My Policy Center journey

Written January 23, 2019 at 2:00 PM- I came to the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center at the age of 19. Some people would’ve said I was a lost cause and there was no repairing me because of the trauma I endured, but in reality, the systems I was placed in never gave me the chance to work towards healing. The systems, counselors, courts and other adults in my life, assumed I needed certain things but never asked me about what I needed.

By the time I arrived at the Policy Center, I had more than my share of challenging life experiences. I ran away over 15 times. I was arrested more than 10 times. I was sent to three juvenile justice commitment programs. I had been a victim of human trafficking twice. I was arrested for standing up against my trafficker. I faced life in prison and been on solitary confinement for two years. And I was sent to foster care with foster parents who only cared about the money I brought them. Continue Reading Here.

Saturday Lead Letter: Victims of sex abuse deserve to be believed and supported

Written June 30, 2017 at 6:04 PM-Bill Cosby, whose criminal assault trial ended in a mistrial, is planning an “educational tour” this summer.

According to his spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, “This is not a sexual assault tour as many media have sensationalized it. It is an educational tour on what people should be cognizant of in regard to sexual abuse allegations and the dangers.”

Explaining his plans, Cosby said, “It’s easy to be falsely accused of sexual assault. If it could happen to Bill Cosby, it could happen to anybody.” 

The outcome of his trial provides evidence to the contrary.

Despite Cosby’s own admission that he acquired Quaalude prescriptions with the intent to give them to young women he wanted to have sex with, he, like so many perpetrators of sexual assault, finds it easy to blame victims. And beyond that, he will now capitalize on victims’ traumas with a road show designed to boost his image. Continue Reading Here

I Was a Kid in Solitary Confinement

Written June 15, 2017 at 11:35 AM– I was sent to adult prison at the age of 16, and it changed my life forever. I wish that was because I received the services I needed to turn my life around. But, it was because I was on lockdown 23 hours a day and lived without positive human contact and regular programming, such as education, recreation and trauma care.

I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I’m sharing my experience to make clear that kids in trouble with the law might be kids with their own troubles, who need help healing.

Before ending up in the justice system, I had already experienced severe trauma. By the time I was 15 years old, I had run away, abused drugs and been a victim of sex trafficking. I was tried as an adult for being violent toward the man who brutally raped and trafficked me.

I was placed in a mental health dorm — despite not having a mental health diagnosis — because there was no other space for me in the prison. Because I was under 18, I had to be separated from all adult prisoners by sight and sound to comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.

I was in a dorm with legally insane people. Continue Reading Here

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