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3 Critical Ideas Survivors Learn In Real Talk

 

Dear Jamie*,

The last few years of your life were rough. You’ve lived on the streets, running out of friends and family to rely on. Now you’re living in a residential facility and are currently in several programs, each promising support and help. Yet your voice feels lost in the chaos that consumes your life. This is why we created Real Talk. Real Talk is your time. Your conversation. So what can you expect at Real Talk?

1. You’ll Learn How to Use Your Voice

Only you know your story, your struggles and pain. It’s frustrating when every case worker, residential manager, and those living the square life say they know a solution for how to heal your life. When is the last time you felt heard and understood? Have you ever had the chance to tell your story? Time has shown you that most of us cannot comprehend what your mind needs to shut out daily.  

In Real Talk, we listen to you.You tell your story on your terms. Never worry, we can handle it. We’ve heard parts of your story: how you thought he loved you, but he exploited you. Your life felt destroyed, and you sometimes blame yourself. We can talk through your experiences, so you can understand those parts of your story were not your fault.

Real Talk is a place where you can practice speaking up for your needs. This support group is 10 weeks, and during that time you can build the relationships and skills to retake control of your future. You’ll learn how to listen to your intuition and recognize your needs. Understanding and advocating for your needs is a critical skill in rebuilding your life.   

2. You’ll Create a Life Plan

Your trafficker is still out there. The square life doesn’t seem possible, or even desirable, if we are keeping things “real”. Creating a life plan in Real Talk is about empowering you to be ready for the challenges that come with your daily life experiences.  

We’ll walk you through how to embrace your body’s responses to trauma. You know those times where you feel anger over really simple things? That’s one example of how your body is protecting itself. In your life plan, we can teach you how to recognize when your brain’s fight, flight, or freeze mode is activated, and techniques to work through it. Your life plan is meant to help you regain control of your body and mind in any environment. 

We understand that sometimes our plans don’t work. So in Real Talk, your life plan includes backup plans and even a relapse strategy. Staying away from your trafficker requires healing, practice, and multiple resources. The reality is that you may find yourself back in a dangerous situation. Real Talk allows you to talk about how to get out if you ever find yourself in an exploited again. You regain power over your future 

3. You’re Connected to a Community

Perhaps the most overwhelming truth that survivors learn through Real Talk is that a host of people care. Taylor, Au’Vonnie, Quin’Tara, and the rest of our team return week after week to help you advocate for yourself and to create a life plan. But we aren’t the only ones who are cheering you on. Professionals, community members, and volunteers all actively fight to bring freedom to Houston. 

Our coalition of over 55 different agencies all work together to advocate for your rights and support your journey towards freedom. In Real Talk, you are connected to the people and resources you need to live free. No longer are you fighting alone. Real Talk gives you an entire system of support.  

So, after Real Talk, what can your life look like? It’s up to you

*Jamie is a fictional character written to highlight the Real Talk program and reflects one type of many survivor stories.

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