The “F” Word

No, no, no, not that “F” word… the other one, “Family.”  (Although I’m sure I could just as easily write an entire blog about the word F–k.)

Reflecting on my posts, I’m realizing how often I speak about the topic of family.  I suppose it’s just the particular healing season I’m in, but I can’t help but think how many other trafficking survivors struggle with similar emotions.  The pain ranges from my beginning family to my future one.  Some of the areas are obvious to outsiders, some may not be at all.  For sake of clarity of perspective, allow me to make a list for all of you reading who do not happen to be trafficking survivors:

18 Reasons Why “Family” is An Explicit Expression

1. My “family” were the ones who sold me into prostitution in the first place.

2. Because I didn’t have a healthy family I was set up to be trafficked anyway by other pimps who approached me later on in life.

3. My family was abusive physically, spiritually, mentally, verbally, sexually, emotionally…

4. I constantly struggled with jealously growing up as I encountered my friend’s kind parents or other seemingly “normal” families.

5. My family is where I was first exposed to smoking, drinking, drugs, sex and weapons.

6. The phrase “loving family” was lost on me growing up… it made as much sense to me as giving an urban 5 year old Japanese boy 100 Kenyan Shillings to spend… no frame of reference.

7. Many times a pimp has his girls refer to him as “Daddy” and his stable of workers as “the family.”

8. I’ve felt shame because I have felt orphaned, knowing there there are so many children out in the world who are literal orphans.

9. I wonder if, because of my past, I’ll ever be able to create a family of my own…

10. …Who will ever want to marry me?…

11. …How will I ever be able to raise healthy children when I had such a screwed up childhood?

12. I can’t tell you how many times a disgusting man wanted me to call him Daddy.

13.  Well meaning people like to promise a “victim” things they don’t really mean– for instance “You’re just like family to me, just like a daughter!”  Then they get tired of you, move on with their lives, and you’re left with a feeling of lacking yet again.

14. Often it feels like a dysfunctional family is better than no family at all (one of the many reasons why trauma bonds form with a girl’s pimp).

15. We’re taught to remain loyal to our families, even if that family is toxic.

16. Just like the perfect Prince Charming, Winning the Lotto and finding the Fountain of Youth, all seem like ideas only feasible in a fairy tale, so does a true, loving, forever family seem.

17. So much Christian spiritual language has been formed around familial metaphors that it makes it hard to grown in your faith while you’re still healing from broken family pieces of your past.  (Sorry guys I can just NOT call my Heavenly Father, Daddy… not going to happen right now!)

18. I have to deal with the fact that none of my family members, who were not direct abusers, stepped up to protect me.

Some of these things I still struggle with, others are more heartbreaks of the past.  I could probably list 100 reasons but I just really wanted to share with you a sampling of why it’s so hard for trafficked girls to “get” this idea of family and why they just don’t immediately launch into new lives.  Everyone has their own broken stories of a tragic Thanksgiving or crisis-filled Christmas with aunts, grandfathers and siblings alike but I believe there’s a special brokenness with people who suffered abuse of any kind within the family unit.  You thoughts?

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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