Friday, October 7, 2011

Runaways, Abuse and Prostitution

"Studies of children and adolescents who run away from home show that many are running away from abuse. One study of runaway youths found that 73% or females and 38% of males reported having been abused. A 1998 study of 26 teenagers revealed that most reported that they left their homes only as a last resort and after having been physically, sexually or emotionally abused.
Ironically, some teenagers may actually increase their chances of abuse by leaving home.. Runaways are often easy prey for adults seeking to lure them into prostitution. Unable to secure a job that pays enough to support them, both males and females are enticed by the promise of large sums of money in exchange for engaging in illicit activities. In addition to sexual exploitation, youths living on the streets are often robbed or assaulted. Most runaways do not live far from home, and several studies have revealed that the wide majority reside less than 100 miles from their families" (The Encyclopedia of Child Abuse 2nd edition page 198).

Tests Show That We Don't Believe Victims

We just don't believe they are innocent...

"Teenage girls are particularly vulnerable to negative judgments regarding their credibility. In simulated sexual abuse trials where only the age of the victim was manipulated, researchers found that jurors tended to find girls over twelve years of age to be significantly less credible than adolescent girls under the age of twelve. As researchers polled their jurors, they found that as victims entered adolescence, jurors perceived them as partly responsible for the abuse they were subjected to, and that belief correlated with a decrease in their perceived credibility... In this respect, the skepticism people demonstrate toward teenage sexual abuse victims is similar to the skepticism that greets adult victims of acquaintance rape. However, even if adult women face serious obstacles in pressing claims of rape, teenage incest victims face even more" (The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology in an article written by Leslie Feiner, as cited in The Encyclopedia of Child Abuse 2nd edition).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Desire for More

There's been a lot going on in the last months. I've moved out of my house and onto my college campus. There is this little bug inside my heart that keeps bringing me back to my original pain: Sex Trafficking. No matter the distance I get, I can never forget the heartbeat inside me that bleeds for those who are being held against their will...

I have a hard time wrapping my brain around anyone out there ever wanting to become a stripper/ prostitute. The reason I even bring this up is because one day, a girl I knew when I was about 12 years old, told her brother in law that she wanted to be a stripper when she grew up. At the time, she didn't understand it, but she had been so overly sexualized by every man around her that the only thing she knew how to express was her need for love and attention. There was only one way that men gave her that attention back then, and that was through sexual advances. Whether or not they ever did anything to her, she knew at that age that she could use sex or sexuality to get what she wanted/needed. What she really needed was what every little girl wanted and needed: love, attention, adoration, nurturing... etc. she needed something that she was almost incapable of getting because no one else around her provided those things either. So, yes, she did "want" to grow up to be a stripper; If you can even call that a desire.

There are women, children, and men standing right in your midst who are suffering from isolation, depression, drug and alcohol addictions, suicidal thoughts, and so on because they are completely unloved, even hated, by society. The God that we know loves them. So why don't we?

I'm becoming involved in a group called LiNK (Liberty in North Korea) that helps out refugees from North Korea obtain freedom. Many girls end up free from North Korea only to be sold in China. They come from one form of oppression right into another. Please do what you can and donate.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

Reminder: You Are a Broke College Student

Since I'm abandoning all logic and refusing sleep - I'll write. Better yet, I'll blog. Woot.

So I haven't even gone on this site in such a long time, I spend most of the time in blogger on my other blog. Whoops!

The thing about this blog is that it reminds me that I've disappointed myself. I thought I'd be so much further along by now. I really just want to be involved, but I don't feel like there's anything for me to jump into yet besides school.

I read an article about Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher the other day. Those two are a match made in heaven, let me tell you what. I really love the fact that they are so involved in ending sex trafficking. I love it so much, I don't know what to do with myself.

I could seriously allow everything lazy in me to say, "they've got this covered." But that wouldn't be right. I wish there was some way to make my time in school go faster. I also wish that there was a better way to pay for school, but I'm sure that every student since the beginning of University has said that.

I wish that, right now... in this moment...I could go. Where? I don't know. But I would love to just throw myself into raiding brothels, or volunteering at the Hope Center. I could go undercover for an investigation and find high-rolling pimps and johns. I could do it all. Tell me when, Lord!

And this is why I don't write in here. I never seem to have anything to say besides: SEND ME!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

God wants to rebuild you - Treasures

God wants to rebuild you...

“Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O Israel!” Jeremiah 31:4

When we begin to turn to God, to bring Him the rubble of our lives, often that’s when we feel more struggles and challenges come. God’s plan for us is to rebuild and restore. But the enemy has a plan too. The Bible tells us that he is a “thief” who comes to “steal, kill and destroy.” His plan for you is the opposite of God’s (John 10:10). He wants your life to remain in ruins.

