Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why We Keep Fighting (Written with Keilley Kulhawy)

 She insisted that I hold her. All I could think about was the years she wasn't held. All the times she was overlooked, neglected, and used. 

Almost 2 years ago she came to us. BrokenA tiny, frail 9-year-old who hid behind the 12-year-old sister who had been rescued with her. Both had paid the price of violence, but the dollars had been given to someone else.  Paid in full was an American man who conveniently crossed the border into Mexico to take and collect pleasure from inappropriate pictures. These photographs, harmful as they were, led to even darker acts--atrocities we cannot begin to fathom.  

There is no easy way to say it. It is more than abuse.  
It is the rape of a child. In this case, two. 

When we hear this, we grieve and our stomach turns. The tragedy. The trauma. The sadness and the disgust.  I am told so many times in a day how horrible these things are, and without question, it is.  

After years of fighting in this battle, however, I have discovered a tragedy just as deep, perhaps even deeper. Something that turns my stomach just as much. 

There is a silent seed in which this great tragedy is rooted. And I can say with confidence that it is not found in the throes of battle—because, here, we’re winning victories daily. The deepest tragedy is found in the sidelines of passivity.  How can we possess such information and do nothing?  

Inaction permits evil to continue pouring out—outranking depravity never allowing the cycle to end.

My heart is troubled when I see the silent sideline of those who only "feel bad…" because many of us don’t even realize that’s where we’re standing. 

I say this neither to condemn nor elevate. I, myself, stood unknowingly in that same position for years. More years than which I have been involved.  In fact, I didn’t even know what human trafficking was the night I came face-to-face with it. 

It’s not that I didn’t care, it’s that I didn’t know. And I believe this is where so many of us stand. We THINK there is nothing we can do by the enormity of the issue, so we don’t do anything. Instead of doing one thing that could (and many times does) activate something much greater.

Then there are times we DO see the action we can take...but we ignore it—because we don’t want to pay the cost, make the sacrifice, feel uncomfortable, or get our hands dirty, so we continuing feeling “bad” injustice exists. We go on considering our emotions a sufficient response and accepting the world is just a messed up place. 

But I refuse. 

The first night I witnessed a little girl being sold on the streets was the last night I choose to remain ignorant and passive. 

So I write this to move you beyond emotion. Beyond the stage of "feeling bad." To tell you that you are needed.  It has always been a community of people that make a difference in the world. It has been the power of their unity, the common goal, their resolve to never give up. By linking arms we become a force to be reckoned with. Victories are won; lives are saved.

So this part- this is where you dust off your helmet and old army boots. Where you choose to not just watch the war, but to battle in the community already marching.

Of course, our hearts still ache.  As I hold this little framed girl, I feel her suffering. I see her nightmares. I tense at her anxiety, and I weep over her confused identity and broken heart. 

But we must stop believing that "feeling bad" is somehow making a difference.  Because she is so much more than a reason to get emotional. 

She is the very reason why we fight.

So, you choose.  The sideline or the battlefield.

*Involvement can look different for everyone.  Please see how you can get involved at

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