Author's Note: Hi wattpaders! So recently, I went to a homeless shelter in my city to volunteer and I also interviewed one of the girls there. This is her story told from her perspective. The words are all hers.
I was born in 1994. I am seventeen years old. My name is Cassidy. When I was very young, things were perfect for me. As I got older, it seemed as if the world turned against me. My father left my mother and I when I was ten years old. My mother went into a time of depression and so I spent four years taking care of her. She couldn't hold her job and so I got a job at a local family owned restaurant that let me work as a kitchen helper. I was able to hold us up with my job but I had to drop out of middle school. When I was fourteen, my mom got back on her feet and got a job. Through her new job she met a man named, Michael. I was fifteen when they got married and Michael became my stepfather. At first, things were much better for my mother and I. I really liked my stepfather and he loved me and my mom. At least we thought he did. Four months into my mom's new marriage, he started to become abusive. He physically hurt my mother. I tried to stop him by yelling and I even tried to fight him back. But, he was stronger and was able to push me aside and I wasn't able to help my abused mom. Every time that he hurt my mother I tried harder to fight him, to hurt him so that he wouldn't hurt my mother. He had had enough of me. And instead of hurting my mother, he hurt me. Anything that I would say or do, could tick him off and he would hurt me. I had to be careful with what I said around him and so I barely said anything. But, being silent wasn't enough to get him to stop harming me.
One night, I was coming home from the store and Michael and my mom were arguing. Michael got so angry that he slapped my mom so hard she passed out. I screamed for her and my stepfather told me to shut up. He swore at me. He called me a slut and a whore and used the F-word in every sentence that he said to me. And then he touched me. I didn't like it and he hurt me. And just like that I was a victim of sexual abuse. He raped me that night. I was only fifteen.
The several weeks following I noticed changes. Changes in myself. And when I missed my monthly gift I took a pregnancy test. It came out positive. I was pregnant with my step-father's child. When I told my mother, she wept for what seemed like days. When she hesitantly told her abusive husband, he got angry, really angry. He called me a whore and said that he didn't do it. He threw me out of the house. I left with the clothes on my back, a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, and sweatpants in a backpack that also held a single blanket,my childhood teddy bear from my mom, fifty dollars, and a small bag of chips.
My first night homeless was the worst. It was in January, thirteen days after my sixteenth birthday. It was cold and it started snowing. I laid down in the opening of an alley. I had slipped on all of the clothes I had and cuddled up in my blanket, but I was chilled to the bone. I thought that I was going to freeze to death. I was terrified. Miraculously, I survived the night. The next morning I looked for a shelter or something to help me. I didn't know what to do. I found a homeless shelter. When I told them that I was pregnant, they suggested a health clinic that helped with homeless teen pregnancies. If I helped at the health clinic, they provided free service to me. From the first couple weeks to the ninth month. My pregnancy wasn't easy because I was homeless. I managed to live through it, though.
I had my daughter September thirtieth. I wished that I could've hated her. She was after all a reminder of my abusive step father, but I couldn't help but love her anyway. She was a part of me. In the middle of October, I went back to the shelter and stayed there for a year. My daughter is one and a half and I am a homeless, teen mom. A teen mom that is slowly getting back on my feet.
Cassidy is currently working on getting her high school diploma. Her daughter stays with Cassidy's friend while Cassidy works. They are still homeless but as Cassidy works, she hopes to be able to get a well paying job by the time she is nineteen. And she wants a home some time soon. Cassidy prays that her mother is okay, and when she is ready, she will go back and help her mother.