Denes:  I was born into foster care. My foster mamma would take us to the country every year in Georgia for a couple of weeks during watermelon season. My foster dad’s brother would come over from Jamaica to help pick watermelon and that’s when he would molest me. 

BW: How old were you when this happened? 

Denes: It started when I was 7 or 8 and it ended when I was 13. We would always stay in hotel rooms when we went to Georgia and I would always stay in a room with my foster mamma. He would tell me to come to his room and, me being a kid, I didn’t really realize that’s what it was because he’d say I was pretty and I thought it’s what I was supposed to do. 

He was on top of me when my mom knocked on the door to his motel room. When she came in, I was sitting there with a sheet covering me. She asked me why I was there and I told her that he was my boyfriend, because secretly, that’s what he’d always tell me. 

BW: What did she do?

Denes: What didn’t she do? She beat him up, bad, with a cane and everything. She ended up telling my foster dad and my dad beat him up. Then my step brothers beat him up. Then they called the cops. He went to jail for 10 years. But that’s really what led up to me working on the street. 

BW: What was the best day of your life?

Denes: Every day, really. I’ve done died 6 times and came back.  When I was born my mom was on crack cocaine, weed, alcohol, heroin, and meth. The only thing I’ve ever done was powder, weed, and drink and I don’t do those things like I used to. Living every day, knowing that I didn’t go as far as my mother did, and knowing that I’m still alive, is good enough for me.