Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
For some of us, success is the motivation that gets us out of bed in the morning. For many, fear of failure prevents us from getting a good night’s sleep. Still others dream of having the kind of courage that can change the world like Churchill did. We all seem to have varying levels of familiarity with these 3 topics. For the women of Amirah, success, failure, and courage are terms that elicit strong reactions.
In their recovery, successes are hard won. Changing behaviors and beliefs, gained from years of surviving brutal conditions, seems daunting and never-ending. In recognition of this, we joyously celebrate every little achievement! Each win becomes evidence to support the claim that their recovery will be ongoing, successful, and secure.
Failure is perhaps one of the greatest challenges the women of Amirah face. Many consider themselves failures because when they arrive, they have nothing and feel less than (nothing). Their trauma has left shameful scars that blind them to their inherent power and value. Our job is to reassure them that where there is life, there is hope.
To us, it is obvious; the incredible courage it takes to recover from this type of trauma. These women fight for every basic right; the right to hold their heads up and look others in the eye, to recover, to get an education, to get and hold a job, the right to vote and to be safe in their communities. Every one of these rights require our women to exhibit great courage as they identify as a victim of commercial sexual exploitation to qualify for assistance from the state, therapists, attorneys, and case workers.
Ironically, most survivors will deny being courageous. Because they had to fight for every little thing they got, most feel their choices were born out of desperation. This is a limiting belief all survivors must one day realize. There wereother choices available to them. They could have given up, given in, and given out. But they didn’t. They fought for themselves, sometimes for their children, and always for their freedom.
Once a survivor realizes who she was and is in her recovery, she awakens to her truth. She will accept herself as having choices, as trustworthy, powerful, creative, committed, resilient, strong willed, and focused. She will finally recognize that who she was during those years of surviving the unthinkable is what empowers her to explore, define, and obtain the dreams she was always meant to have. This is what counts for them and for us. This is real courage.