Your past does not define your future.
Today's piece is dedicated to April. (age 18) - My prayer is that she continues to grow her self worth and by sharing her redemption story, she plants hope seeds, awareness, and courage to other runaways.
“I was 15 at the time and was a runaway.
I met Tom who wanted to be my friend. Once I became his friend, I realized he really wanted to be a pimp. He intimidated me by threatening to beat me up if I tried to leave. I was scared of him so I wouldn’t leave. He would drop me off at a hotel while he went to work and I would prostitute myself for him.
It lasted from March until June or July. Sometimes it would be every day, sometimes he would say, ‘not today, but tomorrow.’ Out of the week, maybe 4-5 times a week, I was with different men.
I just felt like that it was my fault and I deserved it and nobody would ever believe me or try to help me, so I just let them control how I thought about myself.
They were always verbally abusive and putting me down and it got to the point that I actually started believing it. Just letting someone control your own freedom takes over just what you do. I couldn’t leave the room. It was like ‘wow, I’m letting someone make me feel so scared.’
I never called the police because I felt it was my fault. I felt at the time like I had to stay. One day the FBI ended up coming to my house and contacted me because my name came up in their investigation.
You have to know your self-worth. It’s OK to ask for help. When you are as low as I was, you don’t know you are a victim, you feel it's all your fault.
You don't have to stay a victim. You can have the worst past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful future.”