This is not a word that you would think would be associated with homelessness. It is. From Albuquerque to Key West, it is there. I imagine it is present in the rest of the country that I haven’t seen yet. I’ve seen women, but I would imagine there are men as well. In order to get a safe place to sleep, a protector, food, beer, alcohol, drugs….whatever the need….there’s prostitution. From what I see, the women feel they have no other options. Sleeping in shelters is not always safe, women fight more than men. There’s theft and mental health issues. Finding a safe place to sleep is hard. If you have a vehicle, you have your home with you. You need to keep it running and find cash for gas to fill the tank, but it is a safe haven for women. Some find shelter with kind people who do not take advantage, or stay with friends. But there are those who have no other choice. Self worth among the homeless is low as it is, people feel ashamed because of where they are, they can’t get out, their family rejects them.
Prostitution is a way to survive. It’s pretty easy to do: I’ll do this for that. Another form of trade or bartering. I’ve seen women move from one partner to another for beer and cigarettes. The addiction and need to forget about what is going on is pretty strong.
One woman is from Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. She divorced her husband of over 20 years. She lost her license because she took her maiden name, and her mother had parking violations on a vehicle that was still registered to her. She couldn’t work, she couldn’t drive. She developed health problems: a heart attack, maybe some mini strokes. She had no way to make income, she couldn’t get disability or social security. Even at the age of 60-ish, a woman can strike up a conversation with a guy, set up arrangements, and she can get what she needs by giving something of herself for it.
I’ve listened to homeless women judge these women who hop from bed to bed, partner to partner. I can’t judge. That’s not on me, only One person can. Those women have the same hopes, fears, and concerns that the rest of us have. They aren’t any different. They simply choose to solve their problem in a socially unacceptable manner…..but then being homeless is socially unacceptable too. So where does that leave those who judge? Biblically speaking, it’s very much like the story of the woman who was brought to Jesus to be judged for adultery and stoned. I won’t throw the stone. I ask others to consider themselves too.
What would you do?