Safe House

The majority of homeless youth experience multiple traumatic events including physical and sexual assaults, hate crimes, and multiple forms of violence (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network 2009).

that which you are denying us

we should never have

had to ask for

Tristan's Moon art studio.

crazy shoes: building a safe house: who has to know:
we’re not going back, the boys tell me/ going back to where, going back to what; we will kill ourselves before you can make us go back/ crazy shoes, who has to know where you live, how you live, who you live with, when you lived there, where you are living now, why you are living with whoever you are living with and where and why and when would include/ the garbage men/ the feds/ the police/ the state police/ ups/ fed ex/ every insurance company with a data base/ 288,645,900 credit bureaus/ big pharma/ the guy at the liquor store, amazon, and the people doing colonoscopies wherever they do colonoscopies/ if you build it, they will come/ unless somehow you can do it off the grid/ what is the grid/ nothing on the grid can be off the grid/ your bank, your phone, your water bill, your life is a colonoscopy of the lost among the lost, which is exactly how they will be essentially blind to knowing you exist/

Jayden’s Art:

Working with Jayden is an experience. Jayden is connected, then disconnected. His sense of reality is warped at best. In the past, if Jayden was touched by anyone he immediately dropped to the floor screaming: fuck me, fuck me in my hole. But this has recently passed. Working through his art, it is Jayden who is able to touch upon his experiences, and nothing bad happens. The monster man does not come off the page to hurt him.

I notice how when Jayden creates images of “the boy,” the images often look like penises themselves. Jayden’s boat is sinking.

Jayden is taking swimming lessons. He likes this, and is a strong swimmer. It gives him some confidence that he has what it takes to survive this onslaught from the sea. “Watch me, watch me, I can swim away.”

Jayden paints, draws, photographs, and now he is beginning to work in video. So far, the videos are of stuffed toy babies being ripped apart. I might post them. I might not.

Working with Jayden, and creating safe spaces for him can be overwhelming. The term SAFE HOUSE is nonnegotiable. There is no grey area. It is necessary that Jayden KNOWS he is protected from his abusers (plural).

When we are done making art, it has to be explained to Jayden very clearly that art is over. It’s time to do something else (always have an activity planned), and put the art away.

Jayden makes sure to check the locks on doors of any room he goes into. If there is no secure lock on a door, he will refuse to go into the room. He wants to lock the monster man out. He must be allowed to do do this. It gives him control over his environment.

Jayden is now mixing up the term “the boy” with at times the word ME. It takes Jayden multiple attempts to finish a piece of art. When it is done, Jayden always destroys everything he makes. I ignore this. It’s up to him. It is HIS art. Jayden is not ready for public school. I am not sure he ever will be. In his own words…

“The monster man has crashed into the boat. There is a boy in the boat. The boat is crashed and sinking. The boy will drowned. The boy is glad to be dead. Maybe the boy will live. Another man with eyes is watching. He always watches me get fucked. The monster man has teeth and hurts the boy when the monster man sucks the boy’s cock. There is a cock that goes into the boy’s butt hole. There is blood. The monster man has claws like Wolverine and you can’t see the boy too good. There is a cock that comes down from the sky. The water is deep. The water is cold. The boy is dead. The boy is throwing up the cum. The watcher man has a cock. If you tell they will kill you."

The only stuffed toy Jayden has not destroyed is (stuffed, rag thing) an alter ego. He speaks to "Jayden" constantly telling the toy to stop being bad. He will inappropriately hump the toy and says: "He's going to be fucked cuz he likes it."

It is imperative that any SAFE HOUSE situation Jayden finds himself in be SAFE from Jayden having to confront his abusers even in a metaphorical way in some attorney's office. This must not happen. To Jayden, this is analogous to returning to the scenes of his being raped.

Jayden has made it very clear. If he has to see the people who victimized him (or even if he thinks he is being forced to), he will kill himself. These threats must be taken seriously.

Jayden has no idea how to make friends. But some boys who could possibly be his friends are doing some reaching out. The term SAFE HOUSE means exactly that. A cocoon where boys like Jayden can reconnect to who they are but have never been given a chance to be. The only way they will ever thrive is to create places where there is no two ways about it, and no room for compromise. It must be ASSUMED that such boys have a RIGHT to such an environment.

A SAFE HOUSE IS. A poem by Kyrel.

To testify is not to rectify.

I knew what testify means.

It means you go to the court and tell.

But I had to look up rectify.

It means to make it better.

Even if I have to go to court to tell what happened he will find me and he will knife me.

He has a knife because I saw it.

I know it he will knife me.

It is a big knife and he will cut me.

You do not know him.

I know him because he is my father.

My father who raped me in the mouth over and over and over.

When they rape you in the mouth you are sucking them but it is still rape.

It is your own fault to do it.

If I did not suck him he will kill me with knives.

I like knives.

I had many knives but [safe house] took them away.

I want my knives back so I can fight when men want me to suck them.

People do not believe me because they are haters like him.

Some men want to have sex with me and I do not want to do it because when they make me suck them I throw up.

I want to cut them.

If you bite them they will knife you.

To testify is not to rectify.

If they make me testify he will find me.

I may as well go back there and be raped in the mouth so he does not kill me.

It is my own fault because I told.

I will kill myself.

I do not want to go to the court because he will be there.

I do not want to look at him.

A safe house is where this kinds of bad men cannot know where you live.

But they might find you and kill you and cut you up and put you in a plastic bags and freeze you.

I will cut him, too.

It is all I can think about.

A safe house is a place where they will help you when it is all you can think about he will find you and rape you in the mouth.

I know how to hang myself when he finds me and you cannot stop me.

I will cut myself.

Please do not let him find me.

He wants to find me so I do not come to the court.

I wish I was dead because it would be safe then.

A safe house will hide you if it is a good safe house.

To testify is not to rectify.

There is no one who can make it better.

To make it better I want to be safe in a safe house so I do not get killed or raped in the mouth.

It is my own fault my life is a mess.

If you are sucking them it is still a rape in the mouth.

People are very bad men.

That is my poem.

The end.

Real Stories Gallery Foundation's artists & poets choose to live away from cultural violence & social neglect.

U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989): Article 39

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

**AS AT JANUARY 2014 the United States of America, Somalia and Southern Sudan, are the only UN Member States that have NOT ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Help is readily available for victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

There are too few services to meet current needs. The services that do exist are unevenly distributed geographically, lack adequate resources, and vary in their ability to provide specialized care.

Stable housing leads to better health for those living with HIV/AIDS and can help prevent the spread of the virus. Stable housing helps people access and commit to complex and often debilitating HIV/AIDS treatment regimes. Stable housing reduces the risk of premature death from exposure to HIV and AIDS-related infections and diseases, poor nutrition, stress and lack of medical care.

On May 25, 2010, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted H. Con. Res. 137, expressing the sense of the Congress that the lack of adequate housing must be addressed as a barrier to effective HIV prevention, treatment and care, and that the United States should make a commitment to providing adequate funding for developing housing as a response to the AIDS pandemic. 
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