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From Unloved to Loved

Written by Kim Merrikin
on February 14, 2018

Unloved to Loved Survivors

You deserve to be loved.

Every single person, no matter their past, present, or future, is wholly worthy of love.

We stand firmly in that belief at REST. It is why we do what we do; because we believe that each man, woman, boy, and girl that has experienced sexual exploitation is worthy of love. Many of the individuals that we serve come to us having experienced the antithesis of love—abuse, manipulation, and injustice. For many survivors of the sex trade, love can seem like a far off notion, and one that isn’t meant for them.

But we know that love is for all. And it is amazing, and beautiful to see the hope and restoration that unfold as people who once felt unloved begin to realize that they are worthy of love—and deeply loved.

This Valentine’s Day, take a few minutes to read the words of three survivors who are on their own pathways to freedom, safety, and hope:

“I am no longer in prostitution. I am no longer on drugs. I no longer have any connections to my abuser, besides our son. He has no bearing over my life anymore. I learned how to love myself. I learned that I am truly a beautiful person. And intelligent. And I also learned that everything my abuser told me for years and years was so untrue and so far from the truth. And I learned from all of my strength and all the support that I’ve got here that I can do whatever I put my mind to and nothing can ever stop me.” - Stephanie

“I feel loved in so many different ways, from so many different people, and I didn’t think that would be possible. I thought that I had to be loved by my family, or by my pimp, or by someone somewhere—boyfriends, tricks, whatever… but that’s not true anymore. There are so many different forms of love, and I’ve found that here, really. I find it from the people that support me. I find that from the people that I live with. I find it from the people that come to drop-in. And it’s exciting. It’s nice to know that it’s there. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to search for love in the wrong places, because I’m not getting it in the right places.” - Chelsea

“It’s a really good feeling to know that I’m cared about, and there’s so much support out there. I never knew that before. And it is a good, good feeling. I feel so loved by God. I feel loved by the staff. I feel loved by the roommates. I feel loved by my family again. I feel loved by the prayers that are said for me. I know God put Sarah in my life for a reason because I was supposed to meet all these people. I was supposed to be sitting here doing this to get better. I feel loved.” - Piper

We hope you know today that you are wholly and unconditionally worthy of love—and nothing in your past, present, or future can strip you of that.

If you’d like to read Stephanie, Chelsea, and Piper’s stories, check out our latest Annual Report.