‘I knew deep within me, I just had to survive.’: Woman born into sex trafficking shares journey to freedom, becomes advocate

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Disclaimer: This story contains details of sexual abuse and trauma which may be upsetting to some.

Growing Up

“The truth. The less mentioned fact about truth is that it is polarizing. It either brings together or pulls apart. In my case it pulled my whole world apart. I believe where neglect and abandonment thrive, abuse will always find a home. 

It certainly did in mine. I was born into a family where the man was the head of the house, and women and children were viewed as lesser beings. My parents were middle class New Zealanders with Irish and Scottish heritage. They met through the Catholic church, and as people did, got married very young.

I was the youngest daughter of parents who really didn’t want me. At all. Ever.

childhood sexual abuse survivor as a child
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

I was in the way and largely ignored by my mother, and repeatedly abused by my father. Looking back, I had no idea of what was happening to me, but I do now. I was born into child sex trafficking, and for the first 16 years of my life, that was my role in my father’s life.

Although the sexual abuse began in infancy, I was 4 ½ when he first raped me. My father took me to a place up in the bush near our home, supposedly to show me something special. He found an enclosed and private area, well off the main track, and there began my journey into hell. I went into shock and immediately dissociated, leaving my body, and finding a beautiful white unicorn who took me across the world showing me magical lands and beautiful sights. It was with a jolt when I landed back to earth and realized the horror of what had happened.

This soul of mine was under attack, and I knew deep within me, I just had to survive.

childhood sexual abuse survivor as a young girl
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

Immediately afterwards, he shook me and admonished me to never tell anyone, otherwise he would kill my mother. He then seemed to switch personalities, stopping at a dairy and buying me an ice-cream, which I was told to finish before we got home.

From that point on, I was attacked and abused daily. He began leasing me out to his friends and extended family, and before too long I was taken to his mother’s house, where she and his sister negotiated the rate they would charge to ‘train’ me in the art of seduction. Apparently, the more appealing and ‘sexy’ I was, the more money the men would pay to abuse me.

I began to feel very frightened, as I could see my grandmother’s face light up with glee at the thought of the money she could earn. Sadly, even though I desperately searched her face for softness or empathy, none was to be found.

I was trapped.

From the age of 6, I was trafficked out of my grandmother’s house.

sexual abuse survivor with her grandmother
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

My story includes, 

  • Several forced abortions at my grandmother’s hands
  • Over 100 pornographic movies being made
  • Several suicide attempts as a child
  • Being abandoned by my mother at age 11
  • Bestiality
  • Abuse from my brother and his friends
  • Trafficked out of a nightclub in our red-light district in Auckland
  • Leased to the freemasons every month
  • Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) 

Years Of Healing

My mental health was deeply and severely impacted, and I was dissociated for most of the first 16 years of my life, which was the age I no longer had to see my father. I struggled with being real, normal, and like others my age. Having a sense of self was unlikely and unavailable. I just went from instance to instance with no real understanding of what I was doing. I just knew I had to survive.

Of all the mental health issues I experienced, the most significant one was the highly developed false self I had created. I was acting my life, not living it. To survive my abuse, I had put on the fake smile, been pleasant to everyone, and pretended everything was fine. 

childhood sexual abuse survivor as a teen
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

Without understating it, my life had been at risk. My father was the definition of a cruel and twisted psychopath, which meant there were no limits he wouldn’t go to. Having a false self ensured I got through whatever came next. The problem was I didn’t know who I was, and the impact once those 16 years of trauma were over, meant I just kept churning out false behavior to anyone and everyone.

It was to take me decades of healing through therapy before I discovered who I was. That had been taken from me at age 4 ½. The impact of this meant I attracted people and situations to me that reflected what I was comfortable with; it also meant my relationships were dysfunctional and abusive. After all, how could I have loving and supportive men in my life when I was templated with, ‘Abuse me, use me, hurt me, minimize me?’

childhood sexual abuse survivor on a walk in scenic location
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

It all makes perfect sense now, as does my struggle with intimate relationships. I had been trained and conditioned from age 4, to ensure men were thrilled with my performance, so to feel relaxed enough to immerse myself into loving, meaningful sex, was not possible.

I first confided in friends about my abuse in my early 30’s. It was hard to do, as there was so much to share. Luckily for me, I had fabulous friends in my life, who supported me, believed me, and are still in my life today. That, alongside therapy, helped me recover from the trauma. I spent many years in therapy, unpacking all the horror, and the interesting thing is, it wasn’t the sexual or physical abuse that nearly broke me; it was the psychological abuse as being abandoned to a cruel psychopath meant I was at his mercy 24/7.

childhood sexual abuse survivor gathers with friends
Courtesy of Gloria Masters
childhood sexual abuse survivor at a party with friend
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

Helping Others

I am so grateful to be helping and advocating for other survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA). I love this work; I feel it is my purpose. Simply put, I believe I am here to help others by shining light on this darkness, through love and humility. I am so passionate about this due to my own lived experiences. What lights me up is the people who feel supported and less alone through watching me being interviewed or interviewing a survivor.

childhood sexual abuse survivor on mountain hiking
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

This is such a silent endemic and voices need to be heard, and attention given. There are up to 1 in 3 throughout the world who have been impacted by some form of CSA, and I want us to normalize conversations about this, so survivors feel less alone and vilified. What good people tend to do is turn away, because it is uncomfortable to talk about, without realizing they are giving a free pass to the pedophiles to keep going. The silence is deafening, and we need to raise our voices to help our beautiful and brave survivors out there.

I am 100% committed to all my truth being revealed. Why? Because the shame never belonged to me, and that is why I talk freely and openly about what was done to me. My channel, Handing the Shame Back, is 100% dedicated to CSA survivors; where interviews, tips, and blogs are held. These are beautiful people who have been shut down due to the shame of CSA. I have called it Handing the Shame Back, because that is what happens when survivors speak out: It doesn’t need to be on a social media platform, speaking to a close friend or writing in a diary is very powerful. 

childhood sexual abuse survivor drinking wine with friends
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

If you would like to know more about my story, please go to GloriaMasters.com where you can find my book, ‘ON Angels Wings – My flight from trauma to grace’ which details my 16 years of abuse and torture. 

Also, my second book, ‘Flightpath to Healing – A Guide for Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Survivors’ is available and written as a step-by-step process to lead the survivor, gently, from where they are to where they wish to be. 

childhood sexual abuse survivor and author does book signing
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

Finally, my journey as the light bearer, truth teller, and supporter for those that cannot yet speak is my absolute honor and privilege. Finally, to all you fabulous CSA survivors. 

I see you.

I stand beside you.

I believe you.”

childhood sexual abuse survivor stands on a boat
Courtesy of Gloria Masters

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Gloria Masters of Auckland, NZ. You can follow her journey on her website, podcast, and YouTube. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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