"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Martin Luther King, Jr. Minister, Civil Rights Activist
The Jonah Project will often relocate survivors for their safety, but in many instances they will be housed at one of our growing number of partner agencies or Host Homes in Washington State. This depends on what is best for the survivor, as well as access to resources elsewhere. In situations where The Jonah Project houses survivors, we believe in a fundamental principle we call “Transformative Compassion“ and it begins with “Transparent Aftercare.”
Providing for lifelong needs
The reality is that with no ability for relational trust to form or spiritual restoration to take place, our survivors may continue to struggle the rest of their lives with the trauma they have experienced. These young people have had their lives interrupted and freedom stripped away; traumatized to the point where they no longer see themselves as human beings capable of giving love or worthy of receiving it. It is vital that WE provide an environment that teaches them what FREEDOM really looks like. Where it comes from. And that this happens in an environment where they are free to make a mistake or struggle, and still feel LOVE and ACCEPTANCE.
Who provides resources?
In our nation currently, it is faith-based (typically Christian) organizations that provide resources and aftercare for survivors, not our local government agencies and authorities. This is the reality. We should recognize the important role the faith community has played throughout history in freeing people! However, because much of the faith based community is insulated, and can be secretive about their methods, we have seen negligence and mistreatment for profit. As “trafficking” becomes a national buzz-word this can be a double-edged sword. We need awareness – and we need to prize freedom for the survivors above all else.
The Importance of Transparent Aftercare
We must be careful and loving with how we implement care. Our victims have already led a life where they have been used for profit, they have been offered a place to stay and food in exchange for their loyalty. That must STOP! We must provide care that is LEVERAGE-FREE and based on the principal of FREEDOM. Nothing is worse than seeing victims “pimped out” for their testimonies or forced to undergo spiritual rituals they do not believe in or understand. Damage can be done by extended “black-out periods” where the survivors have no access to services, or sometimes even being told they need to apologize for their own role in their abuse. This is tragic – and it happens more than we should tolerate. The Jonah Project will continue to push with our platform and voice – for agencies to truly come together and put the survivor’s first. We will support and endorse other agencies that are open and honest about their aftercare as well.
It is imperative that our aftercare is “transparent” and “trauma based.” In turn, we, as a community, need to begin to demand additional resources for aftercare from our local and civic leaders.