“Now THIS is what we should focus on,” declared the comment on the post promoting awareness of sex trafficking. Most would likely overlook her words as cheering on the cause. Unfortunately, her likes on other posts condemning or downplaying current social issues, as well as a few “I couldn’t’ agree more” or “YES!” on messages stating “If you followed directions, force wouldn’t need to be used. Take accountability for your actions.” left me with a feeling that the eight words had a deeper meaning than surface-level cheerleading.
As per usual, I typed out a novel and then erased the whole thing.
Opinions are not changed on Facebook. After much deliberation, I still felt the message is reflective of a state of mind and misses genuine awareness. Weeks since the post, I notice very few shares of missing children statistics or Amber Alerts, despite proclaiming to care for the cause. Because of this, I am retyping my original response here to “THIS is what we should be focusing on.”
THIS is one of the many things the world needs to be focusing on… and has been for years. The world is able to fight many battles at once. We don’t need to trivialize other issues because one is awful, also.
Check out Darkness to Light trainings. They have a free one going on right now. It is disgusting, necessary, and eye-opening. You will likely not want anyone to watch your kids for a while. Honestly, I feel their trainings should be given to anyone who has children.
Please research Nadia Murad’s initiative. The first time I heard of it, I was dumbfounded by the tragedy she and her community faced. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 due to her work in awareness of this issue.
What I am about to quote is an important stat. It echoes what I wrote at first of being able to care about multiple causes at once and not trivializing others. Many times, the whys are interconnected and wrap around each other. They are complicated and require compassion in the approach.
“According to the US. Department of Justice, more than 2/3rds of human trafficking victims are people of color. And because the health and economic impacts of coronavirus are disproportionately harming people of color, that puts disadvantaged people of color at greater risk of targeting.” – United Way
Deepening this information is an Urban Indian Health Institue report: “According to the National Crime Information Center, 5,712 American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls were reported missing in 2016 alone, but only 116 of those cases were logged with the Department of Justice.”
Learning the stats of human trafficking and sexual abuse matter. This often isn’t the scary person on the street. It is a calculated, thought-out plan of manipulation and control. Memes going around promoting this as simply to be afraid of these strangers dismisses the real statistics.
The Polaris Project’s myths page dismantles some of the untruths around human trafficking, including human trafficking being solely strangers and smuggling people across borders. Darkness to Light’s statistics shatter preconceived notions, such as the stranger concept, in sexual abuse. Especially shocking is the 90 percent of children who know their abuser.
If THIS is really what matters, then it becomes abundantly clear the factors affecting the issue must be addressed.
They cannot be downplayed because they are not a non-controversial topic to place a “like” on. One cannot simply say others plights are unimportant because they do not make sense to a person who has not personally experienced them.
Further, if you really honestly care, at the very least, start sharing information on missing children, all children, no matter how annoying it may seem to others. When Amber Alerts go off on your phone, instead of grumbling about them, screenshot and share the information for those who may not have alerts turned on. Seek out training so you are informed about real risk factors. Speak up when you see something is not right. Learn about the signs of sexual abuse and trafficking.
When you do this, I imagine writing “Now THIS is what we should be focused on” will become unimaginable, because it is impossible. When you really take the time to care, you realize how deep and twisted the issues are, splintering out into various social platforms and tearing open the thin skin of one issue being above others.
That is what I wanted to write… but did not. I felt the intent would be lost to the reader. For real change to exist, it must extend beyond a meme likely created not for the true purpose, but division.
Stats and figures are boring and inconvenient. They challenge our preconceived ideas of order and balance. Look deeper into gotcha-memes. A well-marketed meme that stirs the “now THIS is what matters and all-else-is-less” emotion is likely leaving out important and necessary dialogue.
It isn’t a “this is what is important;” it is all important. Thankfully, we have been given the capacity to care for more than one thing… after all, we are moms.