‘Being on the street removes you from society’

It seemed like a reasonable option for Mia De Faoite.

She had developed a heroin addiction; she needed money to feed it; and she didn’t want to be thieving.

“At the time it seemed like a rational decision,” says Mia. “I have a problem, I’m not going robbing, I’ll do this, it will only be till I get clean.”

But it was a step into the unknown for Mia: “You’ve no idea what the street removes from you, how removed you get from society, from people around you, friends, your job, your family. Before you know it, the only human contact you have is people who buy you and people on the street.”

But for Mia, it was a means to get money, to buy heroin: “It pays for your habit, but you become disconnected, isolated.”

Only five months on, in Dec 2005, she and a friend were gang raped. “It was quite vicious,” she says. “I was on the Burlington Road when me and my friend naively did a Christmas party, but it turned into a gang rape. It didn’t start out like that, that’s what happens in prostitution. Something changed, cocaine, alcohol and mob mentality. My friend didn’t survive, her drug use spiralled out of control and [she] died alone two months later of an overdose.”

Mia managed to keep going: “The only reason I survived, I think, was through disassociation. I saw the woman I was at the night completely separate.”

Speaking to the Irish Examiner at Ruhama’s 2012 annual report, Mia said it wasn’t until Oct 2010 that she managed to get out.

“I’m here because of Ruhama,” she says. “It is possible to leave, but is tough, its hard, and its painful.”

She says “in the end” it wasn’t her decision, but a consequence of her daughter’s hospitalisation, where she met a social worker. v “She got me to trust her, she could see choices I couldn’t see,” she says. “I began to trust her and, after about six weeks, she asked could she make a phonecall on my behalf and I said yes.”

Mia is now a student of philosophy in Maynooth University.

She has this message to men: “For the very few men who buy sex, it’s about power and they won’t listen to any message I have. My message would be to the good men, the majority, to start standing up and letting their voices heard.”


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