my story

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those He redeemed from the hand of the foe…” Psalm 107:1

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.  Sounds simple enough.  But if you are a survivor of sex trafficking, then you know that it is not so easy to tell your story.  Though “redeemed,” I have spent years not telling my story, for a multitude of reasons.

If you have merely heard of human trafficking or sex slavery, think back to the time when you first heard those words.  For most people, it has been only in the past few years.

Until recently, I did not have the word “trafficking” to describe what happened to me.

Several years back as I began my journey to healing, the small handful of Christian counselors and pastors I tried to go to for help did not believe me when I tried to tell them my story. It’s awfully hard to describe surviving a highly organized crime ring who trades in the souls of little boys and girls – who trafficks children for ritualistic sex and the making of hard core child pornography when you don’t have words like “trafficked” or “sex trafficking” or “ritualistic sex abuse” to use.

On top of being unable to express in words what happened to me, I was terrified that my traffickers would find out that I was talking and make good on their threats to end my life. Just barely mentioning anything about it caused a flood of massive fear and kicked in the self-destruct programming they had taught me.

When I did finally muster the courage to ask for help because I was going to die if I didn’t, I was rejected – disbelieved – and written off.  Simply put, the Church completely failed me.

At the time, even law enforcement officials publicly opposed the idea that such things could happen and be completely hidden.  Whenever news stories came out surrounding the issue, they were immediately rebuffed.

The nightmare taking place behind the scenes in my nice, upper middle class American neighborhood was perpetrated by every kind of person you can think of.

There are truly sex trafficking rings that doctors, teachers, neighbors, housewives, fathers, pastors, police men and every other kind of  “normal” person you can think of are sadistically involved in.  It is a dark underworld that exists just below the surface in every single city in America.

I learned not to tell my story when I was living in the nightmare, and when I was trying to heal, I learned once again, not to tell my story.

Today, that is changing.  If you are reading my blog, then you are among the first people to hear my story.

It has been a long journey.  For some reason, God hasn’t given up on me.  I’ve literally spent years, fitfully relenting to His pursuit of my heart.  I have received much true, deep and lasting healing for the nightmare that swallowed up my life by continuing to seek Him out in the dark, broken places of my heart.  Today, I am more free than I could have ever imagined being.

Yet, my journey is not complete, as God has recently begun taking me through new places of healing that I “shelved” long ago, and there are days when I think I will drown in the pain.

Sadly, I have once again found that even though many people are now compassionate towards this issue, few have the strength of heart or the ability to actually walk with survivors in pursuit of healing.  It’s one thing to be aware.  It is another altogether to dirty your hands and bloody your knees in prayer on behalf of one whose pain is so deep.

While I know that awareness is essential, I want to challenge you to move beyond awareness, because awareness does nothing to change the heart of men willing to trade the souls of their children for power, wealth or position, or to change the heart willing to ravage such sold children for sick personal gratification.

I suppose that’s why I guess it seems right for me to finally tell my story.

I am only one voice.  And all I have is my story.  It is my desire for my story, minus a lot of specific details, to be woven through this blog as my offering to you, even in the midst of my pain and wandering pursuit of more healing for my broken heart.

It is my prayer that my voice will finally be heard, not only for my benefit but especially for the benefit of my sisters and brothers who are still bound and who have no voice.

Throughout my healing journey, what I have needed is to talk with someone who was real and who wasn’t afraid of my pain and my hardest questions.  By sharing some of those here, I hope to find answers together with other survivors as well as to lead those who are trying to help into places of understanding some of the deepest needs that survivors have.

If you are a survivor, I wish I could sit over a cup of coffee with you and share hope together.  But since we are relegated to this anonymous cyber-space whatever, it is my hope that you will find a safe place to come- to ponder, to pray, to share and to be challenged to let go.

If you are among those who desire to help trafficking survivors, my hope is for you to glimpse my healing process in a way that will translate somehow, miraculously, into hope and healing for another survivor.

