“Treasures” Founder, Harmony Dust Shares Her Story of Hope and Healing

Filed under REAL Stories Your World on Nov 08 12 by

Just over a year ago, I read Harmony Dust’s personal memoir, Scars and Stilettos, and learned about her organization called Treasures. Since then, I have had the privilege of meeting Harmony in person, and today I’m excited to share an interview with this inspirational women. Read on for Harmony’s story, her faith, and the things she is passionate about.

Harmony DustYOU ARE: You are the founder and Executive Director of an organization called Treasures. What is Treasures?

HARMONY: Treasures is a faith-based outreach and support group for women in the sex industry, including victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and trafficking. As the only organization of its kind based in the adult industry capital of the world (San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County) and one of the few survivor-led organizations in the country, our mission is to reach, restore and equip women in order to help them live healthy, flourishing lives?

YOU ARE: How did your life experiences lead you to start Treasures?

HARMONY: Treasures is the embodiment of my pain turned into purpose. It is evidence that God not only wants to restore our lives, but He desires to work ALL things together for good. That includes our brokenness, our pain, our mistakes, our strengths, our passion—He is capable of taking all of these things and weaving them into a beautiful tapestry of purpose that will not only bring significance to our lives, but will impact the lives of others.

When I began my relationship with God, my life was a mess! I’m talking Jerry Springer Show-status. I was severely broken and suicidal from years of sexual abuse, rape, abandonment, violence, and instability in my childhood. I was working as a stripper and involved in a 7-year-long abusive relationship with a man who was essentially pimping me. That is just a tiny snap shot of what was going on.

Needless to say, God had a lot of healing to do. After several years of pursuing Jesus and allowing Him to do a redeeming work in my life, I realized that it couldn’t just be “about me” anymore. I had to do something to reach out to other women who were feeling as trapped and lost as I once was and let them know about the Hope that I had found.

One day, in 2003, I found myself sitting across the street from the strip club where I used to work and felt like I was outside of a prison that had once held me captive. I knew I had to do something beyond pray. I began writing notes on the backs of postcards I just “happened” to have in my car. The front of the postcard had a picture of a beautiful woman with the words, “Her value is far above rubies and pearls” written on her back. I put the post cards on the cars of the women working in the club and in that moment, the vision of Treasures was birthed.

I had no idea that less than a decade later we would be reaching women in 170 strip clubs a year, running support groups and mentoring programs and training people across the globe to replicate this model of outreach. God blows my mind!

Read more of Harmony’s story at iamatreasure.com

YOU ARE: Besides founding Treasures, you have also published a memoir called Scars and Stilettos. What can you tell our readers about your decision to write it and the struggles you faced?

HARMONY: I have always believed that story is a very powerful tool in reaching and impacting others and from early on in my walk with God, I knew that He wanted to use my story. I knew that it was something that I would not just “overcome” and then keep silent about. When I first started Treasures, I didn’t want to go into the strip clubs and start preaching at the women, but I wanted them to begin to ponder God’s love for them and the purpose He has for their lives. The best way I knew how to do this was to share my own story. Writing a book was just the next step in that process. I figured I would be able to reach more women that way.

When it comes to the sex industry, I am passionate about humanizing the woman on the other end of the dollar. I believe that story is one of the most powerful and effective tools for doing this. If you see the humanity in someone, it becomes difficult to objectify and sexualize them. It also becomes difficult to judge them. And it is my hope that readers will see themselves in my story and will be encouraged that there is no place too far from God’s reach.

More about Harmony

I am most passionate about justice. I am passionate about speaking out for those who are voiceless, breaking the silence on issues of sexual abuse and brokenness, and seeing the disenfranchised and marginalized reached with the message of God’s incredible love and grace. As a mother, I am also passionate about raising my daughter to be a woman who is deeply rooted in God’s love and purpose and lives in a way that brings liberty to others.

I feel beautiful when I am dancing.

The gutsiest thing I’ve ever done I tend to take calculated risks in life. But the first thing that comes to mind is moving the Treasures office right next door to AIM, the HIV testing clinic where people in porn were required to do monthly testing. We figured what better way to practice loving our neighbors as ourselves than to become porn’s neighbor? The fundraising alone required a huge leap of faith, let alone moving into the thick of what was the focus of a lot of controversy at the time. The clinic has since been shut down, but office is still there.

I’d most like to meet Martin Luther King Jr. I love that he lead a justice movement based on the principles of his faith, yet it’s impact crossed religious lines.

If I could tell your readers one last thing it would be God is good and His plan for me is good, through and through. No matter what circumstances may tempt me to question His goodness, I know that His character can be trusted.

 

Scars and Stilettos

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The You Are Project
The You Are Project aims to inject truth into the lies that women believe about themselves. We want to help women discover their identity in Christ, and to instill confidence in them that isn’t swayed by the ever-changing media or by the opinions of others. We want to restore the relationships between women that have been damaged by jealousy, gossip, and competition.
  • Nancy Carvette

    Great article – very inspiring!