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Elizabeth Frazier

By July 1, 2020July 13th, 2020No Comments
Episode 23

Elizabeth Frazier

Sex Trafficking Survivor, Activist, & Entrepreneur

Elizabeth grew up in a wealthy neighborhood with a seemingly normal and loving family. But unbeknownst to her friends, teachers, and even eventually her husband, Elizabeth was a victim of familial trafficking from age 4 to 23, when she was able to escape and focus on her own family.
Now, Elizabeth is the founder of Hero Bands, a company that creates handmade leather wristbands with motivational words on them to encourage the wearer.
You can find Elizabeth and her work with Hero Bands at herobands.com or on Instagram at @hero_bands.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Garrett: What’s up people?! I’m Garrett Jonsson and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming, a podcast by Fight the New Drug. Before we jump into this conversation, we want to let you know that during this conversation we talk about child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, self harm, suicide ideation, and we also briefly discuss some genres of pornography that may be triggering to some. Listener discretion is advised.
If you’re new to the movement, we want to introduce you to our #StopTheDemand campaign. The goal of #StopTheDemand is to raise awareness to how pornography fuels the demand for Sex Trafficking, Sexualized Racism, Sexual Violence, Sexual Abuse, Child Sexual Abuse Imagery, Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and Image-Based Sexual Abuse, to name a few. By raising awareness to what porn consumption fuels, we hope to decrease the demand for sexual exploitation. To learn more about this campaign, or to get involved, visit ftnd.org/stop.
Today’s conversation is with Elizabeth Frazier, which is a great one to publish during our stop the demand campaign because she was a victim of sex trafficking, she transitioned out of the life of sex trafficking, and now she fights sex trafficking. Her experience is one example demonstrating that porn fuels sex trafficking, and sex trafficking fuels porn.
With all that being said, we hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.
Well, we want to welcome to the podcast today. Elizabeth Frazier and Elizabeth, we at Fight the New Drug and Consider Before Consuming. We feel fortunate to, to have you here.
Elizabeth: Thank you. It’s an honor to be here and be able to use platforms like yours to share my story so that people have hope and they can get through hard things. And it’s not easy. I don’t want anybody to think getting through hard things is easy, cause it’s not, it’s painful and hard, but you can overcome and have a happy life.
Garrett: Um, can we dive into your story a little bit?
Elizabeth: Yeah. Um, so I was trafficked my earliest memory. I was four and I was trafficked by my family, my parents in particular.
Garrett: Were they blood your blood parents?
Elizabeth: Yeah, they were my blood parents and I’ve actually since been legally adopted by another family. When I was adult, I was pregnant with my second son, but to protect my children, if anything ever happened to my husband and myself, this incredible family adopted me legally. So now I don’t have ties to them. Yeah. They have no rights over me or my children. So I have since been adopted, that was only, you know, coming up on 11 years ago. But growing up til from four til 22, 23, I was used and trafficked by my parents.
Garrett: Did you say from four until 23 years old?
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: So you were in the life of sex trafficking for nearly 20 years.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: Your earliest memory was when you were four years old. That is very young. I’m trying to think back to when I was four years old. And some of those faint memories that I have, um, the memory that you have at four, is it pretty vivid?
Elizabeth: Yeah. I didn’t know. It was abuse. I didn’t know I was being trafficked at that time. I was just told I was special and I would meet with some of my daddy’s friends from work or different things like that. So I was groomed I’m sure. I just didn’t realize that’s what was going on.
Garrett: Do you remember pornography being used as a grooming tool for you?
Elizabeth: Um, yeah. And I was used to create a lot of pornography as a kid, even so I don’t remember how young that started. Cause I don’t even, I didn’t even comprehend what pornography at that point. I just knew my experiences with it. So, and back then, there weren’t a lot of there wasn’t internet and there wasn’t, you know, it was old school.
Garrett: To give us a little bit of context. What year? At four years old. What year was that?
Elizabeth: I was born in 84. So it was 88?
Garrett: Yeah. So before the internet.
Elizabeth: Yeah, the end of 88? Yeah. Yeah.
Garrett: Okay.
And so you, you, there was pornography made of you and then you also mentioned briefly that yes. You did remember being groomed with pornography?
Elizabeth: Well… I don’t really understand your question.
