Dear Leaders and people in positions of authority, and people who are in a profession where they are trusted, and are trying to help people,

We need to have a serious discussion. One that, no doubt will leave most of us uncomfortable. I have a different name for these types of meetings. I call it a “come to Jesus” meeting.
I am a kid who was sexually abused by a man my mother dated. It started when I was 5 years old and escalated over the weeks, months and years to him…selling me to others for sex and torture. It went on for several years. The things that were done to me, that I was forced to do…are UNTHINKABLE. VIOLENT. EVIL.
When my mother found out, she blamed me for “seducing him” and she began to beat me daily, trying to “take me out of this world” and rid her of my presence. When I was a couple weeks away from turning 12, I called the police and was removed from the home and placed in foster care. When I was 12 years old, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way I was able to work through my hurt and shame. I had to re-learn EVERYTHING. What love was, what family was, what truth was. Who I was. And who I was not. 


I’ve dedicated my life to helping others deal with their past and help them to move forward. I call that hurt…CRUD. We’ve all got it. It’s how we deal with it, that makes all the difference. I’ve dealt with my crud. I had a ton…and I have done the hard work to get to a healthy place. I also have accountability and checks and balances in my life, so that I can have integrity and continue to be effective in helping others. My ministry is called Fifty Shades of Grace. I share my story and help people all over the world. 

I don’t know about you…but I am SICK TO DEATH of hearing about a trusted authority figure, hurting kids. It makes me physically ill. It’s everywhere. It’s in our governments, our schools, & our homes…We’ve GOT to do better. It starts with ME.

As a survivor, I think it’s imperative that those of us who are on the frontlines fighting this battle…must have accountability, and what I like to call “check up from the neck up” to ensure (as much as humanly possible) that we are in a healthy place, personally, emotionally and spiritually. What I see in my ministry, are those who start out strong, have the greatest of intentions, but don’t have ANY accountability, counseling or reprieves.

We hear story after story about those that should’ve known better…but didn’t do better or worse…slid down the slippery slope…into the very activity that they swore…to fight and abolish.

Part of our jobs…authority figures…is to ensure that WE DO NO HARM…ourselves. Read it again. WE…do NO harm. WE!!! You and I. It starts with me. With you.

This fight on human trafficking begins with every individual.
Let’s talk about Sex Trafficking specifically! No doubt that we are all sexual beings…God created us that way. He has a specific plan for each one of us and when we do it His way, it’s amazing. When we do things outside of His plan, let’s just say it out loud…IT’S A DISASTER and it hurts US and OTHERS. Sex is NOT the enemy. Man’s hearts, are the enemy. SIN is the enemy. There are consequences to sin. The bible is clear. This isn’t a MALE issue. This isn’t a FEMALE issue. This is a HUMAN HEART issue. We’ve all got one of those.
But what we must guard against, is the “BLUR” of the evil, grotesque, exploitive images, the hours of surveillance, undercover operations and being in the presence of actual victims…the environment…that you and I are forced to work in and look at because of what we DO…to help others.

Then we go home. Then what? What do I do with all of that imagery and stimulus overload?

I’m NEVER one to sugar coat it. I think you know that about me…by now.

So, let’s get real.


What are my eyes seeing?

What are my thoughts?

What are my actions behind closed doors? Am I hurting anyone?


I must have checks and balances to protect my heart and mind from the evil that I encounter on a daily basis, while trying to help others walk through their trauma and abuse.

When I speak to Law Enforcement or Pastors, Teachers, etc. there is this moment that I ask the BIG question nobody wants to ask…”Have YOU engaged in anything that is NOT okay? Pornography, sex outside of your marriage, illegal pics, texting, conversations that you know are wrong? Any activity that has crossed the line in your personal life when it comes to sexual activity?”
And then here’s the kicker…I say “What I mean is…if someone did to you…with you…what you’ve done, how would you feel about it? If what YOU have done, was done to someone you love, what would you do? That’s the litmus test on whether what you’ve done is okay or it’s crossed the line. If that was an image…a video…of YOUR daughter being forced to have sex, or a text by someone to YOUR husband or wife, or someone paid to have sex with your loved one while others watched it in person or on a screen? IS IT OKAY?”

