Real story time.
You know how you get those e-mails, tweets, whatever and you can just _tell_ from the wording, the careful omition of details, that prodding to get you to read further and get sucked into the story where either they want you to forward the e-mail to everyone you know, or send money, or upload you banking information. Oh, you know the ones I mean.
This is one. Kinda.
Why: because I believe in the cause.
So, here is the story, okay?
While I was reading Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest), and there were all those stats about crimes against women and the sex-trafficking, it was really hard. A lot about the series was very hard to get through because of the personal connections.
I get asked just about every time I try to explain how, at 17, I have had HIV for going on eleven years. It happens, sure, but people want to know how it happened to /me/ and why I do not agree that I was raped.
To say that I was, I feel, diminishes what it is that happens to too many people, too many times every single day.
I am trying to keep the vocabulary here my own, and family friendly, so if something seems vague, keep the subject in mind and understand that I am talking about the absolute worst, inhuman, atrocities.
I was in the ER once, getting stitched up (don't worry about why) and I was listening to the conversation on the other side of the curtain on my right. Anything to take myself away from where and who I was. It was a girl that was raped. The cause of death was bleeding. Front and back. The girl's mother was not there. She was being sought by the police. /IF/ there was any DNA from the actor, they were going to have to go in and get it in autopsy. A nurse vomited. The person stitching me up asked if I was going to be okay for a second and I nodded. While attention was on the cleanup and the half fainted nurse, I got up and walked over to peek around the curtain.
The girl could not have been more than 3 years old. Her mother "rented" her out to pay for her drugs.
The next thing I remember, I woke up in restraints "for my protection" but that did not sit well with me either. I would not let anyone with external reproductive organs anywhere near me.
Later, I took a tour and visited all sorts of children that were there for all sorts of reasons. The nurse taking me around was reluctant to provide full disclosure, but I told her, "I just say a baby stabbed to death with a p'nis. You going to tell me this is worse." She looked at me in that you-have-no-idea sort of way and said, after a sigh, "Imagine when they live." We kinda bonded a little and she was less reserved.
We were visiting some burn victims later and she looked at me from the side, "What are you thinking?" I said, as I looked at a boy who was under one of those tents because like 70% of his skin was gone, "the people who brought him here knew he is human." She knew what I meant. Humans fight. Humans steal, beat each other up, murder... Humans love and hate and act like humans. What was done to the other children we saw, to the baby in that was dumped outside the hospital, what is done daily to people and children all over the world; they are treated like rags, like dirt, with no more regard than an old news paper. Only worse. The degradation. The insult. If they were /only/ beaten. If they were /only/ ignored. If they were /only/ neglected. Those things would not be as bad.
It is not /just/ men on girls. This is an equal opportunity exploitation. Yes, it is /mostly/ men on girls, but the boys cannot be forgotten. It is children of all sorts. People are fighting it. People want it to stop. People want it not only out of their back yard, but gone from the world.
It is sad. It angers me.
But even more - more than the violence, the trafficking, the disregard for human rights and decency - is that little nugget of knowledge I try to bury lest I loose all hope: None of it would happen if there were not a market for it.