Garrett: so what do you, what’s your, the reason why, the reason why I say, or when I say groomed by pornography. So one of the things that happens in sex trafficking is that the trafficker will show the person being trafficked pornography as like a manual, as like a training manual.
Elizabeth: Oh. Yes, yes, yes. Okay. Got it. Yeah. My parents taught me, um, what specific pimps wanted and I’m sure that is probably how it went about or then because they didn’t have a different way to go about it. But so my parents would teach me what to do for specific person before I would go in. So yeah. And my dad looked at a lot of pornography growing up and I had a brother that looked at a lot of pornography growing up and got into a lot of trouble because of that.
Garrett: So one of the questions that I have is like, why would your parents do this? And you’ve mentioned that your father was looking at porn. Did you guys live in poverty? Like, will you need money?
Elizabeth: No, not at all the opposite. We lived in a very high end neighborhood and wealthy area. And I, I honestly am not…. that’s one of the unanswered questions I’ll ever have. I have my assumptions to why they did it. It was for money. It was for control. It was for power. It was for status in some messed up world that they second life that they lived. But I don’t know if I’ll ever really know why, because I’ve wondered. I could never imagine doing that to one of my children. Ever. I don’t understand it.
Garrett: No.
Elizabeth: I don’t comprehend it. So to me, it’s not something that makes sense because we had plenty of money and maybe it was because of all the money I was bringing in. I don’t know exactly, but I just remember handing my mom an envelope when I was finished and she closed it in her magazine and we’d drive home. And that was a normal day for me growing up.
Garrett: Cause they say that a few things that can like drive sex trafficking is… it’s like the three P’s of sex trafficking are poverty, power and porn.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I know for my brother, as far as his struggle with pornography was that it started as innocently as it can with pornography. And once his body got used to that, it wasn’t enough. So it escalated. And then once his body got used to that, it wasn’t enough and it escalated and it escalated and tell, he felt like he didn’t have control and it went to hiring prostitutes and it went to all these levels that you think it never will, but it did for him because it started with something innocent that he continued and needed to increase and increase to get the same high as when he first started. And I’m, I think about the pornography that I participated in, even as a, as a teen and a young adult, and those are probably still out there somewhere. And I feel sick thinking that somebody is looking at those now. Physically sick that that is out there of me. I am married to the most wonderful man. I have children. And who knows, you know, it’s really upsetting to me to know that those are out there and people are looking at those.
Garrett: Of course. That’s devastating.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: And that’s part of your recovery and healing processes, try to press forward despite some of these things…
Elizabeth: Knowing that that’s out there. Yeah.
Garrett: So, when you mentioned that you would come back after a day, you would come back after being with a client and you would hand over the envelope to your mom.
Elizabeth: Usually my mom. Yeah.
Garrett: That’s just another interesting dynamic to me, the fact that she was also involved.
Elizabeth: Yeah.d Yeah. My mom did a lot of the behind the scenes work and I was told I was special and no one would understand. “So we can’t tell anybody cause they’re not special, like you are.” And as a kid, I believed it because they were my parents. That’s what they’re supposed to tell me the truth. So I don’t know how she got twisted into it either, but she just looks blank in the eyes and blink in the face a lot. So I don’t know how much she.
Garrett: When you say she looks blink in the eyes and in the face, you mean today?
Elizabeth: I haven’t seen her for years. I confronted, I wrote them a letter and told them exactly what happened. And I knew it and I would call the police if I saw them. And that was about 11 years ago and I have come, I confronted them face to face with my husband about six years ago, but I hadn’t seen them before that. And I haven’t seen them since then either.
Garrett: So you were in the life of sex trafficking from basically… Almost like 2010, 2009 is when you got out?
Elizabeth: Let’s see. My son was wearing a eight. So 2008.
Garrett: 2008.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: How did you finally come to realize that this was not normal?
Elizabeth: Um, I started learning about abuse in school. And at first in my head I was thinking, “Well, that’s not abuse, that’s normal.” I didn’t say any of this out loud because I was processing everything. But once I kind of started figuring things out, I was probably not telling, and this is really sad to admit, but I was about a junior in high school, honestly.
Garrett: I think any of us in your circumstance, I mean, you’re, you’re just in, it’s so easy to say hindsight’s 20/20. So he used to say “That’s silly that I didn’t know before.” But the reality is, is that there’s, it’s very probable that the majority of us, the large majority of us would probably be in the same circumstance around that age.
