There she was. I almost didn’t notice her. She was cleaning tables in a restaurant. She was working a job to support her children that didn’t pay a lot. She has gone through a traumatic past in her life, and is struggling to survive and turn things around. She asked for my prayers for her and her children.

There she was, working as a waitress in a restaurant. As everybody around us enjoyed their meal, and the company they were with, she was struggling to make it. When I reached out to her with the opportunity to receive a Bible text devotional, she said, “yes”, and gave me her phone number. Months went by, but one day, she sent me a message to say “thanks” for keeping her on the list. This led to a conversation about her past, (only in her early 20’s), but she told me the story of being placed in foster care because of family issues.

I was told her story by a friend of hers. While working at a Christian summer camp she was raped. She is now a student in a major University…and sent me this message, “I’m trying to figure some things out in life right now…feeling overwhelmed and lost and disconnected, but hoping (and trying) to change that.”

I was in a store one day, and there she was. A young woman struggling in life. She was struggling to pay her cell phone bill. I stood there waiting my turn. We got to talking, and I heard part of her story that day. Since then I have heard more of it. She is a victim of domestic violence.

There they were. I was shopping one evening. I got to talking with a woman who was cleaning trash from the floor, and emptying a trash can. She began to share her story of domestic violence. This led to meeting another woman working in the same store with a similar story to tell.

There she was, a young girl of 16. When she found out that I was actively seeking to help women who have been sexually traumatized, she told me her story. She was 10 years old when she was raped by her uncle. In six years, I was the first one she had been able to open up to and tell the story.

There she was. I was camping with a group in the Grand Canyon. We got to talking with a couple in a campsite near us. She told us some of her story, and later shared with me more details of drugs and sexual assault. One of her comments was, she had seen many counselors, but none had really helped her. It was the compassion I was showing that meant more to her.

There they were, 4 young girls aged 7 to 12 in a safe house, protected from family members. All were suffering from sexual abuse, one so severely that anytime she was in the presence of a male she would pull her hood over her head and turn and face the wall.

What do these have in common? For one, they are almost unnoticeable in society. They are forgotten, and overlooked. Second, they are a small segment of millions of others that are suffering through sexual traumas.

Yes, for years I didn’t know this was going on, but the Lord has opened my eyes to many situations today. Even though I am seeing only a small segment of these tragedies and suffering by women, my heart has been opened to reach out and do everything I can to help.

I believe there are three ways we can help.

1) We have to do all we can to stop the trafficking that is going on in our country, and throughout the world.

2) We need to help those that have been traumatized to recover.

3) We have to build awareness of what is going on.

I am told the first thing that disappears in these situations is hope. Hopelessness turns to drugs and alcohol. This leads to suicide.

Let’s unite together and stand up for those who are needing help. I’m reminded of a verse in Proverbs 31:8 – “But you must defend those who are helpless and have no hope.” These victims are voiceless, and have no one to speak for them.

Let’s press forward, and as the military motto states, “Leave no one behind”.