Betty: I’m from the Appalachian mountains. I’m a hillbilly, I’ve had a hard life. I was molested from the age of five to thirteen. I had a son at the age of sixteen by a married man. I had to give him up for adoption because I had thoughts that shouldn’t be there. In other words, I prefer not to be around little boys.
BW: So, you were worried about doing to him what had been done to you? Did you voluntarily give him up?
Betty: Yes. I broke the chain. I gave him up to a family that I knew would take care of him. I married a man at the age of seventeen. We’d known each other two weeks and got married. He was abusive and alcoholic. I had two girls by him. Raised them up to the age of ten and twelve.
BW: So you raised your girls OK?
Betty: Yeah, I had no problem with girls.
I turned to drugs when I lost my children in 2001. I went to prostitution to get the drugs. I had two men come to my home and held a gun to my head and raped me. I’ve lived in abandoned houses for the past seventeen years. I eat out of dumpsters.
BW: What do you do when you get raped [when you’re a sex worker]?
Betty: You just got to survive. All the police is gonna say is look at what you do for a living. You’re a whore. Even though I am a prostitute, I still don’t deserve to be done that way, but they say that I do.
BW: I’m sorry.
Do you keep in touch with your girls?
Betty: They hate me. They say I abandoned them for drugs, but see, what they don’t understand is in the world of addiction there’s no love for nothing but that addiction. You’ll give up anything for it.
Part of these collections: Sex Work