I am an aspiring fantasy writer who has a passion for the victims of sexual trafficking. I am trying to do my part to bring awareness and maybe cause a little soul-searching, in myself and in others. Most of my blogs have to do with trafficking stories and related issues, but some are more personal reflections on my own healing process and the development of my voice. Parts of my life have been very dark, as is the whole world of human trafficking, but I have also found great light and love. I long for other victims to find the same. May I be a voice of hope.
In August of 2010, I spent two weeks in a cottage at the Oregon Coast. The first week I focused on sculpting the first novel of my fantasy series with my dear mentor. It had been a prolific, productive week. After she left, things went downhill.
I got a call from my boss saying that she had been fired. We worked for a bank in our small community where she was the manager and I her assistant. Having no desire to take over her job or deal with the aftermath of the management’s unethical, unfounded decision, I spent the last week of my vacation knowing that I would quit upon my return.
For someone who longed to write, this was not a bad turn of events. I was now free to write full time, thanks to my spouse’s willingness to support me in doing so. I spent those last days walking the beach, continuing to write and contemplating the future.
I did a lot of soul searching during that week, and my ever present self-doubt and negative internal working model (counselor-speak for the critical voices in one’s head) kicked into gear. I reviewed my life up to that point, recognizing the amazing miracle that I had even survived to this stage in life, that I had any sanity to speak of, and that I was free to move forward. I was a good person, a kind person, a person able to love, truly and only by the grace of God. As I thought about writing full time, creating medieval fantasy novels, I suddenly felt like I had done nothing with the life that had been rescued and returned to me, and writing novels certainly wasn’t going to improve that. It didn’t matter that I had raised four wonderful children, who were raising four wonderful grandchildren. Nor that I had spent ten years as a volunteer counselor helping survivors of severe abuse and trauma. Nor any of the other things I could list as accomplishments. In the light of what I’d been saved from, it all felt too small.
My mind turned to the victims of pornography, prostitution, and human trafficking. What was I doing to help? What could I do? (An irrational part of me wanted to join the FBI.) There are no NGOs in our remote area, no services directed to this population. This dark world was where I’d come from. It was where I felt I needed to do something to help others. What good was writing fiction?
Then two questions passed through my mind that changed my perspective and my life. Questions I would return to time and again. Questions I believe came from the Spirit of God.
Can words not be a weapon in the battle against injustice?
Can a book not be your sword?
It was then I realized that part of the money from every book I would one day sell must go to fight human trafficking and that this would be a part of my identity as a writer, as it is a part of who I am to the core.
And so this blog. My novels are still in process, but here my words are already entering the battle.
Daily I read stories about those still suffering in the world of prostitution, sexual slavery, abuse, and injustice, and my heart aches. I am often overwhelmed and want to close my eyes. But I don’t. I so wish I could embrace those who are suffering and whisper words of hope and strength. I wish I could speak words of life to them. I doubt those who are trapped will be reading blogs, but I hope some will hear or someone who can help them will be moved.
One side-note. I write under a pseudonym for personal safety reasons and to protect those I love. At this point, the fear may be irrational, but it is deeply ingrained. Therefore, I will post no pictures of myself nor give specific, identifying information. I ask you to please honor this. If you are a part of both sides of my world, please help me to keep them separate.
I started my blogging journey with a quote from Helen Keller because it speaks to how small I feel in this overwhelming challenge:
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do. ~ Helen Keller
This is the something I can do.