It’s difficult for most of us to imagine the atrocities that can occur in the short span of a 19-year-old’s life. Until you’ve heard her words firsthand, the incomprehensible remains just that. It’s not until a survivor begins to share these experiences that the unfathomable becomes all too real. The moment the door opened for her to walk through, she did so bravely and from there, her journey to recovery and healing began.
Rescue 1 received a call from One Gen Away, a partner organization, about a young lady who really needed our help. She was with a Law Enforcement
Advocate who, overwhelmed with the shock of her story, greatly anticipated our arrival. What began in a fast-food parking lot transformed into an intense opportunity of love, support and advocacy with Rescue 1.
Immediately, the Community Action Team (CAT), church partners and volunteers sprang into action providing food, supplies, a haircut, caregivers, and food and gas cards. The response was incredible. But, not as incredible as the stories we heard from this young lady. Here are just a few snapshots of what we encountered:
“I was abused as a child as far back as I can remember. My mom raised me inside “the game” in one of the richest counties in Tennessee. I didn’t know anything but abuse, drugs, instability and a revolving door of men for me to have. -You know? What was lived in front of me was all I had to go on for my way in life. So, that’s the path I chose for myself at the age of 14; at least this way I was ‘in control’! If I had to have sex, I at least was gonna get paid for it.”
“I spent the last 2 years between 4 pimps sold in 6 different states. One, that started me on “escorts” and more, he was creepy. One, that I was cool with, he sort of let me do my own thing as long as I pay up and “be” with him every night. One, that I am terrified of; he literally beat girls in front of me for stepping out. And, then, my ‘boyfriend’.”
“When they [police] came for me, I was in a really bad place. I was ‘strugglin’ for options. My “boyfriend” kept me calm with ‘A LOT’ of weed and painkillers all the time. And, he sold me to everyone. I was done! That’s when they [Police] told me there is another way. They said you all would come get me and help me out.”
“I don’t want anything to do with GOD. So, if you are going to make me pray and go to church and all that $#%* then I don’t want to be here. I have had too many “church” people either hurt me or buy me.”
“I am just so used to no one caring for me at all and you came back to get me even when I ran away. I didn’t know anyone like you existed.”
During a team debrief to evaluate effectiveness, to enhance care and to measure program impact a Rescue 1 advocate shared, she said, “God sent us to her and we met for a reason”. She also reflected on her encounters with the survivor, “It can be a struggle for a survivor to accept that we are all here in service to help in healing.”
“The struggle is totally real”, Rescue 1 co-founder, Lacy Henson Tolar continued,”Every day there is a struggle for those we love and serve. But God’s love for us is reckless and unwavering, so we continue to love them the same way, with no strings attached. Love, no matter their choices, good or bad, that they make. It’s all for the ‘1’.”
CEO, Daniel Tolar, sums up the sheer joy that comes in knowing that many lives have contributed to transform 1: “You know that deep, overwhelming feeling you get when a survivor expresses extreme thankfulness for all we did to love, care and seamlessly accept her? Well I do, because she [survivor] called me to tell me. She couldn’t even really get the words out because she was ‘cr-aughing’!” -Which means to be overwhelmed with crying and laughing at the same time. Daniel likes to blend words together to describe an event or emotion.- He continues to share, “How awesome and blessed are we to unequivocally express and be the LOVE and GLORY of God to someone who has only ever experienced the utter depravity of mankind. We get to show her there is another way; there is glory, there is purity, there is hope, there is love, there is redemption, there is wholeness, there is self-sacrifice for others because she is more valuable to us than our life. This is why we do this folks. His Love compels and energizes us!”
For those who are already on this journey with Rescue 1 Global, THANK YOU.