It was 2001, I had got a call from Gentleman’s Choice, the escort service my trafficker had me signed on with. I was told to go to the Mandalay Bay to a regular of the services.
When I arrived, an older Samoan man answered. I remember he went by Peter. He was heavy set and wearing a Hawaiian print shirt. He had $500 laying on the sofa table at the entry way. He wanted to me lay limp on the bed while he serviced himself in the corner. At first, I was hesitant, thinking that I didn’t want to participate in anything dangerous. But then, I justified the easy $500 for not having to touch him.
He saw me several times after that, requesting me by name from the service. That must have been his M.O. – earning the trust of the unsuspecting “prostitute.”
On the last visit with him, I was laying there as usual, pretending to be passed out, or dead, when suddenly he was on top of me. His hands began gripping tight around my neck. I kicked and tried to scream and fight but he was so much larger and stronger than me. I clawed at his hands, but couldn’t pry even a finger. My knees started to buckle and my vision started going dim. I saw yellow stars. All I could get out was “pl… pl…” I was out of air. I started to cry and can remember thinking, “this is it. My daughter’s not going to have a mother.” Next came a shaky feeling that I presumed accompanied death. Within an instant he was standing. I didn’t wait for understanding… I ran as fast as I could, putting my top on in the elevator.
Years passed and I was now in a women’s home: Victory Outreach Portland. I had only been there a couple days but I was falling right into their schedule. During one of our morning required prayer times, I gave into my frustration of having to pray for an hour. I lifted my hands as I stood at the window, closed my eyes and sang along with the worship music. Suddenly, as if I had been jolted out of a bad dream, the same shaky feeling that had accompanied me that night I nearly died, came over me. I opened my eyes, shocked at the presence of a memory I had pushed so far out of mind.
Then a thought came to mind. A thought so clear, it dropped me to my knees:
“It was me who released his hands from around your neck. That feeling is the feeling of life not death.”
I began sobbing uncontrollably. Could this be? Could God have been looking out for me this whole time? All this time I had thought He didn’t exist, or didn’t care about me, to let this all happen and here He was showing me that I was strong enough to come out alive…
“For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt, Ethiopia and Seva as a ransom for your freedom. Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored and I love you.” Isaiah 43:3-4