Going Public

There’s a diacodmy I live with… I don’t ever want anyone to know what’s happened to me and yet I want everyone to know.

I want to keep my trafficking experience to myself because (whether it’s right of not) the situation is incredibly shaming. After they know, people look at you differently.  It’s not their fault, it’s only natural.  For some it’s blatant awkwardness and fear.  They wont make eye contact with you and never speak for fear of saying the wrong thing.  For others, your relationship is now based soley on voyerestic questions that feed their curiosity about this foreign environment.  Then there’s what I like to call the “hugger”… this person is typically a well-meaning, good hearted women who takes great pity on you and just can’t help but invade your person space with a “mamma’s here” hug.  I don’t mind the sentiment, but I hate pity and I’m not particularly (understatement) fond of hugs from strangers.  “You’re in my space; you’re invading my bubble.” is a phrase my friends commonly here from me… though with them, it’s usually just in jest at least.

It’s hard to have people know what’s happened to me.  It may not be true at all, but I feel judged by people who know.  I can feel their unanswered questions about my past and stability tint the tone of every conversation.  My relationships with people who know that I am a trafficking survivor are most certainly colored… for better or for worse.  I’d love to hide and pretend like I’m as normal of a girl as the rest, but it’s simply just not the case.

On the other hand though, I want everyone possible to know my story.  You see, I’m a big believer in advocacy work because as much as my circle of friends get that modern day slavery of American girls on American soil exists, most of the country still has no idea.  People begin to realize that trafficking happens in places like Thailand and Moldavia (I’ve got a huge heart for international work by the way) but many don’t see what happens just next door as well.  To me, if I could shout my story from the rooftops so that people would simply “get it”, I would.  The mere uncomfortableness of exposing my past situation is truly well worth helping another victim become a survivor.

Because my desire to evoke positive change and end trafficking is greater than my fear of ridicule, I do share and I do speak up.  I write this blog anonymously because it’s honestly just safer for me.  This blog adds a layer of protection so that I can write about more intimate parts of my journey that I wouldn’t say in public… or honestly just the parts that I wouldn’t have the guts to say out loud at all.

As part of this desire to educate, I recently spoke at an out of area conference dedicated to anti-trafficking efforts.  I had the honor of sharing an overview of my trafficking situation that was integrated into some practical training.  (Thank you to those who sent supportive messages to me on Twitter by the way!)  I didn’t feel like I did as well as I could have but the feedback was very positive and affirming, so thank you God for that.  Emotionally, I felt pretty detached from what I had talked about for several hours afterward.  It wasn’t until much later that evening that I began to struggle with the emotions of the day.  But writing helps.  Feeling proud of myself even though it was hard, helps.

I’m just looking forward to the day where I don’t have to struggle with who knows what.  I’m looking forward to the day where survivor’s aren’t needed to speak at professional conferences because the situations of trafficking are common knowledge and not accepted.  Mostly though tonight, I look forward to sleep because this entire process has left me absolutely exhausted today.

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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4 Comments

  1. “Perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18. Because your love for others shows through, when you are ready, you will not be afraid.

    Reply
  2. I love that you’re punching fear and kicking Hell in the face by speaking out. Praying for refreshment for you and know that as a fellow advocate, I’m encouraged by your voice. Keep being awesome…

