Victims of human trafficking are subjected to ongoing trauma and they have such a hard time embracing their survival because they get stuck focusing only on the traumas. They carry a much heavier load of shame that no one person can carry alone. So they try to forget it and bury it. They keep it all tucked away in the past and try to pretend it never happened. Revisiting the past for the purpose of examining it and healing from it is too painful for them. So the traumas keep haunting them, in unexpected ways that the victim may not even be aware of. They can’t seem to shed the shame and take the blinders off. It's a lonely existence.
Unknowingly victims spend a lot of time in the past. They spend a lot of time staring at the traumas, and they remain blind to what’s right in front of them: VICTORY. There is victory in making it in through any hard time but traumatized survivors don’t see it that way until they do the inner work they need to do to heal. Instead of being happy that they survived, their minds spin with anger, dread and shame and they can’t figure out why. They’re not mindful of the intrusive thoughts that hold them back from a joyous and unrestrained life. They don’t even know they’ve been victimized and/or brainwashed.
Victims of HT carry an untold story inside them that even they can't make sense of or put into words.
The more victims we empower to tell their stories, the more perpetrators will be sent running.
You know what Maya Angelou says? She says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” This is one reason why I tell my story. At any given moment, we all have the power to say, “This is not going to be how my story ends.” Another reason I tell my story is that stories connect us; they inspire us, they teach us.
When I was trafficked, I was a broken mess. I was so inspired when I heard a doctor tell me his public speaking story. Bits of it was on a local TV station. He had been treating me for a severe infection. I had conversations with him about the interview he did on TV. He was a nice man and to me, he seemed very regal and I knew he was well respected. I was impressed by him. But what left a huge impact on me was when he told me that in his younger years he was a stutterer. He told me how lonely he was as a young ma. He said he was laughed at and bullied in school because of it. He said it made him determined to show everybody that he was going to be successful one day. Telling me this story made me feel safe with him. I knew he wasn't judging me. I never forgot him or his story. Looking back on my own recovery I can see that he definitely planted a seed for me that day. I never had a doctor like him again.
Everybody has a story to tell. Many of us reach a point in our lives when we know that we’ve learned a thing or two. Reflecting back on our lives we discover what pulled us through the hard times. Even though it’s hard to do, reflecting back on our darkest moments, understanding our pain and releasing the shame from it, enables us all to pass our life lessons on to the next generation.
There’s a known quote that says, “Keep the past in the past.” “Stop living life looking in the rearview mirror.” “Look forward; don’t look back.” These quotes have a point, to a point; but I believe history repeats itself if it’s not understood. These quotes have a much better ring to them, in my opinion:
“Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Winston Churchill
“You need to know where you come from to know where you’re going, to know who you are.” and “Know thy ancestry. Know thy self.” Henry Louise Gates Jr.
"By passing our life lessons on to the next generation we can break the cycle of abuse and this vicious cycle of shame." Ruth Rondon
my website: www.humantraffickingelearning.com