ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Katie Para has been through the worst of the worst, and despite that she can still look back and reflect. As a young woman she was in toxic relationships and was sexually assaulted, abusing opioids to cope with her tough situation.  

“It started really when I had my first daughter I was addicted to heroin. I was shooting up maybe 3-4 grams a day,” said Katie Para. 

Katie added her relationship with her daughters' father came to a close. 

“Me and my daughter's father, we were just not good together, no matter how I feel it doesn’t change how things were,” added Para.  

After this relationship ended, Katie was clean for 8 years. Everything was fine until a man she had known years back returned from the Navy and prison.

“He dipped out and did not return for 11 years.” 

It was the Fourth of July 2019 when he returned. The relationship quickly became toxic.  

“He showed up when he got out of Prison at my house. He climbed through my window at 2:30 in the morning. He kicked my door in on Thanksgiving. This man has done nothing but put me through hell.”  

Katie recalls one night when they were no longer sleeping together when everything turned upside down and inside out.  

“He had tied my hands with a rope to my ankles and put a ball gag in my mouth and I couldn’t tell him to stop. All I could do was cry and it hurt me to the point where I was bleeding. After it was over, he put me in the bath and told me this is what happens when I don’t listen.”  

Katie said she did not know what to do after the assault. At first it didn’t occur to her she was being rapped.

“I woke up and asked him if this was really happening and he had said, “Shhh, it is okay, just go back to sleep. Afterward, he had called me and told me that you know, he had brought this up and I knew this was going to happen and nobody was going to believe me.” 

Katie soon learned she was pregnant from the sexual assault. Katie said these issues only encouraged her to keep using.  

“I was battling myself and I asked myself why I continue to go back. I just used heavier and heavier.” 

Katie is now two months clean, no longer in a relationship, and on a journey to get her family back together.  

I have been doing really well. I have been maintaining my group and I only have a couple of people in my life but they are very good support.” 

The Opioid Epidemic is a public health crisis and if you are struggling and need help, please contact your medical provider or someone you trust.