Monday, January 21, 2013

What I Wish I Would Have Said

Sometimes I say things I shouldn't. That made the recent radio interview on KFI all the more of a challenge. I'm still rethinking some of it. But one point, I wish I could have elaborated on, was that "demand increases the need for more of a supply." But Bill Carroll didn't want to discuss that issue.

Still, I believe he got the point. He acknowledged that if a cocaine user buys cocaine from a drug trafficker--that the user could be considered part of the problem. It's common sense. The more cocaine users, the more traffickers can make money by supplying the drug. Cut the demand, and the financial gain diminishes. Cut demand enough and the problem is eliminated.

Instead of shutting down this conversation, I'd like to open it up. What if people get involved with eliminating the demand. It may take years, because it took years to get where we are now. But we have to start or the problem will continue to grow. Human trafficking is at epidemic levels, even in the United States. The more demand by a sex-obsessed culture, the more our girls are at risk. What factors play into this demand? Could it be that desensitized people demand increasing forms of erotica and porn? Many of the girls in porn films are being forced to act. I've met one survivor who was drugged and didn't even realize she was being filmed. One of my Facebook friends claimed she'd been raped and forced to perform for the camera, pretending she liked what was happening.

And what about the traffickers? They weren't born that way. They were once little boys who quite likely suffered abuse themselves. Instead of learning to value girls, how did they learn to manipulate them for their own personal gain? We need to explore these issues and talk about them. Sex advertises every type of product imaginable including hamburgers. It's portrayed as easy, casual, with no risks involved on everything from music videos to television shows, to steamy movies and novels. Pimps, prostitutes, and porn stars are glamorized and many of us have bought into the lies that these things aren't so bad. But deep down we all know there are risks and great pain involved. Shouldn't we be talking about it?

A shift in thinking needs to start taking place. How can we educate boys to respect girls from a young age? How can we teach girls to respect their own bodies? Would a biblical worldview make a difference? Jesus was the first one I know about, who treated women as though they were of great worth and even encouraged Mary to learn from Him. He first revealed Himself to a woman. And, the first person He saw when He rose from the dead was female. Do any other religions hold women in such high regard? Are there things we can learn from them?

Not only do young boys & girls need to learn about respect, but also they should be taught to recognize true love. We've almost lost the concept of genuine romance--love that requires commitment, that doesn't come and go, but stays through thick and thin. Even when a behavior is unacceptable, genuine love doesn't walk away--it speaks the truth and walks with a person, hopefully with both people learning and growing in the process. Real love certainly doesn't rape or berate, or manipulate the ways pimps do their girls. That's part of the problem, too. Girls are looking for love in all the wrong places and don't know how to recognize genuine love because they don't often see it demonstrated. One modern-day slave said her pimp must love her because after he beat her, at least he said he was sorry. No one else had ever done that before. She was only 10 years old when he turned her out into a life filled with pain. Many girls are afraid of these guys leaving them, because their fathers left their moms and them. And, then they were alone. So young girls stay in relationships even though they'll likely die within four years if they aren't rescued.

Genuine love offers the security of trust--trust that someone won't walk away, that someone will be faithful and will stick around during good times and bad. And, that kind of love needs to be demonstrated. How can we do that? What role can we play in the lives of girls at risk? Pimps know how to identify those most susceptible to the lies, so maybe we can learn that too. That will be the topic of my next post.

Meanwhile, let's get this discussion going. How can we transform our culture to diminish the demand? Do we need to start with ourselves? If so, in what way?

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