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The Refined Collective Podcast

Jul 1, 2020

Victim of sexual exploitation turned UCLA honor student, Harmony Grillo founded the non-profit Treasures in 2003 to help women and girls entrenched in sexual exploitation find freedom. She has provided training for the Department of Justice and the FBI and has helped launch outreaches in 120 cities worldwide. She shares her story in her memoir, Scars and Stilettos. This week on the podcast, we chat about how God has redeemed dreams in her life, how she learned to acknowledge the trauma bonds in her life and find freedom from sexual exploitation, and now help others find that same freedom.


Redeeming the Dream

  • Harmony shares some moments, big and small, where her dreams didn’t play out the way she wanted them to. God redeemed the dream every time.
  • “I’m living God’s promise of restoration.”


Trauma Bonds

  • Harmony’s history is full of abuse and trauma.
  • Later in her childhood, an older guy friend who she thought of as a protector became her abuser and exploiter when she worked in strip clubs.
  • Trauma bonds involve a power imbalance where there is erratic abuse and there are scattered times of good.


Freedom From Sexual Exploitation

  • She fondly remembers a girl she met at the time who loved her as she was and helped her on her journey to freedom.
  • “I didn’t start making those changes because someone told me that I should, I did it because it’s what I desired and what I felt like I was being invited to do as I walked out my path of growing in relationship with Him.”
  • She reflects on this time and realizes that she wouldn’t have had the same transformation she did if she was simply given a strict set of rules to follow.



  • Treasures is Harmony’s faith-based organization, though it welcomes all religions. They meet everyone where they’re at and respect who they are as they are.
  • “What are we being invited into?”
  • “Sometimes the most therapeutic thing is a healthy, reciprocal relationship where you feel emotionally safe.”




Resources on Women + Hyper-sexualization in Our Culture


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