You are probably wondering why is MJ and her little boy living on the streets and why doesn't she have a family to turn to or a job to pay her bills. Or is she addicted to drugs and spent all her money and that's how she ended up there. Yes, all of these thoughts also crossed my mind when I first met her!
Here is MJ's story (FYI: MJ's name was changed to protect her identify and to also protect her parents and her siblings....yes she is still trying to protect her parents after all of this! ) This story will be hard for some of you but I wanted to share some of these details that MJ shared with me so that you can understand why MJ is homeless and raising her son on the streets with no one to turn to...
MJ was born and raised in San Jose and has 5 siblings. MJ loves her parents dearly (to this day) in spite of what her biological father was doing to her and her sisters which her mother knew about and was ok with. He would rape and molest MJ and her sisters regularly after they got home from school. MJ was afraid to go home after school or to tell anyone about it because what can an 11-year old little girl say or whom can she turn to? In her home, her mother and father enforced the rule "what happens at home, stays at home" - you don't talk about anything and you don't tell anyone! But her father wasn't the only one molesting MJ and her sisters (as if that wasn't enough). Her older brother was also part of it...following the father's foot steps! But molestation wasn't enough in MJ's household and the physical abuse didn't stop there. Her parents (yes both of them and the mom was also involved) used to also inflict physical pain on the girls. If the girls acted out or behaved badly, they would make the girls take off their pants and they would whip them until they bled. They were choked, kicked, punched, thrown across the room, starved, etc. If they talked back, the parents made them eat very spicy hot sauce (the entire bottle) to teach them a lesson. Things that no child should ever have to experience at such young age.
As a teenager of constantly living in fear of her parent's mental and physical abuse, MJ didn't know who to turn to for help so finally she went to Child Protective Services (CPS) asking for help. But all her parents did was try to mask the situation. They threatened MJ and forced her to lie to the authorities when their household was under an investigation. MJ was so scared of what her parents may do to her or to her younger sisters that she told CPS she made the whole story up and she lied only to get attention.
Eventually MJ started acting out and behaving badly at school but who can blame this poor young girl when she was being abused at home everyday. Her hate towards her mother and father fumed inside and she would end up getting into fights at school. She was eventually transferred to a school for troubled kids. Her councellors didn't realize that the root of the problem was at home and not at school. One day, she did stand up to her father as he was abusing her but a small teenage girl is no match for a 6'2 tall 400 poud man and he beat her and kocked her unconscious. At least MJ tried to fight back and to her that's what mattered!
MJ finally ran away from home at 16 and since has been living on the streets on her own. She did manage to work two jobs at that time and get her high school degree all on her own despite of how hard it was being homeless and alone at such a young age.
A few years ago, she met a guy who she thought was her soulmate. MJ loved him dearly and they eventually had a son together. He too absued MJ but becasue abuse was part of her childhood, she thought this was a normal way of living as a couple. However, as an adult you know deep down that no one should be ok with getting physically and mentally abused. Once MJ's son was born, as a parent she didn't want her son to go through what MJ went through or even witness this behavior at home. So she took her son and left.
Today, MJ is homeless, trying to raise this little boy all by herself and provide a safe and abuse-free environment for him. The boy's father also doesn't have much so getting help from him is so hard.
Currently she is staying in a shelter but her time is quickly running out and she only has 2 weeks left. She tried to find a job but how can she go to work when she has a little boy to take care of?? She is on waiting lists for affordable housing and affordable child care but that hasn't come in yet.
She is grateful for the shelter and the small bed that she shares with her son but life there is not easy. There are bed bugs on the beds where they are sleeping so her and her son are covered in bites. There are 10 women sleeping in one room, almost on top of each other. When her 18-month old son cries at night everyone gets mad at her.
I have become a friend of MJs and met her little boy, who is the sweetest little angel. She is a very good mom and always has his best interest at heart, always puts his needs before hers. I'm asking for help for MJ because I don't know how else to help her. I'm trying to raise some money for her so she can have the bare necessities that most of us take for granted: some money for warm clothing, a proper Christmas for her and her son, maybe an old car that she can drive to go to interviews and eventually her job instead of always taking the city bus with her baby. But most importantly, I hope that this fund will help to get this young mom and her little 18-month old son off the streets and eventually will help put a roof over their heads. My wish is for MJ to have a home (even if its just her own room somewhere) so that she knows what its like to feel safe and doesn't have to worry about anyone hurting her or her son.
We will be using the funds raised to:
1) Pay off MJ's speeding ticket which she got a few years ago and never paid because she didn't have money so now the fee has gone up to $1,200
2) Buy her a reliable car for about $2,300
3) Pay for at least 5-6 months of insurance
4) Register the car with DMV
5) Pay for a PO box so she has a permanent address where she can get her mail, such as DMV, Insurance, and other important documents
6) Put a deposit down and first months rent for a room that we are looking for her to rent.
So if you have a few dollars to spare, I ask that you please help MJ and her little boy! Myself and MJ will be very grateful for your genorisity.
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