Things weren’t easy for me growing up. I had five brothers and I was the only girl. My parents had a hard time taking care of me and all my brothers. I ended up getting passed from house to house, then group home facility to the next one. As a young girl I didn’t understand, and honestly as a 36 year old woman I still don’t understand. I felt unwanted and unloved growing up, and never even stayed in one place long enough to make a friend, that I could get to know long enough to know the friendship was real and genuine. This hurt me to the core. It made me angry inside. Day after day I lashed out. I just wanted someone to really love me and care about me.

At the age of 17 I was finally considered a legal adult and freed from the facility I was in. I was only home a couple weeks before I was run out into the streets. As a virgin who knew nothing about the streets and had nowhere to go with no friends, things were not easy for me. I was taken advantage of in a bad neighborhood and was taught how to have sex [and became a white sex slave who belonged to a Black master] which are pretty names for pimps and prostitues. This man brainwashed me and put me through so much pain. I was afraid and did what I was told, and stuck to the street code to not snitch about anything I saw or was done to me. After four years of this and time after time of running into the police, I ended up doing my first prison sentence of two years. I never really liked women but I felt lonely and desperate for love while doing my time, and started turning to other women for comfort and love.

When I got out, I was one again on my own and a little older, old enough to know better, with enough street smarts not to let another man take advantage of me. It was cold outside and I had nowhere to stay. As a 24 year old homeless woman running the streets of Detroit, I ended up spending two to three nights sleeping house to house in a poor neighborhood full of abandoned houses, living in poverty. I’m not at all racist, but I didn’t understand how as a white woman my own kind would ride right past me in a white neighborhood. Maybe a white man would pick me up and pump away at my body while it was covered in bruises. He would give me some money, then tell me I’m on my own, not even considering or caring about who I was, that it was cold outside, and that I was pregnant, hungry, and actually had feelings. 

A lot of times I look at the news and see how they paint a picture of a Black man or woman who committed a crime as a monster. They don’t take the time to get to know the struggles that that person went through on a daily basis, maybe living in poverty in a neighborhood full of abandoned houses and liquor stores. They don’t see them as a human being who was just dealt a bad hand in life and is struggling to survive. I am a white woman, but my own family abandoned me and didn’t care if I lived or died. The hood fed me and gave me a place to stay when it was cold outside. Walking through a white neighborhood in the same situation, the white folks would ride right past me, not even caring if I was taking my last breath.

My point is please stop judging people by the crime they committed and take the time to understand that some of us just got dealt a bad hand in life. What do you do when your life is full of pain and you are out there struggling to survive? I’m not trying to justify crime, but trying to get people to understand a lot of us are victims as well, with backgrounds full of hurt and pain. What do you do when pain and the struggle is all that you know?