Sometimes it might seem like as soon as we try to take a step forward with God, circumstances in our life become overwhelming and we feel helpless to overcome them. It’s natural at these times to wonder where God is. We wonder if He really wants to help us. If He loves us and wants to help us change, why does life remain so difficult?

In the Old Testament, the book of Ezra tells the story of how the people of God got together to rebuild the Temple and the city around it so that they could worship God again. During those times, a city with high walls protected the inhabitants from outside attacks. The strength of a city’s walls was the basis of its citizens’ freedom. The people of God came under many attacks while they were trying to rebuild and several times the work was stopped. Their enemies “discouraged the people (of God) and frightened them from building” (Ezra 4:4).

Your enemy also knows that if your foundations are repaired and your walls are rebuilt that he won’t be able tear you down as easily. He wants to keep you as a rubble pile so that you won’t be able to fend off his attacks. God’s plan is to rebuild you, make your foundations firm, and make you like a strong city.

You may come under attack, you may feel that the odds are stacked against you so high that you’ll never rise again. But, as the people in the story of Ezra found out, God “has His eye on you.” If something tries to stop the work He is doing in you, He will send His power to overthrow all opposition. (Ezra 5:5, 6:7-12).

If you feel like you are having one bad day after the next, and you are wondering if God is really with you, don’t be discouraged. The enemy wants to frighten you away from building your life into a stronghold where he can’t enter. Keep returning to the work. God will protect you and provide all the materials necessary. He will build your walls high so that you can be free. God is rebuilding you!

Written by Larissa Zdon for Treasures

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Still Waiting???

There are so many things in this life that I don't think God would have ever wanted us to experience. I mean... of course he didn't, but I can't imagine being in his position knowing where we were heading the second we decided to eat of the fruit.

I haven't wanted pity my whole life. I hate pity. However, I've always wanted someone to empathize. Someone to just sort of understand me. I'm highly aware that there are many people in this world who have not experienced a millisecond of the pain that I've gone through.

But then there are those who do understand. What I suppose gets me is that these people are the ones who speak about it the least. No one ever knows how to help or what to do because now one really knows what's going on inside of you. I'm not talking about asking for pity. I'm talking about allowing people to enter in.

Being a victim of abuse as well as a person who has abused others and myself, I know what it takes to allow someone in. I realize that this happens to be the scariest thing that I could have ever done. I still only let a few people in. Little do they know how hard it truly is for me. I know that my surrogate parents understand, but I don't think anyone else really gets it. And that has to be okay.

My biggest fear for victims of abuse is that they are so eager to be "normal" that they try to throw themselves back into relationships as though nothing ever happened. Here is the truth: when a person grows up healthy, they understand something that an abuse victim doesn't - not everyone is healthy or safe. Being a person who has experienced very few safe people, I know that it is easy to become convinced that everyone must be like this (making you feel bad, guilty, awkward, afraid, confused, et cetera). Not everyone is like that and we shouldn't be so quick to let down our defenses or lower our expectations for friends and family.

Here is the example that every Christian who has not studied this topic loves to bring up, "What about Jesus' example? He loved everyone." Yes, Jesus did love everyone, but he knew boundaries like no one's business. Jesus had 12 disciples, 3 of whom he was close to, none of which were allowed to step on his toes (and not because he was egotistical or a gangster). Jesus knew that there were subjects, such as his fears, that were meant for God's shoulders alone. Yes, Jesus spent 3 years with all of these men and told them many things that were quite personal. They were men so they probably spent a lot of time talking about personal subjects that close friends would discuss, none of which would be considered when speaking in a bible study. However, Jesus never allowed his love of his friends, disciples, and confidants to become more than his love for the Father.
In Matthew 16:23 Jesus turns to Peter and literally calls him Satan and tells him he is being a stumbling block. This is probably the last thing any one of us would want to tell a friend, right? That is only because we often consider God's Word second to a friend's feelings. This person is right in front of you, tangible one would consider. They have been there for you through all of those times when you had NO one else. Let me ask you this: Where was God? Obviously, God was there the entire time, but who did we turn to?
Don't get me wrong, God gives us people to comfort us, or there would pretty much be no reason to have relationships. We are there for eachother...
All this to say that, victims of abuse often allow opinions given by others to overrule things such as rationality, instincts, common sense, intellectual knowledge, and the like. Someone's idea that we should be quick to reconcile is completely subjective. Let me argue my case.
1. God is God. God knows what you are going to do and when you will do it. He died for you to let you live with him in eternity.
2. Humans are not and never will be God. We are also not Superman nor Superwoman. We cannot fix situations or people. All we can do is pray and use what God has supplied.
3. We all know when we are or are not in allignment with God's will. How? We just do. Are you in communication with Him through prayer and the Word? Do you have people in your life that you trust to hold you accountable? If not, you know that you're not all in for Him right now.
4. If we know when we are in allignment with God, He will be quick to lead us where He wants us and when we get where He has designated, we know it. Have you ever been standing somewhere that you weren't really supposed to be in the first place and someone that really needed a question about God answered came up to you, to which you provided them an answer- no matter how small it may have been?
5. If He is quick to lead us where we should go, then don't you think that when we get there He will provide all the necessary resources to carry out such a task, no matter the size?
6. If He is the ONLY one providing the resources for your tasks, can't you imagine that if there is no provision for this particular task and it causing a break in you (and I don't mean a "getting closer to God" break) that this isn't really a place that God was really hoping you'd stop along your journey?