Elizabeth: You know, I did the best I could.
Garrett: Exactly.
Elizabeth: I really did. And I know that and I know, you know, I didn’t feel safe to cut off that relationship until we moved far away out of state. So I had a junior in high school. This was still occurring. It occurred after I was married. Yeah.
Garrett: After you were married?
Elizabeth: Yeah. I had specific clients that would request me and got paid a lot and I was threatened with my husband’s life at this point and my son.
Garrett: With your current husband?
Elizabeth: Yeah. And then I don’t know if the threats would have come through, but it wasn’t worth it to me to find out. So I would leave at night late and my husband would ask where I was going and I just say, “I don’t sleep well. I’m not, I’m just gonna go for a drive and see if I can, you know, wear myself out or something.” just to get him.
Garrett: Oh, so he wasn’t aware?
Elizabeth: Yeah. He didn’t know. No, he had no idea, but I was acting out in ways of self harm. I was cutting my arms and smashing my face with canned goods or whatever I could. Cause I just didn’t know how to cope with what was going on. So… and I go through spells where it didn’t happen and I could manage.
Garrett: Was it when you started to realize that…
Elizabeth: Yep. That my, I think it was the summer before my senior year.
Garrett: That’s when you started to realize that this wasn’t normal, this life that you were living, shouldn’t be happening.
Elizabeth: That it was damaging me. Like my soul felt damaged and unrepairable.
Garrett: And that’s when you started to self harm?
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: After that realization?
Elizabeth: Yup.
Garrett: I think a lot of people don’t understand self-harm.
Elizabeth: No, definitely.
Garrett: Can you talk to that a little bit? What was your, I know it’s probably challenging to get back to that mindset.
Elizabeth: No, it’s not because I still think about it.
Garrett: Oh, okay.
Elizabeth: Because I don’t, I haven’t done it for a long time, but I it’s something that helped. It was some kind of a release, the adrenaline or something that my heart rate would finally settle down. So if I got triggered really bad or I have horrible nightmares had had horrible nightmares that I hated myself. I hated everything about myself and I couldn’t feel any compassion for myself. And so I wanted to hurt myself for the things that I had done, even though telling somebody else that was going through, it would be easy for me to say “It was not your fault.” You know? And I know that in my head, but still, it took me a long time to really accept that. And I have accepted that now. But self harm is just,
Garrett: It’s a coping mechanism.
Elizabeth: It’s a coping mechanism and really not. And people just jump into, Oh, you must be mentally ill because you do that. And that’s so not the case. It’s just, when you don’t know how to handle your emotions, it does push some kind of an adrenaline through your body. Possibly the same way that kind of pornography does in a, in a different set with chemicals.
Garrett: It’s just a release of some sort.
Elizabeth: Right. Right.
Garrett: You’re just turning to that for an unhealthy release.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: Are you the only child in your family that was being trafficked?
Elizabeth: Um, so my family is really split down the middle about what has happened and what has not happened. So there’s nine kids in my family and scattered, it’s not a youngest thing. It’s not an oldest thing. It’s very scattered throughout the ages of who has cut off half the family and who has not. We’re very split down the middle. And a lot of them have their own stories of what went on that was along the exact same lines of mine. Um, so it’s not just me of all these kids that say this happened. There’s four of us that say, this is, this happened.
Garrett: One question that comes to mind is why aren’t your parents paying the consequences?
Elizabeth: It’s really hard to prove. And I feel like the justice system is flawed and it’s really, really hard to get a conviction. And I still pray every night that they will be convicted and they will get off the streets, but that hasn’t happened. And I have done my best to warn people and let them know exactly what’s going on so they can protect themselves and their kids. But at this point, there’s nothing more that I can do legally.
Garrett: Right. Maybe you’d have to testify, I’m assuming. And that would be hard.
Elizabeth: I would. It would be really hard, but I’m at a place that I could do it. I’m not afraid of them anymore. It took me years to get to where I’m at, but I could look them in the eye across from this table even, and tell them exactly what they did. I do not, I am not afraid of them anymore. They don’t have any power over me.
Garrett: Good for you. So senior year happens, you graduate, did you go to college?
