Is sex a need?

Is sex a need?

Why is sex trafficking so prevalent? Most people would admit it’s the demand. However, the controversy lies in how a person rationalizes their own demand for paid (possibly underage) sex. The men in my family used to talk about their “need” for sex. They spoke about it as if it was as critical as food and water. I would beg them not to do it. I would tell them that it hurt me, or that I just wanted to go to sleep. They would always answer the same way. They “had” to do it. They would state it as if they were forced to meet their own sexual needs at the expense of others. They would say it as if they were as justified as someone who stole bread to feed their starving children. Is sex a “need”? Is it essential to our survival? I interpret this question a little differently than the men in my family. I think that love and connection are human needs. I think that joy and pleasure are human needs. I think that without them, we would surely die much earlier. But no, I don’t believe the physical act of sex is a need. If someone requires sex to function, if they require sex with another human being, but it doesn’t matter who, if they are willing to pay for it, they do not need sex. They are addicted to control. Sex is just their mechanism … or better said, their defense mechanism … against the pain they don’t wish to face. We all have defense mechanisms. Some use food. Some use alcohol or...
Memories

Memories

Sometimes people ask me, “How did you know that there was something you forgot?”  On a conscious level, I didn’t.  But something seemed wrong.  I was so anxious and so sick, and no doctor could determine the cause.  I also found that there were huge gaps in my childhood memories.  I used to tell people in my family that I didn’t remember my childhood.  I specifically told my father that I had no memories of ever living with him.  He just shrugged it off, changing the subject very quickly.  Now I understand why. My first memory came in November of 2009.  It was a rape by a friend of my father.  I was 9 years old.  Over time, I was able to remember everything about it.  I remembered the house where I was staying that night.  I remembered his wife trying to calm me down afterward.  I remembered being picked up by my parents later that night.  I remembered attempting to tell my mother, and how horrible I felt when she didn’t help me.  I remembered the severe pain of a urinary tract infection, and I remembered being taken to the doctor by a friend’s mother.  I remembered that the doctor called the police.  What I don’t remember is how my parents’ squirmed their way out of that one.  I was probably not present for that discussion. That first memory didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I had so many questions.  Why was I at this neighbor’s house?  Why did he do this to me?  Why did my mother refuse to help me?  Why didn’t my parents...
From There to Here

From There to Here

I have read that child sex trafficking victims have a life expectancy between 3 years and 7 years.  They die from sexually transmitted diseases, starvation and physical abuse.  Since only 1% of victims are ever rescued, trafficking is a death sentence.  This is one of the ways that pimps keep from being caught by police.  The victims (and witnesses) just disappear.  I can only imagine there must be some relief for a pimp when a victim dies.  That’s one less witness to worry about. As a trafficking survivor, I am a lucky one.  I’m alive.  Unlike most pimps, my parents actually cared if I died.  And I learned defense mechanisms which kept me from self destructing.  And of course, at 18, I got to leave. I wonder about what my parents and grandparents thought would happen when I grew up.  I know it is a stretch to use the word “thought”.  They clearly weren’t thinking.  However, if someone is going to abuse their children, what happens when that child is an adult?  What happens when the power differential disappears? I guess they are banking on the shame.  I guess they are expecting that their victims will continue to blame themselves for the abuse they experienced.  Or maybe they are expecting the victims’ trauma-induced defense mechanisms will keep them from fighting back – even in adulthood.  It certainly worked that way for me. I now remember the day that I decided to forget.  I was about 9 years old and I was devastated.  I had confided in a young adult neighbor about my ordeal, and I thought he would “save”...
The Cult

The Cult

How could this happen in a suburb of Washington D.C.?  People would have seen something.  Somebody would have said something or called the police.  What about your family?  What about your mother?  Why didn’t you tell anyone? I’ve heard all of these responses.  Nobody wants to believe it.  Nobody wants to admit that it is possible for this level of absurdity to happen in our modern, civilized society.  As Americans, we like to label our country as “first world” or “developed”.  We are quick to judge other countries for human rights violations, but it is difficult for us to face our own.  So we don’t look for it.  We ignore it.  We pretend it isn’t there. Of course, there’s another problem.  Families that are engaged in this type of activity don’t decide to traffic their children on a whim.  It’s a plan.  If someone is an expert bank robber, and is clearly breaking the law, they have a detailed plan so they do not get caught.  Abusive families work the same way.  They have a detailed plan. My family had a plan.  Sexual abuse and trafficking were pervasive in my family for many generations, so they had perfected the art of grooming a child for this lifestyle.  My parents were brainwashed by my grandparents to believe that there were power inequities between adults and children, between men and women, that were meant to be exploited.  It became so ingrained their abusive behavior was completely unconscious. I wanted to believe that my mother didn’t know about the abuse.  I stopped believing that when I became a parent.  I realized what...
Trafficked

Trafficked

Trafficking… When I discuss it with others, I usually hear, “That is such a big problem in other countries.  They should really do something about it.”  Some may have read enough to know that people from other countries are brought to the United States to be sold.  They might say something like, “We should strengthen our borders and stop those smugglers.”  People are dumbfounded when I tell them that I have been trafficked. I look like a typical European-American.  I grew up with white privilege.  I grew up in an upper-middle class family too, which has afforded me many privileges like a college education and a good financial start.  I lived in the suburbs of Washington D.C. (the infamous Northern Virginia traffic zone) in the 70’s and 80’s.  It was hardly the type of place where parents are afraid for the safety of their children.  I lived in a nice, four-bedroom, split-level home in Stafford.  I spent my early childhood outside riding my bike and playing in nature.  My mother was a librarian and a stay-at-home mom, and my father was a banker.  It doesn’t get much more “American pie” than that. Unfortunately, I think that was the point.  The imperfect work hard to make everyone think they are perfect.  My parents worked very hard at the façade.  My mother was always bringing something new and trendy home from a store.  Sometimes, it was a new London Fog jacket for me or my sister.  Sometimes, it was the latest household accessory.  My father did the typical complaining about the spending, but he was busy playing drums in his band...