Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Superbowl Human Trafficking Myth?

  The impending game day is nigh.  I for one do not watch much sports but, I always enjoy the Super Bowl. This year my enjoyment will be tainted with the knowing that this event is drawing many pimps and prostitutes and worst of all sex trafficking victims to "service" the public. 
 According to it's all a myth. Sadly, they are not totally wrong.  While Snopes totally ignores the sex trafficking  industry in their article to allegedly expose this "myth," their facts are correct. As you read the article, Snopes writes of several Superbowl events in which authorities did not find an abnormal amount of prostitutes to arrest at the event. It also acknowledges that the number of  prostitutes that were arrested were not new or out of town prostitutes.

Dear public, let's not kid ourselves and pretend that the majority of these victims are made victims by this event... many of them have been in the sex trafficking ring for a while. 
Let's also not pretend like Super Bowl day is the only day we have to make an impact on this rising issue. Even now deals are being made for prostitutes and sex traffic slaves to service 25-50 different clients on the day of the Super Bowl.
These "professional rapes", as I call them, will not be taking place at the MetLife stadium. That would be asking to get caught for a pimp or prostitute. No, instead hotel rooms have already been booked. If you're going to look for trafficking victims at the actual Super Bowl you may not find many. This is not a pimp's first rodeo and and they won't be that "out in the open" with their "property."
 Excuse the casualness of my speech about this matter but, I must remove my emotions to keep this post accurate and effective.
This is a hard subject to not get emotional about. If we want to effectively stop the sex trafficking that is already taking place around the Super Bowl event, we must think like businessmen and women. That is what pimps and ring leaders of the sex trafficking industry are doing. They are not sending their victims to street corners to be picked up. No, arrangements are made in advance... someone who knows someone has a number a potential client can call for "services." Professional rape sessions have already been booked and the victims body's are being prepped as we speak to please the clientele. That's right, these victims are being being plucked, waxed, dyed and sprayed for this very event.
In this way Snopes is correct. Sex trafficking at the actual Superbowl event and location is a myth.
However, what is NOT a myth, is the Super Bowl does help pimps by bringing in a high volume of potential customers. Therefore it stands to reason that the supply of sex slaves needs to meet the demands of these traveling johns.  Again, hotels rooms have already been booked and so have services for clients. It's not just in New York and New Jersey. It's been happening all across the nation as well.
You won't see children on the streets, they will be behind closed doors. You wont see alley ways filled with prostitutes giving head to their drunken client. This kind of thinking about the sex trafficking industry is weak at best. It's worse than this kind of scene.  Way worse.

According to the Huffington post the Attorney General believes the Superbowl is the single largest event for human trafficking. He's not wrong but here's an even bigger headline. EVERYDAY IS THE LARGEST HUMAN TRAFFICKING EVENT! Let's not lose site of that as we band together to battle this monstrosity. Wherever you plan to spend game day or any day, learn the signs of human trafficking.  According to  some signs of potential human traffic victims are as follows :

-Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes

-Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid

- Avoids eye contact

- Appears malnourished

- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

- Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address

- Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in

 These are just a few. If you suspect sex trafficking is happening I urge you to use the following resources: The National Human Trafficking Resource Center anytime 24/7: 1-888-3737-888​​ or to text to "BeFree" or 233733​​. 
(Provided by this The Huffington Post article)


Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Not So Sexy Truth.

Rape is a prevalent issue in society today.  Attackers have gotten more brazen with their crimes and unfortunately the justice here in America and just about everywhere else has not.
 In many countries reporting rape is literally to face death. If you report rape and it can be proven that you were, it does not protect you from adultery charges. In countries like Afghanistan such charges are punishable by death.
In my own case, I never had to worry about death when I reported. At least not by law. I feared my rapist might try to come after if I ever reported. I feared being stalked and attacked. My husband was very reassuring he would always protect me. My son was still growing in my tummy at the time when I finally reported. I thought about him long and hard. What kind of life would he face? How would he feel about a mother who never reported a rapist? Maybe he would still love me, likely he would, but how much more proud would he be of me knowing I faced my fears and reported? When I reported my rapist the D.A. never took my case. I was never even contacted directly by the D.A.'s office. The detective on my case finally told me nothing was going to be done. My rapist got away with it and it was not for lack of trying on my part or my detectives part. It was very disheartening. Before I reported I thought I had so much to fear about this very result. After reporting and NOTHING coming of my case (likely due to lack of physical evidence since I did not report for over a year after escaping my rapist) I wasn't near as destroyed as I thought I would be. I was proud of myself. I was upset too but, now it is on record, my side of the story. If anyone else EVER comes forward my story will help them find justice.  My fears about reporting were valid and many survivors know what I am talking about. In America rapists get away with it too often, or their sentences are never enough. The threat we face socially by reporting are not near as life threatening as our minds try to tell us.
However in other countries like Bangladesh for example, they give women who report being raped a "two-finger test"   According to The 2010 HRW Report entitled “Dignity on Trial”,  the two-fingered test is  descried as the following..."The finger test is supposed to assess whether girls and women are 'virgins' or 'habituated to sexual intercourse'." Can you imagine the humiliation?

