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This post was inspired by another.

Hello,

This post today was inspired by another post I read, I’m not sure if they’d want me to link to that post or not, but I’m sure after reading this they will know who they are.

The post I read talks about how it’s hard to talk about abuse, especially sexual abuse. It is, it is hard. It hurts, but I believe that if we don’t speak our truth, let the pain escape somehow, we are giving our abusers power over us still, we are letting them win. I’m not saying you have to go public with everything, but to just let it out, write it in a diary, or talk to a therapist, create art from the pain, something, so we don’t suffer in silence.

I choose to write openly about my experiences with trafficking because I hope it can help someone else know they aren’t alone, that they can have a life after surviving horrendous horrific atrocities. That’s part of why I work so hard at my job, for those still being trafficked, because I’ll never let my trafficker and those I was sold to win.

So, I know it’s hard to talk about, take all the time you need. It’s your healing journey and no one else’s. If you’ve ever been hurt by any type of abuse and want someone to just listen, feel free to email me or message me on my Fb page Beauty from Ashes. I’ll listen. You are not alone!

Thank you for reading, that’s my thought for the day. Don’t forget to Shine! Always look for the light! Never let them win!

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Saying Hi

Hello everyone,

Sorry I haven’t posted much. I’ve been extremely busy with work. (I just got promoted, yay) but because I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to get to therapy. (My therapist’s schedule is really full and sometimes doesn’t have a time that works and then when it does something comes up at work or I forgot I had another appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist 🤦🏼‍♀️).

I’m hoping I can see her on the thirtieth because if I can’t I’ll be put on a waitlist 😕. And my nightmares and ptsd have already been going up. Last night I had one nightmare to the next about being trafficked, it was hard.

My psychiatrist upped my medication to 50mg to hopefully help with the CPTSD and depression.

I’m really excited about my promotion, my coworkers even made me a sign that said I’m awesome and signed it, that meant a lot to me. I bought myself some nice smelling lotions as a congratulations to me for the promotion that I’ve been working close to two years for. Anyway that’s a quick update, thank you for reading.

Never let them win! Always look for the light! Don’t forget to shine!

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It’s cold…..

So, it’s cold! Very cold, but at least this year I’m blessed with a roof over my head. I’m not walking outside for days with lightweight clothing on in a very northern, very cold state almost dying of hypothermia and/or being up for days without sleep. Those are the realities of human trafficking. Almost dying. It’s why I love blankets and anything that is soft and keeps me warm.

I’m very blessed this year with family and friends. I’m blessed to be-able to stay warm and keep those I love and care for warm. I’ve been in my head for a bit lately, the reality of being abducted and not knowing how to express the feelings that are going through me have been hard. I’ve been having nightmares of when I was trafficked, the holidays are always a little harder because when I was being trafficked part of me hoped because it was a holiday I wouldn’t be trafficked that day, but I was always wrong.

This season while everyone is celebrating I’m thinking of all those still trafficked and what they are experiencing. I’m also saying thank you for my blessings and that I’m no longer in that situation. I’m also asking that all those trafficked are one day free. That is my hope. That the world realizes the evils and works to correct and eradicate them. That we can all live blessed. I hope your holidays are filled with joy.

Don’t forget to shine! Never let them win! Always look for the light!

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2nd group

So, I had my second support group tonight. It was actually really good, I’m glad I gave it another shot. I may have talked to much….. but everyone seems really nice, and even if they can’t understand my exact experience they can empathize a bit.

I talked a bit about the Keith Reiner decision, how he tried to fight in court that his human trafficking conviction didn’t fit a “commercial sex act” and how what the judges decided basically just added to what I already knew and made it ten years of trafficking more real. Every time I try to say it wasn’t trafficking, I can’t, because it was. It’s just one more piece that makes it trafficking. It’s hard. But, I’m getting through it.

Thank you for reading. Never let them win! Don’t forget to shine! Always look for the light!

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1 or 10,000

Hello everyone,

My therapist told me that I need to not be so compassionate towards others and acknowledge my pain that I’ve been through a lot. I was telling her that even being raped once is too much, that trauma is trauma, that numbers don’t matter. It all hurts. Which is true, it all hurts. She told me yes it does, but I need to acknowledge that I’ve been hurt, a lot, that being raped over 10,000 times is more traumatic than being raped once.

