This post deals with sexual assault and suicide and might be triggering for some readers.
Sleeping in a park at night near other homeless people, mostly men, might seem like a dangerous thing to do.
But to Jai Jaru, who spent 20 years of her life in and out of homelessness, it didn't feel scary. Because when you're homeless your sensitivity to 'danger' is lower. You're immune to it, but you also don't have a choice.
It was actually walking the streets of Sydney's Rushcutters Bay at 2am that ended up being the most dangerous thing Jai ever did. She'd just been discharged from St Vincent's Hospital, and didn't think it was worth finding a place for some shuteye with only a few hours of darkness left, so set off on a stroll.
Three men attacked and raped her. They've never been caught.
Watch: Jai's story is told in the documentary Picturing Home. Post continues after video.
But when Jai lays down in a park near other homeless people, she's chosen to sleep in that group. As Jai explains, there's a solidarity amongst Sydney's homeless that's almost impossible to explain to those who haven't slept rough.
Because when the people who run the homeless shelters and give out the coffee at the food vans go home to their families, rough sleepers are left to their own devices. And as Jai stresses, they must look out for one another.
"We do make choices about 'do I want to sleep in this park with this group, or do I want to sleep with this other group?'" Jai told Mamamia. She explains that sometimes she'd know so-and-so had gotten paid and was therefore likely to go drinking, so she'd avoid sleeping in that group on that night.
Sometimes she'd avoid the parks altogether. The last train out of Central Station to Newcastle used to leave the platform at around 12:30 - 1am, and the last coffee van shut at about 11pm. So with a thermos full of hot tea, Jai used to get some "horizontal time" as she calls it, on the 2.5 hour ride up the coast. She'd wait on the platform for a couple of hours and then get the first train back to the city, arriving into Sydney about 6am.