Elizabeth: I did, and I was playing, gonna play soccer there. And my parents decided I wasn’t. I was a little too… uh, I’m trying to think of the word. I was a time bomb for them.
Garrett: Almost like you were breaking away from their control?
Elizabeth: Yeah. Like they weren’t ready for me to be let loose and live. So without my knowledge, they talked to the soccer coaches and prolonged me coming for a year. So I lived at home for a year before going to be you and playing soccer there. And in that year it just got worse trying to put, they tried to do everything. They could to push everything down and get me not to speak. And I said, I wouldn’t. And I didn’t for a couple of years and finally went to college a year later. But I was, I was a mess
Garrett: So at this time, they’re still verbalizing to you to not tell people?
Elizabeth: Yeah. Yep. Yep. And I still believe them that they’re threats will happen and that I will lose my friends. I will lose anything I ever had. And I didn’t have a lot of friends because of the cutting and people didn’t know how to be around me. And I didn’t know how to be around other people either. I just couldn’t relate to people. So it was a very uncomfortable time for me in those years.
Garrett: Of course that’s tough. That’s beyond tough. Tough is an understatement.
Elizabeth: It was my life. So at that moment, I didn’t realize how tough it was until now, which is probably a huge blessing or I wouldn’t have survived it. I actually did attempt suicide in 2009 would be 10 years this October. Um, but I still have things to do. And now I’m using my voice to bring awareness so glad I’m here.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: We’re grateful that you’re here too, because you are doing so much good with your challenge and with your, with your experiences.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: And that brings a lot of hope, especially for someone who is experiencing something similar.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I hope so. That’s why I’m doing this. So that’s all I want to do is help people know they’re not alone in pain. We all feel pain. What brings it about it, you know, is different, but we all know those painful feelings and to be able to be there for each other through that is kind of my goal in life is to help people with that feeling.
Garrett: I love that.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: Yeah. You’re right. It’s like this feeling of catharsis of like this connection and you just, it really is. It alleviates the burden when you have someone to struggle with you by like when someone’s by your side struggling.
Elizabeth: Yep. Even if you don’t know the person, I’ve gotten a lot of strength through music artists, or just people that I look to as inspiring that do good in the world. So you don’t even have to know the person personally, to be able to get some power from them.
Garrett: Yeah. One thing that I want to throw out there to our audiences, you know, we talked, we’re talking about things to consider before consuming. And you said that there was pornography made of you. If you can look back to some of those times when pornography was made of you, did it appear to be consensual?
Elizabeth: For sure. 99% of the time, there are some clients that don’t want it to look that way, but 99% of the time, it was important that I looked happy and that I was enjoying it and that I wanted to be there.
Garrett: Because one of the justifications that we see with people who are proponents of pornography is that, “Well, I only watch pornography that is consensual. And it’s only from this source.”
Elizabeth: Nope.
Garrett: But one of the things that let’s say that there is a scene out there and that’s consensual of pornography, it’s consensual and it’s not violent and it’s not aggressive. And there’s very little exaggeration in it that because of the climate that we live in today, because of technology, that scene is on the same shelf as these images that are violent and aggressive. And these images that are not consensual. And these images that arrived there through force fraud or coercion. So it’s like you’re, you’re buying or maybe it’s not that you’re buying because today porn, a lot of pornography is free, but it’s like, you’re clicking. You’re adding to the industry. You’re, you’re increasing the demand and shopping on the same shelf where all these other things are sold.
Elizabeth: Well, you can’t know that it was consensual. So people that say, “Oh, I know it’s consensual.” I’m calling your bluff because stuff that I was in looked consensual and I’m here to tell you right now, it never was. So every time you go to get porn, you think of that. You think of how I was forced to do that. Even though it looks innocent, it is not innocent.
Garrett: Yeah. And you also get into this debate of ‘What is consent?’ because someone that’s in poverty like, and they choose to go into this industry. Well, what is a choice without options?
Elizabeth: That is your only option. It’s not really a choice.
Garrett: Yeah, it’s not really a choice anyway, back to your experience. So now the, the challenging thing that I’m trying to wrap my head around is how have you pressed forward? Cause you have all of these terrible experiences that I can’t even imagine.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: And then you attempt suicide and usually just that alone is enough to impede someone from moving forward.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: After that, did you continue to engage in the life of sex trafficking?
