21
Jan
09

Jennifer’s Story

Jennifer grew up in a broken home.  Her mother changed boyfriend’s like most people change their socks.  Jennifer grew up with lots of abuse, both physical and sexual.  Jennifer’s mom was an alcoholic.  Jennifer’s sister became an alcoholic.  Jennifer became an alcoholic.

Jennifer left home at young age and married as soon as she turned 18.  The problem is Jennifer’s husband was also an alcoholic with severe mental problems due to suffering sexual assaults as a child.  He was also an abuser…

Jennifer left him several times when things got so bad that she feared for her life.  They had recently come to Seattle where they stayed for a few months with his father until he kicked them out.  They had been homeless for 3 months when I met them at Nickelsville.

I knew they were struggling, I could hear the name calling and the fighting which came way to often from their tents.  I saw the tears in her eyes when we talked about abuse and how to overcome it at our weekly church service at the camp.  A few weeks later they were barred from the camp for smoking marijuana.  I didn’t know if I’d ever see them again.

I went to Nickelsville at an unusually early time for me to meet up with another resident for coffee.  That person never showed up.  As I was about to leave, Jennifer came up.  She came to Nickelsville to find me.  She really needed to talk, so we went over to Cafe Trabant.  I could tell something was up and after 30 minutes she began to break down and cry.

She told me that they were staying at TC3 but were banned for alcohol/marijuana.  They were staying in a park close to TC3.  One night her husband got drunk and sold Jennifer to another old homeless man with bad Parkinson’s who brutally violated her while he watched and pleasured himself.  That night, with nothing but her ID and the clothes on her back, she fled.

She had no idea where to go or what to do and hardly knew anyone in the area, so she came to find me.  Providentially, I was there.  After a few hours of counseling, (and much consultation on how to handle this with Rick R.) Jennifer agreed to allow my wife and I to take her to Harborview for a rape kit.  We were there for 12 hours when they discharged her at 3:30am with nothing but the clothes on her back.  All the domestic violence safe-houses were full.  She hadn’t even had a chance to shower off the sense of filth that she carried from the traumatic experience.

Rick R. had saved her a bed at a local shelter but she would have to be up and out in 2 hrs, so we took her back to Nickelsville.  We picked her up that morning and bought her some clothes and toiletries and various things to try and salvage some of her femininity, anything to make her feel normal.  We found a place she could shower at.  We called ever safe-house from Olympia to Mount Vernon/Bellingham.  No one would take her, they were all full.

We would spend the day’s with her, taking care of her, counseling her, and loving on her and drop her off at a women’s shelter in time for check-in so she wouldn’t have to be alone because the word on the street was that her husband was looking for her.  During that week, Jennifer kicked alcohol.  She also transformed her life.  We talked alot to Jennifer, who is a Christian, about her purpose.  The usual stuff that God created her for more than this, that she was worth more than this to Him, that He loved her.  That the abuse she experienced throughout her life was NOT her fault.  It did not make her dirty or a bad person as she previously had convinced herself of.  My wife and I shared of our own troubled childhoods’ and history of abuse.  We prayed and cried often with her….

Jennifer’s transformation was amazing.  We came up one day to pick her up and could her talking to another young girl from the street’s with a similar story that “She used to be just like her.  She used to think she was worthless and dirty because of everything that had happened to her.  She used to think that it was all her fault and only now, for the first time in her life did she realize that it wasn’t.  That she was created for something more.  That God had a plan for her and loved her and wanted more from her”.

It was one of the best moments of my life.

I connected Jennifer with some long lost family members out of state.  Together we found her a recovery home and got her a ticket the hell out of dodge.  I picked her up from the shelter and put her on a plane.  She’s in a safe place now.

So many still aren’t…

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2 Responses to “Jennifer’s Story”


  1. March 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    Hi Dustin, I met my kids and I met you yesterday at Quest Church’s To The Streets and I also heard you speak @ the Homeless Depth Class/Panel Discussion the other day. We read Jennifer’s Story as part of the MSA Lenten Guide this morning in our C-group. Thank you for sharing her story and all that you do every day in ministering to those in need.


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