Starr Davis is a wife, mom, attorney, author and youth advocate. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, she knows what it’s like to suffer in silence; and she’s on a mission to ensure no child endures the same suffering.
Motivated by faith and inspired by her own tumultuous upbringing and the healing she experienced as an adult, she created The Starr Institute, Inc. (TSI) in 2017, a nonprofit organization that seeks to educate, engage and empower youth and the community about child sexual abuse and exploitation.
My work is meant to provide information that sparks change and make a connection between young people and a trusted adult who has risen above circumstances some of them face.
In 2021, the South Florida resident was named one of 10 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honorees for her meaningful work in spreading awareness and preventing child sexual abuse. This honor has increased visibility for TSI and helped them reach new audiences. She also released her first book, The Abuse Algorithm: Lessons in Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse.
She has trained others on the indicators of child sexual exploitation, represented victims of sexual abuse and exploitation in the criminal and juvenile justice systems and has served as a keynote speaker at several events. Her life experiences, accomplishments and ability to rise above the abuse have made her a relatable role model.
Driven by the desire to positively shape the lives of others, TSI is working to build a world where young people avoid and not simply recover from abuse. Through awareness and prevention programming, they equip youth with the knowledge and confidence needed to recognize a situation where they might be at risk and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves. “If we make awareness and prevention a priority and not just a reactionary response to an outcry, then we will be in a better position to protect our children and youth from abuse,” says Davis.
TSI offers in-person and virtual workshops that are interactive, culturally relevant, age-appropriate and fun for youth ages 12 to 17.
The series “My Safety Starts with Me” is comprised of four workshops: Sex Trafficking Awareness and Safety 101 (which also has an adult and professional version), Internet Safety, Self-Esteem and Goal Setting.
Since 2018, nearly 600 participants in 32 states and three countries have participated in TSI’s annual 5K Run + Walk to raise awareness about child sexual abuse and exploitation.
In addition to many other organizations, TSI has partnered with the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition to present its Internet Safety workshop to youth and their parents.
Thanks to the generosity of donors, TSI provides free instruction to youth, as well as other resources. They also welcome referrals to connect them with schools, district board chairs, superintendents, professionals, community members and youth-serving organizations that could benefit from their workshop series or need an empowerment speaker.
TSI is also seeking to expand its board of directors, so they’re always looking for passionate and committed individuals willing to get directly involved in the cause.
You can purchase Davis’s book The Abuse Algorithm on Amazon, leave a review and spread the word — $5 of every book sold goes to support TSI’s efforts.
Nominations for the 2022 class of L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth Honorees are open until April 30. If you know an influential female philanthropist, you can nominate her to become one of 10 women selected for this year’s award. To cast your nomination, visit womenofworth.com.