I’ve been abused throughout my life. Not sexually, no, and I’m extremely thankful for that. Both my parents and many people I know, however, haven’t been so lucky.
I have been, however, a victim of being a girl. It seems I can’t leave the house without being catcalled, and that’s not an exaggeration. I have had multiple people growing up base my value on sex instead of who I actually am. I decided to wear a cute tank top I just bought when I was thirteen years old, only to struggle with ever wearing it again because I caught old men checking me out. I’ve been too scared to date anyone in case they attempt to force me into things I’m not comfortable with. Walking in the dark freaks me out, and I can’t pass anyone while walking home without planning out a strategy for how to get away from them in case I’m attacked. In fact, I started making plans for these things before I was even thirteen years old – before I really knew what rape even was. I’ve watched countless documentaries and stories on males and females alike being sexually abused, and it’s so integrated into our culture, one of my best friends is legitimately scared to keep her car doors unlocked when she’s driving because human trafficking is such a big issue.
Going with my documentary binge watching, I ended up stumbling upon the Netflix film called I Am Jane Doe. It follows the tale of three girls who were kidnapped sold as sex slaves as children, and the parents who spend years trying to get the companies responsible to face the consequences. The cases, of course, are always dismissed. Because who wants to hold people responsible for enabling child trafficking. (Note that sarcasm there).
It’s nothing new for me. I’ve always been incredibly passionate about not only women’s rights, but sexual abuse and the horrors of trafficking. I’ve read lots of books on trafficking in China or other distant countries like Africa or whatever, but you very rarely hear it talked about in regards to North America or other First World countries. We tend to look at those things as distant, a product of past of societies like the Catholic Church instead. Which is complete crap, because these things are happening everywhere, and we’re just not aware enough to know about it.
Below, I’ve compiled a bunch of resources I’ve been able to find to educate yourself on the reality of human trafficking in North America. I’ve also found sexual abuse information and support, and a bunch of free and confidential services available to those who may need it. To top it all off, I’ve included places and organizations that you can get involved with to protect not only ourselves, but the future of our children as well. Is this really the kind of world we want them to grow up in?
Information about sex trafficking in Canada
Website for raising awareness and support
Another support and information site
Help for victims
Read other’s stories and share your own
Helping victims recover
Rape and sexual abuse support
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888
Suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255