By Lee Cole–
When most of us look for extra-curricular activities outside of everyday campus life to participate in, we turn to the chess club or a book club. Few of us can say that we spend our time reaching out and helping women in Louisville’s sex industry, but Senior Business major Megan Schubert does just that. The Cardinal recently spoke to Megan about her role in a local organization called Scarlet Hope, a faith based service group dedicated to bringing the spirit of Christ to women in the sex industry.
Q. What is Scarlet Hope and how are you involved?
A. Scarlet Hope is a faith based ministry that hopes to bring the love of Christ into Louisville’s sex industry. Every week a group of women cook a huge, homemade meal for the Outreach team to bring into Louisville’s strip clubs. I am a member of the Outreach team and we bring food as a way to open the door of the club and as an opportunity to talk with the women who work there. We want them to know that they are worth far more than they are selling themselves for. We strive for them to know God’s love and do whatever we can to help them leave the sex industry, end addictions and find new employment.
Q. What are your reasons for participating in Scarlet Hope?
A. I was drawn to this ministry because it is so unlike most of what you see coming out of the Church. It is nonjudgmental and, I think, very exemplary of how Christ meant for us to love one another. I didn’t grow up as a believer, and I have certainly done tons of things in my life that I’m not proud of. But I feel that God has redeemed a lot of my mistakes. Those who are forgiven much can afford to forgive much and my heart is drawn to these women who are usually the subject of lifelong sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Q. What kind of help does Scarlet Hope offer to women in the sex industry?
A. Going into the clubs and talking with the girls is just the beginning. The real struggle occurs when dancers leave the clubs to start a new life. We have a Bible support group for ex dancers and our first goal is to help them spiritually. We also work with a large group of people in the community who help us find girls new jobs, new places to live, medical services, clothing, etc. Scarlet Hope recently acquired a huge house with dormitory style living quarters. The goal is to be able to move dancers and their children who need help in by this summer.
Q. What are some memorable experiences you’ve had through your work in Scarlet Hope?
A. I feel so blessed at some of the amazing things that God has allowed me to witness. One of the dancers that I work with closely is getting baptized on the 15th. I occasionally babysit her 10 year old son for her and I’ve so enjoyed being part of their life. Just a few short months ago she was dancing in a local club and now she has a whole new life, and it’s wonderful to see how happy she is and to see what God is doing in her life. Definitely the most rewarding part of the ministry is seeing girls leave the club and accept Christ. Southeast Christian Church families adopted our dancers and their families for Christmas and bought them things on their Christmas list and put together a huge basket of food to make Christmas dinner. I was able to deliver some of those gifts to families and it was so humbling to see the joy and gratefulness of those families getting their deepest wishes fulfilled-wishes like food, sheets for a bed, clothes that fit. Things that I take for granted every day. However, there are terrible, unspeakable things that we see in the clubs. Heartbreaking things that I can only pray over and trust in God to remedy.
Q. What kinds of clubs, sports or activities are you involved in on campus?
A. I am a captain on the track team-high jump. I am the Big East representative on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Chi Alpha Sigma, and the Student Marketing Association. I have interned at Payment Alliance International, Creative Alliance, and Shoe Sensation, Inc. in the greater Louisville area.
Q. How can people get involved in Scarlet Hope or in your kind of service more generally?
A. I think the most important thing people can do is research about sex trafficking and the sex industry in Louisville. Once you know the terrible things that go on in the shadows of our city, you can never unknow them and hopefully people will be moved to action. My hope is for people to see these women as children of God; someone’s mother, sister, daughter who has experienced more adversity than probably anyone that you know. And to stop judging them and start loving on them. Scarlet Hope holds periodic training sessions for people interested in Outreach. The next session is January 21st and information can be found on scarlethope.org or by talking to the founder and director, Rachelle Star at [email protected] The Louisville community gives so much to this school and I think it’s really important to give back to them. There are lots of organizations that need volunteers, and I know Cards Care and Amy Seng in the athletic department are always looking for people to help out. The athletic department is working with Big Brother Big Sister this year and they are a great organization to get involved with. I also think the Ronald McDonald house is a wonderful place to serve.
Photo: Nathan Douglas/The Louisville Cardinal