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CATCH STORY OF HOPE

Christina is one of our strongest, dearest survivors, and here is her story so far.

As early as Christina can remember, she lived a life of abuse–an alcoholic stepfather, sexually abusive uncles and cousins, a mother powerless to help. One of her uncles would give her beer and make her drive him to strip clubs and perform sexual favors. “I tried to tell, but everyone got real mad at me,” she remembers. He died of suicide. When Christina was eleven, she remembers living and working with her mom in a hotel and the adjoining restaurant, having sex with rooms full of migrant workers and then bussing tables. At one point, her mom made Christina steal one John’s wallet. She was smoking and not in school—and so she was snatched up by the authorities and sent to a girls’ school for a little while. Her mother died when she was 12.  This put her out on the streets, back and forth to Egypt, prostituting in a brothel and on the street, doing pills, cycling through jail with a sugar daddy and multiple pimps.  With four abortions and one beautiful daughter, she lived a life that was quite literally out of her control.

As she grew older, her desire for love, community, and lasting relationships kept her going. She says, “Men would kick me out of their cars and say, ‘I want a hooker, not a friend,’ and I would think, ‘What’s wrong with me?’”

She would take her daughter with her everywhere–while smoking crack, drinking and driving.  Christina says, “I loved her but I didn’t know how to. I was afraid for her.   When I saw a man and a little child, I would think, they’re having sex or he’s abusing her.  I was paranoid.  Christina’s sugar daddy was stabbed in the throat “over a piece of cake, according to the news” and she hit rock bottom. After that, she was in and out of jail 26 times, raped, beaten and left for dead in the woods. She lost custody of her daughter.

Then she met Ben, who was good to her.  She tried to live the straight life for a while, but without support necessary to survive, her life spiraled out of control again.  She went to get crack and jumped in front of a car, was in a coma for ten days, had surgeries on her leg and hand, and then was back on the streets hobbling with a cane, wrapping toilet paper around her hand and shooting Neosporin into it. But crack wouldn’t let go.

Finally, she met Judge Herbert, and after a few more rounds of jail and recompense, he sent her to rehabilitation, and she became one of the first women of CATCH court. “We had a schedule,” Christina says. “And I started talking and learning about prostitution and abuse and parenting and how to go to the store. My counselor, she never doubted me. That was God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.”

And as for doma’s role in all of this–

“doma, oh my gosh, they gave me the love, and the trust. Here I was this broken soul and they gave me material things and emotional support.  They say they love me, they’re not going to leave me. I have abandonment issues. I never finished anything, not even puzzles.  I never had my own room to decorate. doma has helped to realize that it’s okay if you talk too much, if you’re not perfect, and they gave me responsibility. They have trusted me and given me new hope.  I have never seen people so nice and sweet, gentle and genuine. It’s like they brought God with them into that courtroom and God took over–like they’re God’s angels, God’s agents. They are doing exactly what God wants them to do.”

Today Christina has her first job, with support from doma.  She is in a strong relationship with Ben and is reunited with her daughter. She leads AA meetings at Bloom!, in Amethyst, and even in prisons, and is a mentor to the other ladies new to CATCH court.   She is a role model to us all.

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW ABOUT HOW DOMA IS SUPPORTING CATCH COURT, WITH A GENEROUS GRANT FROM THE WOMEN’S FUND OF CENTRAL OHIO!