Vulnerabilities and Recruitment
I was a 32-year-old single mother of three who came into a traumatic work related accident that resulted in a broken back and multiple other significant issues because of this accident. I was partially paralyzed-each day the extent of the disability and areas of my body that would function would depend upon the extent of usage in previous days. When my accident happened in July 2003, my three children had to be outsourced to other relatives because my home and life became completely unmanageable without assistance. I was prescribed an entire battery of medications including but not limited to opiates. I am not saying that opiates were a bad part of my life because the pain was so intense they were absolutely critical to survival. Also, the amount of support that was needed in my life in order for all the normal functions to continue what’s unmanageable for my family/friends to be able to sustain and this led to isolation and emotional loss. My mental health began to suffer as everything in my world that was normal to me was either being taken away or was already lost. A few of what I would call now acquaintances used to visit my home because I was unable to get out. I was introduced at that time to cocaine, which I had always said no to because I was terrified of it like now just wanting to be part of the group I chose to try it. Immediately, I loved the euphoric effects and stimulation it gave me. It was not very long before I had a very serious cocaine addiction problem. I very quickly depleted all the resources that I was involved in and started writing bad cheques etc.
It was not very long before I owed a lot of people from criminal organizations a lot of money. I was then forced through extreme violence to start committing crimes such as fraud via running IDS and opening fraudulent accounts, manipulating the banking systems by opening up bank loans and different new credit scams with such IDs. There were also scams such as getting new furniture, cars, business venture loans etc… There were many times when I was beaten or threatened that if I did not produce a particular amount of money from certain IDs etc. that I would be held responsible and possibly force to do other crimes. Eventually, as my habit also increased so did my dependence on this activity and therefore I believe that was my buy-in to being treated the way that I was. There was also multiple other crimes that I was subjected to witnessing what I would call now the warning time but if I did not comply that eventually those same treatments would be given to me. I was always told that if I cannot hold firm and earn the money that I owe they will find other ways for me to work it off.
This continual cycle perpetuated for approximately 2 more years and the abuse and beatings became much more intense. Eventually, I was arrested for crimes that I actually had nothing to do with. I sat in Elgin Middlesex Detention Center and was released eventually at the courthouse when the charges were dropped at trial. As soon as I walked out of the courtroom a known associate was standing there waiting for me. I had already thought at that time “I’m never going back to this again and I am getting my life back together”…. when I tried to not be persuaded by him and told him I had to make it to an appointment I was very quickly informed that there was people that had to see me but all is good and I didn’t have to do anything except for talking to them and then I could go to my appointment.
I was taken to a house and on the way we went through a Tim Horton’s for coffee. I remember having my coffee and I had one toke of crack. The next thing I remember was that I was lying half naked in a basement of a mildew house. I was covered in bruises and track marks from needles all over my body. There were guys standing around in the basement screaming at me “if I didn’t tell them where the drugs were I wouldn’t live to tell about it”. I watched different people but really couldn’t communicate because they had been injecting me with drugs. Everything was foggy and I remember being beaten up again and again and then it would all go black/foggy. This treatment continued for over three days. On the last day a person came into the basement to talk to me and I recognized him immediately. He is a member in high standing of a motorcycle gang from here in London and surrounding area. I have known him since we’ve been teenagers and as soon as he saw me he started cursing and screaming at the guys that were in the room that they had the wrong person. That the woman they were looking for was still out there and even though we looked similar they had the wrong person! Then from upstairs all I could hear were tons of men screaming and yelling and things being broken. I don’t know how exactly I got up the stairs but they had left the door open in all the chaos that was going on and I ran out the front door. I was wandering down the street half naked when a driver pulled over and asked me if I needed help. I started screaming frantically and he let me into his truck and took me to a local restaurant/store and let me use his cell phone. He allowed me to put on his jacket while I was waiting for people to come get me. I called my brother and he took me immediately to Victoria campus of London Health Sciences.
Her Experience of Exiting
Eventually told my secret to somebody as I couldn’t hold it anymore. She also then helped me to rebuild my life. I still to this day absolutely freeze when I hear a Harley/loud motorcycle go by. I have been clean and sober since that series of incidents. I have received mild forms of therapy about the incident. I have also seen and had a very intense conversation with the man that came in the house that day. I have told him that a few select people know exactly what happened and I have written it in a detailed diary explaining the series of offenses and his involvement in that incident. I warned him that if anything happens to me ever before old age…that those people had full permission to turn it over to the police. I also promised that I would not ever say a word to anybody as long as he guaranteed that the others left me and all of my friends and family alone. When we go by each other now, we nod and continue walking, because we both know the dirty rotten secret that we keep.
Many people have told me that I shouldn’t feel guilty that it was not my fault. But deep down inside of me I have a hard time controlling that I could not have stopped the series of events from rolling out the way that they did. I now just think of what would’ve happened had I not gotten up those basement stairs that day!