I’ve been on both sides of this equation. When I was ten, I was raped by a “friend”, a girl. I was told by a parent that “it wasn’t real rape”, that has stuck with me, I think it’s why I need so much validation and yet, I never seem to get it, even now. That was very hard on me as a child, to hear. I struggled with it only being one time, thinking I didn’t have a right to hurt, that others had it worse. Did that I mean I didn’t have a right to hurt? NO! Did that mean because it was “just once” that it didn’t traumatize me?? NO! Just because I was told it “wasn’t real rape”, did that make it true? NO! And yes, as a teenager about 14 to 15 I looked up the laws on rape, because if I ever say anything happened to me, I can assure you it is by the legal definition of the word. I spent hours and hours looking up laws trying to prove to myself that it WASN’T rape, but I never found that it wasn’t, it was. Being raped “even just once” is painful and traumatic, and you have a right to heal! Even if it’s “only once”, rape is rape and it hurts! You have a right to healing and to feel however you feel!

That being said, after my trafficking experience, I wish I could say I was raped once, instead of over 10,000 times (and that 10,000 number, was JUST my trafficker, not the people he sold me to). (Also if you’re wondering how I came up with that number, my trafficker did whatever he wanted usually 3 times a day over the course of 10 years). Anyway, being raped that many times, it’s a lot to wrap one’s head around. It’s a lot to process. It’s a big number, it’s a lot! And it hurts like hell!! My trafficker literally told me women aren’t allowed to say no, that he wanted to “break my spirit”. Being raped so many times, I hope it’s something you never know. I was living from one rape to the next. I would pray to whoever would listen, just not today, please not today, or not again, just once today please!, I was never heard. I was raped in my sleep, I know because sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of being raped and go back to sleep because it was better to be unaware or my trafficker would tell me how I was raped in my sleep or show the porn video he posted of me on a site. I was his “sex slave” and he never let me forget it. He used those videos to get buyers. Anyway, I’m getting off topic here. My point is, now I wish I could say the only time I was raped was when I was ten. Being trafficked is an entirely different experience than domestic violence or even rape, because when we normally talk about rape we don’t talk about people being sold, even though when you are sold you are raped, also when your trafficked it is CONSTANT nonstop abuse, it’s not oh he beat me once a week, it’s constant, trafficking, it’s a different experience. Being sold for something is a whole level of trauma in itself, because it shows you that you are completely worthless, you’re only worth what you are being sold for, in my case mainly drugs.

I guess my point is, I’ve been through hell and I’m traumatized by it, but that doesn’t mean that those who’ve been raped once don’t have a right to heal and grow. Trauma effects everyone differently. We all have a right to heal, no matter what we’ve been through.

I really REALLY appreciate comments, they help me know someone is listening. Thank you.

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to Shine! Never let them win! Always look for the light!

my healing journey

Support group…..

Hello everyone,

So, I tried a support group tonight because my therapist thinks I need more support, which I would agree with. It’s not a human trafficking survivor support group it’s a DV survivor support group. I figured I’d try it and see. It was only my first one, but I felt out of place already.

Technically, you could call what I went through Domestic Violence as well, but it was trafficking through and through, it’s different than domestic violence, the experience itself is different, it’s constant and unrelenting. It was only my first session so I’ll try again next week, maybe I’ll connect more then? I wish there was a group of trafficking survivors who truly understood in my area, yes I’ve looked. I talked a bit to one lady but she never got back to me. All my survivor friends are in other places, except one, and I don’t want to burden her too much.

I just wish I didn’t feel so out of place in the group. The experience of being trafficked is one entirely it’s own. It’s similar in some ways but drastically different in others…. I just want someone to truly understand. I know everyone’s experience is different, but I just feel alone.

Thank you for reading, Always look for the light! Don’t forget to shine! Never let them win!

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It’s been awhile….

Hello everyone,

I know I haven’t written in a little bit, sorry. Things have been hectic. I just got out of quarantine from Covid. That was really triggering because I had to stay in the basement away from the rest of my family and I couldn’t leave. I’m still really tired, but glad I’m out of quarantine.

I know a lot of people don’t know how to talk to those that have been hurt by any sort of abuse and maybe they don’t want to bring up the past. However, trust me the survivors haven’t forgotten about it, if you ask them if they want to talk about it and they say no that’s fine, but at least you asked. You showed that you cared.

When I finally escaped my trafficker after ten years, no one in my family asked how I was or asked if I wanted to talk about it. I had to reach out to them! They didn’t reach out to me except maybe a few. I’m sure they had their reasons, but it made it seem like they didn’t care that I was gone, that I don’t matter. I still feel this way and it’s been almost three years since my escape. It’s hard to think no one cares, I know they do, but my depression and cptsd tend to make me think otherwise, plus it’s something my trafficker would tell me all the time. No one’s looking for you, no one cares about you. No one misses you. I could make you disappear and no one would know or care. So it’s hard, I know communication is a two way street, but I was the one that was abducted and trafficked, I was the one gone for ten years.