There’s always a grim hush in the room. Panic even. No one speaks. I don’t even know if they breathe…in those moments.

Listen to me. I am NOT judging anyone. What I’m saying is…the reason that we have sex trafficking is because there is a DEMAND from the consumer. NO CONSUMERS = NO SLAVES!

The question we must ask ourselves is…AM I A CONSUMER which is part of the demand of the industry?

If we know that many of the producers of pornography use underaged kids in their material, if we have been called to FIGHT THE FIGHT, and help those kids… how can it be okay to engage in that activity? See what I’m saying? 

NOBODY is perfect. That’s why we MUST take every precaution to ensure that WE are healthy and okay in ALL areas of our lives. The people who are being hurt, are counting on you and I to be the ones that will NOT HURT THEM!!!! Do you get that?

You and I…having a desire for sex…is NOT THE PROBLEM. IT’S NOT WRONG. God NEVER created it to be wrong. What He did was create a healthy provision within His plan of marriage. I’m not here to argue religion or theology…or any of that. But you and I know…that SEX isn’t even the reason that trafficking exists. The reason that it exists is because those people that would hurt someone else to ‘get whatever they want’…THAT IS ABOUT POWER AND CONTROL. Period.

I recently did a “Crud Boot Camp” (message me if you want more information on what that is) with some prisoners who were serving time for hurting others. Each one had held a position of authority or leadership. When I asked why they went from helping people to hurting people, almost every single one said, “I never thought I was capable of that. But when the situation presented itself, I had access. The victim needed me and THAT felt powerful…and something in me TOOK advantage of that person…and I took what I wanted…because I could.”

Another man said, “I never looked at a kid like that. EVER. But one day, normal porn wasn’t getting me there, and I craved control. It started with images – thinking I wasn’t hurting anyone, I knew they were young. They were young in the images. When I came in contact every day with kids, it was already in my head and I though about it every second. They were innocent and wanting attention. I twisted it in my mind to be almost kind and loving. That’s the lie I told myself.”


I said it 20 years ago. “There will come a day when society tries to label pedophilia as a “sexual identity choice” and that is the day…that I will implode and disappear.” The thought that “experts” would say that it’s “OKAY” for an adult to desire a child, have sex with a child or any other sexual activity, abuse or torture…because they “feel they want that” or “it’s IN them…it’s how they were made” and then defend that adult against repercussions…I can’t bear it. Literally, my heart can’t bear it. What was done to me and the millions of others in the world, is a CRIME

It needs to stop. We must do better!


Ladies and gentlemen…my plea to you today…is DEAL WITH YOUR CRUD. Do a “check up from the neck up” and figure out a checks and balance system…that will hold YOU accountable. All of us need that. It’s the right thing to do in the line of work that we are all in. If we are to begin to win this war…the battle starts in our own hearts and minds.
I can’t control what others do but I can control how I respond.
Ask yourself, what am I looking at? Thinking about? Engaging in? If you need help, get it. If you are hurting somebody stop…turn yourself in. If someone is hurting you, TELL!!!

People are not BORN with a desire to hurt others. Something has happened in their lives. NO EXCUSES…but that is the facts. LIFE is all about choices. I choose to NOT hurt others the way I was hurt. And I will do whatever it takes…to make that true in my life.


If you and I are going to help people, we must have integrity, checks and balances, accountability, and the time we need to learn, grow and deal with our own crud. We must be honest with ourselves and others, and do whatever we have to in order to fill our hearts and minds with healthy choices.

The question is do you have the COURAGE to do that? Survivors don't need a super-hero. Survivors need real, honest, healthy people to help them. Not another person that says one thing and does another thing to hurt them. They know PLENTY of posers. They don't need any more. CHOOSE what kind of a helper you will be.

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Sonya Brunner

Speaker, Singer, Musician, Worship Leader, Life Coach, Writer, and the founder of Fifty Shades of Grace & the Crud Talk podcast. "I help people learn how to deal with the pain of their past so they can live in freedom. Got Crud? Let's deal with it."

3 Responses

  1. Sonya, I am so sorry you had to experience the horrific and dehumanizing acts you went through. No person should ever have to endure such awful things.

  2. Never thought of it like this before, but this is 100% on target. We have to look at ourselves, first. Thank you for your words.

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