People - Rebecca's Story
own words this is our friend Rebecca's story...
happened when I turned 12, my Father who used to beat the hell out of us left
home and the other thing that happened is I started using drugs... One of my friends
said 'Here try this it will make you feel better', and it did.
I turned 13, my Mum found a new partner who lived at home with us. He
raped me regularly and abused my younger sisters as well. I was only 13.
also use to beat Mum up and it was hell on earth. For about a year I suffered
through it but when I was fourteen I couldn't take it anymore, so I said to Mum
'You have to get rid of this guy, either he goes or I go.' Mum chose him and I
landed on the streets.
I stayed with friends, and then slept with guys from the neighborhood to keep
a roof over my head. Eventually I had to leave the suburbs for the city streets.
Sleeping in abandoned houses and buildings, I lived on the streets with
other young people who were like me.
The cuts all up my arm are from
slashing up. I slash myself to turn emotional pain into controllable physical
pain. It's not usually to kill myself, just to help cope with the pain of the
I don't do it much, but if I'm having a shocker week I might just
sit there and slash till I reach one hundred cuts.
If the only thing
that happens to you in your life is you just keep getting hurt, you end up saying
no this isn't going to happen to me, I'm not going to let myself get hurt anymore,
I can't handle the reality of life I can't handle any of it why not end it all
then I know that I don't have to deal with any of it.
last time I tried to kill myself I only had a syringe to slash up with so I was
hacking at myself trying to get myself bleeding properly. Then I sniffed paint
until I blacked out.
[left] Dominic, Rebecca & Gerry
wanted to bleed to death but it didn't work because someone found me lying in
the alley and called an ambulance. |
You just give up, that's it, it's
the end. As soon as you get to that stage where you don't care if you live or
die you end up so upset, so depressed, so hurt with everything that you just cant
handle even the day in front of you.
In the end it's a matter of well
if I get through the day then great, if I don't doesn't matter, no big deal. It's
not like anyone's going to miss whether I'm here or not.
have the confidence to actually do something about where you are is especially
hard because you have to build up that confidence.
the end of the time you come on the streets you've lost all confidence in yourself
and you think I cant do it even if I try I'm not going to be able to do it.
Rebecca. [right] Gerry (co-founder of Rebeccas Community) & Rebecca, talking
on the street late at night 2001.
to know that someone cares is the main thing I guess. Most of the people on the
street don't have anyone. We end up with no one when we come out here and you
think that no one cares no one worries about you and no ones willing to listen
to what goes on in your life
what problems you have.
Then I meet
Dominic and Gerry and the volunteers, they are willing to give up their time to
come and see you and worry about you personally and take the time out to listen
to what you have to say, it's great.
That's what people need is someone
to actually be there and to talk with, to listen, to care, someone to trust.
Knowing that there is someone there to care even if they aren't there 24
/ 7. When they do come out you really know it's someone who accepts you the way
you are and they are ready to listen.
They care about me and they miss
me if I don't turn up and that really makes me feel really special, well at least
"We named the organisation Rebeccas Community after Rebecca
because throughout the time she was on the streets she would put her own needs
on hold to be there for others. Our volunteers need to be like Rebecca - by being
generous with their time and being there for others. Young people like Rebecca
need friendship, the kind of friendship that is offered genuinely by people who
are not paid to care. It is one thing to offer people a handout and quite another
to say I will be there for you as a friend. This friendship must be a commitment;
they need to know that we will continue to be there for them and that our friendship
will be a home base they can return to. This is how we rebuild the confidence
they need to take positive steps forward."
you want to send a personal message to Rebecca, or comment on this personal story,
simply join the Homeless
Forum and post your message in this thread.
Dominic Mapstone B.Soc.Wk
dot mapstone at gmail dot com