Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times Wendolyn Colon with her daughter Wendeana Parsons, 6, at home in East New York, Brooklyn.
Abuse Survivor Wants to Counsel Girls
By MATHEW R. WARREN
Published: January 2, 2012
By the time Wendolyn Colon was 20, she had no expectations about finding true love. She was a single mother raising a son, Dayon, and was determined to do it alone, having escaped abuse at the hands of men she had trusted. “Men were disgusting to me,” Ms. Colon said. “I was like, ‘I’d rather continue raising my son by myself.’ ”
But then she met Dean Parsons. He worked at a discount store and had a son the same age as Dayon. They bonded over being single parents. Ms. Colon began to let her guard down, slowly learning to trust again.
“I never knew I was going to find my true prince,” Ms. Colon said. “I thought because of everything I’ve been through, I’d never find somebody who would accept me.”
Ms. Colon, 28, is developmentally disabled and has battled severe depression for much of her life. When she was 9, she said, she saw her younger sister fall four stories from a fire escape, dying of her injuries in the hospital. A year later, Ms. Colon said, she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint by her mother’s boyfriend.
The abuse continued for two years, she said, until the boyfriend went to pick her up from school one day and she broke down, screaming. Ms. Colon said school officials rushed to her aid, alerting her mother and the police. A social worker took her to a doctor, who discovered that she was pregnant. At 12, she said, she had an abortion. Her mother’s boyfriend was arrested and convicted, Ms. Colon said. “I know there are a lot of teenagers today who are going through similar stuff,” Ms. Colon said. “But they’re not open enough to say what’s going on.”
Her mother, Marina Castillo, 48, said she was devastated by the assault on her daughter.
“You can’t imagine how I felt,” Ms. Castillo said in Spanish in a recent telephone interview. “It pains me so much.”
Though Ms. Castillo had not been aware of the abuse, Ms. Colon said that at the time she resented her mother.