In Cambodia if you're going to rape just make sure you have your checkbook if you get caught. Cambodia Amnesty International  did a report Breaking the Silence – Sexual Violence in Cambodia   released in 2010, which examined the situation of sexual violence in Cambodia. The report found that, in the small minority of rapes which are reported, a very common response is for law-enforcement officials, including police and court staff, to arrange extralegal out-of-court 'agreements' between the victim and the perpetrator (or their families), in which the rapist pays a sum of money which is shared between the authorities and the victim (and her family), after which the victim has to withdraw any criminal complaint against the perpetrator, and public prosecutors close the case.

In China, men rape out of boredom and over 70% of them do not suffer any legal repercussions for it.
The United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence

In Denmark just pray you didn't marry a rapist. According to a study by Denmark Amnesty International.  "the definition of rape is very narrow and abusive sexual intercourse that falls outside the boundaries of rape is dealt under several other statutes which explicitly state that the person commits a crime if he engages in "extra-marital sexual intercourse" with the victim, therefore excluding married victims."

Egypt is another place you better hope you do not marry a rapist. While rape is illegal, marital rape is not a crime.  Egypt Center for Women's Rights and others suggestion the number of rape cases is over 200,000 each year.

 In Ethiopia if you are married, it's likely you're married to a rapist. Ethiopia is the home of marriage by abduction. Men kidnap girls as young as 11 years old, hide them and rape them until they become pregnant. Meet Melu Mika her story is all too common in her country. At 13years old (in 2007) she had already been forced into marriage twice.

In India rape is the most common crime against women. It is estimated a new rape case is filed every 20-22 minutes there. How many more cases are going UN-reported? According to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013  Penile and non-penile penetration in bodily orifices of a woman by a man, without the consent of the woman, constitutes the offense of rape. Before 2013 rape cases had doubled between 1990 and 2008.

 In Mexico before the millennium, rape penalties were reduced if (in the eyes of law) the victim "provoked" their attacker. Laws have since changed but, it's been a slow process. Mexico is still heavily plagued with rape cases within the catholic church organization and gang rapes.

In Nigeria, marital rape is NOT illegal.

Pakistan is NO place for women especially if they are alone. In 2013 the Council of Islamic Ideology   dismissed DNA evidence submitted in rape cases and without witnesses it was not rape.

The United Nations Multi-country Study on Men and Violence in Papua New Guinea did a study and found 71% of the men participants reported raping because they felt a sense of sexual entitlement.

South Africa holds the highest incidences of child and infant rape in the world. Authorities believe the amount of unreported child and infant rapes is ten times higher than the 67,000  reported cases in 2000 alone. IRIN The humanitarian news organization says an estimated 500,000 rapes are committed annually in South Africa.

Sweden holds the highest number of reported incidence in all of Europe.

Tanzania rape statistics look much like those here in the U.S. 92% of perpetrators in reported cases knew the victim.

Turkey is full of victim shaming mentality. It is a commonly shared view that the way a woman dresses temps men to rape her.

In the United Kingdom rape is not seen as a gender neutral crime. It is a man committing an act of sexual violence against another human being. In other words women are incapable of rape.
According to a study done by a British Crime Survey in 2006-07 only 1 in every 100 reported rape cases led to a conviction.

