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I was sleeping in a drug den and felt empty, like I was nothing

Bev’s story

I was abused as a child and it’s fair to say that life has been really tough as an adult too. I escaped an abusive relationship, but fell in with the wrong crowd and started taking drugs.

Things went downhill very badly; I was so violently raped that I was left for dead, with no jaw, teeth and burns. I was sleeping in a drug den and felt empty, like I was nothing.

I wound up in prison for stealing – which is when my life started to turn around for me. I met the prison chaplain and heard about an Alpha Course. I was put in touch with Hope into Action and in September 2014 a lovely lady called Carol came to visit me. She’s amazing; never judgemental and always very kind. I love Carol (Carol is her mentor from the Partner Church).

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When I was released, members of the church met me at the prison gates. Hope into Action gave me a place to call home and its partner church helped me furnish it. It took a month for my benefits to come through, so the Foodbank and church mentors fed me in the meantime.

I met my housemate, Dana, and her daughter, the day I moved into the Hope into Action house. We’re like a little family now. We’re really close.

I’ve received help to work out a repayment plan for my debts and for the first time in my life, I have a proper bank account, so I can be more organised with my finances.

I’ve had a lot of support to stay clean of drugs and feel positive about my future. Hope into Action arranged for me to see a counsellor once a week to talk about my rape and abuse and I’m finally getting my health sorted out. I even had a new set of teeth – done by someone in my church. People say I smile more now, which isn’t surprising, because for the first time in years I feel a sense of hope – like life’s worth living.

I have four grown up children, who I talk to on the phone. Earlier this year, I got back in touch with other members of my family who I hadn’t seen for well over a decade. Now I’ve got my mum back and my brothers and sister. I’m Auntie Bev to my eight nieces and nephews – it’s amazing.

The support I’ve received from Hope into Action has been a lifesaver, they’re like a safe harbour in a storm and I honestly don’t know where I would be now without their help. I’d probably be on the streets, or in a filthy drug den. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

In the future, I would like to move into my own place, closer to where my mum and my sister live, so that I can be near them and watch my nieces and nephews grow up.

Bev’s story isn’t unique and we need your support to help women like her. If you would like to donate to us to help vulnerable women like Bev please visit www.hopeintoaction.org.uk/donate