More than a survivor

Posted on by

Dorsey Jones shared her story of sexual exploitation that began when she was 11 and how she’s now “more than a survivor but a conqueror.”

Jones is now a probation officer with Fulton County Juvenile Court, where she’s able to rescue young girls in trouble. She serves as a mentor and case manger for Youth Spark and as part of Fulton County’s Sex Trafficking Task Force.

“My life was designated for this, for the children I serve, to be their voice,” Jones said. “I don’t mind being the legs of the table, as long as we get the job done, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”

Youth Spark, she said, was birthed through the Juvenile Court system.

“We see children charged with prostitution, but the johns only get a $50 fine,” she said.

The children, mostly girls but also some boys.

“They come to us for rehabilitation, group therapy, a hot meal,” she said. “A lot remind me of me, dirty, with an odor.”

They are provided toiletries and clothes too, along with “evidence-based clinical and community-based service.”

Her exploitation began at age 11 in Bainbridge. “A neighbor gave me $20, fondled me, had sex with me, then passed me to his brother and his father. I took that first $20 to the store and bought stew meat and green beans,” to feed her siblings.

Another neighbor started to abuse her, and before long she’d had sex with more than 200 men in the small town. “I didn’t really want to, but I was taught to, and there was a need in my house.”

They were all living with their abusive grandparents in poverty. Her absentee mother moved them from Virginia after leaving her father, a Vietnam veteran, who “was not doing right by us.”

Her mother, Jones said “brought us to Georgia to her family, and just dropped us off. We were living in a 2-bedroom apartment, with seven people, plus the four children.” She said they “endured more whippings and mistreatment.”

She ran away, seeking her father’s family, but ended up back in Georgia.

“I’d sleep with anybody who’d let me stay, so I didn’t have to sleep outside,” she said.

School became the only respite — the only place where she wasn’t being abused. A guidance counselor found out she was sleeping outside and intervened.

“Finally a family took me in that didn’t want to put me out,” Jones said.

She would hear people talk about her “as a stray, loose. I was just a kid, I don’t feel hatred. They don’t know. I never had a stable home. I was told I’d never be nothing, just like my mama and her house full of kids.”

When she graduated high school, a family recommended she go to Job Corps, so she headed to Atlanta. She heard about Atlanta University Center and ended up on the campus of Morris Brown College.

She enrolled at the school, despite her poor grades, but had no where to stay. She talked with the housing director and told her she needed a place to stay. She was given a key to an apartment, a new two-room apartment.

“I was happy to have it, but was told not to tell anyone,” because she was not supposed to be there.

Because she wasn’t supposed to be there, she wasn’t on the meal plan and only ate when she could, until kitchen staff told her one day, “you’re staying here, you can eat eat here.”

It was on campus where she met her husband of 23 years.

“For a whole year, he asked to take me out, and my answer was always no,” she said.

After he’d graduated, she told him to ask her one more time.

“Men hurt me as a kid, but God sent me a man to love me,” she said.

Jones said her story “is different than many others. Some lose their minds. I endured all that for a reason. My life was designated for this, for the children I serve, to be their voice.”

Jones speaks to civic clubs to share her story, and wrote a book of her experience — “The Angels Were Crying: Stretched Beyond Measure.”

Jones is a Rotarian and Paul Harris Fellow with the Roswell Rotary Club. She spoke to Griffin Daybreak Rotary Club this past week as part of the local Rotary effort to bring awareness to sex trafficking.

“7,200 men a month buy kids,” she said. “The most important thing now is supply-and-demand.”

She asked them “what are you going to do make this work beyond Rotary? I’m glad backpage.com is gone but it is beyond this.”

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Rotary Club of Griffin and Griffin Daybreak Rotary Club have hosted presentations — including Jones’ visit this month. There has also been a series of stories in this newspaper on the topic to bring awareness to human trafficking. The clubs have also worked to get emergency contact information placed in bathrooms of local government buildings and businesses.

Jones is a part of Fulton County’s Sex Trafficking Task Force, which had it first meeting April 17. She was interviewed by Fulton County Commission Chairman Robb Pitts for his show, “The Chairman’s Circle.”

After that meeting, Pitts said, “this crime is happening in plain sight in our community. Our plan is to build broad awareness of commercial sex trafficking across demographics, in schools, and the public and private sectors and put tactical measures in place so that we can reach potential victims, current victims, and buyers of children.”

The interview will air April 22-28 on FGTV at http://www.fultoncountyga.gov/fgtv-on-youtube.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fourth in a series of articles on sex trafficking The Griffin Daily News will run this month.)