Elizabeth: No, it was um… 2008 that I stopped sex trafficking.
Garrett: Okay. So in 2008 is when you started to transition out of the life of sex trafficking.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: And your suicide attempt was almost like part of that transition because…
Elizabeth: Yeah, it was a year later year and a half later.
Garrett: One thing that people don’t realize, and I didn’t even realize it until recently when I talked to the owner of that recovery house in DC that I mentioned Tina Frundt, she mentions that she doesn’t like the word rescue because she, in her words, I’m kind of, I’m paraphrasing, but she said, you can rescue a body, but you have to transition a mindset. And so for you to be in the life of sex trafficking for that long yeah. For about 20 years, yeah. You have to do some work to transition that mindset.
Elizabeth: Yeah. A lot, a lot of work. I was in therapy two days a week for two hours at a time with a fantastic therapist that really, really got me through. And I started wearing bracelets with encouraging words on them because I wanted to feel strong or peace or God, or loved, like
Garrett: And it’s just like a reminder on your wrist?
Elizabeth: Yep, and I would rub them throughout the day and waiting for my kids at school. And I’m like, okay, I have like 30. And I would look through them and see what was going on that day and pick what I needed that day. And I’d wear two or three sometimes. I started realizing, you know, months later I’m feeling stronger and feeling like I can do this and people start sharing their lives with me and I’d look down at my bracelets and they needed what I was wearing more than I did.
So I would take it off and give it to them. So I, I started my company, it’s called Hero Bands. And I named it that after the people that were my heroes growing up, that had no idea. I had a school teacher in fifth grade. That was the first time I ever felt safe in my life. And I didn’t know what that feeling was, but looking back now, I know it was just, I just felt safe and loved by her. She had no idea what was going on my life, but she saved my life by existing. You know, I have people like that that were put in my life that, so I named it Hero Bands after, after those heroes.
Garrett: That’s cool.
Elizabeth: And that has really been empowering for me too.
Garrett: Every kid needs a connection.
Elizabeth: Yeah. Well,…
Garrett: Every human.
Elizabeth: Every human. And that’s my advice to people and they’re like, “What can I do? What can I do?” You can donate. You can do volunteer. You can do those things. Most important, I think is to be a safe person for everybody in your life and pornography clouds that I’m sorry, but it does. You have these images in your head and it taints being that safe person for you have no idea who I looked like. I had this great childhood and this great family and I had those safe people. So to me, just being that safe person is such a big deal.
Garrett: I love that.
Elizabeth: And pornography just messes that up. It’s not worth it. You could save lives by just being safe.
Garrett: Did you, did you use the word taint?
Elizabeth: Taint. I did.
Garrett: I like that.
Elizabeth: Thank you.
Garrett: You said that pornography taints your ability to be that caregiver that is safety.
Elizabeth: Yep. Because as kids we can tell, and we don’t know what it is, but we just know we don’t feel completely comfortable around them.
Garrett: And like you mentioned there, you mentioned earlier that with your brother, you said that he needed more, and more often, and a more hardcore version.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: And there’s a lot of science and research showing that that pornography is a gray, there is a lot of gradual progression there. And so for our, a lot of our listeners, they might be a caregiver and they might be consuming a little bit of pornography on the side. And so one thing to consider is that it’s like this gradual process of desensitization happens.
Elizabeth: Without you realizing it.
Garrett: And oftentimes without you realizing it.
Elizabeth: Yeah. It’s a scary slope.
Garrett: You need to be there for those you are a caregiver over.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: Yeah, it’s interesting. And then I start thinking about some of the genres of pornography, like some of the top, um, searched, um, words or genres. And it’s like teen and like step-mom and like,…gang bang. And like these things, if, if, if the average consumer is consuming pornography within these genres, and then you’re a caregiver on the side, it’s just, it’s not, like you said, it’s tainting your mind, whether you’re aware of that or not.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: So do you have kids? You have kids.
Elizabeth: I do. I have five kids. Yeah.
Garrett: That’s cool.
Elizabeth: My husband’s really cute. What can I say? [laughter]
Garrett: [laughter] Congrats on that. That’s very cool. How old is your oldest and youngest?
Elizabeth: My oldest is 13 and my youngest is two.
