135 Years, 135 Stories title image

A place to feel safe

BRITNEY, Tennessee

When I was five my stepfather–who I thought was my real dad– molested me. This went on until I was in fourth grade. I told my mother and she believed me but she didn’t do anything about it. Instead she abused me physically and verbally. I moved from place to place over the years and felt like I never had a foundation. I dropped out of high school and was living on the streets for a while.

I started drinking and doing drugs and working as a stripper. Then I met a guy who said he could make my life better. Well, let’s just say he didn’t. One night after work, I was driving home in the rain and my car hydroplaned and went over a cliff and I was hanging there. I called my friend and said to please come and get me. I thought I was going to die. That was my turnaround point. I had to strive to do better for myself and I did not want to let anything else get in the way.

I went back to live with my mother but ended up homeless after she was abusive again. Through a friend I learned about the program I am in now through the Partnership in Chattanooga. I am living in an apartment in Tennessee, paying for some of it myself while I work and study for my GED and take college classes. At 24, I am getting a late start with school, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything. I knew I had it in me. I just needed a place where I’d feel safe.

Britney's Story Photo