From His Eyes – The Confession

From the very beginning of this journey I knew I wanted my husband’s perspective.  Not just because he’s my husband; because I value him.  I value his words, his opinion, and his outlook on life.  He is so wise and a man of few words.  I wanted his side of who he sees in his wife and why he is so supportive of this journey.  The photographs in this blog post and the previous ones are not posed.  I literally took him on a walk, I let him lead, me, and then I stopped him and spoke words of affirmation into his life.  I asked for forgiveness for many of the mistakes I’ve made in our marriage and then I spoke words that glow with life when the world seems to be overcast by a shadow.  I am so honored to share what he has to say.

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How did you feel when I told you for the first time that I was trafficked?
Hurt.  Not me being hurt, but being hurt for you.

What hurt you about it?
That I just don’t understand why people do things like that to other people.  They take advantage of people in a weak moment of their life.  And they did it to someone who is now my wife so it hurt me more that something like that happened to you.

Why do you think it’s important for men to be involved in this fight against trafficking?
Because even though anyone could be the perpetrator the majority of people doing these things are men so men need to be part of the CHANGE.  To stand next to their women or any woman; they need to stand FOR women.  They need to stand with women so that they don’t stand for trafficking.

What do you see when you look at me today?
Well, I see pain but I see strength from that pain.  I see things that you’re still dealing with but I see so much strength in that.  You’re going out and sharing your story for people who think there’s no future.  You’re using your pain as strength to show people that may be at their lowest point that they can keep going because there is so much more out there for them.

How do you feel about me when I publicly share my story?
It’s a really hard thing to swallow and hear but at the same it needs to be said and heard.  We can’t help someone by keeping our mouths shut and being ashamed.  It does nothing for anyone searching for help.  We have to swallow our pride and let your voice be heard so that you help others voices be heard.  You may be able to help someone that is going through, has been through, or unfortunately will go through similar things you went through.

What do you wish I would see when I looked in the mirror?
How beautiful and strong you are.  And that when you look in the mirror you don’t doubt  yourself.  You’ve been through so much you have the ability and tools to get through anything.

Anything else you’d like to say to me or anyone reading this?
Keep your head up.  There’s good things to come.  Whenever you get inured you have that injury but to heal from that takes time.  The scars will always be there, so you know that it happened, but you will grow through it and get stronger.  Take time to let yourself heal.

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Something I’ve learned along the way from being married to this man is that there is no secret too big or no shame too strong.  I have always been met with an embrace when times get tough.  We have climbed the biggest mountains together and the prospect of divorce was strong for a long time.  The beautiful thing about marriage is that it’s an every day promise, an every day fight, and every day victory.  He is my sweet sweet symphony.   This is not a made for instagram love story; this is the real deal.  This is us.

Exploited.

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I pressed my entire body weight against the locked bathroom door as he banged on it and threatened to kill me if I didn’t open it.  I held my knees to my chest and sobbed in a complete state of chaotic confusion.  Why is this happening?  How did this happen?  What is going on?  I trembled and my mind started to go into a dark hole to avoid being present in the reality of what was happening.  I was exploited.

A couple invited me to a party and in my drug induced haze I went because I knew there would be free drugs there.  I had been up for two weeks and shortly after they handed me a drink it felt like a span of two minutes in between every single time I blinked.  Time began to move slowly and the world began to fade around me.  The room started to spin and I grasped on to the white washed walls hearing faint echoes of people telling me to go lay down in the homeowners bed.  I declined, I may have been a lost soul but I had morals.  The homeowner happened to be an extremely good looking and muscular guy.  The women flocked to him the entire night as he kept making eye contact with me.  I remember saying to my friend how good looking he was when we walked through the door.  I had made it my mission to befriend him and know more about him; I had no idea that they had already priced and sold me.

My mind kept collapsing and the world kept going dark as he helped me walk down the hallway.  He laid me down and said, “Don’t worry, you’re safe here”.  He closed the door behind him and returned to the party.  I had no idea why my entire world was spinning but I was too far gone to ponder it.  I closed my eyes and fell into a peaceful slumber.  Suddenly, I opened my eyes and he was on top of me.  I immediately began to fight as he pinned me down and threatened me if I didn’t stop fighting.  I was about 85 pounds and at 4’11 there was not much fight I had against a 6’3 bodybuilder.  I closed my eyes and prayed; in that moment I pushed as hard as I could and he toppled off of me.

I ran into the bathroom and locked the door, he was right behind me.  And there I was in almost a fetal position against the door wondering why.  He began to yell at me, “I PAID THEM FOR YOU ALREADY!  I GAVE THEM THEIR SHARE!  THEY SAID YOU KNEW!  LET ME IN OR I WILL KILL YOU!”  Within seconds he started to weep and say he didn’t know that I didn’t know.  He wept and begged me not to call the cops when all of a sudden he was Hyde again.  He fought this internal demon over and over again when I made the decision that I had to play into his remorse.  When he wept again I spoke softly and told him I forgave him.  I made him promise not to hurt me if I opened the door; and he did.  I didn’t believe him but I couldn’t stay in that bathroom forever.

I opened the door and he held me as if we were long time lovers that had just gotten in our first fight.  We sobbed together and I had to pretend to like him. I stayed in his arms and acted as if he was my safe place.  He handed me $500 and a spare key to his apartment.  He told me to call a taxi and to leave the key under his mat when I left and thanked me for my time.  He thanked me for time that I didn’t consent to give him.  He thanked me for robbing me of my dignity.  He thanked me for murdering my spirit.  He thanked me for breaking the already broken girl.  That was the beginning of the most shameful part of my life.  It wasn’t the first time someone had stolen my dignity; but that didn’t matter.

Why do I share this? Because what good is a testimony in shame?  How can one lead people to God and to glorify Him if you can’t share what He has brought you through?  There is a woman out there that you know or maybe the one reading this who lives a life of brokenness and guilt.  Regardless of the decisions you made to get you there; it was NOT your fault.  You did NOT deserve that.  You ARE worthy.  You ARE beautiful.  I will not be silenced because there is life after worldly death.  There is hope.

To my sweet husband.  I know this isn’t easy but I so rejoice in the fact that you so want women to be respected and loved.  You are my biggest blessing.  Thank you for loving me through my brokenness.