Nanaimo’s Tammy Fisher knows what it is like to go through personal hell and back.
As a teenager, Fisher’s life was dominated with drugs, alcohol and sexual abuse.
“I live a hard life for quite a long time,” Fisher said. “I was a messed up young girl who got into drugs and alcohol and sexual abuse and all kinds of different things that happened to me.”
Life became so bad for her that she eventually had enough.
“I almost ended my life,” she said. “It got to the point where I had no self-worth.”
Then in her mid-20s, Fisher discovered God and wanted to change her life for the better. That’s when Fisher, now in her 30s, became involved with Youth With A Mission, an international volunteer movement that helps disadvantaged people overseas.
For the last 10 years, Fisher been using her personal experience of abuse to help others less fortunate in life.
As a volunteer she has worked with victims of sexual slavery, prostitutes, disadvantaged children and countless others in countries such as Australia and Thailand.
“We worked with women in human trafficking,” Fisher said. “That’s what hit my heart the most. I knew the brokenness. I knew what it was like to be treated poorly by men.”
During one of her trips to Thailand, Fisher’s group would visit bars where they would interact with and help many of the prostitutes.
One night, Fisher met a young woman named Tik, who had been tricked into prostitution, which is not uncommon in that part of the world.
“She was black and blue and it was only her second night on the job,” she said. “The man that had bought her that night beat her to a pulp, but where it couldn’t be seen.”
Tik was just one of the countless number of abused women that the Nanaimoite has met on her trips.
Fisher says she could personally relate to so many of the girls.
“It got to the point where I had no self worth anymore,” Fisher said. “It got to the point where if you bought the drinks or the drugs you could do what you wanted with me for the evening.”
Today, Fisher still keeps in touch with Tik, who has since escaped life as a prostitute.
Fisher says she plans to attend post-secondary school for psychology and wants to continue volunteering in the future.
Tammy Fisher’s story kicks off the beginning of an ongoing feature series profiling Nanaimo residents and their stories.