I’ve said this before but I think it needs saying again, once you get out of any abusive situation that isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. Healing is the hardest part because you have to face everything you’ve been through instead of just being in survival mode and shutting yourself down to get through.

One of the hardest things for me, is when the enormity of everything I’ve been through hits me. I’m a survivor of human trafficking, less than one percent of those trafficked get out of their situation, I’m extremely lucky to be alive…. I should be dead. All the people I’ve been raped by and sold to…. It’s a lot. All the abuse…. The whippings, the beatings, the mental and emotional abuse, just everything, it’s a lot.

If you know anyone whose been abused, ask them if they want to talk about it, tell them you’re there if they want to and keep reminding them, keep supporting them, even if it seems like they are okay. They need it.

Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to shine! Never let them win! Always look for the light!

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Odd things I get excited about after surviving extreme trauma

So these are some things that make me excited after surviving extreme trauma like trafficking.

1. Bruises and scratches and such. ( I got a bruise from the first time they tried to take blood before surgery, I took a picture and sent it to my best friend saying look! At first she didn’t get it she said those are common so I had to tell her no, that’s not it, it’s a bruise that wasn’t caused by my trafficker. It’s a pain that wasn’t caused by him.)

2. Clean sheets are the best!! (Because they aren’t filled with sweat and such from who knows who)

3. Showers!!! Showers!! I don’t need to say more.

4. New books!!

5. The smallest things that most people take for granted, clean underwear, food, clean clothes, toothbrush, yearly dental cleanings, a warm blanket!!

6. Blankets (they get their own because I love blankets, I almost died of hypothermia once so yeah… I don’t like the cold)

7. Lotions! And shampoo and conditioner!! And soaps! It’s so nice to smell good! (there was one customer I had to see who didn’t even use soap…. Luckily my trafficker said I didn’t have to see him anymore because he didn’t have soap…)

8. Pens and journals things to write in. (I wasn’t allowed to keep a journal for the longest time)

9. Being able to CLOSE THE DOOR to use the restroom (self explanatory)

10. Privacy and rest! (You don’t get either really when you’re trafficked and even if you do get rest, I wouldn’t call it rest).

That’s my short list of things, I know there’s more but I can’t think of them at the moment.

Don’t forget to shine! Always look for the light! Never let them win!

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I can do hard things….

Hello,

I had my surgery yesterday to remove precancerous cells…. I was told I looked at the male anesthesiologist like he was Freddy Kruger by my best friend who went with me for support. I was scared to be put to sleep, that they would do something I wasn’t aware of. I’ve been hurt by medical professionals before so it was hard to trust them, but it helped that one of the people on the team in the OR had my best friends first name, it was like a sign I was going to be okay. That was really hard to do.

I had my first appointment with my new therapist today, she has been there awhile and isn’t going anywhere so that’s good, maybe I’ll finally have a long term therapist. She seems really nice. I’m going to see her every other week instead of every week (mainly due to the cost and timing with work). I went over a lot with her… because she was asking about my life and such…. It was hard but I did it!

That’s all for now, I’m going to be taking it easy and I recover from the surgery and read a book or two.

Never let them win! Don’t forget to shine! Always look for the light!

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The in-between

Hello everyone,

In two days I have to get surgery, I’m nervous, they are going to put me to sleep. A lot of things were done to me in my sleep or when I was drugged, and things were done to me by a medical professional, so I’m nervous about that. I also found a therapist, finally, she seems nice in email format. I see her via Telehealth the day after surgery.

I’ve been having memories come up, that have been difficult to deal with. When I was trafficked it was living one rape to the next. There were times that were what I call “in between times” those were times I wasn’t being raped, like when I ate, or had to use the restroom. Sometimes I wasn’t allowed to do either until my trafficker had his way. Sometimes he had his way while I was using the restroom. I was raped thousands of times by how many different men, I don’t know. Sometimes it was one after the other after the other…I never thought it would end. Sometimes on certain days it was just my trafficker he’d rape me wait a little, depending on his situation, a few minutes, a few hours, if I was lucky that night, so only twice that day, if I was lucky. The in-between times, I prayed to whoever would listen that I wasn’t raped again, I was never heard. I was even being raped right before my escape. In the in between times there wasn’t exactly relief because I was being hit and yelled at for some infraction or other.

It’s hard dealing with memories, especially when your CPTSD keeps bringing them up and you don’t have a therapist, so it’s good I have an intake Thursday. Thank you for listening.

Don’t forget to shine! Never let them win! Always look for the light!