My husband works a midnight-8am work shift, and I go to school from 5pm-10-ish. He comes home in the morning as the kids and I are waking up and he goes straight to bed. Then he wakes up to sit with the kids while I get ready for school, and as I’m coming home from school, he’s getting dressed for work. We have to high five as we pass each other on the stairs really. Which explains my excitement to be done with school already. I’m probably not as excited about going back out into the work force as I should be, but I’ve been a SAHM for four years and these years have been pretty awesome. I’m more than excited for the extra income that will be provided thanks to my awesome education for Medical Billing and Coding BUT I can’t say I wouldn’t love to stay home with the kids until they’re like…30??
If someone had approached me 10 years ago and said “I can foresee the future, and in the future you will be married with children with a successful life.”, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed. And I would have told them they had the wrong girl because my future was looking pretty fucking sad at that point.
Nine and a half years ago, I spent my 15th birthday in a small motel room. It was right after Super Bowl and I was still riding on the high left from that night, watching the game, eating, drinking, laughing and doing an 8-Ball of coke between four others and myself. After that, it was right back to the grind.
I was living in this shitty motel in College Park, Maryland. I was only six blocks from home in distance. I was being held there by a pimp named Tyrone* and his 2 other girls. They’d been with him a long time and I’m not really sure how old they were. When I’d met them, for some reason I thought it would REALLY badass and fun because everything I’d heard about the life was glamorous and glittery. I had no one to teach me otherwise. My father was gone and my mother, well, I don't even know how to explain her. I am pretty sure that once we hit 10 we were adults in her eyes or maybe even before that. I'd like to think there is something just wrong with her. Kind of like those kids without a conscience.
The “glamor” lasted about a week before I realized just how much I’d fucked up, and that I probably wouldn’t ever go home or see my family again.
When Tyrone started me out, he made it seem fun and he made me think I’d live that glamorous life. He gave me my own hotel room, when he was staying in a really clean and pretty hotel. He took me to the woman running the escort service they used and got photos done of me. He gave me all the coke I could snort for the first week. All in all it was far better than what I had at home and it was pretty damn cool.
And then he raped me.He romanced me, told me I was beautiful and that fucking me was all he’d thought about all week, but he had to wait until the other girls were out because they’d get jealous. Then he slammed me against the bathroom counter and forced himself in me.
Then I was his.There was no more romance and no more glamor. My life turned ugly and dark really quick and I couldn’t leave.
It was then that I started “turning tricks” in my room. One after another, they kept coming. A call would come from the woman running the service and they’d show up. The first week Tyrone’s “bottom bitch” sat in on every trick to make sure I was giving them all the money the john’s were told to pay, plus any tips I got.
I kept wanting to believe this wouldn’t be forever. That the glamor and fun of it would happen. Or something... anything?
One night we were doing a lot of coke and I’d been with them for about 6 weeks. I hadn't seen or spoken to anyone in my family. Not that my mother didn't know where I was, she did. I was at a point where I wanted to just die, and I didn’t care how. I don’t even remember going to bed that night, but I woke up at 5am with my own blood on my shirt and caked to my face. I don’t know if I had a small overdose, or is that’s even possible. Maybe I just passed out and had a nose bleed.
What I do know, is that I woke up.
In more than one way.I decided right then and there I had to leave no matter what. I had to run far, far away. I had no money and very little to take with me. Regardless, I called a cab. When it pulled up, I very quietly sneaked out of my room and jumped in the cab and told the driver to “hurry the fuck up.” I laid my head back as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot and breathed that deep breath of release.
While I’d been waiting for the cab, I’d called a friend and he said he'd pay for the cab when I got to his apartment. When I got there I was really angry to find out he wasn’t even home and he’d lied to me. Next I called an ex-boyfriend, a guy that had been way out of my league and we’d gone separate ways, but I prayed he’d help me. He couldn’t, I don’t remember why, but I remember knowing that he was my last chance and there was no other options. I was suddenly terrified. I had no options but to go home to my mother, or to just get out of the cab wherever we were, and walk, and figure it out.
As I hung up the cab driver’s cell phone and handed it back to him, he spoke up and made me an offer. If I went back to his house and had sex with him, he’d take me wherever I wanted and clear the meter. “Fuck it” I thought. I knew I’d have to go home to my mother who wasn't going to pay the astronomical cab fare-she didn't pay to feed us, why would she pay my cab fare? No sense in trying to maintain any dignity. We went to the house, did what he wanted, got dressed and left again.
I arrived home to find my mother had left-moved-house empty.
I don’t remember her telling me she was moving, so I was really shocked to get there and find her gone. Not only did she not make any attempt to go and haul me home, get me help, report me missing... I don't know ANYTHING that any mother would do if her 15 year old went missing for 6 weeks-she moved away and left me behind.
Thankfully, I think, our family all lived like common large families in a city and were all within walking distance. I went over to my aunt and uncle’s house and asked for help. My uncle located my mother a few cities away and took me to her. The whole way there, I kept thinking about how lucky I should feel that I was alive. How I SHOULD feel was NOT how I felt.
When we got to my mother, she looked at me with so much disdain. She was obviously inconvenienced by me and disgusted by my actions. Never once did she thank the Gods or whatever she believed in that I was alive. I’ll always remember her words until I die:
“Self inflicted injury gets no sympathy.”.Rape and sexual exploitation at 15 were self inflicted injury to her, I did it, I had to live with it. Not once did she think that maybe (even if self-inflicted) I needed some help or education or, well, anything that a mother should worry about for her child. Yes, I made the decisions. I made them with all of the vast education and understanding of the world that my 15 year old brain possessed-I was severely unqualified to make those choices. That's what parents are for at that age. To guide children through and give them the education and wisdom that their young brains do not have. To provide the basic human needs but also to protect the child from the world and from themselves. Not to mention to love and nurture and caring.
She never called the police, never made a missing person’s report. My friends told where I was. She never came to get me or to even check on me. There have been a few who have tried to defend her actions to me, and I feel really hateful about that. There is no defense for that kind of neglect.
My mother was there when daughter was born. As soon as she was delivered and put on my chest I remember looking at her and stroking her hair and crying these tears of absolute love and joy…and then looking at my mother and thinking “how do you bring such amazing life into the world, and then fuck them over??” I'm not really sure how she justified it, I don't think I'll ever know because I'll never understand anything that goes through her mind.
I do know that her words set the premise for how I perceived myself for a very long time afterward and why accepting that I'd been victimized was very difficult. She made it very clear that I had made the decision and I was responsible for that decision. I’ll never understand why she abandoned me or why she never got help for me or why she made me feel like everything I’d ever experienced was my own fault. But, I do know that victims should never be told they did it to themselves. We're working our asses off in this country to change rape culture, raising our voices and telling all that will listen and those that won't that victims are NEVER to blame, only their rapists.
We need to start the VERY same movement for sexually exploited children. These are children, they're someone's baby and they are very real victims. Stop blaming them, and stop letting them blame themselves.