What is this young woman’s story?

As a child I survived years of sexual abuse. In adolescence I battled bullying, clinical depression and suicidal tendencies. I refused to drop out of high school when my guidance counselor told me to because I didn’t want to be “yet another mentally ill person dependent on public welfare programs to survive.” What kept me going was my dream of being a mental health therapist so I could use my experience to help others. In college I defeated my binge-eating disorder. In graduate school, I left my abusive fiancé with nothing but what I could shove in my car because I knew I would die if I stayed with him. I still managed to graduate with my Master’s in Applied Clinical Psychology with a 3.97 GPA.

No one in NY State will hire me because I am unlicensed, but I cannot obtain a license without 3600 hours of documented supervised work experience. Even the VA hospital rejected my offer to provide therapy services for free so I could obtain hours because it is a “liability issue.” All of the things life threw at me couldn’t shatter my resolve to overcome and better myself… but the economy did. Tomorrow I have an appointment to fill out paperwork for food stamps and Medicaid. I am an unemployed unlicensed mental health therapist dependent on public welfare programs to survive.

I am the 99%…

For more photos and stories of the 99 percent, visit the “We Are the 99 Percent” Tumblr.

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."