Garrett: So that’s the range. Yep. Cause with the reason why I was asking about that is because I think some people out in the world today, they don’t think they claim that pornography doesn’t affect their actions. And we were talking about caregivers and then I, that, that justification came into my mind of some people might say that pornography is not going to affect their actions, but I wanted to ask you, cause my, my response to that is I have a six year old, I have three kids and when my six year old watches Spiderman, after he watches Spiderman, what does he do?
Elizabeth: He is Spiderman. [laughter]
Garrett: He is Spiderman. [laughter] He just bought a pair of shoes. We bought him a pair of shoes recently. And he pitched in some of his money that he’s earned. And the shoes that he bought were the same shoes that Spiderman wore in the, in this recent Spiderman movie.
Elizabeth: So it takes over his thoughts.
Garrett: Yeah. And I was just wondering if you can kind of relate to that. I’m sure your kids, whatever they watch and engage and they want to be that.
Elizabeth: Yup. For sure. We’ve got pop patrol and puppies running around.
Garrett: Exact.
Elizabeth: You don’t own a dog, but we have, you know,…
Garrett: Human puppies.
Elizabeth: Human puppies, that think they’re dogs and yeah. Definitely correlation. Yeah.
Garrett: So that the, the reason why I brought up that example is because it’s too, to deny that pornography can influence a person’s actions is like denying that any movie we watch can influence our actions or our thoughts.
Elizabeth: Even subconsciously because your dreams, I think are different too, when you’re participating in watching and whatever your dreams are going to be different, which is also going to affect how you live. Because when I have even bad dreams, my next day is not, it is shaky. It affects my actions, my attitude, and my thoughts. And I’m interesting, more irritable and things like that. So I’m sure if you’re having dreams along those lines with pornography, you can’t, you’re going to probably feel more irritable and you’re probably gonna feel these negative side effects that you don’t even realize until you’re conscious of it because it’s in your, your dreams.
Garrett: Cause what we’re really talking about here is health and there’s many aspects of health, mental, emotional, social, physical, financial, and going back to when you were engaging in self harm and you attempted suicide.
There just wasn’t, you didn’t have the help you needed like the emotional connections.
Elizabeth: Right.
Garrett: They just weren’t there. And so how did you, well, maybe they were there. They were just, you, you had been in the life of sex trafficking for so long and went through that abuse that they didn’t, they weren’t able to develop.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I don’t think they were there. And I think that wasn’t necessarily people around me’s fault. I think it was mine because I had never learned how to let…
Garrett: I don’t think it was yours.
Elizabeth: Well, I never had learned how to have, how to let myself feel those connections in a healthy way, if that makes sense.
Garrett: Yeah. But the thing is, I don’t think that’s your, I don’t think that’s your… I’m not a therapist.
Elizabeth: Okay. So I understand what you mean. So yeah, it wasn’t my fault, but I had these walls up.
Garrett: Okay.
Elizabeth: If that makes sense.
Garrett: That other people built. There other people built those walls.
Elizabeth: They built them around me. Sure, sure. I can agree with that. But they were there and it wasn’t the, it wasn’t my outside. It wasn’t my husband. It wasn’t the people that were close to me. It wasn’t their walls. They, it were, it was mine that I had placed there and had to learn how to, how to drop down because I can guarantee you if you’re, well, I guess I can’t guarantee you, but I think I can guarantee you if you’re participating in these activities and pornography and things like that, you to some degree do not feel good about yourself. I don’t think, I think across the board, some amount of shame or guilt or something and you can pretend like there’s not, but I think there’s gotta be some kind of underlying thing. And it builds walls around the loved ones that you have to.
Garrett: We’ll link some studies that show that pornography can increase depression and loneliness and increase anxiety.
Elizabeth: Yep. A hundred percent.
Garrett: So in my opinion, every child is entitled to have these connections, to have healthy connections and to receive that, which is necessary to have, I call it optimal health. I look at optimal health as like those aspects of health, having sufficient in all of those areas. That’s kind of optimal health for me.
Elizabeth: Balancing all those areas, for you.
Garrett: Yeah. And I think every child is entitled to that. Now whether they get it or not, that’s a whole different story. You did not get it.
Elizabeth: Nope.
