Written by Veronica
Posted by Melissa Grace Hoon, Veronica’s case worker
Even though I’ve been rescued from sex trafficking and am seeing a sex trauma therapist, sometimes it’s still hard for me to feel stable because of all the things that have happened in my life, from the time I was very young up until when I was abducted and forced into sex trafficking. When I was 6 years old, my mom became sickly addicted to shooting heroin. I never had a dad. My mom’s boyfriend was the only dad I ever had. He is not my biological father, and he is controlling and abusive. My mother abandoned me when I was 6 years old and left me for anyone to find me. I went to a friend’s house after she left me. My friend’s parents couldn’t take care of me for long, so I went to live with my aunt and uncle in another state. I’m not sure if anyone even realized the hurt, the pain and the struggle I went through from day to day by being raised by people who were not my natural birth parents. I suffered from an identity crisis and confusion by not knowing my father and not being around my mother.
I had to live with my aunt and uncle for over 12 years. They were torturous and terrible. They treated me like an evil stepchild. They had one son who was two years older than me and he sexually harassed me for six years. I was afraid to tell anyone or even try to make him stop. He never had sex with me or made me do anything to him, but he screwed me up in the head because of the sexual harassment he put me through. I had severe anxiety. I couldn’t sleep. I was scared every day, every minute of my life, especially when I was at home, which is the one place I should feel safe. Nighttime was the only time when he would do anything to me. He would come into my room completely nude and crawl into my bed with me, telling me sexual things he wanted me to do to him and things that he wanted to do to me. No one was around us then. This was terrible and severely confused me because he’d act normal around our family the next day, playing and teasing me like his little cousin. But when everyone was asleep, he would sneak into my room and would try to have sex with me almost every single night year after year. Just his verbal abuse was enough to make me anxious and feel guilty and scared. I never told my aunt until after he stopped and moved away around the time I was 16 years old. I don’t even know if my uncle knows the truth to this day.
When I was 18 years old, on the day I graduated from high school, my aunt and uncle told me I had to get out of their house and leave permanently. They told me that because I was 18, they didn’t need to help or support me anymore. So I left and started house-hopping, going from one friend’s house to the next. I was always trying to be settled, but I never had a real chance in my life during that time to be okay and happy. I was confused, lost and scared. I was running around and I didn’t know what I wanted or what road to take to get to where I needed to be. I was living everywhere. My personal belongings were everywhere. My life was in complete disarray.
After being kicked out of my aunt and uncle’s home, and house-hopping for what felt like far too long, I went back to live with my mother after 12 years of living with my aunt and uncle in a different state. It quickly became yet another life experience I never wanted. It’s sad to say that I’m upset I had to go through certain things in life with my mother, but I am sad, very sad. Her boyfriend was in a gang and owns guns. He controls her. He tried to do the same to me. He talked down to me to try to make me feel worthless. I didn’t realize then, but it worked; he did made me feel worthless.
Not long after moving in with my mother and her controlling, dangerous boyfriend, I was kidnapped and abducted by a pimp who raped me and forced me to have sex with over a dozen men every day. He took all the money the johns (guys who I was forced to have sex with for money) paid me. After being sold to another pimp and working for him, I was rescued eventually by Aaron Cohen and Chris Baughman of Abolish Slavery. Aaron and Chris reunited me with my mother at her house because that’s where I chose to go. I wanted to be with my mother. But it wasn’t long before her boyfriend kicked me out. I had nowhere to go, so I moved in with my grandmother in another state. At least I knew people there since it’s where I grew up (near where my aunt and uncle live), and at least I’m away from my mom and her boyfriend. I’m just trying to do my best and be safe. Pretty soon, after I finish my counseling that my Abolish Slavery case worker set me up with, I’ll get vocational training, live in transitional housing and enroll in higher education.
When I got kidnapped and was forced into sex trafficking, I was in a different city every day and every night. I was in a different hotel every day. I had to drag my personal belongings from place to place. My personal belongings would get lost or stolen. I didn’t have a safe, secure place to put anything, not even money. My pimp stole thousands of dollars from me. It was money I was trying to save for myself to try to take care of myself somehow. But when my pimp found out I had money, he stole it from me and beat me.
Now that I’m back with my grandmother, she’s getting older and has her own rules and it’s her own house so she won’t let me live my life. I have to live her life, which is really hard for me because I’m at a place where I need to start making positive decisions to move forward and make something of myself and my life. She doesn’t let me go out or leave the house even though I’m 21 years old. I can’t wait to live in transitional housing and get the vocational training and education I need to move forward with my life and make my own choices to achieve my dreams.
You have no idea how much it would mean to me to be able to have this. I feel it in my heart and soul that I was made for great things. I’m on a journey to recovery and I’ve made a commitment to myself to never stop or give up on my journey or on myself. I can’t make believe that I’m okay now. I’m not okay and I need to continue to receive a lot of help. I’ve been through a lot and the worst that I’ve been through is the sexual trauma. I’ve been so sexually traumatized and I never realized how badly it affected me until recently. I feel so weird sometimes, like this unexplainable, disgusted and confused feeling – especially when it comes to the idea of sex. I hardly ever feel comfortable because I get flashbacks of all these bad times and it’s hard for me to live a life where I’m constantly looking back on these disgusting, painful times. It makes me feel lost in life. I’ve gone through so much, but I know I’m strong and can get through this with the right help. But I still get so numb when I think about the really bad stuff that’s happened to me. I feel so numb when I think about it sometimes that it feels like it actually happened to someone else and not me.
I know I don’t deserve what happened to me and I know it’s not my fault, but I still have to live with it every day. I can’t take back what happened to me, so I just have to move forward. This is why I’m committed to accepting the help that’s been given to me and I need to make sure to continue to allow myself to get this help. I need help to move forward. I need a lot of help because I’ve never had help for these issues before, so I’ve never opened up about it all or felt okay. I just want happiness and peace of mind. Sometimes I just want to fly. I know that can’t happen, but that’s how I feel – I just want to get away…to get away to a place where I can be helped and live the life I was put in this world to live. I want to love myself and be okay with the decisions I make. I want respect. Most of all, I want help and support because without that, I’m lost.