Now, I can explain this until I am blue in the face, but for a behavioral health major and a follower of Christ, it makes complete sense.
Here is my best example:
You love your family, but your father has been abusive your whole life. After some time, you go get some counseling to resolve pent-up anger. During your sessions you realize that, while you love your father with all that is within you, being around him makes you angry, hurt, sick to your stomach, et cetera. Any counselor with a brain would suggest at this point that you consider taking a season away from him so that you can focus on you.

Reasons for focusing on you that most people don't actually consider:
1. You will never let your anger and pain get resolved as long as you are focused on maintaining a "Christian" or even just a loving relationship with the person who has hurt you so deeply.

2. As long as you are focused on them, you ARE trying to fix the situation and not allowing God to deal with the person in His timing.

3. You are incapable of fixing anyone. You cannot even fix yourself. You can only work through problems in your mind and slowly allow God to change your heart.
(*Notice: every time we try to fix ourselves, we always come back to the same problem... think about it - reference Hosea 2, Israel seeks Baal and throws away everything God has given, God buys them back... and/or the Prodigal Son Parable)

4. God's Word states that we must love others as we love ourselves. Often times we don't really love ourselves, sometimes we won't even like ourselves. We will continually take care of our necessities, even when we are at war within our hearts and minds. This does not give us the right to be spiteful to our neighbors since we often abuse ourselves as well. It just means that we all allowed to have the freedom to process and grieve before we jump in with both feet again.

6. People who take advantage of other people are not being good brothers or sisters. (This does not apply to people outside of faith in Christ). If a brother sins, you are called to hold him accountable, no questions asked. When a brother is sinning against you, loving him would mean that you LITERALLY call out his sin.

Matthew 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and point out his fault. If he listens to you, you have won him over."

Frankly, this applies to all relationships, but most people don't agree because we are all so very tolerant of sin. You should not allow someone to walk all over you then say that they love you the very next day, it just doesn't work that way.

Proverbs 27:6 "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."

Having taken the time to focus on yourself and getting your life in allignment with God's will and learning how to have safe boundaries (What I would call Jesus boundaries) you are now free to be in your abuser's life without them having complete control over your emotions, thoughts, actions, and decisions. When you are hurt you begin seeking wise counsel, rather than trying to make the abuser understand your pain. When you are afraid, you speak with a trusted friend who will build you up in the Lord rather than someone who will tell you to forgive and forget, essentially making things worse.
At this point, any change that takes place within the abuser has nothing to do with you (it never did) but now you can understand it and see why it had nothing to do with you.

Something that most people do not understand is that any given person will do whatever it is that they are doing, with or without other people around. Just because they get near you, doesn't mean that they are acting like that because of you. People who are in a "love is blind" scenerio are more often prey to this than others. We see that our spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, partner, or friend is saying incredibly mean comments and being generally hurtful. This is where we convince ourselves that it is just us being nit-picky or judgmental. Maybe they are just having a bad day or maybe it's something we said. All of these could be possible, however, that doesn't matter. Any person who loves you in every sense of the word would not want you to hurt or anyone else around them to be hurt by their actions. These actions are not only not loving, but they are not subject to one's company or isolation. This person is that way, period.

Matthew 15:11 "What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them."
What is coming out is already in their heart. It is just being manifested.

And all of this comes back to the fact that we cannot just throw ourselves back into relationships with those who hurt us. Yes, we forgive. Yes, we try to move on. No, moving on does not entail becoming your abusers best friend again.

