Growing up, Victoria constantly felt less-than. Both of her parents had other children and their affection for them was greater than that for Victoria. "I was told I was unwanted as a child, so I did whatever it took to get any attention from them.”
Victoria started harming herself in sixth grade. Over the next few years, she was in and out of a psychiatric hospital for self-harm and suicidal thoughts. “I wasn’t giving Jesus the chance to be my father,” she said. “I remember crying out to God to help me.”
Victoria’s grandparents were granted full custody of her before high school, and Victoria did well in school and became a certified nurse assistant. She had two daughters with her boyfriend from high school; after that toxic relationship ended, Victoria met and married a man.
“Life felt good and we were stable. I had another daughter and a beautiful son, but soon things fell apart,” she said. Victoria started using methamphetamines. And after her husband died tragically in a car crash, the drug use got worse. “I was devastated and I was alone far from family,” she said. “I deeply missed my husband and wanted to feel love and companionship.” It was the loneliness that led her to the next relationship.
Victoria thought she had found a man that cared for her and her children. After months of him providing for her he started hitting Victoria and demanded that she “pull some weight.” The first time Victoria was trafficked was when they were short on rent. “He posted me in ads for prostitution and all the money went to him,” she said. “He’d hit me if I didn’t get enough money.”
Victoria’s boyfriend sold her daily to make a living. The abuse went on for years. “This was the darkest time in my life. My boyfriend held a gun to my head, but the Holy Spirit saved me.”
Victoria made the decision to enter the Lighthouse. "I am working on every area of my life and I’m being honest and surrendering. I am healing.”
Victoria sees God’s timing as she heals from sexual trauma. Leslie Painter came on as director of the Lighthouse weeks before Victoria arrived. She has a background in helping women freed from human trafficking. “Leslie knows my hurts and is mentoring me,” Victoria said. “I can be honest about my past.”
Victoria’s relationship with her children is being restored and one of her daughters is with her at the Lighthouse. “I can see God is using all the bad in my life to be stronger in my walk with him. I am full of the Holy Spirit and want to help women who have been in my shoes, so they know they are not alone."