I am drawn to the survivor. How the survivor heals and rebuilds their life can be a never ending-battle. Every survivor’s story has its trials and tribulations, as well as a glimpse of hope.
I met Sherry Dooley in the spring of 2010 when I decided to do a journalism project on human trafficking in Portland, OR. This was around the time when I truly discovered the power of networking. I met Sherry through another survivor and since then, Sherry has introduced me to many other valuable sources.
When I first met Sherry, she shared her story of survival with me.
“I was raped I don’t how many times, I can’t count, I can’t count,” Dooley said as she raised all 10 fingers up in frustration.
When I decided to tackle the issue of human trafficking again in the fall of 2011, I immediately thought of Sherry and the passionate interview I shared with her in 2010. This has motivated me to find another survivor who is willing to speak about the issue of housing in the Portland area.
Speaking with a trafficking survivor can be a complicated endeavor however, especially since many are apprehensive about journalists exploiting them. When I decided I wanted to create a multimedia piece about a survivor, I evaluated my possibilities.
- I am a member of Slavery Still Exists, a campus group at the University of Oregon that focuses on the issue of trafficking locally.
- I have established friendships with survivors Sherry Dooley and Jeri Williams.
- I have interviewed Joslyn Baker and Lila Lee, advocates for the issue in the Portland area.
All of these possibilities seemed promising; the key however, was first establishing trusting relationships with these contacts. When dealing with this issue, I have found that trust is key! It is impossible to get anywhere unless you have proved that you can be considerate, accommodating and trust worthy.
Through Joslyn Baker, I met trafficking survivor, Rachel Hestmark. I am currently working with her to address her story of survival and the issue of housing for survivors in the Portland area through a multimedia piece.