If prostitution is the world’s oldest “profession,” then child sexual abuse is one generation older. The experience of unmitigated sexual abuse in childhood is the single most common event in the lives of women at Magdalene. A vulnerability to being trafficked, to addiction and to eventual prostitution occur in the aftermath of a childhood marked by severe abuse, chronic familial and institutional neglect and early alcohol and drug abuse to numb emotional pain. The difference between a child abuse victim who ends up trafficked or prostituting and victims who don’t lies in the ability of families and systems to protect children, in the severity and duration of the abuse, and in the tendency of our culture to minimize the trauma of the experience.
Magdalene and Thistle Farms are working to shift the national conversation around sex trafficking so that the secrecy, power and consequences of untreated child abuse will be consistently acknowledged at a national level. Much of that work begins at home. On a local level, we partner with staff at Nashville's Sexual Assault Center who are licensed specialists in recovery from sexual abuse and assault. The Sexual Assault Center provides a safe, therapeutic place for women at Magdalene to share their stories of abuse and to receive the support they need to heal. Replacing anxiety and depression with healthy tools for coping with stress gives women a new found sense of power and control in their lives and strengthens their commitment to recovery.
At our upcoming national conference, we will explore these topics during the workshop PTSD and SECOND STAGE RECOVERY in Adult Survivors of Trafficking and Prostitution led by the following veteran mental health counselors from Nashville's Sexual Assault Center:
Meet Rosemary Cope, LPC/MHSP:
Rosemary has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years serving as a counselor at the Vanderbilt University Counseling Center, a pastoral counselor, a schizophrenia researcher, and most recently as the senior mental health clinician with the Vanderbilt Community Mental Health Center. She has MA degrees in clinical psychology and from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Psychotherapy Institute and has specialized training in Level I and II EMDR and in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Meet Becky Russell, LPC/MHSP:
Becky has also worked in the mental health field for over 20 years serving as a Case Manager, Behavior Specialist, Outpatient Therapist, and Behavior Research Clinician/Consultant. She received her M.Ed. in counseling from The University of Mississippi. Becky is a Certified EMDR Therapist (Level I and Level II) with specialized training in behavior modification (CBT model); Cognitive Processing Therapy; Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency Model (ARC); as well as various other training in trauma and dissociation.
Meet Eve Vanzant, M.Ed., N.C.C.
Eve received her Masters degree in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University. She is a National Certified Counselor specializing in the treatment of adolescent and adult survivors of rape and childhood sexual abuse, as well as non-offending parents and partners of survivors. She has specialized training in Cognitive Processing Therapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and serves on the board of the Nashville Psychotherapy Institute.