A Place to Belong
Belong (verb ) be·long \bi-ˈlȯŋ, bē-\
: to be accepted and liked by the other people in a group
:to be attached or bound by birth, allegiance, or dependency
“Jenna” and I were discussing her experience of being trafficked at the hands of her own family before she was even five years old. Now, in her 40’s, she was still trying to get free from the old life, but the struggle to enter the new was equally difficult. Still being contacted by her former family and pimps, “Jenna” feared for her safety because they would occasionally show up at her current home as they tried to reengage her with her former life. She knew that she was facing a dividing line as we talked about trying to find her a safe place to live where she couldn’t be located. Although dysfunctional and unsafe, it was the only family she had ever known.
Her eyes downcast, tears pouring down her flushed cheeks, she said to me in a heart-broken voice, “I’m all alone. I know that your family isn’t perfect and it’s hard… but at least you have a family. I don’t have anyone that I can trust. I only want what everyone else does… I just want to belong.” My words stopped as I took that phrase in… “ I just want to belong.” Belong… isn’t that the cry of the human heart? Isn’t that what we all want… to simply be part of something, someone? North Star exists for those like “Jenna” who have been cast off by a society that labels them prostitutes, neglected and exploited by their pimps and families and believe that they are not worthy of love. We not only exist, but are seeking to open a home, The Harbor. The Harbor will one day be a refuge… a place for the “Jennas”. A place to belong.
-Founder and President, Jen Sensenig; 2016