Person First Project is a photo blog that seeks to give those currently or formerly experiencing homelessness in D.C. the chance to share their stories. In doing this, we hope to reduce the barriers that separate people in D.C. and spark a dialogue. The Person First Project aims to connect us – and to make us all feel a bit more human.
“The first time I was in a shelter was in 1991 in New Jersey, and they asked me a series of questions about what caused my homelessness. The categories were drug abuse, alcohol abuse, etc… the very last question they asked me shook me to my core; they asked me if I’d ever been sexually assaulted. I said, ‘Yes, but it was a long time ago.’ They explained to me that I was having post-traumatic stress flashbacks.
I was not even 19 and it was my first night in college. My parents took me to K-Mart, bought me a bunch of stuff, got me set up in my room… He was in my orientation share group and he invited a bunch of people to a bar. I remember very clearly – as I was going from the table where a bunch of us were at to the bar, out of the corner of my eye I saw him drop something in my drink. I didn’t realize what it was at the time. When I came back, he handed me my drink, and the next day I remember waking up… and… anyway…. I remember enough of it to know that it was horrible.
It’s taken me a long time to face that. Every time I’ve tried to face that it’s had devastating effects on me.”
Author’s Note: We met Monk at 2nd and I St NW and he is staying at Central Union Mission