Our survivor series follows the stories of some of our overcomers.
Hear Esther's story below.
Hear Sara's story below.
"I slipped through life invisible. I got stepped on and broken by sexual molestation at age 5 and got in trouble instead of help. I lost my virginity to rape at age 13 and didn't tell anyone because I thought it was my fault. Things got worse from there: satanic poetry, suicidal thoughts, promiscuity. I viewed myself as a glass flower vase which had been broken and therefore was no good for holding bouquets anymore. My entire life I had zero hope of ever falling in love and getting married. I was no good. My self-esteem was so low that I did not know that I was extremely beautiful and sexy, and this is why men and boys preyed on me hundreds of times from age 5 to adulthood. My emotions and sexuality never matured. No one saw that I was lost. I was drowning in darkness. Then a woman (Lisa) approached me at a bus stop and somehow knew that I had been victimized repeatedly. She gave me $20 for food and a lifeline (her business card). That was the first time in my life I got angry at the realization that there really IS something VISIBLE about me that actually WAS alerting dangerous predators that I should be their chosen target. It shed some light on my anguish at being raped OVER AND OVER again all my life. Once I met Lisa, who is a safe person, I realized that this could be seen in my eyes, in my body language, or whatever it is about me that made me look like a "good choice" to a man looking for someone to victimize, I wanted to heal. I wanted to change. Hope was born. I called her. Damascus Road was literally the ambassador for Jesus Christ himself when they paid for my bus ticket to the healing program I was placed into. I was able to tell my pagan worship family that I did not need their money because God's people were caring for me and providing for me. Ever since getting in touch with Damascus Road I have felt safe. I have someone that I can trust that I know loves me. I could call at any hour with any emergency and Lisa would really help me get out of danger or trouble. Through a new relationship with Jesus Christ that I found in the program, my healing began. I am still far from whole. I still struggle every day with the challenges of life with a childlike mentality and chronic PTSD, but I know that if I decide I can't do this alone, programs are available. Thanks to donations of money, other resources, and volunteer time from Christians and non-Christians alike with a genuine heart for rescuing women like me from the downward spiral of low self-worth, poverty, survival sex, stripping, prostitution, and slavery in the drug trade and gang involvement."
I will never forget the first day I met with Kelly from Damascus Road about 3 yrs ago. I told her on the phone before we met that all I ever wanted was a hug from my mom that I will never get. Until this day she hugs me when I see her, which means more to me then anyone will ever know. She made me feel so comfortable to open up about my life without judgement! Even when times got hard they always stayed in my corner trying to help in anyway they could! I'm very thankful for having Damascus Road a part of my life and all they have done for me even when I was living in a very dark spot of my life!
" Hi my name is Lisa, I spent most of my life running from who I am and more so not knowing who I am. I was born into a family that I never felt I belonged in. I was molested at a very young age which stripped me of my childhood and my innocence. I don’t remember my childhood; the event was so traumatic that it forced me to block out my childhood. I never fit in with the other children on my block I spent most of my time alone. At the age of 12 I was introduced to marijuana, that drug allowed me to escape from reality and I loved it. By age 20 I found cocaine and that allowed me to get even further away from reality. By age 25 I was introduced to crack cocaine and fell in love with the feeling. I didn’t have to feel the pain of being me anymore. From then on, I spent my life in and out of abusive relationships with men and started to feel more useless. Every day I lived to get higher and higher just so I didn’t have to deal with reality. I used to live and lived to use. By age 30 I had become completely dependent on crack nothing else was more important to me than getting high. I started getting to know more people that got high and found more ways to get high. I found my place so I thought in the streets. I became homeless and starting working the streets (prostitution) to support my habit and myself. I spent the next 16 years going in and out of jail and in one of the worst controlling and abusive relationships with a man whom at first I thought was going to take me away from all that. In June 2015 I met Lisa at a local church I use to go to sometimes on Tuesday nights just to get a hot meal and some personals so I could keep up with my hygiene. I didn’t want to go there that night but a power greater than me made me go. Lisa came to me and told me there was a way out, she gave me her phone number and answered the phone when I called. I was shocked after all those years of abuse I didn’t trust anyone cared about me. Within a week, Lisa got me out of town to a safe place. In the past year and a half, I have gone from a drug addict and victim of domestic violence to a responsible member of society. I have a good job, I am enrolled in school part-time, have my own car and a one bedroom apartment. Lisa has supported me every step of the way both morally and financially. Without the help of Damascus Road I would still be in the world trying to destroy myself or dead. Today I know who I am and who I want to be and I owe it all to Damascus Road.
I first met Damascus road in 2017 when I was in jail, waiting to go to prison. In jail they would come see me twice a month at the very least. They had sent me bibles, books, even coloring books. When I went to prison they would write me inspirational quotes every week & they still do. I remember telling Kelly & Lisa that all I wanted was a real friend. When I got out of prison I had nothing... but thanks to Damascus Road I had Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Make-up, Hair ties, Everything you could think of, Brushes, Combs, Pads, Tampons, Snacks, Coloring books, Coloring pencils, Shirts, Bras, Panties, Socks, Pants, even Pajamas & let’s not forget reading material Books, Bible, & Devotionals. They have a family dinner every month, & would let us come chill when they were in the office giving us a safe place to hang out. They been there for me through everything. My drug addiction, my incarcerations, even my health problems. I broke my ankle back in July & Damascus road made sure I went to every appointment, even giving me rides, not to mention took me In for my surgery & stayed with me the whole time. They made sure I was okay & ever reminding me that I was loved & cared for. Still to this day I talk to Damascus Road about everything. All my problems, they help coming up with solutions & the right way to approach life & its lessons. 4 years ago I was telling Damascus when I was in jail that, "This is my life, & this is all I’m going to be.” Now today I can smile proudly & say I’m worth something more. DNA doesn’t make a family, love does & with Damascus I finally found my forever family.