Posts Tagged ‘sex-trafficking’

h1

the road of lost innocence

February 7, 2011

i knew my checking account was dangerously low, but i was hoping i could feed it before it went negative. unfortunately, i woke up this morning to a stern email from my bank, again saving my ass through overdraft protection. and smacking me with a $35 fine. it turns out that my car insurance, macy’s and nordstrom’s off-the-rack bills, and gym membership fees left me with $3 in my account…but then i toppled into the red when my monthly automatic charity donation was deducted. sigh.

besides highlighting my reckless spending, it felt as if this charity was metaphorically slapping me in the face for my recent pity-fest: stop moping around because you don’t have a boyfriend and remember that other women do not even have the fucking PRIVILEGE to search out love!

i learned about this charity two years ago when i came across a book called The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam. this is the kind of memoir that rips at your heart as you try to empathize with a young girl caught in circumstances that should never exist.

an orphan growing up against the backdrop of the bloody khmer rouge regime in cambodia and later invasion by vietnam, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery at the tender age of 12.

when i was 12, i got a puppy.

she says of the brothels,

This was ordinary prostitution. Stinking mouths and bodies, dirty rooms, violence. The blows hurt, but the act itself was much worse. Sometimes there would be only two or three men a day, sometimes many more. If there weren’t enough, Li would tell Aunty Peuve not to feed us, so we’d try harder. If there were too many, you hurt inside and out, until you managed to shut all feeling off. (mam 60).

she speaks of never, ever feeling clean or good. of loathing the smell of semen, and feeling, for the rest of her life, as if she could not scrub the stink of it off herself. if she refused to work or attempted to run, she was punished brutally. it was a life of dead ends. the kind of life that would make most of us crawl into a ball and just never move, never feel, never care again.

somehow, Somaly escaped. she made it all the way to france where she started a new life. and yet, instead of quietly living out her days healing wounds as deep as the grand canyon, she chose to go back to cambodia to fight for the thousands of girls still being abused. since then, Somaly has begun a movement that has given new life to over 400,000 women in circumstances much like hers. sickeningly, her memoir recounts that,

Nowadays the girls are much younger too. This is because men in Cambodia will pay a thousand dollars to rape a virgin for a week—it’s always a week, for a virgin. Sex with a virgin is supposed to give strength, to lengthen a man’s life span and even lighten his skin….Often they are very young girls, just five or six years old. After the week is over, they sew the girl inside—without an anesthetic—and quickly sell her again. A virgin is supposed to scream and bleed, and this way the girl will scream and bleed, again and again. They do it maybe three or four times. (59-60).

i’m not quoting these lurid passages to be sensational. but if there was ever a book that needs to be read, this is one. you will cry, you will get up and pace, you will put it down because it is too much to absorb. i hope at the end, you will be moved, like i was, to visit the Somaly Mam Foundation website. i spend so much money on stupid crap that it was no hard decision to set up a monthly payment plan for this cause. i am currently doing $10 a month.

one last quote, i promise:

It’s still happening, today, tonight. Imagine how many girls have been raped and hit since you started to read this book. My story doesn’t matter, except that it stands for their story too, and their stories are why I don’t sleep at night. They haunt me. (60-61).

ten, fifteen dollars a month is really nothing. think about that monthly $140 you pay toward the monstrously large HDTV in your living room. the four times this month you’ve ordered delivery. the $60 bucks you blew on tequila shots at an overpriced bar celebrating nothing special.

little, precious girls. just think.

Advertisements