Today, I ran at Castle Island, a park on the beach in Southie. I love Castle Island because there is so much to see... the Boston skyline is beautiful, you can feel the wind of planes coming in and out of Logan airport, and you will find all types of people there... suburban white kids on mountain bikes, Cape Verdeans from Roxbury having cookouts, Cambridge metros with Starbucks in hand, black Dorchester kids running around the playground, South Shore teenagers running with a purpose. It's like all of Boston in harmony at one park. But even though people give a little bit of their story away by their outward appearance, you never know what burdens they are carrying inside. I chose Mari's story because it is so invisible, and of all the hundreds of people I ran by today, I bet a handful of them have been where she is.
Mari is a 37-year-old African American woman who had been in a relationship with Darrell for 16 years. During that time Mari and Darrell had four children. Over the course of the relationship, Darrell had been verbally, physically and sexually abusive of Mari. Additionally, when Darrell wanted extra money, he called friends of his and forced Mari into commercial sex. She had tried to leave Darrell in the past; however, he either threatened to hurt their children, or convinced Mari that she had no other options other than staying with him. He controlled all of her money, did not allow her to keep her own bank account, and forbade her from getting her driver’s license. Mari could not see any alternatives for leaving.
One evening, Darrell, Mari and an 18 year-old, Janice, who Darrell was also forcing into prostitution, were pulled over by a patrol officer for a traffic violation. The officer noticed that when Darrell pulled out his identification he had Mari’s ID and the other girls’ ID in his wallet. The officer was suspicious and asked to speak to them all privately. During his conversation the officer realized both women were being forced and coerced into prostitution. He referred both women to Polaris Project for emergency services. Polaris Project helped find temporary housing and provided food and clothing for both women. Janice immediately left Darrell and found a job in a restaurant. Mari relocated out of state with her children, but still struggles daily with her decision to leave Darrell. She understands that it is best for her and her children, and believes that more and more every day.
Click here for the source of Mari's story.
9.00 miles for Mari
192.07 miles to date.
G.Q., N.H., and S.O.
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Because he first loved me,