I remember the day like it was yesterday, the day when I answered the door early in the morning to three police officers. The next thing I know my dad is in handcuffs, in the back of I police car.
My name is Allie, I’m nineteen years ago and am currently involved in the STREAT Program. I am very proud of myself for how far I have become of the years, before STREAT and during STREAT I have achieved so much but, life hasn’t always been easy for me and it probably never will.
I will begin my story by filling you in on my life before STREAT, I didn’t have the best of childhoods with great parents, but don’t get me wrong I love my parents very much, more than anything and I would never trade them for different ones.
My parents separated when I was very young, I was six years old. Ever since then I have moved house, schools and towns. I lived with my father though my childhood til the age of thirteen. Life had its ups and downs, with my older sister abusing me physically and mentally, my father ignoring me and trying to take care of myself. From the age of eight I knew how to cook, clean, dress and look after myself, it made me smart and mature quickly.
I remember just after my sisters seventeenth birthday my father started seeing one of my sisters friends. My sister didn’t like that very much so in the end she moved out, I got to see more of my dad and he and I were both happy, but it didn’t last long.
I remember the day like it was yesterday, the day when I answered the door early in the morning to three police officers. The next thing I know my dad is in handcuffs, in the back of I police car, my dad’s girlfriend and I in another police car heading to the station. And there I am sitting for three hours waiting to be questioned. In the end I had to go live with mum in another town, and having to start all over again for the millionth time to make new friends, start a new school and living in a completely different environment. Let’s just say both my parents run things differently.
Once moving there I took up the role of mum, I did the cooking, cleaning, looking after my brothers, getting to school on time. In simple words my mum is like a child, she thinks like one and she acts like one most of the time. I can’t blame her though, she is mentally unwell, and she suffers from depression and scysyphania.
In 2009 May 12th was a day that changed my life, the day my dad got jailed. After that I became depressed, in 2010 I dropped out of school, stopped doing fun stuff and I didn’t hang out with my friends anymore. I isolated myself from the world. I did nothing for a whole year, no school, no nothing. I put on 40kgs in two years, since living with my mum.
2011 came around and I found the motivation and started at a new school, The Re-Engagement Program, for teenagers you needed to be re-engaged back into some sort of education. I did well there, got my VCAL Certificates, Hospitality Certificates and even got myself a casual job while studying. Everything was going well til the start of 2013.
A few weeks earlier my mum had kicked me out for telling the truth and sticking up for myself but after a few hours we both had cooled down and she wanted me home again, so I came back. I was becoming overwhelmed and wanted to get away, so I run away to Adelaide and became homeless.
It isn’t all that difficult to be homeless, there are a lot of places out there to help and I am very thankful to them, I didn’t go hungry as offer as I was expecting to. The hardest part for me was that I got harassed a lot by older men that were also homeless, just because I was a young female.
I slept rough, no sleeping bag, in parks and getting eaten alive by bugs. It is hard to sleep when you’re homeless, you only get about two hours of sleep a night. You get worried about people stealing your stuff or just jumping on you or something. The best time to sleep is during the day, find a quiet park and just lay on the grass and go to sleep.
While in Adelaide I meet a man I thought was kind and wouldn’t try and take advantage of me. Boy was I wrong though, but I came out of it alive that is all that matters to me now and that it’s over with.
I was stuck with him for 9 months or so, he abused me mentally, physically and sexually. I even became pregnant with his child. I wanted to keep it and run away, I even thought he might change now he knows there’s a baby on the way but, he didn’t, he became worse.
He forced me to get a termination of the pregnancy, I was and still am very against terminations. I was depressed but had to act normal and I put all my energy in getting him angry is he would just end it for me, he came close.
One last scene happened in public, people actually started helping me, I tell you now never yell for help because people don’t help because they are scare they will get hurt and don’t want to get involved.
The police got called and I got away, but mind you to this day the police and I have no clue of where he has gone to, he ran. I tried getting an IVO, which I have but, the papers have not been served to him. The police made some phone calls for me and got me into Front yard which, got me into a refuge for young women whom have suffered DV, I stay at one for a few nights then got moved to another. The one I stayed there for a few months, thanks to the workers there I got the information about STREAT, and I really liked the idea of STREAT and want to be a part of it.
I enrolled with STREAT and had an interview type meeting with Kirsten. Then a month later I had a sit down with Emma to talk about the program and why I was there.
Once being enrolled with STREAT I had a leg up with housing options for me, my housing worker looked into a transitional housing, where you had to be working or in some sort of education.
Since then I have got a casual job as a waitress, meet my current partner Andy, whom also did the STREAT Program 5 years ago. Thanks to STREAT we meet and are very happy.
Some people that stand out for me at STREAT and that have helped me are; Dylan at the Production Kitchen for making every day there fun and educational, even when there was lot to be done. Emma and Kirsten for being my mentors, type thing, they’re good listeners and always have some advice to give when needed. And all my STREAT peers for coming every week and having a good chat and a good old laugh. Oh and Sophie who is always got a smile for me.
Allie graduated from STREAT in 2014 and now works in hospitality whilst she studies to be an Aged Care Nurse.