There has been so much more attention on trafficking recently and that is good for awareness, but more awareness for those of us doing the work doesn’t always equate action.
Often I am asked to speak and share my story or bring a more recent, younger survivor to share her story. I do believe that story is important and for a survivor to share openly, it is a part of the healing process… when they are ready. But with that brings a concern. I wonder how many stories we will need to hear to see the need to get involved? Exploitation comes in many forms. Where does it end? When have we heard enough to move us to action?
Healing is a very long process and it takes time to be in a healthy enough place to “go there.” It’s very important to understand what we are asking when we want a person to tell us about the pain they have been through. The triggers and stressor are very present for a long time and can wreak havoc until the healing takes over. Statistics show that for every 1 year in “the life’ it is a 5 year recovery. For me, we are talking 50 more to go!
I was at the 15-year mark before I could get past the shame and begin to share.
I’m going to be transparent with you now, 19 years after the sex industry. Every day I am on the journey to becoming healthier and I still have much work to do. There is something that I truly struggle with. I’d much rather laugh about it and move on, but I know that I can’t overcome it on my own, so I’m going to take a risk and share it with you.
After being in the commercial sex industry for more than 10 years, money was easy to come by. I knew what to do and who to get it from. But, most of the time I was miserable and depressed and very lonely. The price I paid to live in that lifestyle was high… too high. Although I experienced the instant gratification of making money, when I did get to keep it, I always knew that in the long run I was hurting, not only me, but someone else.
Every time money was exchanged with a client, a piece of me died. The deal was sealed and I had to keep my end of the bargain.
So how does a girl who was forced into prostitution to survive, stuck in the quick sand of the sex industry for a decade, change her whole life over to helping those out of the same pit she was in? ONLY BY GOD!
Through His leading, I started this NPO that solely survives on donations with no government funding. Of course, I understand that it’s the founder’s job to be the face of the organization and raise the money. Who else could? But honestly, when the next set of taxes are due or the insurance payment for the business that allows survivors to have a place to work comes, I freeze!
SO I give my self the pep talk. Who else will be a voice for them? “It’s for a good reason, to save lives!” But when I am needed the most is when it happens, I become paralyzed. The words “can you give us money” just feel dirty; even though I know in my heart they’re not. I still become paralyzed!
I so appreciate those whom God has moved to partner with us without being asked. You’ll never know what a blessing you are to me! I am reminded of God’s mercy and He reminds me through you that He sees and provides.
I am not a coward, but I am afraid. How will I fulfill my promise to help survivors when I become paralyzed with fear when they need me the most?
Pray for me! Pray for those that God is moving to give to be placed in my path so I can learn to ask. Pray for others to be moved without being asked! Pray for the Cherished bath and body product line to get more recognition – nationwide! Pray that we get into more stores, sell more jewelry, and have more opportunities to tell our story so that we can be more self-sustaining. Pray for speaking engagements to raise awareness so that we can help more girls find their purpose and lead healthy, productive lives. And lastly, pray for my family as we go to Brazil in a few weeks to train another organization that rescues children from traffickers.
What I’m saying is that asking is hard. For me it is a trigger. But I also know how important it is. So here I go…
Cherished is in need. We have bills, upward of $4,000, that need to be paid ASAP for the program to stay in business. Please consider partnering with us by giving on a monthly basis. I am stretching out of my comfort zone; will you give out of yours? We have so much to do and I KNOW we will get it done with YOU by our side! Thank you so much!
To partner click here.
Together In His Service!