Finally here at home in the United States where there is a rape allegation in the news almost daily no matter where in the country you live. Here are the stats form the U.S. Bureau of Justice :
  • From 1995 to 2010, the estimated annual rate of female rape or sexual assault victimizations declined 58%, from 5.0 victimizations per 1,000 females age 12 or older to 2.1 per 1,000.
  • In 2005-10, females who were age 34 or younger, who lived in lower income households, and who lived in rural areas experienced some of the highest rates of sexual violence.
  • In 2005-10, the offender was armed with a gun, knife, or other weapon in 11% of rape or sexual assault victimizations.
  • In 2005-10, 78% of sexual violence involved an offender who was a family member, intimate partner, friend, or acquaintance
 Also see stats from RAINN.ORG

I write all of these facts because it is important for us to see rape is worldwide and very much alive.
It is not hiding in dark corners of the world, it's happening in parks in broad daylight. It's happening in your backyard and even in some of your homes.  It's happening to those you love. For some it's happened to YOU. I understand why rape goes so under reported. I applaud those who do report and support those who can't bring themselves to do so.

I know this is the not the "sexy" or appealing thing to say but, this is my blog so I'm saying it.
It is my opinion, that until we become a society that would rather side with the alleged victim who "cried wolf", instead of being wrong about a rapist, we will not see rape rates lowered a great deal. Rape culture will prevail until this happens.

Rape is NOT gender neutral, it is not something that happens only to the poor or poorly dressed.
Rapist are NOT hiding in the dark, they are hiding out in the open. Rapists are in our justice systems protecting each other. Rape is not a 3rd world country problem it's a human race problem.

This is the truth.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We matter.

I started this blog over a year ago as a place to work out my recovery from my lifetime for abuse and incest. I have gone from promising myself I would take my deep dark secrets to my grave, to sharing my truths with the world.
I was abused by my father on nearly every level throughout my life. I was instrumentally raped by a half brother at a very young age for several years. As an adult I was a rape victim by more than one attacker. I was also once again an incest rape victim, but this time by my father's first cousin for over a year.

My life has been complicated and messy for most of my existence.
When my mother was given the truth time and again her response each time was to blame me.
My mother believed I was an over sexed child and she was in denial about how or why. She never called me over sexed but, it is the term she meant when she called me flirtatious and sinful.

I believed everything that had happened to me growing up was my fault. I believed my mother, that I was a bad child, an over sexed child. I believed I was at fault for being molested, raped, verbally and physically abused throughout my life. I believed I brought shame on my family when I talked about it and it was also my fault. I did not believe I had any value or rights to my own life.
My body was at the mercy of whomever was strong enough to bully it. My mind was under the control of whomever frightened me enough to over power me. I have lived a pathetic existence.
My family has all but disowned me and made sure to let me know my separation from them was on me. I have been told that I need to move on and stop talking about the past.
I need to stop punishing my parents for what others did to me.(Because, yeah, they had no part in abusing me.... oh wait, that's right... they DID.) I am being selfish by telling the world about what happened instead of my family. (Who wouldn't listen to what I had to say anyway.)
My family could accuse me of  being selfish, manipulative, over sexed, shameful etc and get away with it, only IF I didn't matter. They could use me as the scapegoat who doesn't matter. They could throw all of their denial soaked lies about me to the world but, the problem with that is... I do in fact matter.
I would have no right to tell my story, if I did not matter.
I would have no right to hug, listen to and shed tears with other survivors if only... I did not matter.
I would be shaming my family if it were not for the one simple fact.... I DO MATTER.
My story matters, the truth about my life matters.

I have started the journey of recovery in large part because of my husband and son. My marriage matters. My son matters and I want to be a better me, for them.
One of the biggest steps that I have had to repeat time and again is learning that I have value and I matter too.
 I know my family will be back with more accusations against me for speaking out about my life and truth, because in their eyes I don't matter. It would be easier for them if I was gone. It has been easier for them to not have me around back home.

I matter and my dear fellow survivors, you matter too.
Tell your story, let go of your secrets, embrace recovery and a new, better you.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It's My Day

It has been a while since my last post.

Sometimes it is good to take a break and figure some things out.
Healing is sometimes much like a revolving door; only it is a revolving door that can act as an elevator taking you up and down as you circulate once again through the same hurts and trials.
Sometimes I feel like I am going through the same old hurts, only each time it's a different level or perspective. Like I said, a revolving door that also acts like an elevator and I am still going up (or down) while going through old trials again and again... that is what healing can feel like.
I guess what I am trying to say is, that is how my life has felt and why I have not posted in a while.
I have been dealing with things I thought I had healed only to discover another part that needed more work and healing.

