I WAS JUST LIKE ANY OTHER ORDINARY GIRL WHEN I PULLED INTO THE PARKING LOT OUTSIDE THE BAR, BUT BY THE END OF THE NIGHT I HAD BEEN TAKEN AGAINST MY WILL AND FORCED INTO SEX SLAVERY.
But my story isn’t about human trafficking or the sex trade.
It’s about what happened after the story which, in a lot of ways, was way scarier and now holds a lot more significance for me.
You might ask why?
Well, because when you experience an event as traumatic as I did, your old outlook on life – your normal – is taken away and you have to learn how to live, love and trust all over again.
Overnight my confidence, self-assuredness and ability to trust myself or anyone other than my Mom, was gone.
For weeks after I arrived home I did little else other than to lay around, watch TV and sleep. I questioned my purpose, I questioned my existence – I even questioned God.
One night while I was sitting in meditation, one of the many things I’d turned to in an effort to get my life back, I remembered the pact I’d made with God while I was being held captive.
I remembered the strength that my pact had given me and the fear that had been lifted off my shoulders when I had decided to fight back.
Then I heard a voice, loud and clear saying “Peace. Be Still.”
I received that message so clearly that there might as well have been someone in the same room, speaking the words to me.
In the weeks that followed I slowly started to get my life back on track. I started to volunteer and offer my time at a charity. I fundraised and donated thousands of dollars but it wasn’t enough. I kept being called to do more.
I moved to Las Vegas, got married, had another child, a good job and on the outside, it seemed that the horror of my past was long gone.
No one could have known what I’d been through just by looking at me.
But I was just passing, wearing a mask and hiding out because I couldn’t bear the thought of people knowing the real me.
And yet still, I was being called to do more.
In 2010 I founded a not-for-profit organization for at-risk girls who, among other things, had lived through similar traumas to those I’d lived through.
And still, even then, I kept the real me secret.
It was only when I decided I had to do the work and love, honor and respect myself enough to share my story, that I really began to heal and find true peace.
If you’re reading this now, you probably have an old wound. A story. A traumatic event in your past that stopped you in your tracks, took away your normal and left you existing instead of truly living.
The chances are you’ve been unable to move past your trauma because, until now, no one has been able to show you the way through.