“I will never forget the first night I was forced to sleep with a man. I cried all night, and that was only the beginning.” For Harriet, abuse started in the foster care system. Looking for a way out, she latched onto a boyfriend who said he loved her and who, at first, treated her well. After high school she moved in with him, and soon after he wouldn’t let her leave and began pimping her out for money. Heroin was injected in her as means of coercion.  Harriet escaped to a plaza parking lot, and now lives in a rented room with her young daughter.  She has taken admirable steps toward independence, remaining sober for two years and retaining a job at a coffee shop. With financial and emotional support from Empower Her Network, Harriet is determined to receive her bachelor’s degree from a local community college and rise above the minimum wage poverty spiral. In a year and a half, Harriet will graduate. With elevated wages, she plans first to secure her own apartment for her and her daughter.

 

This sketch is based on a real case of Empower Her Network’s.  Stories and information have been used to create composite sketches to ensure Empower Her Network does not exploit any one survivor or their stories.