GROOMED

If I were to take a look at my life before trafficking, I would have to say that I have overcome a lot of challenges. Unfortunately, being trafficked wasn’t the first time I was groomed. I was groomed at the age of 6 and so was my family, by a sexual predator. Being child molested was something I hid from my family, as the predator was my dad’s best friend (his only friend it seemed like) and that was around the time my dad started coming around in my life. The last thing I wanted to do was scare my father away because of what was going on. My mom started letting my brother and I go to our dad’s on weekends and sometimes during the week for dinner. My dad lived in a mobile home, courtesy of my Grandmothers Manufactured Home Business, which was what allowed my mother to let us go see our dad, since she was not fond of motel visits. My brother was my father’s prized possession, I figured maybe because my father was able to actually spend the first year and a half of my brother’s life with him, but my mother escaped that physically abusive, drug filled, toxic relationship when I was just a couple months old.

My father often left to go get dinner or run errands and would take my brother with him and I would always ask if I can ride with them, but I always got the same excuse back, “There’s no room in the truck” or “No, someone has to stay with Steve, while he does work on the mobile home.” It felt like his work was never complete, he must have been putting the tile on the countertop literally one piece at a time. This lead to a 5 year trial, a guilty conviction of a 4th time offender, and a child who was diagnosed with PTSD at the age of 10…. I will never forget how hard my prosecutor worked to ensure that he would not be getting back out. I will also never forget the girls that had to come back in and sit on the stand and relive the abuse they suffered from this man. I never got to speak with them to thank them for what they did, but I will never forget them running out of the courtroom crying down the hallway. Sad to say the child abuse didn’t end there… One of the biggest turning points in my life, was to watch my mom stay in bed for months at a time because her long-term boyfriend walked out on us, and took us for every penny we had leaving not even a “Dear John” letter… That had to be one of the happiest days of my life, because when he left, he took my step brother, which meant he nor his best friend could touch me again. I was 9 and they were 17 year old Jocks both 6’6 Ft tall. I’m not quite sure why I was made a target so many times in my life to be sexually abused, but I will tell you this.. Everything starts with grooming. I don’t believe there is anything I could have done as a 6 year old, nor after seeing my mom go through depression once she found out what was happening to me. How could I tell her it was happening again, right in her house? Especially once they left and she hit depression again, I couldn’t bare to see my mother take all those pills. They were so strong you couldn’t even talk to her because she was a complete vegetable, staring into space. My sister had taken on a lot of responsibility at that time as she was 16 and my brother and I were still in elementary and middle school. She cooked for us, got us ready in the morning, walked us to school and walked us back home from school. My sister was truly the light in my life. All of this led up to who I became as an adult. Before I turned 19 I had met, what I thought was my Prince Charming. He would bring me flowers, my sick mother flowers and would treat us like ladies; we loved it… until my 19th birthday…

I am a wife, a mother, a student, a mentor and case manager, But most important, I am a human trafficking survivor. When I was 19, I fell for prince charming, Mr. Romeo, little did I know, the palace this life had in store for me, wasn't of a fairy-tale life at all... For the next couple of months I will be going forth with pieces of my story on the She Arises blog. Every post will be part of that path, and an update on my God given path.  I look forward to this journey, and can't wait to dive in with you all.