In the post “don’t look the other way — it’s happening in your city too” I wrote of an incredible evening on the streets that ended on a dark note of a deep truth. Many of you read, shared, and responded. And some of you were angry and wanted to do something. I love your hearts!
But here’s what I’ve learned after many days of tears:
1. Could we have given her the money to give to her boyfriend for his drugs? Yes!
But think about it. Nothing would have changed. Nothing! She would have went back to him, giving him the money to save herself from having to sell herself, he would have taken the money and still needed his drug fix. Then the ugly truth is that he would have pimped her out anyways.
2. Could we have taken the women to a women’s shelter? Yes!
With her consent, yes we could have taken her. However, would it have made any difference? The hard truth is that while we see so much that can be done to help others escape the wicked world they live in, it will not change a thing until the victim is ready to change. In this case, she would have to have been ready to leave him for good. The minute she goes back, he will expect her to sell herself again to support his habit.
3. Why doesn’t she just leave? Good question.
This is where my heart pounds and I want to kidnap the women, because no woman should have to live that way. But what I’ve learned over the past 4 years of working with women in abusive situations is that they feel trapped. Not only trapped by the male, but trapped by their circumstances. If she is a young mom her response is, “how will I provide for my children?” And most women say, “How will I survive? Where will I live?” While they feel trapped, they also do not see a way out. Seeing an escape route is hard for many because this life of abuse is all they have known for generations.
4. What can I do then?
While it might feel like your hands are tied and bound to reach out and do anything, just being aware that this problem exists is huge. When you suspect a girl might be in real danger or even being trafficked slip her a note with the hotline’s number on it. If slipping a note is not possible, call and report it yourself. It is always better to be safe than sorry! Hotline number is 888-373-7888. If that is not possible then please call 911.
Serving others is messy!
There are no easy answers when you are serving and loving the broken. [click to tweet that] What would seem like such a logical explanation and answer in our suburban worlds, doesn’t make any sense to those who feel locked up in the prison of their circumstances. It’s a constant tug-of-war on your servant’s heart — realizing that a person is trapped and seeing the freedom they could have, if they would but choose.
What are we called to do?
Serve and love. Those are the only two things we have control over. And when we continue to show up enough over a period of time, trust is built. (recent post on this) When trust is built maybe then when the time comes we can help them out of their brokenness and in to a world of healing.
What do you struggle with as you serve those who are living in a dark world?
Do you agree or disagree with these answers?
After I finished this post, a friend posted this note on facebook. Click here to read. Please read . . . this is a great reminder that this is happening in your city too!