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Finding Hope in Celebration

We started our year introducing the 2019 theme of Hope for the Next One and shared how we have seen one person’s positive steps become a source of hope for the next one behind her. As the year comes to a close, we desire to celebrate the big and small, holding each step up as a beacon of hope.

This year we have celebrated drivers’ licenses gained, babies born, a high school graduation, a wedding, new jobs, cars obtained, healthy steps of dental and medical care, identities discovered, truth learned, freedom found, dreams and hopes expressed, a baptism, days and months and years of being clean, reunions with children, new attendance in Bible study, forgiveness offered to offenders, counseling begun, safe housing found, and much much more.
What a gift to look back and see what our brave, strong friends have accomplished and discovered about themselves this year. What a gift it is to be a part of building a community of love and hope that fosters positive steps like those listed. What a gi…
Recent posts

Hope for the One Seeking Joy

When I met the founder of SSD in pursuit of volunteering, I was in a really dark place. Depression and anxiety are a chronic battle for me, but that was a particularly low season. I felt lost and purposeless. I felt alone without a sense of belonging. I was cynical and angry.

Joy was simply not part of the equation.

Diving into the community of love and hope that is She’s Somebody’s Daughter was a critical piece to finding joy in life once again. Intersecting with my faith journey, this community practiced concepts that I had struggled to push past theory and into action. 
This community was a tribe. They walked with each other through highs and lows. They entered into each other’s pain without judgement or agenda...just love. They held no sense of us and them. They celebrated each other in big wins and small. They spoke truth even when it was hard to hear.

I fell in love with the community of She’s Somebody’s Daughter. I believe God used it to bring me to life and I am forever grateful f…

Unbelievable

I recently watched the Netflix series Unbelievable. I was instantly sucked in by the first episode. Not because of the acting. Not because of the production. It was because I was finally watching a show portray the reality of a rape investigation. 
Three out of four women will not report a rape. Not because they fear retaliation by their rapist, but because they fear the process. As you watch this first episode you see what actually happens when a woman courageously reports her rape. 
You see her relive it in the visit to the hospital, where she is subjected to pictures and physical examination. You see her relive the trauma as she shares the assault that occurred. Then shares it again. And again. And yet again.
And then you see her start to close off as detectives begin to question her story. Because details may change. Or she may not recall something she shared previously. 
Until everyone in the process (from the initial investigating officer to the nurse at the hospital doing the rape …

Prayer for Prevention

As we have shared before we firmly believe that awareness is key to prevention. The ability to recognize a victim of trafficking and exploitation. To fully understand what grooming looks like. To see the warning signs early enough to take action. To recognize that parental controls and social media checks are not enough to protect children.  Only through training to youth, parents and youth workers will this happen. 
Our prayer is that God would open doors to share this message. Whether that audience is schools, churches or other nonprofits that serve youth, we welcome any and all opportunities to present truth.. While there are certain youth more vulnerable, the reality is that exploitation knows know racial or socio-economic boundaries. It does not discriminate. This is a message that ALL youth need to hear, regardless of background or social status
This month we ask that you join with us in this prayer. Please pray for the right connections with school officials that will allow us en…

Prostitution Legalized in Our Nation's Capital?

Recently four DC Councilmembers presented Bill 23-0318 (aka The Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019) stating it will improve “community health and safety”. 
While this bill sounds as though it has the best interests of the community in mind the reality is that, if passed, this proposed bill will fully decriminalize prostitution in Washington DC. What does full decriminalization mean? It means that not only will be it be legal to sell sex acts, it will also legalize the purchase of sex, pimping and brothels. This bill will empower those that are in the business of exploiting some of the most vulnerable of our society.
On October 17, the DC City Council’s Judiciary Committee hosted a hearing for this bill that went into the early hours of October 18. 180 groups and residents testified for and against this bill. Among the 180 were survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation who bravely shared their stories and warnings of what will happen if this bill is passed. Sadly, t…

The Reality of Trafficking

Zip ties on car mirrors. A man following a mom and child through a store. A child being watched at the bus stop. Trafficking is everywhere - even in our own backyards. 
We see these warnings of human trafficking everywhere. So are they true?
Research on trafficking shows that only a very small percentage (approximately 3%) of victims are kidnapped. We do not want to discount the actual stories of this - it can happen. But it is not the typical storyline and, if it is all we talk about, many victims will be missed. 
So if only a small percentage are kidnapped then how is trafficking happening? Statistics tells us that about 97% are trafficked by someone they know. That might be a family member or someone that has worked to earn their trust. A friend. A boyfriend. A trusted adult.
 Based on this, yes, trafficking is happening in our own backyards. Literally. Just not in the way we see it portrayed in the media and viral posts. 
So what can you do? Educate yourself. Educate others. Look for w…

Hope for the One Seeking to Overcome

Last month we looked at the stages of change and the often cyclical process of leaving commercial sexual exploitation. (If you missed that post, check it out here.) We mentioned that many barriers exist to stepping into a new future beyond exploitation, and at times it can feel overwhelming and hopeless.
Imagine yourself in this common scenario:
You’re a single 28 year-old woman with 3 children under 10. After years of sexual abuse as a child where the neighbor man made money off your assaults, you decide to take control of the situation by going to the local strip club at ‘18’ (but really 16), and quickly became addicted to alcohol in order to escape reality.

Now that you’ve been in the industry for 12 years, it’s all you know. Your family (who wasn’t the healthiest but they were family) has broken off relationship, you’ve missed getting your high school diploma or further education, and your entire community consists of those attached to the clubs.

But you’re sick of it. You’re sick of …