Five14 Revolution brings hope for women
Women who are sexually exploited, either through sex trafficking or prostitution, are often looked down upon, shunned, or, at best, viewed with pity. REBECCA ANDERSON and AMANDA GARRETT, leaders of the nonprofit Five14 Revolution, take another tack.
With compassion and humanity, they help women who are sexually victimized regain their lives.
“All sexual exploitation of women is an exploitation of a woman’s vulnerability,” says Anderson. “We meet women in their place of vulnerability and bring hope.”
Anderson and Garrett’s work with Five14 is a calling. Each woman decided to undertake their role after prayer and reflection. And, each woman had something special to offer those she hoped to help. Both Anderson and Garrett had overcome difficult life circumstances, and they knew how hard it is to do so.
Anderson and Garrett make it as easy as possible for women caught in sexual exploitation to reach out. In addition to a 24/7 hotline, the women can drop into the Five14 office, which is located in the middle of Wilmington’s red-light district. There, they can pick up free baby items, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Or they can come in, hang out and chat with someone who is accepting and nonjudgmental.
In other cases, law enforcement, mental health facilities, and even hotel managers refer women to Five14.
Anderson and Garrett develop a comprehensive, individualized recovery plan for the women who are accepted into Five14’s program. The first order of business is meeting the women’s basic needs, whether that be food, medical care, regular or safe housing, and, if necessary, detox support.
The next step is helping the women rebuild their lives, which includes healing from their trauma as well as gaining life skills.
“We want to make sure the women are plugged into the counseling and therapy services they need to begin their healing journey,” says Anderson. “Most have histories of homelessness, sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, and/or poverty.”
Five14 also works with community organizations to provide an array of additional services, including life-skills classes; housing; employment; and legal, medical, and financial assistance.
As the women progress in their recovery, Five14 offers another equally important service: moral support and encouragement, says Anderson.
Five14 pays for all the services the women require, and there is no time limit imposed on them. Also, the door is always open to women who fall back into their former lifestyle.
This April, Five14 is adding an important new service for women. Instead of relying on community resources for beds, it is leasing a house for the women in recovery. In the future, Anderson and Garrett hope Five14 can build its own haven for the women in Five14’s program.
Powered by their faith and personal missions, Anderson and Garrett go beyond the norm in recovery programs. Through peer support groups and their own friendship and guidance, they provide the healthy relationships sexually exploited women require to believe in themselves and move forward.
“They need a team of women who have walked the road to say, ‘You can do this. The past doesn’t define you,’” says Garrett. “They need women sisters to pray over them, to build them up so they can keep going. To do this alone is hard and is often not successful.”
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
Want more WILMA? Click here to sign up for our WILMA newsletters and announcements.