Every time I speak or share my story to a journalist, whether they are affiliated with newspaper, local tv or national networks, the one question I tend to get asked a lot is: “Since your trafficking experience happened in the mid ’90’s, what took you so long to tell it now?” My answer has always remain the same; rejection. “Human Trafficking has become a hot topic and I doubt it’s 100% sympathy, education and awareness, there are organizations, people and even the media are sensationalizing it, while there are those of us who wish to escape it. When I talk about rejection I’m not talking about media, organizations and activist rejecting us; I’m talking about being rejected from what you believe, what you witness as a victim and that no one believes you. A trigger from a past abuse from an authoritative figure and the response you get, “Are you sure this happened to you? Maybe you misunderstood, you don’t know him that well.”
I remember when I first step foot into independence from my trafficker, it was a very frightening experience, there was apart of me that have thought about going back to him. I didn’t care about the abuse it wasn’t about that it was the one place I knew I wouldn’t be rejected and just knowing what was consistent. I know some of you won’t get what I’m saying, but just read what I’m explaining here. Everyday of our lives, we were conditioned to a certain thought, certain behavior, certain belief and certain adaptation to what life is. We didn’t think for ourselves, we literally became robots. We waited till we were summoned, we waited too see what would happen next and we waited for the next man or woman to berate us in a sexual degrading factor because that’s what we were taught to believe, that was the norm. Rejection plays a huge part in our lives as survivors, we were rejected the moment our life existed on this planet, the people we put our ultimate trust have verified that we don’t matter.
Do you remember when you would tell momma or daddy that Uncle/Neighbor (so and so) did this to you when you were little and had no idea that it was a private area? What happened when you told on them? Rejection, at a young age not only were we distorted with the thought of healthy sexuality, but we were too traumatized to even figure what sex really was. We had mixed emotions not knowing what just happened and when we are being persecuted by the ones we put our trust in and we follow our heart saying, “This isn’t right.” Guess what happens? We get rejected that our feelings don’t matter. So, as we get older we go through it again, but it goes something like this: “Same script, different cast”- Whitney Houston & Deborah Cox, thank you ladies for that phrase.
When abuse touches a child, it follows like a plague, but nobody seems to realize or have figured out just how to escape it. When we go through revolving door of rejection as a child, by the time we become adults, we become so afraid of rejection that we build a wall to prevent anyone coming in, even if the slight possibility that we could be wrong and the person could truly love us, does not seem to matter when in comparison to the amount of rejection we received in our lives. You take YEARS of abuse, rejection, torture and abandonment and you have us take a leap of faith to one person or maybe even a few to say, “Trust me”.
That’s a very foreign ground you’re asking us to step in, so when we enter in your world without hesitancy, remember it has nothing to do with trusting you it’s all about embracing the worst and if the worst doesn’t happen, we’ll create it to make it happen. Create meaning ‘self-sabotage’ because we have imbedded in our minds we don’t DESERVE love. To bring a victim into your world, you must make baby steps and allow them to cry, scream, get angry and access the emotions they are going through (with appropriate supervision, counseling and advocacy and support), when you give them an expectation to “heal” in less then a year or even less then 30 days, you’re only setting them up for a fall. They don’t know what “healthy” looks like or even imagine what it is.
Many times it will result to them feeling like a ‘failure’ because they couldn’t achieve your goals for them, rather than them having the empowerment to create their own, or you kicking them out. With those scenarios which most likely occurs in the rescue of these women and children, they return to a pattern they become familiar with, remember, once they leave you, they will most likely resort back to old behaviors, people who are negative influence and even their traffickers/pimps so be cautious and patient when you do the work of rescuing. Don’t pursue with a naive perception, but an open-mind and a loving heart.
If you want to learn more in details or certain steps, I do provide training to advocates, ministers and women in the ministry to help them be better equipped with utilities they can use to help shape these survivor’s lives in a healthier path to success. What I educate is not a naive approach nor is it sugar coated.