One of these things is resentment. Honestly, resentment is a choice until it reaches a certain point and then it feels like it takes over. I have plenty of reasons to feel resentful. At the end of the day though, I cannot ignore the fact that all those things, are things that I can change now.  
 For example, I grew up home schooled and by home schooled I mean, past third grade, I taught myself everything I know. My parents failed in educating me. I was pulled from public school because my mother felt God had called her to home school all of her children.
Here's the thing, IF you really believe God calls you to do something then you should sell out and do it or tell Him, "uh sorry, you got the wrong one." Because I promise you, God did not call you to take the first step, stop and then say, "Okay, it's yours now I did my part."
This is exactly what my parents did. They took all of the kids that were in school out and the younger kids started kindergarten at home. I was a social butterfly. I had friends, I loved my teachers and most of all I LOVED learning. I was an honor roll student and aspired to stay an honor roll student with perfect attendance forever...well, until I was to graduate high school anyway. 
 When my parents pulled me from school I was depressed for months. I cried a lot because I missed school and my friends. I had to teach myself and it seemed the biggest lesson I learned was, you don't know what you don't know.  My father used this quote all the time but, did nothing to change it for me.
He had an education, my father. He had a degree and opportunities growing up, yet did not provide the same for his kids. My mother barely made it out of high school. Aside from my parents education or lack thereof, neither of them possessed the will power to teach us. My mother read us books and had a wipe off board that she wrote scriptures or lessons on to leave up for days at a time. We took trips to local small town museums and this was extent of our education. There was never a consistent routine and whenever my grandparents called upon us for help at the ranch, we dropped whatever we were doing to go. This lack of structure was problematic for me. I am not a personality type who does well without structure and routine. All this to say that my upbringing has given me great insecurity.  When I "graduated" (was old enough to say I was done with high school.) I immediately went into the work force. I tried later to go to college. Actually, I went to college successfully, sort of,  despite being self taught and lacking any actual math skills. Truth is, I took a remedial math class at a community college. I failed it twice. My math instructor spent HOURS with me in her office teaching and tutoring me. She was so patient and encouraging but, when it came test time, I would freeze.  She told me she could tell it was psychological. She said it looked like I was waiting for someone to hit me for giving the wrong answer. She was right, I was frozen in fear at the memory of my fathers voice calling me stupid. This has left me extremely resentful.

Someday I want to be an inspiring leader, not just to my fellow survivors but to people everywhere.
I have always felt I need a formal education for success like that. Maybe my measurement of what it takes to become successful is wrong. However, there is no denying that a good education never hurts.
I am facing a dilema of sorts in my life. I want to be something great but, I am so used to taking the path of least resistance, what I call the less scary way. I am afraid to go back to school and fail remedial math again. I am afraid to try and pick something to be in life. I fear being locked in and unhappy. I am good at many things and with even a little bit of education I could be the best at something. My confidence is all but shot though. I have to admit that I don't believe in myself to make it through school. I have been too prideful to admit my fears and failures. It has been EASY to say I just did not have the finances to go to school.

So, here I am facing more effects from the lack of education that was NOT my fault --and I say it in the past tense because now I am an adult and it is on me to fight and get an education or not. I can continue with my training as a nurse aide and try to be content with that and being a good wife and mom. There is nothing wrong with that if I choose that and no one would fault me for it. Yet, inside my heart of hearts... there is a hope in me that cries for more. It's been stifled for too long by fear and pride. I have let resentment steal enough of what I could have someday been.

It is a new year, more than that it is a new day. It's my day. I get to choose my routine and structure. It is my day to learn how to use a calculator. It is my day to learn how to read a face clock. It is my day to take a baby step and set a goal.

Survivors, it's so easy to choose resentment because it is less scary than facing forgiveness. There is no shame if you are not ready to go there yet. The only shame is if we choose to stay in our resentment and let it steal from us even one more moment from who we COULD someday be. I can not sit here typing this and lead you to believe that I forgive my parents for my lack of education. I don't.
I do however, forgive myself for being prideful and afraid all this time about it.
It's my day.