Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault, Abuse, Drug Use, Suicide
My name is April, and I am extremely excited and honoured to have been asked to take part in this blog. I am so grateful to have found SafeHope Home. I am a survivor of Human Trafficking and I believe it is because of SafeHope Home that I am alive today. I would like to use this blog as an opportunity to use my experience of being trafficked to bring awareness to H.T. and the traumatic hurdles that I have had to overcome, in hopes that my story can inspire change and save another life. In today’s blog, I’d like to start off by sharing with you what led me to SafeHope Home.
I come from a divorced family. I was raised living full-time with my father and visiting my mother. Unfortunately, both sides of my family suffered from addiction passing through many generations. My father, a functioning addict. My mother, in and out of jail and H.T. as well. So, I’m sure you can just imagine the trauma as a child that I had experienced from mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. There is so much I have to share with you all in future blogs but today I would like to fast forward to when I lost my parents.
Four years ago, I lost both my parents two weeks apart. My father passed due to an overdose and my mother passed due to suicide. It was clear to me that the slogan from NA that addiction leads to “jails, institutions, and death” was completely true. Losing my parents affected me more than I could have ever imagined. I spiralled into a deep depression reliving all my trauma from my earlier years. With my parents gone, I was unable to have closure. I was now completely alone and vulnerable. All I wanted was someone to love me and hold me and tell me I’d be okay. Unfortunately, a predator found me while I was at the most vulnerable time in my life. He groomed me by feeding me drugs, gifts, and lies. He made me feel special and loved until he didn’t. It was long before he started to bring me down. Putting me under his mind control. He would beat me and rape me on a daily routine. After a while, when his addiction and mine continued to grow, he then started making me have sex with other men against my will. After I’d sleep with these men, he would then take money from them, leaving me naked, humiliated, and feeling so dirty I couldn’t get clean. He would then beat me and starve me because I pleased the other man (that he forced me to be with). He would degrade me in front of families while out in public. He made me feel completely worthless. He instilled so much fear in me that I couldn’t leave. I spent my days wishing the drugs would take my life. I truly believed that the only way out was to overdose.
It wasn’t until an officer who was familiar with me helped me escape. Knowing my life was on the line somehow, you can call it my higher power or whatever you would like, but I built the courage to escape my trafficker. I went through many hurdles trying to find a safe place where I could heal from all this trauma. Then after a random sexual assault with a weapon while living on the streets alone hiding, an organization that helps women who are being trafficked connected me with SafeHope Home. Because of SafeHope Home I am alive today. Not only alive but thriving. I look forward to sharing more of my story with you and how much SafeHope Home has helped and continues to help me. For now, I’d like to show you a difference from one chapter to another by giving you two examples – #1 being my obituary if staying in H.T. (where my life was headed) and #2 the type of obituary that would occur now that I am at SafeHope Home and have left the life of HT and addiction.
#1 Obituary While Being Trafficked
August 22, 2023
A body of an unidentified white female who appears to be between the age of 35-45 was found dead behind a local shelter. The woman was found with no pants and a red tank top. The woman had stab wounds to the chest and what appeared to be multiple old broken bones and fractures.
#2 Obituary Leaving HT and Addiction
We are saddened to share that as of August 22, 2023, April Shine passed away in her safe, warm bed due to natural causes. April was very well known in her community for all her hard work educating our community on H.T. April owned a non-profit organization that offers support to women and children experiencing trafficking. April was a survivor herself. Her strength, courage, and love for others will never be forgotten. She truly was an inspiration and will continue to carry on through the hearts of those who love her.
When I look at how I lived as a child and how I lost my parents, the pain my heart and soul endured is pain I would not wish upon my worst enemy. I take the time to reflect on the path of life I was on. I see that jails, institutions, and death were truly my reality. This is not the reality I want. I do not want my obituary to look anything like example #1. I am motivated to make a change in my life, and I am grateful to have support while I am trying to start this new chapter.