Melanie's story as written by a Ynet Journalist, who spent last Passover at a Someone to Run With - Mishehu Larutz I'to program.
Melanie needed money for food, and she decided that prostitution was the answer. She stood outside on Sharon Street, and before she even got to the roundabout there were 30 cars honking their horns for her. She climbed inside a car and got 350 NIS for 20 minutes of service. Melanie, not yet 18 years old, has been making a living from prostitution. She is afraid to end up like her mother, a 41-year-old, homeless stripper.
Melanie had been living with violence and neglect since the day she was born. As a young child she experienced sex, drugs, and beatings in her own home; there was nowhere she felt safe. These promiscuous activities were too much for young Melanie to handle; she needed to escape. At the age twelve she was shipped off to boarding school where she felt extreme feelings of neglect. She started to rebel. Melanie was later moved to a foster family in Jerusalem; however, the conditions were not much better there. "It was horrible. There were 14 children and they didn’t even know her name." Melanie required a lot of personal attention, and she got lost there.
Melanie moved to the streets; it was a better time for her. There she got the attention she was seeking. She had many “spiritual fathers” who would pay to sleep with her. On the streets she became even more rebellious committing acts of theft, corruption, vandalism, drugs, and unprotected sex. She became bulimic for eight years and had many other eating disorders, which resulted in several psychiatric ward hospitalizations.
Melanie was forced into a state of prostitution; she was forced to suppress her emotions and hide the pain deep rooted inside of her. Now, she is working at a strip club in Ramat Gan. For her the cash is easy. It is forbidden to have sex, so it keeps her "safe.” Yesterday she made 800 NIS without doing anything in an hour and ten minutes. Melanie likes being independent she says, “ Even if I decide to mess up my life, at least I know that I am in control.”
Elem’s program, Someone To Run With has always been there for Melanie throughout her trials and tribulations. The program provides homeless youth who are involved in prostitution and drugs basic needs such as hot meals, clothing, and showers, as well as temporary shelter and assistance in connecting to appropriate services in their community.
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