Pertrina was born in Washington, D.C. to high school sweethearts who divorced when she was young. Her mother remarried a man who provided financially for the family. Pertrina lived in a beautiful home, attended a good school, and went on nice vacations. As a teenager, Pertrina was victim to a violent sexual trauma that she kept secret for more than 40 years.
Throughout her twenties, she experimented with alcohol and drugs. She liked how the substances allowed her to hide from the pain of her childhood. The experimentation eventually led to a full addiction. Over the next two decades, Pertrina was unable to stay employed, cycling in and out of jail.
While waiting to be released from jail, Pertrina asked if she could be placed in a long term support program. She knew things had to change, or she would die. That’s when she was matched with N Street Village.
In March of 2012, Pertrina moved into our Recovery Housing program for women living with addiction and mental illness. She was filled with fear and was doubtful the program would work for her, but willing to try.
Devoted to her recovery, Pertrina found solace in N Street Village’s “Trauma Recovery and Empowerment,” and “Relapse Prevention” classes, where she learned to face her addiction and open up about her feelings. She began participating in The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program and while preparing for a performance at the Kennedy Center, she shared her story of sexual assault for the very first time. Her powerful testimony is featured in Nicole Boxer’s documentary, How I Got Over.
Today, Pertrina has a safe, supportive community and apartment in N Street Village’s Permanent Supportive Housing program. She is proud to have a place to call home. Pertrina is confident that as long as she maintains a sober life, everything else will fall into place just perfectly.
She is an advocate for N Street Village and a community role model, sharing her story within the Village community and family as an example of what is possible when you take the time to put yourself first and are met with dignity and respect.