A Story of Lost Innocence

Sitting cross-legged on her bed, Anna’s* eyes were empty. Rescued just weeks before from a motel on the outskirts of the city, the unfamiliarity of her new surroundings left her feeling uncertain. Even safe now in her own room at the Portland shelter, it was easy to see her exterior was rough from years of protection and her spirit was nothing more than a flicker.

Abuse for Anna began when she was five. Not by a stranger, but family. Broken trust laced with manipulation and lies, her innocence was washed away in a sheer moment. Years of abuse and silence not only took away her childhood, but drained her of any self-worth. Of value. Of confidence.




Valued only as an object.

Lies Anna grew up to believe.

She was over sexualized. She was used. She was abused. Touched and violated. And when her uncle died at 14 she was left to drown in her own shame and loneliness.

The freedom from abuse lasted but for a brief moment. Empty and feeling misunderstood, Anna turned to men. From one man to the next, pieces of her were left scattered. Until one night, at 17, she met a pimp. To Anna he embodied her minimal understanding of what love was. Trusting, she fell into his ploy as he began selling her body night after night for profit.

And Anna lived in this nightmare of hell until the night the motel was raided.

A Story of Hopelessness

The bathroom tile was cold against Sarah’s* half naked body. Shivering, she was grateful to just feel anything. She watched the blood drip onto the tile from her freshly cut wrists, just waiting. She knew that wouldn’t kill her, but she was hoping the bottle of aspirin she had swallowed an hour before would do the trick.

Her pimp had left for the night; looking for another sale. He rarely left her alone, but tonight was a moment of reprieve. She could have ran. Walked right out the front door and down the street. Away from the only world she could recall. And she briefly let it sift through her mind. But where would she go? With no money and knowing no one on the outside, it was easy to convince herself that was hopeless. No one would want her. There was no where to turn.

Her body couldn’t handle another night with a man. Her hair was falling out and the bruises on her skin stayed for months now. Soon he wouldn’t even want her. The men would start noticing and she would be worth nothing. With her body giving out, and completely numb, she was ready to take the only way out that she believed she had.

Hours later Sarah woke up in the hospital. The doctor told her that while drifting in and out of consciousness on the bathroom floor she began wailing. A neighbor, unable to ignore the loud whimper any longer, called the police.

Sarah was lucky to be alive.

She knew he would be looking for her, but not here. It was too obvious and he wouldn’t want his name tied to her. With no strength left, she couldn’t go back. Slowly Sarah let her story unfold. And through help with a local organization, once healed Sarah was brought to a home where she began the steps to rebuilding her life.

*Names have been changed.