned off the school principal’s voice at this point, ignoring his excited gestures and flying spittle.

I was eight then. The man came out of nowhere, and I remember pain, horror, screaming, torn clothes, more screaming…It was only afterwards, in the hospital, that I understood what had happened to me. Twenty years ago the society wasn’t exactly sympathetic towards rape victims; it still isn’t today.

Principal Clarke’s voice pulled me back to reality. I stood up to the pitiful round of applause, and walked up the stage. As I looked down, half the students were dozing off; and most of the other half had a snicker on their face. I putted on a smile, and began to tell my story in a grave voice: how I struggled to live with my past; how my family gave me hope and support; how, after years of hard work, I finally became a bestselling author. It is a boring old story, nothing unheard of before. And if this speech managed to inspire even one of these students, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

Of course, there are things that a high school guest speaker just cannot include in her speech. For example, the way my mother indulged in various substances after my “incident”, and my father and I never sent her to the rehabilitation centre for the fear of even more publicity. Or better, how I found my puppy strangled and hung from a tree one day, the words “WHORE” in red paint glistening right behind him. And the fact that my ex-boyfriend had left with all my money last year, leaving me too heartbroken to write is...
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