Something that I want to clarify is that I do not intend for this to be "the deal breaker" in your relationships. I know that some people reading this will think, "this is my sign. I should leave him/her!" That's not what this is for. This is for all people who are/ are desiring to follow Christ and be a healthy example to others. Our biggest mistakes when applying information like this is NOT VERIFYING it... read the Word, study some reference books, talk with a counselor, have people in your life who love you and have dealt with something like this before - someone who can give you advise and hold you accountable. DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. I am not God. I have no authority. My desire is to see people use this to understand God's heart a little more and apply various levels of this to their life and walk with Christ.

Well, back to the fact that I keep watching these people walking around like a zombie seeking life, then giving up - rinse, repeat. It breaks my heart.

I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. No clue where I want to live or how I want ot use my degree. All I know is this: when I see a little girl who has been treated like a grown woman, I want to hold her. When I see a little boy who has missed his daddy for so long and doesn't understand that he isn't coming back, I want recruit a man for the position of loving father. When I see an elderly lady holding a door, I want to open it for her. When I see an older gentleman walking alone, I want to walk with him. When I watch a baby crying, knowing that the mother holding the child has no emotional connection to the baby... I want it to be mine.
If I could provide the world with a shimmer of hope, I will. If I can give myself as a sacrifice for God's children being abused, I will. If I had the ability to visit every elderly woman and man sitting alone in a hospital, just waiting to die, I would. Being in love with God's creation, I could easily stretch myself thin. It looks as though God has brought some questions into my heart and mind that I haven't considered in such a long time. I've always been open to when, were, and how God will use my desires (or I've tried to be)... but I forgot to ask what it all looks like. And I dare not ask why, that answer to me is a simple one - because God's plan is perfect. I think that the only option I have right now is to remain in God. Then "...through prayer and petition, with thanksgiving (I can) present (my) requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard (my) heart and mind in Christ Jesus."
Basically.... wait on Him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Inevitable Spiral That Humans Can't Fix

It has been awhile since I've written in here. Maybe I'm just running out of patience.

Every single day is another fight to block out the thoughts of abuse. Not necessarily my abuse, but abuse in general. For some, it's something that never crosses their mind and I consider them blessed, although they probably have their own issues that consume them.

A post by StreetLight Ministries the other day confirmed what I knew was coming next: Facebook is being used to sell, not just sex, but sex with little girls and probably boys.

The healthier I get, the more I hate these people. I really don't want to hate them, but really? I see those little girls, so happy in their pictures. It makes me want to vomit thinking that some man... some monster would take that from her.

There was a beginning to everyone's abusive history. Whether it be their personal experience being abused or otherwise, it started somewhere.

Hatred Spins Its Ugly Web

When he was little, probably 9 months or so... his father showed the hatred for him that he felt inside for so long. Even as a child he knew that he was unwanted. Growing up, he would watch the other boys playing with their fathers, then watched as his own mother would try to fill in the gap where his father was checked out mentally, physically, and emotionally.
The only thing he could do would be to disappear, but there is nothing in this world that can "un-make" you besides death, and even that won't do the trick. See, the problem was never him, it was his dad. His dad had been hated when he was young. He grew up feeling bitter and resentful. Chasing a dream that one day his whole family would really love him and maybe even be a real family, he grew cold. His hardened shell was rigid, never to be slightly cracked. When his son came along, he only saw himself as a young boy. That stupid little boy that was so unlovable that nothing would ever make him good enough was staring him in the face. Every little movement by this defiled little human made his heart cringe. How dare this child! It was no longer a question of "how do I feel about having a son?" It became a full-blown attack on the thing that was now imposing its terrible little self on his new-found family.
As the years went on, there was no way of going back. No reason to say sorry, he had done the best he could. He gave the child a chance to live and let him remain in his house. What else could the damn thing want?

He grew up watching his father's hatred toward himself. "What did I do wrong?" was the question lingering in his adolescent mind. The more he was pushed away, the less he cared about life. Once his sister came along, there was no denying it, it was him. She received all the love and attention that he had never even seen before she was born. He was slapped while she was cradled. He was scorned while she was comforted. Attention, attention, attention... it was always directed toward her! When would it be his turn?

What he will never know or understand is that the cycle didn't stop at him. There was an ugliness to the "attention" received by her father. An erie feeling came over her every time he walked into the room. The feeling of eyes always watching her made her so paranoid she could no longer get dressed behind closed doors. The thoughts of the pervert feeling his way through her darkened bedroom consumed her. She grew cold. And so the story goes...

In the house was the familiar saying, "don't ask, don't tell." It was never verbalized, but it was definitely known.

This is the cycle that creates the dysfunctional home. It's forever a web spun by the best, creating a no-escape zone for all who fall into its trap. For every cycle that needs to be broken, there is the one who has to do the breaking. How often do you think that people actually get away and become healthy without the help of God? I would be sold bold as to presume... almost never.