I am so excited to be able to write in Lola Magazine and have the opportunity to advocate for the women I work with and to shine a light on their amazing courage in order to bring awareness to our community.
It is an honor and privilege, as a man, to be able to see the strength and willpower of so many amazing women. I feel like God has shaped and molded me to be prepared to do his good work. As the oldest grandchild and the only grandson, I have been surrounded by women my entire life. During meals and holidays, I always found myself drawn to helping the women in my life with the tasks they so graciously took on, while the men went for a smoke or to shoot the breeze. This was not because the men were heartless or did not love their wives, but because of male privilege and cultural expectations.
As a boy, I always noticed the amount of housework and details my mom had to do while my dad was working. My mom worked too, by the way, but that didn’t seem to change the weight placed on her to cook, clean, and get the kids together. On my father’s side, girls were the majority as well. I was dressed in dresses and even wore makeup and lipstick a few times. I was used to being around women and comfortable with my emotions in ways that most of my male counterparts seemed to have not learned. Other than typical sibling rivalry, I always felt responsible for my sister and her emotions as we grew. I felt the need to protect her from others and affirm her goodness throughout her childhood and some into her adulthood. In my family, I was always drawn to the women because of the multitude of women and my desire to connect and get my emotional needs met that were not so readily available from the men in my life. My parents divorced when I was around eight years old, and I became even closer to my mother and the women in my family in unique ways. I learned to read people and find out how to take care of their emotions to gain affirmation and attention.
Merge my experiences with the lessons taught by Jesus about serving and loving others, and it was a recipe for becoming a counselor in so many different ways, good and bad. I went through some rough periods in my personal relationships and fell into many traps. With the help of Jesus and some healthy men in my life, I was able to grow and work toward a new direction for my life as a young man and future husband and father. As I have grown and developed, I have been drawn to advocate for those who are on the fringes and the ones who are underserved and powerless. I have also learned that education for our communities is vital to helping us heal and restore what has been broken.
Purchased: Not for Sale is one of the ways I have been able to put these God-given passions and experiences to use. This is an organization under the umbrella of The Hub: Urban Ministries that helps women out of a life of human trafficking. As the Director of Recovery, I have the joy of forming relationships with women from all over the country who have come to us in desperate need of the Gospel and specific psychological needs that are not usually paired together. We are a small team which includes some amazing individuals doing difficult work: Cassie Hammett (Founder), LeAnn Bussey (Director), Shakeria Dominque (Survivor Advocate) and Cailtin Wankowski (Juvenile Services Coordinator).
Human trafficking is more pervasive than we would like to admit. It runs through our cities and through our families like a silent assassin, stealing and killing the joy out of our men, women, and children. It is ruthless and conniving. It knows the tricks of the trade, and it uses them on those who have been cast aside and groomed for victimhood. We have seen hundreds of women at Purchased and 9 out of 10 claim that they were sexually abused in childhood by a caregiver or a caregiver’s friend. This means that these women did not choose this life but that their choices were ripped away from them early on by someone who was supposed to be safe. This is what we describe as trauma or traumatic. Trauma affects the brain, nervous system, and a person’s perspective and understanding of God. It fractures their view of self and teaches automatic responses to unusual experiences that get carried into every interaction moving forward, whether they are with safe or unsafe people.
These women lose their identity and sense of self. When someone approaches them offering them the illusion of connection and intimacy, they are too traumatized and desperate to see their demise. Before they realize it, they are trapped with limited or no resources and no way out. Leaving is not a choice without significant consequences to their bodies one way or the other. This cycle continues until they are addicted to drugs, discarded, or in our case, rescued.
Rescue is a word that we Christians know very well. Jesus is our rescuer. He comes into dark, broken situations when his people are helpless against the powers of evil. He breaks chains, unbinds hearts, restores sight to the blind, and heals wounds. In some cases, he even resurrects things that are dead. A great example of this is how he ministers to a woman at the well. The great thing about Jesus is that he meets people right where they are. When you read the parable of the woman at the well, it communicates that he isn’t ashamed of her or embarrassed of her. At The Hub we are in the business of rescuing and meeting people where they are, regardless if that is at a strip club, on the streets prostituting, or in prison. We do this from the stance that we are not the answer, but the Holy Spirit is. We are broken people who have been rescued from our own places of pain and sin. We are continuing to walk the road of recovery and healing, and it is our duty to offer that to others. We are passionate about seeing these ladies restored to the life that God intended them to receive.
Our adult program is made up of 4 phases over 18-24 months. The women receive individual and group counseling every day. They take trauma informed classes like yoga, addiction recovery, seeking safety and a lot more. These classes are paired with Gospel centered classes about boundaries, healthy sexuality, and relationships. They learn to live and love together in ways that they haven’t experienced in years, if ever. We also have a new program, Rejuvenate, that is for girls from 12-17 years old who are at risk or currently victims of human trafficking. We believe that by walking alongside them and doing life together that they will slowly start to believe that they have worth, value, and a future. We want them to base their worth on the truth of Christ and what he has done for us all, not the things they have done or the things they do. We have been able to do this successfully because of the support of advocates in our community from Gingerbread House, Caddo Juvenile Court, to other agencies like The Center for Children and Families. However, the need is far greater than the workers.
Since doing this work was so important to me, I started Clint Davis Counseling, my private practice counseling agency. I did this in order to grow a practice so that we could treat these women in the capacity that they deserved. I believe it is crucial that they are treated as survivors, not victims. I also wanted a center where they could be treated with the newest and most effective forms of therapy currently available. We have 7 clinicians on staff who teach classes and do individual therapy on a weekly basis, all at no charge to Purchased. We have built our practice so that we reach a diverse array of needs. We currently offer the following services: play therapy, marriage therapy, sexual addiction, eating disorders, anger management, grief/loss, business coaching, biblical counseling/temperament testing and much more.
As we have pushed and advocated for victims, our community has begun to see that we are all victims of something. We are all in need of counseling due to our brokenness and histories. We all are broken and in need of rescue. Our hope at CDC is to educate, serve, and walk along our community as we help everyone from every socioeconomic status. Our focus is getting to the root of the issue so that we see lasting external change from internal growth. We want to partner with different community groups, businesses, and churches to form a community of professionals who serve in a professional, personal, and healthy capacity. This in our eyes is being the church that God calls us to be. We envision a community where we can share our resources and partner together to make a better Shreveport/Bossier.
The things that I have been able to see as a counselor in my practice and as the Director of Recovery for The Hub have been nothing short of miraculous. I get the chance to see God work in individuals, families, and couples lives in a way that blows me away. The world is filled with so much pain and heartache and yet God, with a little bit of good, can turn it all around. I see people who have been abused and neglected for years become sober and less destructive in as little as two years in our program. They come in beat up, untrusting, angry, and they leave clean, sober, and most importantly they believe they are worthy of so much more. They believe that we love them and that the God of the universe knows them personally and is going with them and before them into their future. The work we get to do is humbling, overwhelming, and chaotic at times, but we get to see God transform lives, change hearts, and restore relationships.
If you are out there and are struggling with behaviors, feelings, or beliefs that have held you back your entire life, know that you are not alone. You are not unseen or unheard. You have a father and a community of believers willing to walk alongside you and fight by your side until you believe you are beautifully and wonderfully made. If you are suffering in your marriage or struggling in parenthood, you don’t have to battle this alone. There is hope and healing right around the corner. If you believe that your experience is too bad or not bad enough, don’t allow this faulty thinking to keep you from the life God wants to so richly lavish on you. You were made for so much more than this and God is in the miracle business.