“Our clients need someone to relate to before their healing can begin.”
All who provide coaching can say “I’ve been there.”
Healing Action Network may be a new addition to the St. Louis social service landscape, but its rapid growth, in terms of facilities, partnerships and clients, shows it is providing a service that sadly is in high demand.
Healing Action serves women who are entangled in the system of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). Laws protect CSE victims under the age of 18, but those older have no such protection. They can face a long and almost impossible struggle to exit that life of violence and exploitation. Katie Rhoades, founder and executive director of Healing Action said the agency is based on the understanding that survivors of CSE are the ideal people to lead the creative array of services the agency provides. All services are rooted in evidence-based-trauma-informed care and are primarily lead by CSE survivors.
With funding help from the Incarnate Word Foundation and others, Healing Action is able to expand the services that are being more sought after as its reputation evolves. Development Director Jason Seward said once a new client visits with a peer counselor, and understands the counselor faced the same trauma and experience she has, there is no longer the fear that she won’t be understood. Clients can drop in the warm, homey office for socialization, trainings and counseling all targeted to start the transition from a life of despair to a life of hope.