HEAR THEIR

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Anna

Anna Malika has an emotional, yet remarkable story. Although she endured many trials and tribulations, her experiences do not define her in a negative light, but rather illustrate strength and courage. Anna is so much more than her story. She is an overcomer.

 

Anna was adopted from Kolkata, India into an American family, but the safety that every child should be surrounded by was far removed from Anna’s upbringing. She experienced sexual, emotional and physical abuse by various people as she was growing up. All the abuse started to twist her concept of beauty and what her value lied in. She started to believe that she could only be beautiful and “worth it” if she was skinnier and not Indian.

 

The lies of her worth were amplified. Then, a 40-year-old man approached her telling her that she was special and beautiful. Being only in her late teens, Anna easily fell for his sweet words. Could he be the person to love and accept her for who she was? Little did she know that the “art project” he asked her to help him with, would be the source of her being trafficked and sexually exploited.

 

Anna was able to escape the pornographic world she became trapped in, but her struggles were far from over. Anna turned to drinking, self-harm, and eating disorders in order to cope. Over time, and by God’s grace, Anna started to realize that the path she was heading down, would be her fatal downfall. There were issues that she believed were gone, but in reality, were only buried. She wanted to be healed.

 

In the summer of 2011, Anna attended a program called Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries is a Christian residential program that assists young women with life-controlling issues. Anna allowed God to unearth the buried pains, and restore her mind, hear, and soul. She graduated from the program in February 2012.

 

Anna is now doing work with the local government in human trafficking law and policy making. She is also working as a survivor advocate. God has placed a desire in her heart to concentrate on the link between sex trafficking and pornography, as it relates to at-risk youth. She is working to finish her B.A. in sociology with a concentration in Criminology. Anna recently launched her first fashion collection during New York Fashion Week called “Freedom is the New Beautiful”. Her goal is to show women beauty is not a size, and that modest clothing can still be fashionable.

 

Anna says, “I am a new creation! None of the abuse, labels, or past thought patterns identify me anymore. The enemy can keep the guilt and condemnation! My chains are broken! I am FREE!” Anna has a story. It’s one of redemption, hope, and a future. Still, she is more than her story. She is an overcomer!

 

Read more about Anna and review her collection at annamalika.com

 

 

“The Lord himself

will fight for you,

you need

only be still.”

 

– Exodus 14:14

Elizabeth

I grew up in West Texas. My mom and dad got a divorce when I was three so I went to live with my mom. My brothers were a lot older and would take turns babysitting me. When they graduated high school, my youngest brother was left to babysit me when mom was at work.

 

At age six, my brother started molesting me everyday. Initially, I was very confused as to what was going on. Inside I knew something was wrong but it wasn’t until several years later that I realized the extent of the abuse. As the years passed, he became more violent

while throwing me against walls and punching me. The abuse also became more intense as I grew older and it didn’t seem to help fighting against it.

 

The pattern intensified when he started showing me pornography and then had me imitate what I saw on the computer screen. If I didn’t comply he would strike me into submission. When viewing the pornography I was so confused, and I didn’t understand what was going on. I was a little girl. As time went on, I saw more pornography; children posing in underwear and doing sexual acts. My brother would sometimes offer me choices of which sexual acts to do or which poses to make. Other times he would have me act out with him what was on the screen. Several years later I found out that my brother had someone in the closet, taking pictures and videos when he would abuse me. The pictures and videos would then be sold to an online distributer of child pornography and the images would be spread worldwide.

 

 

Later on, I found out that my brother actually met this guy on the school bus; he was two years older. My brother started going home with him to hang out because my brother didn’t have many friends. The guy then started molesting my brother and would rape him

if he didn’t comply. The guy began sending pictures to the contact at the online distributing group. The guy found out that my brother had a little sister and asked my brother to get pictures of me. At first, my brother didn’t want to comply but the guy told my brother that if he didn’t comply he would come and abuse me. My brother knew how rough the guy had been towards him so he chose to abuse me instead while the other guy

filmed in the closet. The cycle of abuse continued.

 

Growing up I was an angry kid, especially at school. I often felt left out of groups, and I couldn’t fit in with other kids. I felt different than everyone else around me. Everyday I dreaded coming home from school. On the bus ride home, I would start feeling anxious and would often start crying. I would dread what was going to happen. When the summer would come everything would be 1,000 times worse. From the moment I would wake up everything would start and often last throughout the day. I remember my brother telling

me not to tell my mom because she would hate me. He put all the guilt, blame and shame on my shoulders, reminding me not to speak to anyone about what was happening. My mom was oblivious to everything going on, as she was very busy trying to provide for

our family.

 

When I was about ten or eleven years old, my parents received a call from the local children’s advocacy center. We met with them, and they began asking me questions. I always felt like they were asking rhetorical questions and they didn’t allow me to just talk. That summer I wasn’t allowed to stay at my moms, so I went to live with my dad.

 

After that summer, people acted like the abuse didn’t happen. I don’t remember my parents talking to me about it. I was required to go to counseling but would tell them what I felt they wanted to hear. My mom seemed to be in so much pain, even though she

wouldn’t talk about it. I didn’t want to hurt her any more so I told the counselors that I was doing well. In reality, I was really confused and so I buried everything inside —as deep as possible. I don’t remember much of how I felt but I know that I acted angrily all the time. During that time one of my brothers was especially kind to me. He looked out

for me and allowed me to be myself.

 

In high school, I struggled with popping pills, drinking and smoking weed. In middle school, I began looking at pornography on my own and this continued into my high school years. Pornography would take my mind off of my reality and allowed me to escape. This part of my childhood naturally carried over and became the norm of my days. It was like a drug for me. I began making out with random guys. Getting into high

school, I felt really lost. I moved to another city. I also went to trial to testify against my boyfriend who raped me in the movie theater. He ended up being convicted for another rape so I didn’t have to testify.

 

Being in the courtroom with him was difficult, and I also felt stuck in my life as a victim. I had no sense of who I was. I got into a relationship with a guy in high school that lasted several years. I didn’t know how to love or be loved. I didn’t know how to be in a relationship with someone. I took a lot of my anger and

frustration out on that relationship while also giving myself completely to him. We broke up for a little while, and I ended up having sex with two guys, one after the other. It took this for me to realize I had a problem. At the end of my senior year, I began realizing that I needed help to work through my past.

 

After finishing high school, I started going to counseling again. I knew I needed to deal with this sober and without sex. I started pouring myself into a relationship with God, allowing him to take the reigns on my life. I started slowly working through everything, trying to find out who I was, without sex or my past being there to haunt me everyday. I

found complete life and newness in Christ in who he said I was, not who the world and my past told me I should be. I still struggle daily now, choosing between who I am now, in Christ, or choosing who the past tells me I am. Finding people I trust, going to counseling, walking out life with those people, learning how to be vulnerable and becoming transparent has helped me as I walk in recovery.

 

For those of you who may be caught in abuse: please remember the things that happened are not okay. It’s not all your fault. You’re not alone. You are loved. Just because someone decided to do that to you does not take away your pureness or beauty. Work through it. Make the hard decision to work through it and not rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms. For me, Jesus is the ultimate healer, and I couldn’t have done it without

him.