Summer's Story: A Miracle on Barnett Street November 28 2016, 3 Comments

Summer’s smile is vibrant and it lights up the whole room. Her laugh is infectious and when you look into her eyes you see they are filled with warmth and hope. Her drive and optimism are great qualities as she leads a team of five other survivors in production. She teaches the ladies that they are worthy, loved and capable of great things. Summer is a leader who is dedicated to empowering her team to become future leaders within Rethreaded, in their personal lives, and in the community. She has big dreams for herself as she advances into a higher position within her department. Anyone who knows Summer would agree, the one word to describe her is unstoppable.

But six months ago Summer was in a bad predicament. After being out of the sex trade for two years she found herself living with a roommate that began struggling with addiction. Summer tried to help her roommate the best she could, but when the situation escalated she knew something had to change. Out of desperation she packed up her belongings and left her home. Unfortunately, the only place she could afford at the time and on such short notice was an extended stay motel that was in a seedy area of town known for high crime rates and human trafficking.

For two weeks Summer stayed at this motel. The feelings of sadness which came from losing her sense of home and belonging were only worsened each night as she would hear screaming and arguing. She would see women who were stuck in the awful cycle of the sex trade on her way to work. Hopelessness began to set in Summer’s heart. She was surrounded by the life from which she escaped, facing some of the same vulnerabilities which had entrapped her before, and unable to see a way out. Everything she had worked so hard to reclaim in her life seemed to be slipping away.

All hope was not lost for Summer. During this time, Rethreaded had begun to contract out a Survivor Advocate to provide mental health counseling, case management, crisis intervention and other life skills. Summer, knowing her situation was dire, reached out for help. Immediately, a plan of action was developed utilizing the Survivor Advocates’ community connections. Summer was, at once, able to leave the motel and temporarily move into a Christian transitional housing facility. With this new found stability and a community of women to support her Summer was able to begin looking for an apartment to call her own. Once she had set her sights on a place, another obstacle appeared while meeting with the potential renter. Summer had negative rental history from several years before and was almost turned away, but once again the Survivor Advocate intervened. After receiving a positive reference Summer received the keys to her new apartment. A disaster was diverted for Summer. She received the counseling she needed to handle the stress of this crisis, was connected with a supporting community, and offered the resources she needed to become independent and thriving.

Today Summer has been in her new apartment for five months. We have seen so much success and growth from her these last few months. For the first time in her life, she is living by herself, freeing her from any distraction and allowing her to focus on the next steps. After many years, she has been back in contact with her sons and is making huge steps in becoming a part of their lives again. We have heard the language Summer uses about herself change and she is now more empowered than ever. Summer continues to receive healing through community and through the Survivor Advocate Program. She has become a more effective leader, and her story helps other women know they can overcome obstacles too.

There are many obstacles and challenges that women face in physically escaping the sex trade, but much more lie ahead for women on their journey to continued healing and living a whole life. The reality is that many women leave the sex trade incredibly disadvantaged and vulnerable to re-exploitation. A real escape doesn’t happen until those vulnerabilities are overcome. This is a fight that not even the most determined survivors can easily accomplish on their own. Summer’s story could have been much different without donors like you who believe in her and invest in her! To break the cycle of the sex trade we must come along survivors and fight with them. This is why the Survivor Advocate Program is so important… we could have lost Summer.

We currently provide 12 survivors with employment. Each one of these women has access to the Survivor Advocate Program. Next year we plan to hire 12 more women that will need this program but it won’t happen if we can’t fund it. The funds you donate will give women, like Summer, the support they need to transition to a new life!

Your investment of …

$13 will provide one survivor with a day of support through our Survivor Advocate Program

$65 will provide one survivor with one week of support through our Survivor Advocate Program

$281 will provide one survivor with one month of support through our Survivor Advocate Program

$3380 will provide one survivor with one year of support through our Survivor Advocate Program

Help us continue to break the cycle of oppression through employment, healing and empowerment.