When I was maybe fourteen or fifteen years old, I ran away from home. Life was just intolerable, and I had to get out. So I managed to stay home from church that day, and I packed my bag with a jersey and a water bottle, put on my most comfortable shoes, and I walked out.
I walked about 15km, to a friend’s place. I hoped that her family would give me shelter, maybe they could help me get out of the hell that home had become. But they weren’t home that day. My feet hurt. I went to the local playground and I cried.
I didn’t know what to do next, but I felt like I had to keep moving. So I walked back. It took me a bit longer than the walk out. I went to the playground closest to my house. It had a little hut right at the top. I figured that would be a good place to sleep.
It was summer, and it had been a hot day. I didn’t realise how cold the nights felt after a warm day. The playground I was in didn’t have much shelter, and a cool wind had me shivering. I hadn’t eaten all day.
I decided to seek shelter with a family friend. The kids of the household were not far off my age, and they knew about the abuse. Maybe they would help.
I knocked on the door an hour or two after midnight. They were still up. The elder daughter wrapped me in her arms and made me feel safe.
I told them everything, how I was being abused, how I needed to get out, how I had already tried to kill myself once because it was just so bad. They listened. And a couple of days later they sent me home.
I tried to get out. I tried to get help. And I was returned to my abuser over and over again.