The transformation of an exotic dancer.
Harmony Dust was raised in a dysfunctional family in California where illegal drugs, alcoholism and pornography were considered normal. Her first memories of pornography in her home was at the age of 3 or 4 years as she witnessed her father unashamedly watching porn in the bed next to her.
Harmony Dust Today
“He (her dad) left the state when I was 5 years old”, Harmony remembers, “and I only saw him about a dozen times throughout my childhood after that. Other people picked up where he left off. I was sexually abused by multiple people throughout my life, both men and women. The abuse left me filled with shame and anger towards myself. I thought that something was inherently wrong with me which kept attracting that kind of attention.”
When she was 13, her mom’s boyfriend moved in with them. She met him in a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting after he fled Canada in order to escape
statutory rape charges for having sex with a minor.
She remembers pleading with her mother to put a stop to her boyfriend’s sexual
advances towards her. “He even went so far as to tell her he was in love with
me. I told my mom that her boyfriend kept coming in my room at night and
asked her to stop him, to no avail. Fed up, I finally ran away from home the first
of many times. Realizing I was serious about wanting her boyfriend gone, my
mother asked him to leave. When he decided to head back to Canada, she
followed him there, leaving me at 13 alone with my 8 year old brother for three
months to fend for ourselves. She left us with $20 and a book of food stamps.
After the money and food stamps ran out, I started stealing from the liquor store
to feed my brother and I. It was that summer that I lost my virginity to the first
boy who told me he loved me. We broke up a couple of months later but he
seemed to think he still deserved ‘boyfriend privileges’. He raped me more
than 30 times over the course of the next year. I always found a way to blame
myself for his behavior.”
Other abusive relationships followed. Young, naïve, and hopeless, at the age of
19 she began stripping. Her intention was to work for a couple of months in
order to pay off her bills. Then she could return to a “normal” life. But she soon
found herself trapped in that lifestyle. Wads of cash filled her hands, but nothing
seemed to satisfy the void in her heart.
At first, she led a double life: “I was a quiet, conservative college student by day,
and someone else’s fantasy by night. Gradually, I began to lose sight of who I
was, and became lost in make-up, stiletto high heels, and the glare of stage
lights. I felt fragmented and compartmentalized. Fear of rejection and judgment
kept me isolated from the outside world, until all of the people I had contact
with were other strippers, customers, and my abusive boyfriend.”
The emptiness she felt inside seemed infinite, and her self-image continued to
decline. Over the course of the next 3 years, being a stripper became her identity.
“My already tainted view of men seemed permanently damaged. I developed
the notion that all men were inherently perverted and sick. I began to use
stripping as a way to take back control of my sexuality. I finally felt like I had the
upper hand. I learned to exploit for myself, the very thing that men had already
In retrospect, she can now see that God’s heart was deeply pained by her
brokenness. He wanted nothing more than to extend his hand to her and show
her her real beauty and worth—to help her see the value she never saw in
She began attending a church in LA. “Like a gentleman, God pursued me with
his infinite love until he captured my heart. Hearing the pastor talk about the
idea that I was created with a purpose stirred something in me. I remember the
night that I was standing in the middle of the strip club and it really hit me, ‘I
have been created with a purpose.’ I looked around the strip club and thought,
‘This can’t be it’.
The more she learned about God and who He created her to be, the more
impossible it because to live in a way that contradicted it. She discovered that the
pain of staying the same is far greater than the pain of change.
As God did a work in her heart, she received Jesus Christ as her Savior and
Lord. As a result, she began making new choices in her life. She quit dancing,
left the abusive boyfriend and began a journey of walking with God and
allowing Him to heal her. “It hasn’t always been easy,” she admits, “but God is
good and has helped me every step of the way.”
In 2003, after several years of recovery, Harmony founded “Treasures“, an
outreach and support group for women in the sex industry. Their mission is to
reach, restore and equip women in order to help them live healthy, flourishing
lives. “God took the hollow and empty pit inside me that had been carved out by
a lifetime of disappointment and despair, and He filled it with hope, love, and
purpose. He is taking the pain and brokenness of my past and using it to show
others the way to freedom!”
Scars & Stilettos, by Harmony Dust.
If you would like to read her entire testimony and those of others who have been
helped by her ministry, go to Harmony’s website at: www.IAmATreasure.com
You can also purchase her new book about her life, entitled, “Scars and
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