I will be 52 next week. I was trafficked for 8 years through the strip bars in Southwestern Ontario. Through the process, I lost any savings I had and all of my possessions. I escaped 7 years ago with the clothes on my back.
Through sweat and tears have been trying to rebuild my life. I am on ODSP and live in government housing. I struggle every day, use the food banks and go to meals when they are offered. I refused to be condemned to a life of poverty. I registered at Fanshawe College, graduated from one program and I am now in the second year of a Social Services Worker program.
You would think all is fine and good. But no, I lie awake at night worrying. Who will hire me at my age and if my struggles will pay off? I hope that education will lift me from the curse of poverty but I must be realistic – age is an issue.
People are constantly saying how they admire me for going back at my age, they don’t think they could do it. It’s desperation and a drive not to die in housing that keeps me moving. There are a myriad of issues around being poor at this age. How long do I still have? Do I have the time to change my circumstances? These are fears I live with every day, and it’s eating me. I fervently hope that when I graduate someone will look past my age and see that I have lived experience and give me a chance!