Sharnell Silvey: Finding Hope Amidst the Hurt
By Dory Nissen
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Tucked away on the outskirts of Las Vegas is this multi million-dollar brothel. It’s first owner, Joe, was instrumental in legalizing prostitution in the ‘70s.
Sharnell Silvey was the Madame of the ranch and ran the estate with 500 prostitutes. She was also Joe’s mistress and lived extravagantly. Together they ran the most profitable brothel in Nevada.
“I was all about the money and power. I figured anyone could be bought. So if I waived a hundred dollar bill you would do as I say.”
Sharnell’s journey to this powerful position in the sex industry started as a young girl. Her mother was a blackjack dealer leaving Sharnell and her older brother alone daily. Her brother had parties often. Sharnell was intrigued by the older boys, until the day they raped her.
“I couldn’t believe that it happened. I personally felt foul. I felt shameful. I felt guilty. I felt like, i did this.”
At 16, Sharnell decided to run away and hitched a ride with a trucker, not caring where she would end up.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was getting myself into. When I went to the truck stop, knocked on the door, got in with him…I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t know what would be the ultimate result of what I had just chose.”
What Sharnell didn’t know was the trucker expected her to sleep with him and his friends.
“They all came into the room and the next thing I know they were taking turns on me. Till this day it’s really ripped my heart out. Even though I was older, more mature. To know that, not just one man, but five men, couldn’t make a decision that this was a young girl. This could be your daughter”.
Several years later Sharnell met Joe, the brothel owner. When he offered her a position at the brothel, she jumped at the chance. Sharnell became the Madame of Mustang. Yet, behind the money and power, Sharnell suppressed a huge amount of shame.
“I felt a lot of disgust. I hated myself.”
In 1999, Joe was convicted of tax evasion and fled the country. The IRS closed the ranch and Sharnell lost everything.
“I was at the end of my rope. Tired of fighting all my life and everything had been so bad in my life. I couldn’t see why. What is the purpose for me to be alive? What is the purpose for me to continuing living in this world if I constantly have to battle? So what I did was I took a brand new prescription bottle of 100 milligram Elavil. I slit my wrists, and was hoping to call it quits.”
The suicide attempt put Sharnell in a coma for eight days. When she awoke she had one thought.
“I was so mad that I had to stay on this planet and continue with the pain and people hurting me.”
Doctor’s sent her home to recover on bed-rest. One day while watching TV, she stumbled on a man telling how he accepted Jesus Christ as his savoir. His story intrigued Sharnell.
“I’ve tried everything else. Nothing has worked. And there is nothing out there that I want because I don’t want to be here because I’ve tried it all. So I’ve got try this one last thing. I’ve got to try.”
Sharnell asked for forgiveness and invited Jesus Christ into her life.
“I felt renewed, refreshed, hopeful, free. Everything from my past that was foul, that was death, that painful, that was humiliating, that was shameful, that was guilt. He wiped it all away! He washed it all away by that prayer of me asking him into my heart!”
Sharnell found a church home and surrounded herself with Christian friends. Grateful to be delivered from the pain and shame connected with the sex industry, she was inspired to start her own ministry. Sharnell now reaches out to others in the industry, sharing her story.
“Nothing they’ve done is too big for God to handle. Nothing they’ve done is so shameful that god won’t forgive them. There is nothing, that could give me what Christ gave me when I asked him into my heart.”
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