Why I Didn’t Run from Godzilla?

Have you ever watched one of those scary movies?  The kind where the single girl runs upstairs to get away from the axe murderer breaking down the front door?  I tend to find myself yelling at the screen and rolling my eyes at the young women’s stupidity.  How could she be so dumb to get herself trapped like that.  Judgement like, “if I where in her position, I’d grab my cellphone and run to the neighbor’s house!” fly out of viewers mouths.  Sure, this sounds like a much better plan than hiding in a closet, waiting for death with nothing but a red high heal to defend yourself.  I still think many of these movies are lame, but the truth is, in the reality of trauma, few of us ever respond like we think we’re going to.  Most of us would love to say that we’d be the hero types– the ones to jump in front of a bullet or a moving car, but we just don’t really know what we’ll do until the gun or bumper is pointed in our direction. But who knows? Maybe you would be the hero.  Maybe you would have the sound mind to outsmart Godzilla in a B-rated scary movie.

The reality of a trafficking situation cannot be found in Godzilla however. Godzilla is a monster much more one-dimensional than the trafficker I faced.  With Godzilla, there’s little emotion involved in the attack.  Godzilla never bought you dinner when you had no money, provided a roof over your head, threatened to kill a loved one instead of you if you moved out of his path. There are literal pimp handbooks published about how to break a girl’s spirit so that she never has the will to rebel or leave. (More on this in Friday’s upcoming post.)  Traffickers know exactly what they’re doing.  There in a business and it’s expensive to see a girl you’ve “invested in” leave.  They’re not going to let her leave.  I may not have been bound in physical chains 24/7 for 11 years, but there was no way my traffickers was letting me just run out the front door.

“Why didn’t you run?” This is easily the #1 question I’m asked when people hear about my story.  Wanting to leave is much, much different though than knowing how to leave. I saw my only friend in “the life” killed at a very young age.  I witnessed my father murder animals.  I was frequently beat and tortured by my trafficker who had the most unpredictable temper I’ve ever known.  Even though my trafficker was my own father, I never believed that he loved me – only that I was a disgusting commodity in his eyes.  So when he said he’d kill me if I tried to leave or tell anyone, I believed him.

There does come a point though when you hate “the life”, your life, so much that you no longer care about the threat of physical violence.  It’s at this point where the constant voice of “no one will believe you” kicks in.  I remember thinking a million times that it’d be worth trying an escape… a few times I even did… but I’d resolve to go back because there was no where else for me to go.  I was certain that no one would believe me.  I had been brainwashed into believing that I was nothing– just a worthless hoe that people would merely look at as a liar, a troubled young girl, a slut, a crazy person.  I felt that there was no where I could turn for help, no one who would understand… so I stayed.  I told myself to suck it up and bare it. Move on. Go numb. Survive.

I can’t pinpoint the moment where I realized escape really was possible. There were many, many  circumstance and people together that made my redemption possible. Somehow all the planets aligned and new life started to occur.  I knew that if I stayed I’d either be killed or kill myself, so I chose to jump in faith and run.  I would just say that I was damn lucky, but I don’t believe in luck.  Contrary to much of what I’ve been taught, I choose to believe in hope.

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

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  1. This is a powerful post.

  2. Cici

     /  October 26, 2011

    Thank you for creating this blog and sharing your experience. After reading all of your posts I keep wondering how could someone have helped. This post describes perfectly how a trafficker convinces his victim to never tell, never let on, to never leave. I am at a loss as to how to help someone in your situation, how would I the average person on the street make a difference to someone in this situation?

    • That’s an excellent question Cici! Mostly, if you can continue to educate yourselves and others around you, that’s half the battle. If you suspect a circumstance of trafficking, notify your local authorities by saying that you suspect that a child is being “sexually exploited” or “forced into prostitution.” I’d love for the day to come when we can just call up and say “i suspect trafficking” but unfortunately our country still has a long way to go in our professional training efforts before that phrase is clearly understood across the board. Let me encourage you to read a book called Renting Lacy by former Congresswomen Linda Smith, who now runs the organization Shared Hope International. It’s a quick, yet very tough, read that’ll provide great education on the topic. Tools like that book or this blog are great to encourage those around you to read. The more people that know, the more people who can be on the look out!


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