Her Song ’s mission is to create a safe home where survivors of sex trafficking can heal and break the cycle of abuse in their lives. Through safe relationships and within a community of support, survivors are empowered with the confidence and courage they need to move forward with their lives.
Jacksonville is a major hub for human trafficking, and in the last several years more than one-hundred and fifty females, primarily adult women, have been recovered in our city. These women need trauma recovery, safe relationships, a safe place to live and mental health support.
Most survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking have a history of sexual abuse as children, neglectful home environments and/or homes with drug and alcohol abuse. Some are foster kids, and some are pushed out of the house as young teens by a caregiver who just doesn’t care. In the context of the most important relationships in their lives, they are wounded, and their lives and development are disrupted in ways that lead them to be vulnerable to sex trafficking and exploitation in the sex trade.
In this life, young women are bonded with people who use and abuse them but who they also might call family because it is all they have or it is similar to what they have known. Or they are so controlled by traffickers who have instilled fear and use psychological manipulation to deceive and entrap them that they will comply with their demands. Many have grown up with low self-worth, a lack of direction and purpose, and a longing for love and meaningful connection. Now they are bound up in shame: the belief that they are unworthy of love and belonging. Today, 92% of these women tell us that if they had a place to go and the counseling they needed that they would leave or escape this lifestyle.
This is why Her Song exists: most survivors need a safe place where they can rest, tune in to their hearts, begin to know themselves and see their worth and value while surrounded by supportive coaches. Our model is built upon the belief that while we are deeply wounded in relationships, it is also through safe and meaningful relationships that we find healing. This safe context allows for counseling and groups, education and job skills training and an opportunity for each survivor to be empowered to make a new life for herself, instead of being driven by shame to destroy herself.
Our first annual gala, Bring Her Home, will help raise awareness of these needs of survivors and raise needed funds to begin establishing this safe home right here in Jacksonville. Her Song has reached more than thirty-five hundred people with awareness of human trafficking, including six-hundred high school students and thousands more through One Spark 2014 where they placed in the top ten. As members of the NEFL Human Trafficking Coalition, they work in collaboration with other organizations such as the JSO, Rethreaded, the FBI, and World Relief.
Her Song was recently recognized by Jacksonville’s City Council for their work in the community, and has been featured on the “News4Jax” weekend show. Her Song has interacted with more than thirty survivors of sexual exploitation providing pro bono counseling services and case management, and has reached the vulnerable women in the community through their Purpose Groups. Her Song founder Rachel White is a local mental health professional who has been offering pro bono mental health counseling and support groups for survivors and vulnerable women since 2013. She quickly recognized the need for a safe home and a safe community for survivors and has dedicated her life to being an advocate for survivors.
www.hersongjax.org and follow them on Facebook.
Sponsored by Dr. Patricia Schroeder a board certified gynecologist, practicing for over 20 years in Jacksonville Beach. As an advocate for empowering women, her support and commitment to “Her Song” comes from her desire for all women to live healthy and meaningful lives. This personal and professional belief in the value of all women has led her to her involvement in “Her Song” as a sponsor and committee member for the upcoming Gala in May. LLCBeaches-Division II • 1370 13th Avenue South, Suite 118 Jacksonville Beach, FL 32224 • (904) 247-1456