Coming out of the pain of being a victim of human trafficking or being a buyer and longing to stop exploiting/raping women and children does not have to be a secret when we embrace the truth of where we’ve been. But we need to get to that broad place of emotional and psychological wholeness. It is a painful quandary to think you know where you want to go in life but to be paralyzed, crouched in a corner with a secret anguish that stops all forward movement.
It is also a strange America and a profoundly distorted world when a pedophile, a porn addicted buyer of prostituted children and women, may desire to get help, but is too ashamed, cowardly and ill to take the first step to achieving their freedom and his own.
Sometimes, it is a man who knows in his heart that he is committing a criminal and soul-destroying act—but he still buys children’s and women’s bodies for sex. He rationalizes his crime by our culture’s compromising values, the pervasive devaluation of women and overall acceptance of violence against women regulated by the inaction of our cultures.
Our obsessively overly-sexed society has forgotten that the buying and selling of female bodies has nothing to do with sex in the first place. On the contrary, the word sex comes from a root word that means intimacy. There is no intimacy in the purchase of the this so-called sex act, only degradation for both parties.
Even survivors of exploitation, once freed from being prostituted, will often spend decades trying to recover, trying to take their place among the accomplished, successful people in our society.
Does it matter that after I was raped, I eventually ran away from home and was trafficked into the backseat of a car? That lead to being trafficked in an apartment, which turned into a brothel. That snatched my truth from me. Does it matter to those that don’t understand that rape is not sex and sex trafficking is being repeatedly raped. Who, then, can understand what it really takes to heal from that? We, the survivors, are “hidden in plain sight” even from ourselves. Many in society are blind to the destruction wreaked on our bodies and minds. Victims and survivors rarely comprehend the extent of the damage to psyche and soul by all this violence. In others words, “we do not always know that we don’t know.”
But we can fight this horror. We only have to open our eyes to the destruction being wreaked on both the victim of trafficking, and–we must remember–upon the perpetrator as well. For, as wise souls remind us, evil-doers are harming themselves as well as their victims, which unfortunately creates more of the same. Remember, we must get to the root issues and realize that the world around us cannot define who we are because we as its caretakers shape our world in the first place.
Brook Bello is a powerful and sought out abolitionist and spokesperson, who has even keynoted at he White House as well as a trainer and victim/survivor mentor who, in love and respect, shouts against, prostituted women, children, human trafficking and its root causes, also related to social injustice.