I wanted to post part two of my weekend of fun, but have had issues doing so. I will share this much… I saw some amazing suspension! Witnessed lovely torture. I got carved into with a blade (more scraped), received a fantastic caning, and learned things about myself that have left me feeling a need for privacy in that one area.
This isn’t like me. Usually I’m very forward and put all the details in my posts. And what I learned isn’t necessarily a secret. Rather than post what I’d written last week, I decided to sit with it to see why I felt so uncomfortable, and tonight I realized what had been bothering me.
Some friends were over and we were discussing sexual abuse. A strange topic for after dinner conversation, but that’s us.
I don’t often hear stories from people that remind me of my own. Once I came across someone with the same memories as mine, and that was terrifying and intense, but it’s only happened once. Most people have more common stories of someone molested by a childhood neighbor or family member, or being date raped. Sometimes it’s the person, other times a person he or she knows. And while I’m disgusted to use the word common, in most cases the types of sexual abuse is the same. Date rape or molestation.
Rarely is violent rape discussed. Even more rare are discussions of sex trafficking, childhood prostitution, and child pornography.
For most of my adult life I operated under the assumption that these things are far more rare, therefore, hardly discussed. But the stories I heard tonight were along a similar enough line that I was left a bit speechless. Which led me to do some research, then to this post, and finally understanding why I was having a hard time writing about my weekend of fun.
Because that fun was also filled with a lot of trauma work.
The stories I heard weren’t of trafficking or child prostitution, but one was of a situation that happened around three years ago in a nearby city, where a volunteer at a school was video taping young girls and selling the videos online. He was reported by someone outside the U.S. and was caught. This is childhood pornography. Possibly more depending on what he did to the girls.
There was one of a teacher bringing his father to volunteer at the school, knowing his dad had changed his name after multiple accounts of sexually abusing children. They often had the band students out to their house, and those students were sexually violated.
Another party shared about more child pornography. How a coworker went to prison for it. And in a completely unrelated case, a friend’s dad too. Someone well off. A person they didn’t suspect.
Then there’s my story… Or many stories to be exact.
I don’t need to go into all of them, but I have accounts of children being transported from one location to another, small girls. With trainers to teach them the ways of sexual service and how to obey. With someone in charge that took money for use of that child. The person taking money was often a trusted family member. Girls were flown in and out of abandon airports to get to the location of that night’s event. I don’t remember an airplane ride, but I do remember being transported.
Then I have the accounts of my friends that were molested by their coach. Many of my male friends that didn’t come out with the truth of their abuse until high school and some adulthood. A trusted and friendly coach.
All of us in the room during this talk had plenty of accounts of one time molestation, or rape, even if it wasn’t us it happened to. But we also had these other topics. The ones that really don’t get discussed. I thought it was because the topics of sex trafficking, childhood prostitution, and child pornography weren’t very common. Not like date rape and molestations. But I did some fact checking, just to see.
While the numbers in no way are close, they were surprising. Keep in mind, these are the ‘reported’ cases.
These facts came from Polaris, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. – 19,724 cases of human trafficking have been reported to the NHTRC hotline and Polaris’s BeFree Texting Helpline sine 2007.
According to their site, the numbers are going up. These ‘reported’ cases don’t mean there was only one victim. This is an important fact to take note of. A sex trafficking ring, or child prostitution ring, can involve hundreds of children. These numbers show cases, not individual children.
This is only in the United States, and only reported cases. Part of this, in my experience, is because we are taught not to report abuse. We are taught that we are the reason these terrible things are happening. That we deserve it. The perpetrators do such a wonderful job of placing all the blame at the feet of the victim, that most cases are never reported. I know my experiences weren’t. One man, but no one else. Not the entire ring.
Some people tried. I met them later in life, and each one said when they went to report being flown to different locations and made to have sex with people, while their family member received payment for their services, every person had the same story… They weren’t believed. Many were on drugs by that point and were regarded nothing more than druggies making things up to get attention. There is much more to this, but the point I’m getting at is that while these numbers seem low, they really aren’t when you consider that these are only the reported and proven cases. Often times victims clam up and perpetrators are never brought to justice.
Here are some facts on childhood prostitution. It can be related in many ways to sex trafficking, but isn’t always. The diagrams are from Wikipedia and information the Department of Justice.
As you can see, the United States has 100,000-300,000 suspected per year.
Just for comparison sake, I’m going to list some facts for molestation. These coming from The Children’s Assessment Center.
“Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S.”
These facts showed me many things. One is that molestation is far more prevalent than trafficking and child prostitution, which is likely why it’s discussed more often. But what this also showed me was that part of the reason I didn’t want to blog about what had happened during my ‘weekend o’ fun’ was because there’s still a part of me that finds all of this hard to believe. A part of me that thinks a family member didn’t sell me, a Pastor didn’t train me in sexual servitude, that they never hurt me in any way and this is in my imagination. And some websites are fucking GREAT at making that sound so. I read one saying that most of our childhood traumatic memories are complete bullshit.
If that’s the case, though, why would the Pastor plead guilty? Not for sex trafficking of course, but he did for raping my friend.
I realized that I was hopping back to feeling like I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened over the weekend because it meant I’d be telling.
I don’t have to live in fear of telling on this man who already served time in prison. He already admitted raping girls, just not the whole picture. I don’t have to be afraid that people won’t believe me or that I have to find proof of who did what to who and why. He’s already been to prison.
As of last weekend, I worked through being punished for telling. It hurt, but I did it. Now I’m free to discuss these things without fear of telling on abusers. And after hearing the stories I did tonight, I realized just how common these more complex and treacherous forms of sexual, emotional, and mental abuse are. Maybe not as common as molestation, but they still happen and people still talk about them. Trafficking and child prostitution and pornography are not as uncommon as many think.
So now that I’ve gotten this out, and the weekend of fun was passed by a weekend of great growth and lots of production–and maybe some beating on a girl–I leave this post right where it is. Hard to say, hard to write, but harder still to ignore the facts before me.
Sex trafficking is real. Child prostitution is real. They are more common than we think, and often perpetrated by someone we love and trust.
Since I didn’t do my post as originally planned, I wanted to share my lovely carvings. Proof of the fun that was had not long ago. ❤