love this. Love Kelly. Couldnt have said it better myself.
Writing about my beliefs is scary and incredibly vulnerable, to say the least. I’ve always tried to keep this space neutral, and for the most part, I tend to keep my personal life very private. People email me, quite often, asking what my beliefs are… and I’m happy to engage in conversation about it. But I’m not one to broadcast it to the world, because I think it’s a really personal thing. Not to mention - I would never, ever want to be one of those people who shoves my beliefs in your face. But I’ve been asked more and more lately, and I realized that if it’s important to me, I should talk about it. This post is a novel, but honestly, it barely scrapes the surface of what my heart believes. (If you have a question, you are more than welcome to email me about it)
I believe in Jesus, and that died He for me. I believe in His grace, forgiveness, and love. I believe Heaven will be a beautiful place with no sorrow or pain. (I always think of the chorus in this beautiful song) I’ve witnessed miracles. I’ve seen God work in my own life, in the lives of those close to me, and in the lives & hearts of people all over the world. I believe that His heart for the nations is huge. I believe that I will never fully understand how much love He has for me, and for the world. I truly believe that He speaks to us through many things - the wind, the roar of the ocean, the rustling of leaves, the sound of rain, children’s laughter… through the hug of a friend, a stranger’s smile, a helping hand, a beautiful sunset, a really good dream. His Love is all around us, speaking to us through the little things, in the smallest moments.
I think so many Christians put God in a box, when really, He is so much more than we could ever comprehend and His Love knows no bounds. I think some Christians allow themselves to become incredibly narrow-minded. A lot of people have this idea that Christianity is a bunch of rules, and nothing else. If you slip up, or make a mistake, you’re a horrible human being. That God only loves a certain type of person. That you have to act a certain way or be perfect to be a Christian. That Christianity gives you the right to be judgmental, hateful, spiteful, hypocritical, intolerant, and arrogant. That God is an angry, unjust, neglectful, despicable, prejudice God… do I believe these things are true? Absolutely not.
The Jesus I know, what I believe Christianity is, can pretty much be summed up in a few words: compassion, selflessness, and most importantly - love. Jesus is all about showing compassion and kindness, and He has a heart for nurturing people. He looks at us with love and is there when we fall, when we hurt, when we have joy. This may sound silly, but when I think of Jesus… I sort of envision him as a loving, peaceful, warmhearted hippie. When He was a man on this Earth, He loved on people. He nurtured their hearts. He was a great storyteller who adored being with people. He was a good Samaritan who gave, and gave, and gave. He was incredibly upset with the haughty, judgmental people of the church for shunning others who (they thought) were “below” them. The poor, the sick, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the thieves, the beggars. (even some of the children were an annoyance in their eyes) To them, these people were “low-lifes”. They didn’t fit in, they weren’t “good enough”. And that broke Jesus’ heart. To know that these people, His children, were being neglected, ridiculed, tormented, and even killed… just because they were “different” - I can’t imagine how sad that made Him. You know what He did, though? He went to them. He sat and talked to them. He listened. He showed them compassion. He embraced them, healed them, helped them. He treated them like they were human beings, like they were equal. Because no one on this Earth is better than anyone else. None of us are perfect. Jesus loves me, and He loves you, and He loves your neighbor next door even though they’re loud and obnoxious. He loves the mailman, and the single mother working three jobs, and even the politician who makes shady choices. He does not forsake people, or strike them with lightning when they’ve made a mistake. He is understanding and kind. He loves us, and I believe that Christianity is about spreading that Love to the world. If Jesus walked this Earth today, He would give his time and energy to feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and helping those in need. He would reach out. He would bridge gaps. He would bring us together. He wouldn’t show hate, be judgmental, ignore people who were “different”, or be part of hateful protests. All of those things are heartbreaking to Him. He created us all. He does not see gender, race, or looks - He sees our hearts. He doesn’t care about wealth or social status. And (as much as people want to think so) I believe He doesn’t choose political sides. But - He does fight for good. He fights for love. He fights for you.
I love to imagine Jesus hanging out with all of those people… the ones who were told by others that they were scum. Jesus spending time with them sent such a message to the rest of the world… that everyone is special in His eyes. That we should love our neighbors as ourselves. He set the ultimate example. While the judgmental and the rich touted perfection and were too prideful to admit that they were flawed just like everyone else, these people… the “different” ones… they were willing to admit that they weren’t perfect, that they had problems, that they struggled every single day, and that they needed love. I picture Jesus reaching out to them - listening to their stories, holding their hands, and speaking words of light, hope, truth, and love over them. Who cares what anyone else thought? Jesus certainly didn’t.