Garrett: And so I just want to, I am I, in my opinion, and I can’t move forward without stating that the walls weren’t your built by you. In my opinion, what was happened is you, these walls were built around you by other people and then you were left inside without tools to break out.
Elizabeth: I like that. I like that. That feels right to me.
Garrett: Yeah. It’s like expecting, but how can someone expect you to break out of this, these concrete walls that are hundreds of feet high, without tools that are hundreds of feet thick without tools.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I like that.
Garrett: Yeah, it’s your job, but it’s an impossible job and an impossible feat. So you started going to therapy.
Elizabeth: I did. Yep.
Garrett: And that’s one tool that was helping you break through some people don’t like therapy. Some people do. It just depends.
Elizabeth: Yeah. It depends.
Garrett: Was therapy always enjoyable for you?
Elizabeth: No, and I, it took me a long time to find the right therapist. I think that is, I think the biggest problem that people come in contact with is finding somebody that they are comfortable with.
Garrett: Yeah.
Elizabeth: I probably went to a dozen before I found the one that I thought could help me and I was comfortable with.
Garrett: That’s cool that you’re very persistent with that.
Elizabeth: I had to be, I had, I had a son and one on the way and I wanted to be the best mom I could for them. And the best I could do at that point was awful.
Garrett: And you deserve optimal health too.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And I believe that now I didn’t for years. And it’s just kind of a recent thing where I’m like, you know what, I’m worthy of real love.
Garrett: One hundred percent.
Elizabeth: I’m a good mom. I am doing my best to do good in the world. And I believe it, I haven’t for years. And it’s just a very new thing that I feel that so it’s really exciting to feel like I’m a new person.
Garrett: That’s cool.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: So I admire your persistence because I think a lot of people would’ve given up.
So the amount of, by the way, this is kind of a side note sidetrack, but do you do any type of endurance events like running or triathlons or,
Elizabeth: um, I think exercises of the devil, [laughter] I hate it recently started doing weights and things like that. Okay.
Garrett: [laughter] The reason why I ask is because, I’m a fan of endurance events. I just have a passion for them. Like I, I love to see a person that can push through a challenge and…
Elizabeth: Oh, well I love watching people do endurance events.
Garrett: Exactly.
Elizabeth: Yes. I love watching it.
Garrett: Exactly. Like I went to my first Ironman years ago and I was like, “This is the coolest thing ever.” Like, and I enjoyed watching the, those who finished first, like the fastest humans out there, those that are finishing first, it’s fun to watch them, but it’s more fun to watch the average person, like towards the end, when the time’s about to run out and they’re pushing through.
Elizabeth: Yeah.
Garrett: And that was for me, the most inspiring. But I look at you and everything that you’ve gone through. And then I look at an iron man and I’m like, Whoa, it’s nothing.
Elizabeth: [laughter] It’s a different kind of…
Garrett: It’s a different type of type of endurance, but both are endurance. And I think one thing that people need to consider is that it’s like, you’re stuck right now. Life’s challenging, but it’s like, you have to push through those challenging times and you’re like one of the best examples I’ve ever met of that.
Elizabeth: You’re kind. Thank you.
Garrett: No, that’s not being me being kind. That’s just a fact. Anyway. So back to your story therapy, you have kids, you have reasons to press forward. You’re looking for tools. What other tools did you find along the way that helped you kind of break down these walls?
Elizabeth: Honestly, a lot of it came within myself and it was hard and I don’t like being called a survivor and I’ve talked to a few quote survivors that feel the same way because survivor sounds like you’re done, you survived. You’re going to have this wonderful life when that’s like, it’s a big step, but it’s just the beginning. You’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of Hills to climb. So I try to use the word like warrior. When I’m talking about fellow survivors of anything, cancer survivors, addiction survivors.
Garrett: It’s a lifelong sentence. It’s kind of how we started this conversation was going into the life of sex trafficking. Once you’re in it, you have these, these challenges to face forever.
Yeah. And I think people expect even within themselves that they should be able to handle these things better forever. Did you ever feel that for sure. And about, I don’t know, six months ago I crashed and I crashed hard and I was so frustrated because I worked so hard to get to this good place. And I’m a warrior. I’m not a survivor. I have to keep fighting every single day. I have to make the conscious decision to, you know, today my bracelet say brave and God, because I feel like I need to say what God wants me to say. And so, and I need to be brave because this is not something I ever imagined doing ever. I’m not a natural public speaker or anything, but I feel so strongly that there are people that need to hear that they are warriors. And so the other thing that helped me so much is, is my company, because I felt like I was making a difference in the world. And I found my purpose and I found what I was going to do with what I had been through. And so I think for people going through hard things, they need to find their purpose and not give up on looking for it.
