A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

Through My Eyes

She walked through the world, seemingly alone. Sunlight reflecting sadness off of her hazel eyes, wind blowing her purple bangs into them. She walks with confidence even though she had none. Unafraid of the world, but afraid of herself and individuals… but not in the way one may think.

She is unafraid of physical danger, and she’s not afraid to die, because, what did she have to lose? No. She is afraid of the emotional danger, afraid of what one may do to her unsuspecting heart, and subsequently afraid to trust herself.

Her heart, the heart of an innocent, no matter how many times it was beaten, it continued to yearn and beg to love the same way.

“Madness,” she thought.

But secretly, even to her, she loved this about herself. But life has shown her not to be happy with herself, and so she hid this self love in the deepest part of her soul, where not even God could touch… or so she thought.

She always longed for companionship, for someone to love that deserved it. Eventually she had that, this new life growing inside of her that deserved all the love she desired to give. That little life saved hers, but it was short lived… before that life could even live, it was lost, and it was in those devastating moments that she realized that even without child, someone who deserved that love was there… herself.

So she shed herself of the people and things that were causing her greatest pain, and walked into her new life, full of love, from others, her God, and herself. And as she let these healthy people in and reopened her heart to God, everyday became easier… easier to smile, easier to be vulnerable, easier to be open, easier to be happy.

And while everyday may bring a new challenge, she also sees that everyday gives her new opportunities to be happy… to love.

And now, she walks through the world, no longer alone and the sunlight that once reflected sadness and pain in her eyes, now reflects hope.

Authored by: Iris, an Amirah Survivor

©Copyright 2018. Jasmine Grace.

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Why We don’t need to Study Decriminalizing Prostitution

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The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to study decriminalizing prostitution at the behest of pro-prostitution activists. Some of our Representatives were manipulated into believing that decriminalizing the practice of the selling people for sex would be compassionate. In reality, sex should never be called work, and compassion calls for protection.

The fact of the matter is that we should look at our state’s response to prostitution without any thought of decriminalizing the selling of human beings on an open market. And those calling for decriminalization are often the ones making money from the exploitation of others.

Representative Elizabeth Edwards was quoted in the Union Leader this week. “I am worried about those women because it is our laws that make it unsafe,” Edwards said. “They can’t call police if they’re raped or robbed and they don’t have the same access to justice as the rest of us.”

The law prohibiting prostitution does not make it unsafe. It is unsafe because it is prostitution. Commercial sex acts themselves are unsafe, from disease, damage and all sorts of deprivations and trauma. We know this because we lived it.

A young male survivor said, “Men buy girls for sex. They buy boys to abuse them.” Our experience was wrought with violence. It wasn’t because it was against the law. It was because the buyers are often cruel.

Ms. Edwards says that those prostituted individuals don’t have the same access to justice as the rest of us. Decriminalizing prostitution will not help them.

Decriminalizing prostitution will fuel sex trafficking and increase demand for sex tourism in NH. That’s what happened in Rhode Island. It hurt the state’s economy, their businesses, and their people.

Decriminalizing means no law to protect anyone. Police cannot intervene in suspected exploitation or force, because there is no probable cause. The activity isn’t against the law, so an officer has no reason to approach. As for a person calling police, please remember, we call police after assault. Police cannot protect individuals in advance. They can only respond.

Sexual exploitation happens on a continuum. From pornography and stripping to escort services and brothels, women and children are being sold for the use of sex buyers. Is that what we want for NH?

Picture your four year-old. Do you want them to live a life of being raped for profit – when they grow up?

The role of the government is to protect the people. Standards of behavior are crucial to preserving a safe place to live. We have laws against hurting people in other ways. Prohibiting prostitution is a protection we should keep in place.

We are in full agreement with the Governor on this issue.

Abolitionists, like us, call for increased penalties and hefty fines for sex buyers and traffickers. Use those fines to fund services for victims so they can start the difficult work of recovery. It’s bad enough that the people arrested for prostitution are considered criminals when more often than not, they are victims. We believe that lifting the prostitution charges can empower them to move on with their lives and become Survivors. All of this would make NH safer.

Rather than becoming an inviting place for purveyors of human flesh, our state would be a place of elevating people from the brutality of sexual exploitation.

It is not compassionate to be subjugated to a life as an object for someone else’s sexual pleasure. Compassion is taking the time to listen to her story and see that the choice was made for her long before she got trapped in the cycle of abuse that exploitation inevitably brings. Prostitution research says that 80-90 percent of women in the commercial sex trade were sexually abused as children. So think about how the dial has already been turned. What was so freely taken from them, is now going to be paid for, and this seems like an upgrade. This gives the illusion of choice, a better life. But real compassion understands that no little girl dreams of becoming a prostitute.

Life is hard. The core violation of sexual abuse makes it much harder. Let’s never normalize prostitution. Let’s always remember that sex should never be called work. Prostitution denies the innate human dignity due each human being. People should never become commodities to be traded, used and abused. Let’s never normalize that.

Darlene Pawlik
Jasmine Grace

©2018. All Rights Reserved.

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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

©2018. Jasmine Grace. All Rights Reserved.

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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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