Rebecca Bender was born and raised in a small town in Oregon. She was an achiever, doing well in both academics and sports. On her path to begin college she met a man who took an interest in her. She began dating him and after 6 months they decided to move in together. He met with her family. All seemed well.
Everything was fine until they moved to Las Vegas. Upon arriving he brought her to an escort service and demanded that she work for them. Under threat, and fearing for her child’s life she was coerced to do what he asked. Her life was filled with fear. In 2007 Rebecca was able to escape. In 2014 she founded the Rebecca Bender Initiative.
Rebecca eventually obtained her degree online, and that gave her the idea to build an online mentorship program for trafficking survivors. She has created a curriculum that survivors are able to utilize from anywhere in the world using apps like skype and zoom. Their program Elevate, is an online course that offers business development and leadership skills as well as ongoing coaching for their clients. This program helps women to understand their purpose. What they were truly created to do.
In addition to their online class, RBI have a team of speakers who help to equip first responders across the country to be better able to help survivors on the streets. This includes meeting with paramedics, law enforcement, and faith based organizations. They provide real tools that help the community to understand options and next steps when they encounter trafficking in their communities.
The Rebecca Bender Initiative helps women to go from victim to survivor to leader. It’s clear that Rebecca is touched by the lives of those she works with, and by helping survivors to find a path to their dream job. Rebecca’s story is one of hope and redemption. She demonstrates survivor leadership first hand, and offers ways for other women to follow in her footsteps. She is a true hero.
If you or someone you know would like to participate in the 16-week online career program Elevate, visit www.rebeccabender.org/elevate to fill out an application.
Thank you Rebecca for all your hard work and dedication to improve the lives of survivors worldwide!!
Written by Jessika Fuhrmaneck
Lead Writer, Two Wings