    Reply
  3. Nik

     /  November 4, 2011

    MY COMMENT TODAY IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO NOT WANT BUT I FEEL COMPELLED TO GIVE A NOTE OF FACT TO YOUR BLOG BECAUSE IT TOUCHED ME DEEPLY AND VERY PERSONALLY.
    I HAVE A DEEP DESIRE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A YOUNG WOMENS LIFE. TO POINT HER TOWARD OUR “SAVIOR” AND DISPLAY GOD’S OWN LOVE WHICH SHE HADN’T RECEIVED FROM THOSE WHOM GOD GAVE THAT RESPONSIBILITY. I HAVE A DEEP COMPASSION FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, STUCK IN THE OBVIOUSLY EMOTIONAL STATE OF UNIMAGINAL PAIN OF YOUR PAST. I WANT TO HELP, I WANT TO WRAP MY ARMS AROUND YOU AND QUIETLY WISPER “DADDY IS HERE”. SORRY BUT TRUE.
    YOU BLOG TODAY MAKES ME SAD, NOT ONLY FOR YOU AND YOUR PLIGHT BUT ESPECIALLY FOR ME. NOT EVER HAVEING KIDS AND DEEPLY AFRAID OF GETTING TOO NEAR A CHILD FOR FEAR OF BEING REJECTED AND HURT I’VE KEPT MY DISTANCE OVER THE YEARS. HAVEING SAID THAT, THOUGH, I HAVE TO CONFESS THAT I DID REACH OUT TO A YOUNG GAL OF TWENTY THREE A FEW YEARS BACK. SHE HAD TOLD ME SHE HAD BEEN ABANDONED BY HER FATHER WHEN SHE WAS ONLY THREE YEARS OLD. MY HEART INSTANTLY WENT OUT TO HER AND I, IN MY SPIRIT, ADOPTED HER FLAT OUT. SHE WAS THE LITTLE GIRL I NEVER HAD. THOUGH SHE HERSELF NEVER CONFUSED MY INTENTIONS TOWARD HER WITH THE VERY NORMAL MIND-SET OF OUR SOCIETY WHICH SAYS “TABOO” TO ANY AND, SEEMINGLY, ALL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN AN OLD GUY AND A YOUNG GAL, THINGS DID NOT GO WELL, I GOT HURT AND DREW FURTHER INTO MY SHELL WHICH ISOLATES ME FROM KIDS. WHAT YOU SAY IS EASY TO UNDERSTAND BUT YET ANOTHER REMINDER THAT I MUST KEEP MY DISTANCE FROM THE VERY ONES WHO SO DESPERATELY NEED WHAT I HAVE IN ABUNDANCE BUT HAVE NO WHERE TO GIVE IT.
    SO WHY AM I DISCLOSING SOMETHING OF MY PERSONAL LIFE TO YOU WHEN YOU UNDOUBTLY DON’T CARE TO HEAR IT. AFTER ALL, THIS BLOG IS YOUR “BLANKEY” TO REACH OUT FROM AND ATTEMPT TO BOTH WORK THROUGH THE TRAGEDY OF YOUR LIFE WHILE TRYING TO HELP OTHERS WHO ARE WORKING THROUGH SIMILAR ISSUES OR HELP GUIDE SOMEONE, ANYONE, AWAY FROM THIS HORROR AT HAND. AND ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU DON’T KNOW ME FROM ADAM OR TRUST ME AS A MALE, AND AN OLD ONE AT THAT.
    WELL, I’LL JUST HAVE TO ACCEPT ALL THAT BUT AT THE SAME TIME LET ME SAY THAT ON BEHALF OF ALL THOSE WHOSE INTENTIONS ARE HONORABLE AND TRUE PLEASE FORGIVE ME IF I’VE STEPPED OVER THE LINE WITH MY COMMENT TODAY. AND PLEASE FORGIVE ALL OF US IN THIS WORLD WHO FOLLOW SO EASILY AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART AND ACT UPON HIS GIVEN MALE INSTINCT TO SAVE, PROTECT AND LOVE. WE MEAN NO HARM. WE ONLY MEAN TO GIVE THAT WHICH WAS NEVER GIVEN AND NOT TO TAKE ANYTHING SO PRECIOUS AS YOUR DIGNITY, YOUR HONOR OR YOUR SOUL.
    THERE IS GOOD IN THE WORLD AND WE STRIVE WITH DEEP DETERMINATION TO PROVE IT, BUT PERHAPS, FAR TOO OFTEN, AND QUITE UNINTENTIONALLY WE STEP ON THE VERY TOES WE SO HOPE AND PRAY TO HELP.
    WELL, SO BE IT. BUT REGARDLESS OF HOW I’M PERCEIVED I WILL, TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITIES, CONTINUE TO BE WHO I AM AND FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT TO HIS GLORY AND FOR YOUR, AND OTHERS, WELL-BEING. AND IF MY TONE HERE SEEMS A LITTLE POINTED PLEASE DON’T BE OFFENDED FOR THE POINTED FINGER IS BACK AT ME FOR NOT HAVEING PLACED MYSELF IN A POSITION TO PROTECT AND WATCH OUT FOR MY OWN.

    Reply
  4. Thank you for the courage you’ve shown in writing this blog. I’m glad, for your sake, that you’ve chosen to stay anonymous as I hope it will be a freeing experience as well as a tool in your healing process. Telling your story will help so many people(myself included) understand what it’s like to be trafficked. May you continue…may you find the courage and words to go deeper…may you be blessed richly.

    Reply

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