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.