21 Responses to my story

  1. Kimberly says:

    I can never say that I know or understand your pain or your experiences. What I do know is that traffick victims all over the world need your story. Thank you for putting it out here for all to read, even now, on this end of the healing process, that takes guts. For all those who may never tell you – thank you.
    For those like me longing to make a difference, your success and journey is encouraging. It is wonderful to hear of Gods love in your life and to know that those still trapped in trafficking can be rescued and need to be healed. I, like you, pray for houses of healing filled with people like you willing to share and most of all willing to listen and encourage.

    • stonescry says:

      Kimberly, thank God for people like you! You are the answer to someone’s prayers. Thank you for your heart and your willingness to battle this darkness. Your willingness to believe, to walk with survivors, and to encourage them is worth more than you know.

  2. Stonescry, this is absolutely amazing. Love you blog and look forward to reading (and sharing) more about this subject….
    You write beautiful and clearly. It was your time to do so! I truly believe that the lessons we learn in life are often when we are most hurt. We can then have personal knowledge and hope to those who comes afterwards…
    Smooch,
    The Cockroach

    • stonescry says:

      Cockroach, thank you. I just checked out your blog and am in awe. You are right – the deepest, most lasting beauty emerges from the darkest places. Your ability to express your process as it comes brings hope to me and touches places in me that I am sadly out of touch with. Thank you for being here.

  3. dst_survivor says:

    this is serenity from twitter. i can truly relate to your story. after my rescue i had a nervous breakdown. i was placed in a crisis stabilization unit and the psychiatrist called the very person i was running from. i can relate to the people blowing you off. i am here and now you have my email 🙂

    • stonescry says:

      Wow, Serenity. I would say, “unbelievable” but sadly, I believe it. I’m glad you got what you needed from the hotline. Praying for your safety and healing! Thanks for being here. 🙂

  4. Marty says:

    That shame, all kids carry unworthiness who were abused as children. Our self-image is flawed and undeveloped. Some parts,of our personality and emotions are stuck back there.

    Shame is an emotion, thoughts are air and you are perfect like all of us. We have a perfect true self. No one can damage or shame the true you or me. We can wake up everyday brand new.

    You have abilities you gained from surviving your ordeal. When you can focus on the breath and let go, life will open up.

    You can heal and be calm and have self worth. It is inside you already.

    Marty

  5. My story’s more common. My dad was a paedophile.

    How can I pray for you?

  6. tg says:

    Thank you so much for your words of grace and honesty. I am a stay-at-home mom, and God led me to blogs/sites about trafficking 3 years ago. Within a short 8 month time span, I went from simply having friends over to tell them what I had learned to signing papers for a non-profit start-up. I didn’t want to do it…I had no experience with non-profits or victim advocacy or legal issues…and I didn’t think I had anything to offer women, men or children who had survived sex trafficking. But God has faithfully answered my “please don’t let me quit” prayers and has been slowly building a foundation for our org that is focused on His glory, as opposed to public attention and frenzy. More and more He impresses on my heart that His wisdom alone is the answer, and I have everything to offer because I have Him. I am so grateful for your blog and will pray for you as I read through your posts.

    • stonescry says:

      “More and more He impresses on my heart that His wisdom alone is the answer, and I have everything to offer because I have Him.” Yes, exactly that. Bless you for pressing into these hard places in prayer while faithfully doing the work. That’s just exactly it. Thank you for your prayers too.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I can only believe that God led me here this morning; I just came back from a conference where I was enlightened on the human trafficking subject and a FIRE NOW BURNS WITHIN ME to do something about it. Especially locally, because I had no idea this insantiy existed, and it makes me MAD that I did not know. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you SO, SO much. We need to know, and to DO.