Garrett: Yeah. I like that. Your company name is Hero Bands and you guys give a portion of every purchase to a charity, correct?
Elizabeth: I do. That rescues trafficked kids.
Garrett: Um, well, we’ll link with this episode, your website.
Elizabeth: Thank you.
Garrett: What is the website?
Elizabeth: It’s just herobands.com.
Garrett: That’s what I thought.
Elizabeth: Yeah. And my Instagram’s @hero_bands, but you know, I, I really just want to bring more joy and more peace to the world. So that’s my goal with, with Hero Bands, it’s not to be a millionaire. It’s not to push product it’s to bring peace and healing.
Garrett: And help people in their mindset.
Elizabeth: We all need words. I mean, there’s a, there’s a study where you talk positively to a plant and negatively to another plant. The negative plant dies. If you water them the same and they’re in the same sunlight, the one you speak too negatively, shrivels and dies.
Garrett: I’ve actually heard, I used to buy water from, uh, like a holistic, um, place where they were selling this and they would actually play music to the water. And I know this sounds weird, but there was actually photographs of like the molecules of water.
Elizabeth: Changing.
Garrett: And if you were playing different types of music, bring about different shapes in the molecules.
Elizabeth: Yep.
Garrett: So kind of like what you’re saying, like what we intake, what we consume and what we do on the daily and on the hourly affects us.
Elizabeth: Yup.
Garrett: And part of that consuming is words.
Elizabeth: Yep.
Garrett: And to describe the bracelet, the bracelet a little bit for those who are listening it’s maybe you can describe it better, but it’s just a strap of leather with a piece of metal on top. That has a one word.
Elizabeth: Yeah. I I’ve done long ones too. I make every single one. Personally, I made one that said, a lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep, all on one bracelet. It was not easy.
Garrett: That’s cool.
Elizabeth: But yeah. So anything that kind of speaks to you is, is what I love to put on these. And I love thinking about who I’m making them for and how it’s going to help them and what it’s going to do for their life. And I always send positive vibes every time I send them out.
Garrett: And it’s cool because kind of like going back to your experience with your bracelet, like when you were reaching down and rubbing that bracelet, it allowed you to focus, right?
Elizabeth: Yeah. It’s a tangible thing.
Garrett: Yeah, a tangible thing that allowed you to focus.
Elizabeth: Yup.
Garrett: That’s really cool.
Elizabeth: Yep.
Garrett: So any last words for our audience?
Elizabeth: Just be mindful of what you’re, what you’re putting in your head. Be mindful of what you’re looking at with your eyes, because it it’s cliche, but it is somebody’s wife or daughter or sister. It really is. And they don’t always want to be there. My guess is most of the time they don’t.
Garrett: What about, for those who might be victims of sex trafficking? What would be your, your one piece of advice let’s say right now they feel stuck, but they don’t have a bracelet, you know,
Elizabeth: Send me an email, I’ll send you a bracelet.
Garrett: What’s the first step for them? One of the first steps?
Elizabeth: The first few steps is to recognizing when you feel safe, I think, and who you’re with when you feel safe and be around that person, as much as you possibly can, you don’t have to share details until you know, it’s right. But just surround yourself with what feels safe to you, and just keep being a warrior through it. Keep on keeping on it’s worth it. I promise life can be so beautiful. My life is more beautiful than I ever imagined. As a kid I would imagine this great life and it’s better than that. So it is there. So just keep, keep going. Don’t don’t give up, like I tried to just keep going.
Garrett: That’s great. I love it. Well I’m Elizabeth. Thanks for joining us today on Consider Before Consuming. We appreciate it.
Elizabeth: Thanks, Garrett. Yeah.
Garrett: Thanks for joining on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious, and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography, by raising awareness on it’s harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.
If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest and the conversation we had, you can check out the links attached to this episode.
Big thanks to you for listening to this conversation. As you go about your day, we invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots, and consider before consuming.

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