Fear of being abandoned keeps nineteen-year-old Harmony Dust trapped in an abusive and cruel relationship. She thinks she has hit bottom-tens of thousands of dollars in debt, struggling to get by, and so controlled by her boyfriend that she doesn’t protest when he begins openly sleeping around. Things can’t get worse . . . until someone tells her how much money she can make as an exotic dancer. For the next three years, Harmony lives a double life as Monique, a dancer in a fully-nude strip club.
Ok, I didn’t plan my letters appropriately and needed to use “E” for this one, you know, EXOTIC dancer. A stretch? I think not…
Anyway, this may be my last review on here as I believe LibraryLove and I will be saying goodbye to our blogging days in 2012. Neither of us completed this year’s challenge, but hey, life got busy. And in case you forgot, we BOTH read 52 books EACH in 2010. I’ll pause for applause… HA!
Ok, back to the review. Scars and Stilettos is a true story of a friend of a friend of mine. Once consumed by her need of approval from her boyfriend, Harmony found herself misguided and caught up in a vicious, dark cycle. Having read this book after Shelley Lubben’s autobiography, this one is very G rated. Same messaging (Christ’s redeeming love and power), yet much gentler story telling. Surely, anyone can relate in the sense that we all find ourselves at times seeking validation from other people or things. Maybe it’s your spouse, partner, fiance; maybe you are married to your job, home, car, material things; maybe it’s an addiction you seek acceptance from. The fact is, we can all find something in our lives that hold us victim at one time or another.
For Harmony, it was her boyfriend who dominated her for YEARS. This cat even got another girl pregnant, moved her into the apartment Harmony was paying for (and they lived in together), and then had the audacity to ask her to get him his own place because “he needed more room as a father.” And all of this supported by her stripping career. Are you kidding me?! (Easy to say that as an outsider, but imagine the background and what gets one to that place of desperation) As I’ve read more than one memoir of those in the sex industry (Shelley Lubben, Jenna Jameson, etc) it’s a classic history of sexual abuse, neglect, rape, father issues, drug abuse, and/or abandonment. So it is with Harmony.
While very sad indeed, what is compelling, uplifting and encouraging is God’s faithfulness through the dark valleys. He remains committed to us even IN the dark places. I love when Harmony points out that we don’t have to “get our act together” before God loves us. He always has and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can get ourselves out of the muck and mire. Having been to Harmony’s church, Oasis, in LA, I understand how she felt God’s presence so powerfully. I attended a GodChicks conference there in 2007 when a friend of mine was living in LA. Pastors Philip and Holly Wagner have such an inviting presence to them that makes you feel loved, accepted and valued.
Which is precisely what Harmony is now doing with Treasures, her non-profit, faith-based support group and outreach for women in the sex industry. She is setting out to teach these women in the over 170 strip clubs they visit annually, that they are valued, loved and purposed. The Bible tells us that God never wastes a hurt. And Harmony’s testimony proves just that–she is an amazing woman of God doing wonderful things that she could only do having gone through her dark places.
Thank you for sharing your story and for committing to serve other women in the hopes of turning their lives around too.