The Long and Winding Road That Leads to Her Heart

girlindistress Most of us understand the paradigm shift. When we understand that a situation forces a girl into prostitution at age 16, we would more likely call her a victim than a criminal. Yet, the long-term effects of that trauma may take years to untangle.

A group of middle school thugs sexually assaulted Annie at the age of 10. She told her mom and her mom told her to shut up about it. Her cousin happened to be one of the thugs.

Could there be a connection between the assault, and the fact those five years later her “best friend” introduced her to heroin? Did the connection to a local heroin dealer instigate her to get active in the sex trade to generate the cash she needed for heroin?

I see the connection clear as a bell but she didn’t. When we first talked in drug court, she felt self-loathing due to her faults and all her bad choices. She refused faith-based treatment because, in her mind, she committed unforgivable sins.

Annie has accepted a tough life. She no longer uses heroin but is on methadone. She has taken herself out of the sex trade (for the time being), but is living with a physically abusive man.

She emailed to say she saw me on TV, and I sent her the address of the new women’s center. There she can escape a life of opiate dependence and domestic violence. She wrote back and said she drove by. But for now her life is “working.”

Pray for Annie. She has made some courageous decisions, but the toughest ones lie ahead. Pray for us, that we not give on those who still have trouble believing. Her life … both abundant life and eternal life still hang in the balance.


bill-russell The Courageous Women stories are by Executive Director at Union Gospel Mission, Bill Russell. Bill has been a leader at Union Gospel Mission for 25 years. He is the co-founder of Union Gospel Mission's LifeChange recovery program. LifeChange helps men, women and children escape abuse, addiction and homelessness to transform their lives.


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