After years of abuse in her childhood, Jackie Turner decided she wanted this Christmas to be different, and posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a family to temporarily adopt her.
The ad reads, "I am looking to rent a mom and dad who can give me attention and make me feel like the light of their life just for a couple of days because I really need it," reported Stockton's News10. Turner offered to pay $8 an hour.
The 26-year-old may be a presidential scholar at William Jessup University, but she had suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse as a child, eventually turning to life on the streets to escape it.
"I was in gang life, on the streets, fighting, doing drugs, just making a mess of my life," she said.
Turner was eventually arrested for grand theft in Sacramento County, and spent a year in jail. It was a camp for troubled young adults that helped her turn her life around.
Though dozens of families responded to the ad, Turner was more surprised to find that many other abuse victims had reached out to share their stories and tell her she wasn't alone.
Now, instead of renting a family, Turner wants to create one, by bringing together all of the people who were brave enough to share their own stories with her.
"When you speak up, people start learning that they're not by themselves," she said. "Often we lock things inside of ourselves, like a lockbox of our secrets. But then you let one out and realize, 'I'm not by myself after all, am I?'"
Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Zarrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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