Victim of Sex Industry Helps Others Escape
Anny Donewald grew up as the daughter of a NCAA basketball head coach and a stay-at-home mom. She was a vibrant girl until the age of 13, when she was sexually assaulted by one of her father’s players. Anny felt a tremendous duty to cover-up and protect the university, the basketball team, and her father’s reputation, so she stayed silent about the incident and turned to sex and alcohol to numb the pain. She says, “It was self-destruction. I was hiding shame inside and it was eating me up like a parasite that tries to chew its way out.”
Anny went away to boarding school, where at 17 she was raped by her roommate’s boyfriend. Anny concluded that “life was officially not friendly.” She claimed that, “The God that my parents prayed to didn’t seem real, and if He was real, He had forgotten about me. I would have to stand on my own two feet and take care of myself.”
In college, Anny’s friends convinced her to compete in an amateur night at a strip club. She didn’t feel right doing it, but her victory at 19 years old changed her life and opened the door to a career in the adult entertainment industry. She took on the stage-name “Bailey” and danced for six years in top clubs in Chicago, Detroit and other cities across the country. She had a child while in the business and ultimately entered into high end prostitution. Anny made fistfuls of money and spent nights in presidential suites at luxurious hotels, but felt like she was losing a piece of herself each time she had sex for money. On the bathroom floor of a hotel room in Beverly Hills in April 2003, Anny realized how deep a hole she had dug for herself. She wanted a new life, one that didn’t involve “Bailey” or the adult entertainment industry.
Shortly after this defining moment, Anny found out she was pregnant with her second child. She contemplated having an abortion and prayed a simple prayer, asking God for help. She stopped dancing and escorting and developed a relationship with Agnes, the mother of one of her high school friends who had been praying for Anny for years. Along with Anny’s family, Agnes helped Anny through her pregnancy. Anny started reading about various religions and when Agnes invited her to church, she went. Meanwhile, Anny made five different appointments to abort her baby, but through different circumstances they all got cancelled. Anny had a son. A month after his birth, a Bible scripture reference popped into her head, “Matthew 4:16.″ Having no previous knowledge of the Bible, she found it and read, “Those who sat in darkness have seen a great Light.” Less than twenty-four hours later, she received the revelation that Jesus was her Savior. Anny came to understand who God is. “Everything the religious people had told me about Jesus wasn’t who He was after all. God wasn’t mad at me. God loved me. He was with me. He’d been with me the whole time. That meant He knew everything I’d done, and He was still there!”
This reality revolutionized Anny’s life. She got a Bible, went to church every chance she got, and says, “I was being transformed at the speed of light. I could feel again.” Today, Anny is a leading expert nationally in the sex-for-sale and sex trafficking epidemic in America. Her message is about hope and how God can “flip your life on a dime.” She says, “You are never too far gone for Him to reach you. It’s not about going to church and having people tell you who God is; it’s about Him showing you who He is.”
At the age of 30, Anny diligently sought the Lord for her life’s purpose. After a five-day fast, she knew she would start a ministry to help other women like herself come to know that Jesus loves them, no matter where they are or what they do. Subsequently in 2009, Anny founded the not-for-profit organization, Eve’s Angels. The 501(c)3 has a small staff that includes volunteers who respond to daily emails, phone calls and messages with understanding, grace, and realism. They encourage women to take a step toward Jesus Christ and recovery. Eve’s Angels has a grassroots approach to educate and inspire women in the sex industry to transform their lives. Anny and her team have witnessed XXX dancers sing gospel music and worship on strip stages. As a modern day Mary Magdalene, Anny has seen dancers get prophetically spirit-filled and ultimately give their lives to Christ.
Annually, Anny is at the National Pornography Convention giving out pink Bibles and ministering to over 20,000 consumers, actors, and makers of adult films and products. She personally hands out hope-goodie bags and Valentine roses to girls in XXX clubs. Most recently, she’s been a mediator between the church and the adult entertainment industry, attempting to establish a peace treaty between picketing church leaders and picketing strippers in Warsaw, Ohio.
Eve’s Angels is working to build a transitional housing program aimed to help women leave the sex industry and transition into another form of employment by providing them with a safe place to call home while furthering their educational and vocational skills. The non-profit ministry gives a portion of their proceeds directly to women coming out of the industry that are in need of immediate housing, counseling, prayer, rehabilitation and resources to equip them for a new future.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE ADULT ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
Anny says many people do not understand the adult entertainment culture or what gets girls and women into the industry. She claims, “No-one grows up and says, ‘I want to be a stripper’ and no one approaches a girl on the street and says, ‘I’m going to sell you.’” Many are lured-in with gifts or by “older boyfriends,” and even by women. They target runaways, group homes, schools, and malls.
In terms of getting out of the business, “Many people wonder why dancers don’t just quit and get a job at a fast food restaurant.” Anny responds, “Why don’t you just move to Mars and get a job or move from Africa into the center of Times Square?” She says many Christians do not think they should associate with strippers.
Anny begs to differ. She says she knows it’s controversial, but she thinks it’s not just women who need to show the love of God to strippers. Men should, too. She encourages everyone to see strippers and prostitutes as God’s daughters, not smut or trash and to realize that the adult entertainment industry is heavily linked to sex trafficking.
SEX TRAFFICKING IN AMERICA
Anny states, “Sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where such an act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Americans spend $8-10 billion a year on the sex industry. Over-all, sex trafficking is a $32 billion a year industry, and is still on the rise. Victims of trafficking can be used and abused over and over. For this reason, trafficking is surpassing the illegal sale of drugs and firearms worldwide.”
There are more women employed in the sex industry than at any time in history. Every minute, two children become victims of sexual exploitation. The average age a person enters into sex trafficking is 12 years of age for both girls and boys. Children can be sold over and over for years to come, making them highly profitable for traffickers around the world. Over 80% of women in the sex industry have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most trafficked women are forced to work in the sex industry through violence, fraud or coercion and are physically assaulted or psychologically brutalized daily. 89% of women in the sex industry said they wanted to escape, but had no other means of survival. The average trafficked life span is 3 to 7 years; most dying from sexual attacks, HIV/STDs, malnutrition or suicide.
Many girls are tattooed by their captors so that if they are ever found, they can be tracked back and returned to their “owners.” These tattoos are sometimes names but often bar codes.
Anny trains, equips, and educates Christians, political and law-enforcement leaders on the nuances and truths of the sex-for-sale trade.
To combat this, Anny has become a political force in a Midwestern state, where she serves on an advisory board to a state senator who has created 19 bills on sex trafficking. Anny also works with law enforcement.
Anny launched The ARMED Campaign which stands for “Association of Real Men Ending the Demand.” It’s an attempt to stop the demand for sex trafficking and make a dent in the adult entertainment industry. Men can read and take “The Pledge” on the Eve’s Angels website.