My name is “Jessica”. I’m 24 years old. I’ve been a victim of domestic violence. I’ve been a victim of sexual assault. I was molested as a kid and was in state foster care. As a newborn baby, my mom was a drug addict and a prostitute. She and the guy that would have been my father had a drug deal and he got shot. Before that, she left me on the side of the road. She didn’t want me so I’ve been in the foster care system since I was a newborn until age 21 because in North Carolina you can stay in foster care until age 21. Then recently in 2017, I was raped at my apartment in Raleigh by a next-door neighbor. Me and my dog fled away. We were living in motels. I had to panhandle where I had a sign that said “homeless, please help”. I used that plus the little bit of money I got from disability which was only $750. I basically used that to stay in hotels like Extended Stay and Motel 6. We moved from place to place, B&Bs, or wherever somebody would let us stay. It was just that it still mentally affects me. Every night, I have nightmares. So it’s like, I watch my back. I have PTSD. I’m in intense therapy. I got therapy twice a week. It’s just very hard. The physical parts of PTSD, you feel headaches, stuff like that. Then, the depression makes you want to stay in bed. Sometimes it’s hard for me to go to therapy because I feel like maybe the therapist doesn’t care or maybe the therapist is saying they care because maybe they don’t want to deal with it. It’s just hard. What helps me is to have a good support system, to have a good therapist who actually works with trauma, because if you don’t have a therapist who actually works with trauma then it’s not going to be helpful. It’s good to have friends who are supportive of you. One thing that’s hard about being abused is that the perpetrator, which is the abuser, tries to act like you wanted it. One thing about it is that the courts, the DA, usually drop it because they feel like it’s going to mess up one person’s life. They don’t think about the victim. I’ve been very traumatized and still am and it’s just hard.
I found out about Hope Connection when I was googling online about help for rape victims and abuse victims in Cary and this place just popped up. I started messaging the lady whose name is Debra. I was trying to figure out what to do because I saw that it’s free, so I messaged her. She asked me to come, and I said that I was coming. I didn’t come because I felt like no one would understand me. Then she reached out to me again and said, “I feel like God is telling me you need to come”. I felt like, “Why does she keep reaching out to me?” So I was like, “Fine, I’ll go,” because she’s going to keep bugging me. I went and found out about the program. I’m doing the Mending the Soul class now and the Princess Lost and Found group. I’m about to get in the Depression class. Hope Connection has helped me out with finding a new place. It’s a good community that actually helps me with stuff. I know that some nonprofits say they do this stuff, but they don’t, but this place actually does. They really help you. One night I was scared because I missed my bus. I was afraid about what was going to happen, so I called Ms. Debra and said, “You know, I just missed my last bus”. I actually had a doctor’s appointment later and had to go into urgent care because I pulled a muscle. I thought I broke my leg, but I didn’t, so I was like, “I’m not going to get home. Maybe I’m just going to sleep on the street. I hope I’m not going to get raped again”. She was like, “No, I’m coming to get you.” I said, “Are you sure about it?” And she was like, “Yeah.” It’s great when people who have been in the situation I’ve been in and she actually understands. I have some friends who don’t understand why I have trust issues, but here there’s other people who have been through the same things I’ve been through. We can relate to each other. Because of Hope Connection and these support groups, I am hopeful for a brighter future.