LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Dressed in ball gowns, it was a celebration Saturday evening for several women taking a big step.

"When we were all little girls, we had dreams," Summer Dickerson said. "And so today, we're going to make those dreams become reality."

For several of the women, their realities have been more nightmare than fantasy. As survivors of human trafficking and violence, their struggles had often been hidden in the darkness, but this evening, at the Daughter of the King Gala, they were celebrating in the light.

"We all have been through something," Dickerson said. "And it's just a matter of not staying there, just to get up and move forward and just be the best person you can be in life."

Dickerson is a survivor of human trafficking and domestic violence herself. Three years earlier, she founded the Women of the Well Ministry to help other women who have experienced the same things she's had to live through.

"I've been buried alive. I've been pistol whipped and all this other stuff," she said. "And so when things like that happen to you, you don't understand your worth. You don't understand that you're beautiful and you're strong."

"It's good to know you've got company," Eddie Woods, a Women of the Well board member, said. "It's good to know that somebody is out with you, that somebody is paying attention to what's going on with you."

Among the guests at the gala was the guest speaker, Attorney General Andy Beshear, whose office works closely with Dickerson and other groups fighting human trafficking in Kentucky.

"The way to change this culture is to make sure every single call that comes in, every single report is believed and that we try to do something about it," he said.

"The reason why people need to understand this goes on in Kentucky is because it could be your son is because it could be your son or daughter," Dickerson said. "It does not matter what religion you are, what color you are, what financial status you are."

While the road for survivors of human trafficking is long and paved with challenges, Dickerson and others who have made the journey said Saturday evening is a time to celebrate, and they hope they can be lights in the darkness to guide and inspire others, letting them know they are not alone.

"A lot of people didn't think I'd be where I am today, and I want ay survivor who ever sees me to know that it can be them too," she said.

â–ºContact reporter Dennis Ting at dting@whas11.com. Follow him on Twitter (@DennisJTing) and Facebook.