Why the Super Bowl is not so Super.
When I was young my memory of the Super Bowl was when our family would get together, finger food would be surrounded on the coffee table, my family would be split in two, rooting for each of the team and hearing the men roar in the living room. My mom and her friends would be in the dining room having their coffee/tea time, while me and my sisters along with the other kids we would play outside for hours on end.
As an adult the Super Bowl brings a different set of memories. I was never involved in the trade around the Super Bowl, but I do know that it is one of the largest events of the year not only for sports, but also for the trade. This has become more openly discussed in recent years, advocates have brought much needed attention to the inner workings of human trafficking around large sporting events. Just this past Tuesday the US Congress passed a dozen pieces of legislation aimed to address this issue. A lot of advocates are crying foul, claiming that it is too little too late. I am not going to criticize the efforts of our lawmakers for trying to fix a problem, although I do have very strong opinions about these measures. Instead of being critical, I have decided to do something myself and step out of the box that I have been shoved into since last June.
I have had been enduring a very public battle with a Florida based advocacy group since last summer. I have talked about this experience through this blog before, I have held back a lot. I am ready to tell my story in detail and finally stand up for myself.
The thing is, I was able to escape my trafficking situation a long time ago. What we aren’t talking about as a network of advocates is how the pattern of victimization continues. When people ask me to tell my story, they want to hear about how I was forced into modern day slavery. The nitty gritty part of my story that happened while I was captive is hard for people to hear, but it is the element of my life that most people want to hear about. The broader public isn’t interested in hearing about my life after trafficking for the most part.
People want to believe the Hollywood version of my story. They want to think that “Eden” escaped and found her family and lived happily ever after. In reality, that is not what happened in my real life, and that the vast majority of trafficking victims never see a happy ending. That is why today, Super Bowl Sunday, I am kicking off a blog series where I will talk about my story in detail. Today, I am making the decision to pick up my life and move on. I am not a victim, despite the fact that I have been continuously victimized. I am an overcomer, and I will not be silenced or exploited any longer.
I want all of my friends and readers to enjoy this day. It is a happy time, where we gather with friends and gorge ourselves on finger foods and beer. Today’s traditions are full of pride, community, and joy. My intent is not to put a damper on the Super Bowl. But I would like to ask you today to come back tomorrow and the rest of the week and allow me to share my story with you.