‘The streets is no place for young girls’

A 30-year-old woman who has had to face numerous challenges in her short life shared her story of abuse and living on the streets during a Women’s Day event last week.

Alison* has gone through a series of traumatic events from running away to being gang raped, but despite this she is hopeful that one day things will be better for her and her daughter.

The lunch was hosted by Breaking Bread Community Development at the Methodist Church in Observatory.

The NPO serves meals twice daily to homeless people in Salt River and Observatory.

Alison said she left home at the age of 14 due to sexual and physical abuse.

From a young age, she has had to step up and fend for herself, if not from people stealing her belongings, then those wanting to use her for sexual favours.

After moving from place to place, Alison spent eight years on the streets of Observatory, where she “skarelled” and admitted that she sometimes had to use her body to get by.

During her time in Observatory, Alison was gang raped and nine months later, gave birth to her daughter who is a year and four months now.

Alison said it was a trying time for her, as she had nowhere to go and wasn’t able to take care of her baby the way she deserved.

During this time, she was introduced to Breaking Bread and met volunteer, Sharieda Brown who eventually took her and her baby in. Alison’s stay was short-lived though – as she continued to battle alcohol and drug abuse.

The baby still stays with Ms Brown.

“I’m happy that my baby has
a roof over her head and that
she is cared for and loved,” said Alison.

Ms Brown said this was the first time she had taken people in but she later had no choice but to put Alison out because of the substance abuse.

“She has bad habits which were not healthy for my family and her baby,” she said.

Alison, who now sleeps in
Salt River, said she turned to
alcohol and drugs to escape her reality. “It’s tough out here and the alcohol and weed helps to make the situation more bearable,” she said.

For the past nine years, she has also been writing poems, which she said had helped her express her emotions.

Alison said she regrets leaving home and wishes she could turn back time.

Her message to young girls is this: “The streets are no place for young girls. I wish I could go home and be the daughter my mother always wished for, but the wound is too deep,” she said.

Alison is now focused on trying to get her life together for her and her baby.

* Alison is not her real name.