Last year, my friend, #LayneThompson invited my daughter and I to the #DahliasHopeGala in Salt Lake City, and it was life changing for me. Dahlia's Hope is a non-profit organization that provides aftercare services to survivors of sex trafficking.
Last year, Faith shared her story of why she was inspired, after he own experience trying to find resources and care as a sex trafficking survivor, to provide services that are so desperately needed to help women reconnect with themselves and rebuild their lives.
This year, my friend #RyanAverett invited us to attend again. Last year I left realizing that I knew very little about #sextrafficking. As I watched a video with different survivors sharing their stories, I knew that the term "sex trafficking" wasn't all encompassing and there are lots of different faces to this complex issue, and I wanted more education.
This year did not disappoint. #AshleyLove, a sex trafficking survivor, spoke and gave me some of the education I was looking for. I have to say that having just returned from the #TEDxWoodinville stage and having been immersed in that experience for awhile, and having been in the speaking world for over 20 years, I am not saying it lightly when my first reaction when she started speaking was, "WOW. This woman is a SPEAKER." I was riveted AND educated and enlightened as Ashley shared that sex trafficking isn't always what you see in the movies. It doesn't always involve kidnapping and it doesn't just happen in low income neighborhoods or third world countries. In fact, it could be happening in your own back yard. As Ashley said, "I am a mother of three kids. I am a daughter. I am a neighbor. I am a friend. . . . And I never thought this was something that could happen to me."
I am a woman who experienced betrayal trauma and have supported other betrayal trauma survivors over the last seven years. It's one of the reasons I'm passionate about helping women reconnect with themselves, regain their identity--not based on what they do or what other people think, but based on their own, unique, core personality--and reclaim their confidence. After experiencing gas lighting, distortion, and deception, I know ALL too well that Ashely is right--with the right amount of grooming, gas lighting, and conditioning, that could have been me. It could be anyone.
The funny thing is that, with my healing, I had a dream of creating a center that allowed betrayal trauma survivors and survivors of sexual abuse to have access to art therapy, trauma informed yoga/dance/Zumba, and other modalities to help provide healing and identity reconnection beyond traditional therapy. And that's EXACTLY (a better model than I'd envisioned) what #DahliasHope provides for these women. Not only did it validate what I had experienced--that a multi-modality approach would astronomically help in the healing process--but that it can help women feel safe and confident again in their own bodies and their own lives.
It's why I'm passionate about spreading the word about this amazing organization, these amazing warrior survivors, and an incredible opportunity for people to give to a deserving charitable organization.
If you are looking for a Q4 tax write off, a seasonal charity to donate to, or if you or someone you know would like to help, their silent auction is going through October 31st. It costs $12,000 to provide care for one survivor, and there are more survivors looking for this kind of care. Your contributions can help meet those needs. To donate, you can go here: