Tammy’s journey through abuse and prostitution
Tammy tells her story to Shared Hope:
Born to an abused, drug-addicted, prostituted mother who was in and out of prison, I was exposed to violence and was a victim of sexual and physical abuse regularly. I learned to survive the best way I could. I had to exchange sex for shelter and to get my basic needs met. At the age of 15, my mother’s friends turned me out into prostitution, through a so-called “escort service.” By then, I was addicted to hard IV drugs, which I could get easily through this escort service. I spent years in this lifestyle trying to escape my overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and uselessness via strip clubs, escort services and, eventually, working the streets. At the time, it all seemed very normal and necessary to me.
While working the streets, I was introduced to Veronica’s Voice through their outreach volunteers, but I didn’t call and ask for help immediately. I had resigned myself to a life of drug addiction and street prostitution. I didn’t know any other way to live and was sure I would die this way. Being raped, beaten and robbed were all a part of the way I chose to deal with this life.
But one very cold night in early February, I was out working in a short skirt, blisters on my feet from walking so much . . . sick . . . all I was living for was [my drug addiction]. A guy picked me up. He ended up holding me hostage, raping, beating me beyond recognition with a pistol before shooting me and leaving me for dead.