As the state budget impasse continues with no end in sight, the livelihood and health of Illinois' most vulnerable residents are at stake.
The fear that comes with this uncertainty is telling, especially for one Cicero woman who sat down with Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek to talk about her horrifying story when she was a young girl.
Fear gripped 49-year-old Tina Wardzala of Cicero by the throat at a young age. It rarely has loosened its grip.
As a young girl, Tina said while her father was away driving a truck, her mother would invite men in, get drunk and pass out. Then the men would come to "play" with her.
About 15 years ago, Tina worked as a line cook at a diner and the regulars were like family. One of those regulars was elderly and ill. Tina was delivering a meal to the customer when she entered a dimly lit apartment hallway and found three men waiting. They raped her.
Before that moment of terror, Tina had worked at the diner and a branch library. She enjoyed music and waded into crowds at Grateful Dead and Neil Young concerts. In that moment, fear took her hostage. Mental illness enveloped her. She suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia and bipolar disorder. Cloaked in black, Tina shared her scariest secrets. At times, she choked out the words. At times, tears spilled. Fear has its hold. Now she also lives in fear of the state's intractable politicians.
You can read the rest of Doubek's column here.