Once Upon a Time… Broken

My heart’s broken– all over again it’s broken.  It’s a good thing though.  Revisiting my story is simultaneously painful and healing.  I had the opportunity to lift the veil from a few people’s eyes this weekend about the issue of slavery, sex trafficking, forced prostitution… whatever you want to call it, it’s habitual rape.  I’ve realized that this journey I’m on is like a grief filled twister… gathering memories and scattering debris of broken ideals.  I was talking to a new friend about trafficking in Thailand and then made a side comment about it happening in America. Her face went white and my stomach sank.  I had forgotten to realize that she may not have known, that she might be among the majority of Americans who don’t yet realize there are children being forced into prostitution right in their own middle class neighborhoods.  I felt like I had just accidently blurted out a secret about a husband’s affair or a cancer diagnosis to this poor, shocked women.  Pausing for a moment, I began again as she prompted me with anger . “Tell me! Tell me now– this is going on here?!”  she said. Her genuine reaction broke my heart all over again.  I didn’t share with her my specific story then, but I’ll share it with you now…

I grew up in the suburbs of a town just a little smaller than 100,000 people.  I was a straight A student who worshipped the ground her big brother walked on, as he was often my defender from a physically and sexually abusive father and my relief from an emotionally unstable mother.

When I was eight my brother left for college and the dynamic of our household changed dramatically.  My father had lost yet another job and he and my mother turned to me as a steadier source of income.  I will never forget that day.  The way it turned my stomach so sick, the way the men’s semen smelt on my body… so foreign and sour.  It lingered for hours.  This first time I was sold for sex it was to multiple men at once.  I was nine years old.

For the next 11 years of my life I was forced to have sex with hundreds of men.  I was hit, mocked, urinated upon and exploited in the backs of trucks, corner markets, cheap hotels, my own bedroom and on the internet.  Every touch and ugly word only added to the lie that sex was all I had to offer.  It was my “duty” because I was nothing more than a whore.  There was no one I could trust and certainly no one who could help or believe me.  After-all, I deserved this– or so I thought.  In order to cope, I had convinced myself that it was all a choice and ignored the fact that I was enslaved.  I ran away several times but always went back– there was simply no where else for me to go.  My parents had me told me repeatedly that either they would kill me or if I did make it to someone who could help, that those people wouldn’t believe a word I would say.  Nothing in my life so far had shown me that they were lying.

Looking back now, I see that there might have been someone who would have believed me if I had come outright with it all.  Several times I eluded to teachers or other people in positions of authority that some kind of abuse was taking place but I was simply too scared to say anything more.  I would instead just throw out a pathetic phrase here or there and beg the universe to read in between the lines to save my sanity.  Thank You Jesus that today I am free.

May this blog serve as education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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1 Comment

  1. Ruth

     /  April 15, 2012

    I pray that all of us will be aware of what’s going on in our land and come to the aid of all who are caught up in this evil. May God deliver these victims and expose the those harming them. Jesus died for all mankind to heal the broken hearts.

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