Tanya Stafford’s Acceptance Speech- National Mother of Achievement
“Rain and thunderstorms were in the forecast in Dallas on the day of my birth November 27, The rain and storms could be a metaphor for the story I tell. There are many chapters to my life that are beyond description, some of the things I describe in my story are beyond understanding unless you have been through the rain and storms. Being sold at the age of 13 for drugs by my mom to a man that kept me for 10 yrs.
My hope is that you could, empathize with those that have been through the rain and storms of abuse, neglect, rape and human trafficking. While many misfortunes happen around the world, what most people fail to realize is that Human Trafficking is one of the largest epidemic happening right here right now in our country. And not just people in other countries, right here at home. The victims of this misfortune are not just people in foreign countries; they are members of our local churches, schools, organizations, and groups. These are people just like you who have been forced into a world filled with sex, drugs, deceit, and for some, unfortunate death like Shaniya Davis the 5yr old baby girl that was sold by her mom to pay a $200 crack debt. I have the privilege of honoring her every year at our Hope and Pearls Gala with the blessing of her father Brad Lockhart.
You see children are being victimized every day in the most brutal ways. We have a responsibility as the people in their community. Whether near or far, it is our job to keep the families and children in our communities safe and informed. As a victim of Human Trafficking, I vowed to keep every person informed of the dangers that revolve around our communities.
And then, there’s the calm after the storm. Healing is truly a process. And I Truly Trust The Process. There’s this expectation of the victims to return to normalcy after they’ve lived a life that was not their own, but that shouldn’t be the case. The wound of my past still affects me deeply. And though I now walk with my head held high, the chip of my past wounds are still a chip on my shoulder. Some days, it feels like a small paper cut, while on others it feels like my heart is pouring out of my chest. Many may try to rush the healing process, and some say that time heals, but the truth is, the wounds remain. All time does is allow the mind, body, and soul to regain its sanity and cover the pain with scar tissue. The pain might lessen, but it is never gone.
And from every wound, there is a scar and each one of them tell a story. The story screams, “I survived” and I will always be a survivor and a thriver that started her own organization called “It’s Going to Be Ok “.
Today I have a blessed journey of life, 4 beautiful grown children (3 by my perpetrator) who all graduated at the top of their classes and a grandmother of 4 3 boys and one gal whom I love to live ( I don’t look like a grandmother do I? I know I’m cute huh). And God blessed me with a wonderful Fiancée John, whom I like (you can love someone but when you like them it’s a difference) but let me tell you the path to getting to that blessing carried me through many rough and life-threatening places. My fourth coming book is the story of my survival. The descriptions I offer were for the purpose of sharing my resilience and hope, and that those who read and hear my story will have hope for themselves. I write and share my story because many women and girls and boys too are in danger of similar experiences. I want my story to be an encouragement to them, and a call to others to be sensitive to those who are suffering abuse, neglect, rape, and human trafficking.
You see God gave me a Second Chance to grow and take my life experiences of tragedy and adversity and turned it all around so that I could be a small light of inspiration and hope for those who hear my story. My belief is that people from all walks of life and nationalities will be encouraged to get involved to help those in need whether they have been a part of human trafficking, abused and or sexually assaulted. I know why God saved me because it is my destiny to increase human trafficking education and awareness and provide a safe house for those that need help for this very day. The adversities that were meant to destroy you, only make you stronger and with faith and power, you will never fail. My message to all of you today is to take your time with your healing process and get the help that you need.
Whether it be therapy, meditation, or any type of restoration, I encourage you to do so. For my healing, I decided to go to therapy to help with my own growing process. Even when you feel alone, know that somebody else is walking this road of faith with you and with every hardship comes the comfort you’ll be needing. Never feel the need to apologize for how you choose to survive or how you’re dealing with your day to day life. Even when it feels like everything is crashing down on you, know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are a phenomenal woman and that it is going to be okay.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin