NOWHERE TO CALL HOME. Photographs and Stories of People Experiencing Homelessness. Volume Four (Paperback)
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"I was kidnapped for six years. Yeah, it was on the news," Trena (not her real name) told my dad and I as I photographed her at the corner of Queen St. E. and Victoria St. in Toronto. Incredibly, her parents did not call the police. "Why didn't your parents report you as missing?" my dad asked her. "They were poor, and it was hard enough to take care of the other two brothers and sisters I had. So, I understand them. I forgive them," she said. Trena then told us about the harrowing experiences she has had on the street. "I've been raped and beaten here. I've been stabbed a million times. Cops don't care. The cops watch me get beaten. They don't care for us. A lot of poor people get beaten all the time. The cops will] sit there and laugh." After saying this, Trena started to cry. "Sorry It's a bit touchy... I was raped by cops when] I was fifteen. So, I know what it's like... Um, the cops] they beat you all the time. If you don't have drugs, they just take your money. Down here they think you're no good or nothing, you know?" Speaking of other people experiencing homelessness, she said, "You get a lot of good ones and] a lot of bad ones around here... And I know who to keep away from me. But they're not bad. It's just the way they were brought up. Like, their parents were drug dealers. That's what they know. That's all they know. They don't know any different." "I didn't have parents," Trena told us. "I raised myself. My parents were drug dealers]. A lady] took me in and tried to
make me go to school. But it was already too late after being raped and... being given drugs and tortured. It's not fun. You know what I mean? I didn't have a choice." "It sounds like you've got a good attitude despite everything," my dad told Trena. With a look of determination, Trena said, "I've got to. I've gotta stay strong. I've been through a lot."