At thirteen years old after watching both of my parents try to commit suicide I was stripped away from the only life that I knew and placed in a facility filled with strangers. Though I had experienced horrific things and didn’t belong with my parents, it was familiar, and it was the only life I knew up until that point, so I wanted to go “home.”
I began cutting myself, which caused me to be kicked out my first group home and told it was because “they didn’t deal with kids like me.”
I moved from place to place over the next few months. A psychiatric evaluation determined I was “emotionally disturbed” (who wouldn’t be) and I was eventually placed in a group home facility that was also a residential treatment center. When I was placed there I was told it was my last chance before I would be sent to a lockdown facility.
A few weeks after arriving at the group home I had an appointment that a male staff member took me and another child to. On the way back from that appointment the staff member who was driving us said he had to stop by his friend’s house to get something. It turns out that his friend was also my trafficker. After that the staff started working together with my trafficker to arrange for me to be sold.
They took me to the doctor and had me put on birth control, so pregnancy wouldn’t be an issue. I already cut myself, had broken my own arm and always has bruises on me, so any additional marks they put on me wouldn’t be a problem, who would believe me if I said different? They constantly reminded me that if I did decide to say something NOBODY would believe me. Since the group home was also a residential treatment center any time I didn’t comply with them they would throw me on the ground, hold me down and have the nurse come give me a shot that made me go to sleep.
I was taken away from the only life that I knew, and I ultimately became a victim of the system that was put in place to protect me.
I can’t help but wonder how many others this is currently happening to.