Deshawn: Hunts Point Bronx

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    Deshawn, 36, ran away from her heroin-addicted mother and abusive stepfather at 11, and ended up on the streets of Hunts Point. She and her cousin, at the time 13, slept wherever they could, and then moved in to a crack house run by two older women. These ladies "told everyone they were cousins, but they were lesbians. All I know was they were sweet and sheltered us." Barbara calls Deshawan her baby daughter, saying "these two tiny girls just showed up in Hunts Point with nothing, and we other women tried to look after them, but we were all struggling. Deshawan was two years younger (than her cousin) but she was on top. She's always been that smart."

    Deshawn started using crack at 16, and has been doing it since. After being raped five times, she bought a gun. "I never had to use it, thank God." When I asked why she fled home at 11, she paused for the first time, looked at me, and said "it's really hard for me to go there," before breaking down in tears. She finally said, "I am usually a very strong, honest, and outgoing lady, but I just can't go there."

    When I asked her what her dream was, she said "to get out of this place—to be happy and in peace—but it's all I know. I believe God got better plans for me. I really do."

    I post people's stories as they tell them to me. I am not a journalist. I don't try to verify, just listen.

    More on Addiction: Faces of Addiction

    3Clouds, aquietlife~M, André Varela, and 33 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. 3Clouds 38 months ago | reply

      thanks for sharing Chris.

    2. GHOSTFACE-FVK!! [deleted] 38 months ago | reply

      God has got to have something better for her your new stuff is really eye opening and heart wrenching

    3. lefiligree 38 months ago | reply

      there is something better for her: everyone deserves to do what makes themselves proud and free. i just saw something on the fare start program in seattle--anyone else know about cooking programs like that?

    4. cgullz 38 months ago | reply

      i think i realise i hold my breath when i read the stories that go with your images, always hoping for a happy ending, knowing that that hasn't arrived yet. keep up the good work Chris, people gotta know.

    5. AH in Pgh 38 months ago | reply

      How has she grown up on the streets and yet become a pretty and strong-looking woman? So much potential thwarted because of the problems and brokeness of the previous generation.

    6. giovannisotgiu 38 months ago | reply

      congratulations for your work.

    7. Phil Urwin 38 months ago | reply

      Bless you Deshawn, good luck.

    8. caymanmamma 38 months ago | reply

      My heart goes out to her......pretty lady too. Another wonderful capture and thought provoking story Chris.

    9. [[Marie-A R]] 38 months ago | reply

      I agree with the person writing "My heart goes out to her......pretty lady too"

      I notice that many of the persons who tell you their stories, believe in God.
      "God is our refuge and our strenght" President Obama says. and he is right

    10. Frank Fullard 38 months ago | reply

      Outstanding work.....sad, as always, but outstanding.

    11. Essential Life Photography 36 months ago | reply

      Wow. This one got to me. On a personal side. I know why she ran, I just wish someone helped her when she was a child. There are too many to count...children who do not get help. I remember back in the 70's the police used to just calm down my father and send him back into our home. I guess it is sadly the same way today?

      As always, a beautiful portrait.

    12. 36 months ago | reply

      This is the most powerful body of work I have viewed in a long time. The photography in itself is superb. The subjects stories are graphic and fill the viewer with emotion. I am in awe of your work and what you do.

    13. Helly26 26 months ago | reply

      Hunts point is only a small area considering its New York......govt should get in there with the people and offer them whatever they need to get back to who they are supposed to be.....God would want that, and so would they...its retarded nnone helps them, or at least offers it !!!!

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