  8. My heart breaks for you, Stonescry. I believe you and I am so sorry for what happened to you.
    I am not a survivor of it, but I am a survivor of spiritual, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse from a minister. I wasn’t believed either, and many still don’t believe me. But God believes us and cries with us. I am so glad you were rescued from the indescribable monstrosity of human trafficking. I’m so glad you left a comment at my site, or I would not have found you. Please keep writing and hitting the “publish” button. Your voice matters and is needed. Your story matters. YOU matter. I read more at your site, and my heart is so touched. Your site offers hope to others in pain. I just added your link to one of my pages – Hope Harbor – http://freedtofly.wordpress.com/hope-harbor/ . I wish you daily strength and courage, Stonescry!

    • stonescry says:

      Trudy, I know God led me to your site yesterday. It is beautiful and full of joy and hope. I’m sorry you know the pain of horrible abuse and the pain of not being believed, but I am so thankful that God has chosen us and not rejected us! I’m so glad to meet you. ❤

  9. kvandrsn says:

    I want to thank you for sharing your story. I am one of those who desire to help trafficking victims, and your blog has helped me realize that raising awareness is great but my prayers help even more. I am thankful for the way God is using you. Thank you so much for helping me become better informed on how to help with this issue. Hearing all of this from someone who has walked along this road helps me to fully understand the need for intercession. What you are doing is incredible. To God be the glory!

    • stonescry says:

      I’m so thankful – and humbled – that God would use my words to help in this way. Hearing your words was such an encouragement to me in this. Bless you, keep praying, and YES – to God alone be the glory!

  10. sydlogan says:

    Saying I am proud of you and that my heart goes out to you seems empty via the ‘cyber space whatever’, but I am nonetheless. I saw your recent blog about the End It Movement and was so touched. I can’t say I know the pain of being trafficked, but I understand the pain of being a broken slave when you were supposed to be safe. And I get not having the words to share, so people just reject you… especially the church. I’m based in Atlanta GA where there is a huge trafficked population. I work with prostitutes, slaves, and lost people. I do have an X on my hand, but I also have sore knees and active feet. Words are empty without action. Action is empty without prayer. God bless you friend, and may you experience the hand of God anointing you with love, blessing, and courage every moment of every day for the rest of your life. You inspire me. ❤ -Syd

    • stonescry says:

      Syd, I’m broken to hear you understand this kind of pain, and at the same time so incredibly blessed and encouraged that you are putting prayers and action and words together to help bring TRUE healing to others, sharing the healing you have found in Christ. I love how you worded this and think maybe I could replace my whole blog with your simple words: “I do have a red x on my hand, but I also have sore knees and active feet. Words are empty without action. Action is empty without prayer.” So awesome! Bless you!

  11. Not quite there says:

    I am very thankful that you are sharing a bit of your journey. I hope that this blog will bring you great healing!
    My journey was different, but involved routine abuse at the hands of religious leaders. Much shame, pain and confusion came to me through varied abusers. Each time, there was no help. I was trapped in a world of religion that could never see me or any other victim, as having any worth.
    The offenders had worth as they were typically in ministry. The were protected by the religious community, while I and other victims were thrown out. We were a threat to God’s work. There were a set of steps we were supposed to agree to that would protect “God’s work and his name.”
    In essence, it included never telling. Telling would destroy God’s work.
    I lived with that for many years, always ensuring to keep silent. The only way to endure was to do everything possible to block out the past. I managed successfully for years, but then it all came crashing it. It has been an incredibly painful process to try to sort through all that happened, to try to understand why it happened, to face the understanding that God did not seemingly intervene in a way that protected me.
    Each night, I go to sleep wondering who else they are hurting. Each morning I wake up wondering if any of my offenders have hurt someone else.
    In one situation, there is an ongoing investigation into the group that worked to cover it up. It is hard to see a group of Christians actively protecting perpetrators. I don’t understand why, for them, does it not matter? Why are the perpetrators so strongly protected? Why are the victims so hated?

    • stonescry says:

      Your last two paragraphs….I could have written word for word. I know our stories are different, and yet we carry these similar hurts, betrayals and questions. Praying for you now that He will answer every cry of Your heart in His time as you find your refuge in Him. May His overwhelming love come in and flood the dark places with His light until every shadow disappears. Bless you, dear one. He is for you.

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