Eva’s Story, Part 2: “I believed my life couldn’t get any worse”

When I was fourteen, we migrated to Australia, hoping for a fresh start. Leaving my culture, language, friends and family was devastating, but I was so looking forward to experiencing a Western country. My abuser promised me that he would change and be a father figure to me. I believed him. This lasted for a blissful month. 


And then it started again… any illusions of hope I had conjured up shattered. I felt like a fool. 


I would dissociate when I could. Keeping the anger at bay by scrubbing every inch of my body in scathing hot water till it was red and raw. 


I knew it was only a matter of time till my carefully balanced sanity came tumbling down. And one specific night, I decided this was it. Either the pain or my life had to end. But I decided to do something I had never done in sincerity before… I started to pray with all my might for an end to my pain or for my life to be taken. 


At that very moment, an electric and soothing presence washed over me — (I now know this to be the Holy Spirit). I felt at peace. From my head to my toes, I felt a warm peace that made no sense, transcendent, but not in a dissociated way. It was in that divine moment something in me simply knew that I would be okay.


The very next day, with the prompting of a friend, I told my school chaplain what was going on and she immediately reported it to the police and I became a ward of the state. 


I was never sexually abused again. But this came with a heavy price—I was separated from my mum and placed in the care of strangers who spoke a different language and lived a completely different lifestyle. 


For almost two years, I lived in foster homes, hoping for love and belonging. But lack of training and trauma-informed care along with several other ill-equipped misconceptions lead to further rejection. 


In the depths of my despair, I believed that my life couldn’t get any worse. I was estranged from my biological family, haunted by the nightmares of my past, rejected by my foster family, and struggling to navigate foreign culture. 


At age 17, in a desperate pursuit of freedom, I ran away from my foster home and faced the terrifying prospect of homelessness but homelessness seemed a better option than living in rejection and blame.


Life was dark and lonely. 

I used several maladaptive coping mechanisms to deal with my trauma responses… 

from self-harming…

to suicidal attempts…

to stealing from shops… 

to engaging in risky sexual behaviours… 

to restricting food consumption… 

to binge drinking… I tried it all. But it was always just a Band-Aid to my deep wounds.

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