Rita Found “A Way Out”My name is Rita and I am twenty-four and I would like to share my story with you. I grew up in a family that I always thought was normal. I was twenty-three years old when I realized that they weren't. I was sexually abused as a child, with my earliest memory being age four. The abuse continued until I was eleven. I was made to adjust and I learned from my mom that sexual abuse was not a big deal. I carried that attitude with me for a long time.
I left home when I was seventeen and lived in programs like Job Corps and later shelters. I was doing drugs and therefore was unemployable. If I did get a job, I didn't keep it for long. I also lived with friends, boyfriends, and by the time I was twenty-one years old, I was pregnant.
At age twenty-two, I was a single mom and couldn't make it out on my own and now that I had a baby, it was really hard. I didn't want to be a mom and I sure didn't know how to be a mom. In fact I was an awful mother, I cared more about getting high and talking to guys.
My lifestyle was obvious to the pimps that lived in the Budget Suites Hotel where I was living after Abel was born. I now know different pimps and their hookers played on me to get me to choose a pimp by giving me many compliments, gifts, and anything I needed. The day I chose to be with a pimp, my son, Able, was five months old and he had to go to the hospital with pneumonia. My soon to be pimp went with me to the hospital, where he asked questions of the doctor about stuff I didn't know to ask.
The pimp's actions at the hospital seemed proof to me that he cared about me and my baby, so within a couple of days, with his encouragement, I got dressed, did a lot of speed and we drove to a street where a lot of hookers worked. I was really nervous and thought about how nothing was working right in my life. The pimp told me to get out of the car and call him when I turned my first date.
My first night I made $300.00, but it was the hardest night I would ever have, all the rest were somehow blocked out and not as difficult as that first night. I continued to be involved in prostitution for one more year. During this time, the abuse that my son and I went through was unreal. After one year, I was tired and considered all used up. My pimp had another "new" girl, so he began using my son to keep me with him. He would take Abel away from me for days, until he felt I acted right or until I made enough money. Sometimes he would take him away for no real reason, but to torture me.
The day I met Carol Wiley, I had experienced a really bad night and had been dropped off in Arkansas somewhere. I had to take a cab back to Memphis and because I only had $60.00 left my pimp would have nothing to do with me and wouldn't let me see my son. It was about 9:00 a.m. and I was standing by a pay phone outside a dry cleaners. A girl who worked there invited me in and offered me a drink of water. To my surprise she told me that she had been with a pimp for ten years and told me how she had been burned with an iron and other awful experiences she had experienced in the sex industry. As I listened, I thought I could easily waste my life and lose everything that I have in me to be a decent human being. Actually, this was the first time anyone had legitimately tried to help me. You see this girl was in CCV's A Way Out Program and knew Carol Wiley. She called Carol and asked her if she could come talk to me. Carol came right away and after talking with her, I wanted to leave with her right then, but my pimp had my son and I didn't want to leave without Abel. I went back to work and waited for him to bring Abel back, which he did three days later. This was my opportunity to leave so I called Carol and she came and got me and Abel and I have been with CCV every since February 19, 2002.
Carol helped place me in a long term Christian based residential program. I now love all the people in Moriah house, they are very special to me, but I didn't always feel this way. I had to reconstruct my life and let people tell me what to do and I had to deal with myself: I had to come off drugs: I couldn't have any male relationships; I had to learn to be a mother; I had to become responsible and accept structure; and I had to learn patience. All of this was very hard for me and one day after being a Moriah House for two weeks, I went to Mrs. Beverly's officer and said, "I'm leaving, tell Carol I couldn't do it." Mrs. Beverly asked where I was going and I told her I was going to catch a cab to find my pimp before he left the state. I know this sounds crazy, but I was in bondage to all that chaos. Mrs. Beverly told me a story about a frog. How if you have a frog in a pan full of water and slowly turn up the heat the frog will never jump out and will eventually die. But if you throw a frog into boiling water then it will jump out. I decided to stay.
I have consistent support from CCV and Moriah House, but there is no way I could made it without my Lord Jesus. He has carried me and released me from all that mess and chaos. He has saved me and He loves me. I have grown in the Lord through Bible studies and with the encouragement CCV has offered me. I am now in college studying graphic arts. My first semester my mentor got me a backpack full of school goodies and she helped me get registered. She took me to Bible study every Tuesday and to counseling on Wednesdays. My first semester in school was probably just as stressful for Carol as it was for me because she helped me write my papers and on short notice. This encouraging environment has grown me up. I will never be the same.