Rescued out of Sex Trafficking

After high school and multiple dance opportunity rejections, Lindsey ended up in an abusive relationship that led her out of state. After a cry for help, her abuser miraculously sent her home. Now, she spends her life investing in the self-worth of children and youth through her own dance studio, Identity Dance in Springfield Oregon.

Video Transcription

Hi, my name is Lindsey Cooper and I was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. There was something in me at a very young age that felt like I wasn't enough. I found dance at age 12, decided I wanted to make that my life. After high school I moved out on my own and pursued dance and after rejection, after rejection, after rejection for seemingly being not good enough, I decided to walk away from dance for good. I began to delve in the party lifestyle. I became extremely reckless. My roommate gave me an opportunity to take a job that she swore up and down was perfect for me. I met the man. He was 13 years older than me. I was 21 at the time, so he was 34.

He showed me what he did for a living. He travels all over the U.S. He visits colleges. He sells sorority and fraternity, all their invitations, all the ways that things used to be done. And he said, don't worry, you're going to live it up for like six months. You're going to travel all over the place and get paid for it. Unbeknownst to me, I did not realize that this would actually be an experience where I was verbally, emotionally, and even physically abused. I was taken advantage of sexually. He was violent. I was basically his personal prostitute. And at that point, I had completely lost all of myself. I had no options of leaving until one day I started writing in my journal.

I remember writing about all the things that we had done as far as him taking me to some pretty special places. But then I remember turning my words into words. I turned them into a prayer and saying, God, if you get me home safe, I'll dance, and I'll dance for you. I remember looking up. He was coming, so I shut my journal and put it away. A day or two later, he handed me an envelope. It had a plane ticket, and it said my name and Eugene, Oregon. I realized he was sending me home. And then later I realized he didn't just send me home. God had rescued me. I used to ask when I was younger, so why didn't he prevent it in the first place? And I realized, you know, God gives us something so unique. It's so beautiful and yet so complicated, and that's free will. I made choices unknowingly, choosing something that would ultimately ask me to endure really, really hard things.

But living the life that I have now, what God has shown me and given me now, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat for the sake of telling somebody how real God is.

Little did I know when I prayed that prayer all those years ago that literally God would birth an entire studio for me. I had no resume. I did not go to school for this. And what my heart is for every kiddo that walks through my door at Identity is I want them to experience the way God sees them. I think the biggest thing for me would be showing them God's love and how He sees them.