Par Greathouse is 38, and has a knack for jewelry-making, but her work is inspired by pain. Greathouse is a human trafficking survivor.

What You Need To Know

  • Par Greathouse is a survivor of human trafficking

  • She finds comfort in jewelry-making

  • There has been an increase in human trafficking victims during the COVID pandemic

  • BELOW: Details about Wednesday event at Sutton Park

"There's always hope out there," Greathouse told Spectrum News.

A few years ago, Greathouse said she was lured by a man she met online. She thought he was the nicest person in the world. "When I got our there, he just changed from the sweet person I thought he was to this evil person," Greathouse said.

Greathouse then added that he and his friends did horrible things to her. Eventually Greathouse's dad helped her to espape. Her story is now a piece of a much larger puzzle created by sexual assault victims at Centerstone in Manatee County. Counselors have helped Greathouse through the toughest of times.

Since the pandemic, counselors said they've seen an increase in sexual assault victims. "During the pandemic, they were forced to stay at home so the abusers were at home with the victims, and nowhere to go so the children and adults didn't have anywhere to turn to," Centerstone victim advocate Denni Stolze said.

Branded with tattoos by her abusers, Greathouse wears a constant reminder of what happened to her. Not long after she escaped, Greathouse started making the jewelry. She even used her stimilus money to buy supplies so she could share her inspiration with other sexual assault victims.

Recently, Greathouse took her jewelry to the Palmetto library. This month, for Sexual Assault Awareness Month, there's a display featuring the artwork of the youngest of sexual assault victims.

"I just can't even imagine being a child going through something so horrific," Greathouse said. "I can't even imagine."

Greathouse added a few pieces of her own jewelry behind the glass. Then she closed the door on the past. Greathouse is slowly pushing forward through the power of art and helping so many others along the way.

Centerstone will have a family-friendly event to educate people and share the artwork of victims. The event will be held Wednesday, April 27 from 4-6 p.m. at Sutton Park. A candlelight vigil for crime victims will follow.