Sometimes I look at the hell I have been through, and I think about the times when I was a runaway and living in the streets of Atlantic City. I was 10-11 years old and had no idea the impact that my actions would later have on me in life. The sex, the running away, underage driving. All the things I did to hide the pain.
I would runway to feel safe. I would run away from the pain that was my life. The first time I ran away was when I was 9, when I was being sent to a foster home where I did not want to live. In addition, I was already dealing with a lot of things mentally, and then the pain from being abused while in these homes was as if something was killing me from inside, and all the grown-ups were failing to help me. As I look back at my actions, I am sorry.
The Systems That Failed Me
The foster care system failed to protect me from the harm that existed in its homes. Instead, it protected my abusers. I can recall the first time experiencing sexual abuse in the foster care system: by another foster child who was 18 years old and forced me to do things to her while the foster parent slept in the room next door. After the abuse, I was told to keep quiet. I was told that if I reported what happened I would never be placed in a loving home. I never understood the results of this incident until I came to prison and began to review my actions. It’s amazing what taking accountability for one’s actions will do. Above all it starts the process of healing from trauma.
As I looked backed at some of what I went through, and as I am now better able to understand trauma, I understand why I ran away from homes. I understand why I was addicted to sex at the age of 13. I know why questions of my sexuality was on my mind. I did not get help from anyone; no one has spoken to me about these things. It has taken for me to seek change and healing to realize that I am not broken. It has taken for me to seek redemption for me to realize that I was abused and taken advantage of.
Each day I say a prayer and ask that I continue to understand my actions. I ask that I be forgiven by those I may have hurt. This path of transformation is not easy, but it’s worth going through. I now know that I am not broken, I am no longer a victim, I am a survivor!!!!!