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Nakea Paige

When Nakea Paige was 11 years old, a man claiming to be her father came into her life. This revelation completely changed the relationship she had with her mother, who had always led Nakea to believe her father was dead. The resentment and anger she felt toward her mother for lying to her bubbled over causing Nakea to fight with her mother, skip school and even get arrested for assaulting a police officer.

Even though Nakea had been a good student, she said her mother always made her feel bad about herself. So she turned to sex as a way to get back at her mother for hurting her and started to have sex everyday, sometimes with more than one person. One day after discovering that Nakea had been sneaking boys into the house while she was at work, her mother came home and started hitting her. Although Nakea says the beating she endured left more mental scars than physical ones, it put her in the hospital and also into the child welfare system. She went into a group home where she said everything went wrong and she started to pick up a lot of bad habits. Any time she got upset about something, she would cut herself, and she began drinking almost a gallon of hard alcohol every day, saying it was the only way she could numb her pain. She also started smoking pot and admits that she was truly an addict.

Nakea says the turning point in her life came one night when she was almost raped while partying with a guy she knew and some of his friends. When she tried to leave, he and his friends wouldn’t let her go. She still doesn’t know how she managed to escape but says the incident changed her life. She began to work at the Young Women’s Project and learned that she deserved to be treated with respect. Both her grades and her relationship with her mother improved, and she began writing poetry again, a pastime she had enjoyed when she was younger. “I went from being an angry, insecure child to a selfdetermined, well-educated, beautiful young woman,” said Nakea. “When I look back at who I was and see who I am now, I can’t help but smile.”