If there were ever such thing as a hopeless case, Rose should have been it. The youngest of 12 children, her parents entrusted a lot of her care to older siblings. At the age of four, a brother suffering from mental illness began molesting her. At nine, her sister drove her to a stranger’s home…and dropped her off.
That was the beginning of nearly a decade of slavery to her sister and brother-in-law, who ran a domestic sex-trafficking ring, using Rose and other children as prostitutes. She was regularly raped, beaten and drugged with heroin. At the age of 14, Rose was forced to have her first abortion. At 17, pregnant again, she hid her pregnancy this time. Rose told us:
“I didn’t tell anyone. Then one day my sister was drugging me and she looked at my belly and knew something was up. She said, ‘I’m going to take you in to get an abortion tomorrow.” We went in, but I was six months pregnant. They couldn’t do the abortion. I was so glad.”
Because her brother-in-law was the father of her child, the truth came out within days of the baby’s birth, despite her sister’s attempts to force her silence. “I told my mother everything my sister did to me,” said Rose. “They went to jail last January.”
The damage done to Rose was deep. Even with her tormentors in jail, she sank deeper into addiction and depression. She began starving herself, forcing herself to vomit and cutting her wrists compulsively. To top it off, she fell in with a violently abusive boyfriend.
“Every person I was ever in a relationship with beat me up. His abuse was nothing new. There was never what I would call ‘nice time.’ He was always hitting me or raping me or verbally abusing me.”
By the time Rose found her way to Shepherd’s Gate, she had attempted suicide multiple times and spent hours writing down ways to kill herself.
Through counseling, classes and faith-based discipleship, Rose found a new life. She gained the confidence to be a good mom to her son, who is now 3. She will celebrate Easter clean and sober, free from abuse and slavery. She is overcoming her food and cutting disorders as well. She is discovering that she has talents, including photography, singing and dancing.
”I gave my heart back to God, and He changed my life,” said Rose. “I’m not giving up on God because He’s not giving up on me.
Rose is especially grateful to caring friends who support Shepherd’s Gate. She told us:
“Every little thing that people give here, even just the prayers, are just extraordinary. It just shows that God answers all prayers. One example, when it was my turn to cook dinner, I was asking God for someone to come in and donate food. This man came in and donated a Thanksgiving dinner. God answered my prayer. Through people who give, you can see Jesus, because they’re giving as Jesus would.”