Thursday, February 23, 2017
OP-ED ON ASHTON KUTCHER SPEAKING AT THE SENATE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS
I’m writing in response to watching Ashton Kutcher testify at the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations not just on the issue of child abuse, but also about the issue of sex trafficking. I can’t begin to express how offended I am by what I witnessed which in my opinion is actually an illustration of what the core problem is.
Because I was witnessing a white male of wealth and celebrity who is not a survivor of either child abuse nor sex trafficking, a man who created a company which is soliciting donations on it’s website I’d like to ad, get up and speak FOR us in a meeting which we were NOT even invited to watch, let alone participate in.
Who am I? I’m just the founder of this very movement for one thing. I have news clips up verifying this statement at www.hightechmadam.com For another, I run the oldest, and largest, group of survivors in the world - Sex Workers Anonymous.
Back in 1984, a person labeled a “prostitute” or “sex worker” was a target on many levels. We were the favorite target of serial killers, rapists, and predators of every kind. This was because predators knew by targeting us they were granted almost virtual immunity. So much so when a young man who Jeffrey Dahmer had hired to pose for nude polaroid’s ran to the police naked, drugged and clearly terrified the police even RETURNED the victim to Jeffrey to finish what he’d started. Talk about home delivery!
So much so that when mothers of African American “prostitutes” as we were labeled gathered into a group and protested in the streets about LAPD’s refusal to do any investigation into what was later nicknamed the “Grim Reaper” case over well over 100 women – still nothing was done while the bodies continued to pile up literally.
I was not only a victim of sex trafficking myself back then, but I was witnessing sex trafficking on many levels. Only our society then was in such denial about the whole thing we didn’t even have a word for it then. Anyone who tried to step up about this back then was treated in the same identical manner as one is today if they step up and say aliens are abducting them.
Our culture not only treated the two in the same manner – there were no resources for them back then anymore than we have resources set up to officially help people saying they're alien abductees today. Not only did nothing exist for us back then in the way of services, or even acknowledgment the issue was real, but victims were treated like criminals when they’d come forward. That or as "crazy" like those who say they had aliens abducting them!
Which is why in 1984 I created the first safe house for adults in Van Nuys, California. In 1987, I created the first hotline for adults to call for help to escape and recover from whatever their situation was, along with a 12 step program which allowed the courts to offer victims an alternative to incarceration when sentencing to a mandatory jail/prison term.
In other words, it was our program who introduced into our American culture the very idea that we were “victims” in many cases instead of “criminals”. One for which condoms instead of being considered “evidence of a crime”, were in fact considered “evidence OF a crime”.
If this were put into the same terms as the civil rights movement – then one would see right away why we felt Ashton Kutcher’s speaking FOR us on a committee which we aren’t even being included onto as so offensive. He spoke about the horror of seeing a child for who sexual abuse had been defined to her as “play” by those in power over her.
Yet I was watching as a man in power was defining for us what our situation, and thus our solution is, in much the same spirit. Both are defining our world for us like we’re incapable of doing so for ourselves.
Which is what’s happened since the movement got hijacked right out from under us once money came onto the playing field. Actually I should say since we violated one of our very core issues we hold dear as Americans – the issue of the separation of church and state in this country. I sacrificed a tremendous amount to see the Trafficking Act of 2000 pass giving domestic sex trafficking federal recognition for the first time.
Then in 2002 Randall Tobias came along with George W. Bush and revised this Act to turn this money over to the “faith based” community to be disbursed NOT by groups run by survivors. To me that was like putting the church in charge of ending the witch hunts. It is no different than asking a bunch of old rich white men to decide how the very survivors they’ve abused should be helped considering they’re the number one consumers of this “product”.
Leading me to understand completely why groups like the Black Panthers started demanding they be put in charge of finding their own solutions, and empowering their own communities. They too were shut out of such things as Senate hearings for “being too black” while people like myself are being shut out for being “too direct”. When you’ve spent your whole life as a victim being silenced by wealthy white men in power – then for us recovery is about demanding WE are the ones to be heard now.
If the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wants to know about sex trafficking – then how come we as the oldest, and largest, group of survivors who started this very movement for recognition isn’t being included? Why is our society STILL trying to silence us to the point where we keep seeing a string of actors representing us like we can’t speak for ourselves? What is it they're so afraid of hearing they're refusing to allow us to speak?