By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times Communities
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 17, 2013 – Playwright, poet, and human trafficking survivor-activist, Stacy Jewell Lewis, is offering a brand-new performance entitled “7 Layers Captive” this week in Washington, D.C.
According to Stacy’s website, 7 Layers Captive is a “descriptive real life story about Stacy’s horrific experience in what she and other experts call ‘The Life.’ Through poetry, music and powerful storytelling, Stacy describes the fear, shame and eventual acceptance that plagued and kept her locked in the chains of her [captor’s] manipulative seduction.”
“7 Layers Captive offers explanation to those hard-to-explain questions,” Stacy stated, “Questions like ‘Why didn’t you run?’ and ‘Didn’t you have a choice?’”
Survivors like Stacy and I know all too well how difficult these questions are to answer in just a few statements. It takes time to explain the many layers of reasoning behind our actions or lack of actions. As a survivor myself, I am currently writing a book to help answer these questions to my own story. Stacy, an artist and poet, is using performance to narrate these answers to her personal story, a story which she shared in a previous article:
“When I was child, I loved to act,” Stacy said, “From movies to plays, I loved to watch the dramatic arts.”
Her first play in middle school sparked her dreams to act. Raised in the D.C. metropolitan area from age five, Stacy’s dreams to become an actress were cut short at the age of 19. After accepting a ride from an elderly man in the neighborhood, Stacy was held at gunpoint. She explained how the man’s gentle and grandpa-like personality suddenly changed to a violent nature. Stacy learned that the man had been paid by a trafficker to abduct her.
In an interview with KSAT in San Antonio, TX, Stacy stated, “They had followed me for quite some time and knew my pattern so they knew where I lived and threatened my family if I did not go … When I was told they knew what street I lived on and [that I] had a child, it felt more real to me than ever before.”
Stacy said she spent the following two years working for a man who treated her as a slave.
“Manipulation and physical abuse kept me at his beck and call,” Stacy said, “until one day I decided I couldn’t take anymore.”
Just before her 21st birthday, Stacy escaped “The Life.”
“It took me ten years,” Stacy said, “ten years after leaving the life to realize and understand that I had been a victim of sex trafficking.”
Stacy turned this realization into a dramatization called “10 Years and 1 Day.” This spoken word performance includes her testimony of personal torments and her witness to child victims of sex trafficking. Stacy not only captivated audiences with this performance in Washington D.C. last year, but she inspired them.
“The performing arts can be a powerful tool in creating public awareness,” Stacy said, “bold words and heart-wrenching performances can certainly ignite a call to action.”
“While it took ten years to fully understand that I was a victim, it only took me one day to believe in the sun,” stated Stacy in an interview with Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City, UT, “God was in the light all along [and] I escaped my prison while all the vampires were asleep.”
Book your ticket for Stacy’s play, “7 Layers Captive,” this Thursday night, February21st at 7:45 pm, or this Saturday night, February 23rd at 8pm, located at The Fridge in Washington D.C. Space is limited. Order your tickets here and don’t miss this “remarkable depiction of Stacy’s personal journey through the dark world of sex trafficking and street prostitution.”
To request Stacy as a performer or motivational speaker at your next event, please visit www.StacyJewellLewis.com.