Recently my dear friend Dannika wrote a very touching blog about gay equality and her experience at a Macklemore concert. It got me thinking because I didn’t really know what my opinion was on the issue, and to be honest I still really don’t know. But as I sat with Dannika and watched her stats grow exponentially as thousands of people read here blog, there was one thing I did know. Thousands of people care about this issue. Not only do they care, but they feel quite strongly that each of their opinions are right. Sides have been chosen, and communities have been divided. But what about those of us that don’t want to pick a side? What about those of us who just want to look at a person as a human being loved and created by God without a label of their sexual preference? Maybe it is my inner pacifist coming out, but I don’t want to get lost in this war and have to tell someone I can’t love them because of the side they chose to be on. I feel like I am a kid stuck in a divorce, just wishing that my parents could see what their fighting is doing to the family.
As the fighting continues, I am over here wondering when we are going to address other issues that are going on in our community. I don’t mean this to deem the issue of gay marriage because it is an important issue, but at some point we are going to have to face the reality that it isn’t the only issue our culture is facing. So can we for ten minutes stop arguing about who is right and talk about the way the sex trafficking is spreading like wildfire in Sioux Falls? Can we talk about the hordes of girls who are being abused, malnourished, and forced into prostitution. And why on earth is the Church not doing anything about that? Can we as a community stop picking sides, and join together to do something about that?
In my Methods of Research class, I am putting together a research proposal on child maltreatment and its effect on the brain. There are two different things that I found the most interesting that can happen when a child is abused. Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, so please just take this as my simple understanding of these topics. That being said, the first thing that could happen is the child suffers from dissociation. Dissociation means that the part of our brain that deals with trauma becomes overwhelmed and unable to cope with the abuse. Since the brain in unable to process this trauma normally, it transfer it to the part of the brain that deals with survival instincts and is more primitive and part of our unconscious thought. Basically the child is unable to physically distance themselves from the abuse, so they mentally distance themselves from abuse as best as the can. The problem is that this can cause of host of problems for them for the rest of their life, as they have these repressed memories locked deep in their unconscious. The second thing that can happen is that the child will develop distorted schemas. A schema is like a bank of experiences that build off of each other to tell us how the world operates. A distorted schema is most likely to occur in the structures of safety, trust, esteem, control, and intimacy. So the child learns that the world is a dangerous place where they will never be safe and where they cannot trust anyone.
Photo curtsy of SheScreamsInSilence7 and Deviant Art
So let’s think about this a little bit more. We have a young girl age 12-16 who is a victim of sex trafficking. She is mostly physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. She doesn’t have a bed (she may even sleep in a cage), she is lucky to get a decent meal, she is being forced to be a prostitute, and she has no way to escape her situation. But even if she does, her life will never be the same due to the incredible and irreversible psychological damage that has already happened. Is that what our culture has come to that we would RUIN the life of a girl so young and innocent for sex and money? Not only that, but we are too distracted by our arguing to even know that her life is being ruined while we fight. So please I am here begging you, would you please stop fighting over who is right and just learn to love each other so that we can start loving this poor girl? Can we please look past our differences and listen to the cries of these young girls that are ringing on deaf ears? These girls have been kept silent for too long, and I for one think it is about time we did something about it.