Lifting Our Voices

“A Day Out of the life – Looking Back & Moving Forward, Together”

PTSD is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and this an illness that people suffer from. As for me, I struggle with this everyday. There was something traumatic that happened in the lives of those impacted by this when they were younger or even older that was so impactful that it changed their lives. It affects your dreams, and the sounds that are around you. Anything that is out of the ordinary makes you jumpy. As for me, if you enter a room from an angle that I cannot see you in my peripheral vision, that affects me as well. That will cause me anxiety and that is something that I also have to deal with everyday. I have lived at Amirah for over a year now and the doorbell still makes me jump and scream when it goes off as a result of my PTSD.
When it comes to sex trafficking, people really look at it from a movie’s point of view because really that’s the only thing they have to base it off of. The movie Pretty Woman
is the best example I could provide. I wish I could tell you it’s like that, but it is not like that at all. There is no fun involved whatsoever, and once you are doing it regularly your pimp will provide you with some kind of drug. That drug will benefit him because he can control you more, and as for you….it will help you to block the pain. This is not something that you can do and be happy with day after day. You would need something to take your mind to another world while you still had no choice but to continue to do what you’re made to do; to make money for someone else! When you have a pimp, you have no choice but to work and to constantly make money. It never stops and the pain never goes away.
Recovery for me will be a lifelong process because it does not just go away, and sobriety and inner strength are things that you cannot lose sight of. Recovery is hard because you have to think of how long you used and numbed everything that you did not want to feel. Now you get to feel them and look back at those years with a clear mind and see how bad your situation was.                                                                                                I write this having no idea how or why I am alive to be telling people this! When you are lost and trapped in this tunnel, you have no clue how to get out, and you really don’t care so much about yourself or how important you are. I can say that I have been clean and sober for over a year, and it is possible that I survived because I was that girl that did not want to live like that and was looking for that way out. Now I look back at the old me while being in this program and I’m in awe of how far I’ve come. I care a lot about my recovery, but I know that it takes a lot of work and it is not always easy. To me, it is all about putting up a fight and being willing to change your life for the better. Life is like a rollercoaster; you will have your highs and your lows. Even when you fall, it’s about how you pick yourself back up. Life in recovery does not just happen overnight; it might take a year or longer. You need medical insurance, a doctor, a counselor, and you will probably have some medications that you will have to take. Getting back into normal life can be scary and it was for me, but I did it. Now I ride my Ferrari, so to speak, everyday to work.
My goal for 2017 would be to get my life back on track. I want to get a car, and have my own place that I can call home. I want to help as many victims just like me, and let them know that they are not alone, and there are people that do care and want to help. I would love to go on a mission through my church and to help spread the word of God! I pray that this is my year to come where I know what I’m suppose to do with my life. I’m a survivor myself and I’m just getting my toes wet…..I may have been knocked down but I got back up, and I always will. I am grateful for the help I have received, and I’m proud of myself for accepting it.

Authored by: Love

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Lifting Our Voices

“A Day Out of the life – Looking Back & Moving Forward Together”

When I began this website, I was blogging my past journal entries from the times I was being trafficked and then addicted to drugs, along with a present day reflections to show how far I have come in my journey. It took me two years to get it all done. I then self published it into a book titled, The Diary of Jasmine Grace. Trafficked. Recovered. Redeemed. 

Soon after I started this blog,  “A Day in the life. Looking Back and Moving Forward”.  Women from all over started to email me and tell me that my story was changing their lives. Some were able to self-identify as a Survivors of trafficking and begin the healing process. 

I have learned that there is tremendous power, when we share our stories in a transparent and authentic manner. So I am partnering with women that I have met along the way, to share their written works of surviving lives of trafficking, prostitution, trauma, addiction and homelessness. It will be called, “A Day Out of the life. Looking Back & Moving Forward Together” I have titled it this because, I have also learned that self reflection is a big part of inner healing. If I wasn’t willing to look back – into my painful past, then I wouldn’t have been able to move forward with victory and influence. I would have most likely continued to repeat the same destructive patterns and make poor choices. 

Many women are still out there on the streets, couch surfing or staying in an unsafe place because they don’t have a choice. Most of them are living day to day – in the struggle. Other women might be living a decent life but on the inside – they are broken and they know it. They feel alone, helpless and hopeless.

The shame and stigma that come with prostitution and addiction is to big to face alone.

What I know from 10 years in recovery, is that we recover best when we are willing to do the hard stuff. Yes, inner healing sucks. But we will do it together in a safe and supportive community. 

I want to end the stigma and shame by spreading HOPE through sharing the stories of our past.

We will share our stories.

We will Lift our Voices. 

What we have been through – Does not define us.

And Together, we will let them know – #WeDoRecover.

` Peace & Love,

Jasmine

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TogetherRising #sHERo Award

If I want to see change in this world, then I must be the change myself. If I want to empower and inspire women then I must be transparent and authentic in my own life. – I need to walk my talk. Right?! The best part of working in the anti-trafficking movement is being a part of something bigger than myself. To realize that my pain is being used for someone else’s healing is pretty amazing to me. I love to see the transformation in women’s lives after I have worked with them or after they have read my blog. I love to bring hope and healing to women on the streets, in programs and in my own community. I have been sharing my story of survival for a few years now and most of the time after I share, women in the audience will come up to talk and they let me know the ways I have impacted them. A lot of them self-identify and say that they share very similar stories or can identify with most of it. Others are taken back by my bravery and courage to speak my truth. At first, It wasn’t easy to get up and share the details of my trauma in public. But with some encouragement, prayer and guts, I did it. I have never felt so free in all my life. To witness the instant impact on women’s lives was deeply moving for me. Early on in my speaking, I had some training on story telling and this helped me shape my story in a way that made sense for people. Because trafficking doesn’t happen in a vacuum and for me it wasn’t a one time event, I wanted to share it in a way that highlighted my vulnerabilities, the grooming process traffickers use and the reasons why women “stay so long”. I have never once just stood up on a stage and shared the horrific details of my life. Rather, I have raised awareness, educated and delivered hope and healing to many. Best of all, my story points to the One who has saved and redeemed me! Praise Jesus!
Because of all this, I was recently nominated by 4 amazing friends for an award through Together Rising which is a non-profit that was created through the blog, momastery.com. I knew about the nomination but had forgotten about it. My friends and I made plans to meet at a local restaurant on the last Tuesday in July because my outreach ministry, Bags of Hope, was the restaurant’s “Cause” for the month with 15% of each bill getting donated to the ministry. Whenever my friends walked up to me with a big sign that read, “Love wins!!” and big smiles, I knew something was up. They excitedly announced that I was the winner of the award and presented me with two checks! One check would go directly to the ministry and the other one could be used for whatever I wished. They said.. “Take your kids to Disney.. Put a down payment for a new car!! Whatever you’d like. It’s for YOU.” I was overcome with emotion, gave them huge hugs and yes, I cried! I am still basking in the blessing. I feel even more loved and supported on this journey. I’m still not sure what I will use the money for! In the past, I made many impulsive and unwise decisions. This time around I want to be deliberate and prayerful with such a big blessing. The real reward came while I was putting my 4 year old daughter to bed that night. We were saying our prayers and she said, “Mom, you are so strong and brave. Like a Superhero!!” I smiled and kissed her on the cheek and prayed that she would go out into the world and do the same –  Inspire, Encourage and Build up Others. ToGetHerRising!
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