He chose to look past the dirt on their faces, their flaws, their mistakes, and their wrongdoings - because they were close to His heart. That’s what love looks like. He loves… truly, simply, wholeheartedly, unconditionally.
And don’t you think, as Christians, we should do the same? Shouldn’t we all be like that? Regardless of our beliefs, shouldn’t every single one of us show that same compassion and love to everyone we meet? I think so. I am far (FAR!) from perfect, and I may have days when I don’t want to show kindness to everyone… but I want to try, every day of my life.
So, if you see a “Christian” or certain “churches” protesting a solider’s funeral, or saying hateful things against others, or telling you that you’re not good enough… please know, that is not who I am, nor will I ever be that type of person. And let me make this incredibly clear - that is NOT what a Christian really looks like… it is the opposite of what Jesus has taught us and it makes me unbelievably heavy-hearted that this is the image of Christianity that is being portrayed to the world. A faith that was built on love, compassion, and selflessness - has been turned, by so many, into a “faith” that is filled with judgment and hatred. There are “Christians” who have twisted our faith to their advantage, to use against others, and it is wrong. This is a false image that is royally screwed up… know that.
I want to be someone who exudes that wholehearted love I was talking about. I hope people see love through my words and actions. I hope people see someone who is genuine and caring. I hope they see someone who is always willing to listen and offer encouragement. I hope they see authenticity and compassion.
Please know, that whoever you are, wherever you come from… you will always find kindness and love here. xo.
It’s important to know what is going on in our world. These little girls and women and being stolen and trafficked.
I know I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth the re-read
I am over rape.
I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.
I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real names without shame.
I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.
I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don’t think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.
I am over how long it seems to take anyone to ever respond to rape.
I am over Facebook taking weeks to take down rape pages.
I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.
I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice.
I am over rape happening in broad daylight.
I am over the 207 clinics in Ecuador supported by the government that are capturing, raping, and torturing lesbians to make them straight.
I am over one in three women in the U.S military (Happy Veterans Day!) getting raped by their so-called “comrades.”
I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.
I am over the fact that after four women came forward with allegations that Herman Cain groped them and grabbed them and humiliated them, he is still running for the President of the United States.
And I’m over CNBC debate host Maria Bartiromo getting booed when she asked him about it. She was booed, not Herman Cain.
Which reminds me, I am so over the students at Penn State who protested the justice system instead of the alleged rapist pedophile of at least 8 boys, or his boss Joe Paterno, who did nothing to protect those children after knowing what was happening to them.
I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public.
I am over starving Somalian women being raped at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, and I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth, as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.
I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it’s their fault or they did something to make it happen.
I am over violence against women not being a #1 international priority when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime — the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself.
No women, no future, duh.
I am over this rape culture where the privileged with political and physical and economic might, take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it.
I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual exploiters — film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, movie stars, athletes — while the lives of the women they violated are permanently destroyed, often forcing them to live in social and emotional exile.
I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you?
You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?
I am over years and years of being over rape.
And thinking about rape every day of my life since I was 5-years-old.
And getting sick from rape, and depressed from rape, and enraged by rape.
And reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour of every single day.
I am over being polite about rape. It’s been too long now, we have been too understanding.
We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try and imagine — once and for all — what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need to let our rage and our compassion connect us so we can change the paradigm of global rape.
There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been violated.
ONE BILLION WOMEN.
The time is now. Prepare for the escalation.
Today it begins, moving toward February 14, 2013, when one billion women will rise to end rape.
Because we are over it.
- Eve Ensler: Over IT
(Source: The Huffington Post)
I want to throw myself in
just once again, no more running
just let me stay in this thought of who I am
inside, my stomach’s tied up in knots
crimping what was once undone
in my head, my soul. I AM NOT! I want
substance, clearing, pain, love, freedom
just a modern day hippie with peace
on my mind racing around with the
compulsion of responsibilities, ties, lies
it’s all the same…
I come back to You.
You are my God.
Responsibilities tie to me but never lie
there waiting for me to fall again, just
once I tasted your grape-seed of knowledge
from forbidden fruit, syrups of blood
came down to me to cleanse my filthy
clothing of sin like the dew of mountains
running down my back, hydrating the power
You’ve given me so I could be just like You.
My sad pathetic knees fall to Your feet
undeserving flesh of a baby’s cheek so new
I can’t imagine why my insecurities
are nothing to You, holding my heartstrings
in Your arms always playing soft music when
all I can do is scream at You run from You
just so I can throw myself in
just once again, no more running
Just one more glance at who I am
inside, I love to lie to You to me in sin
of lust of things I can destroy of me so
everyday can be like the next no way of
ever being loved as completely, as desired
I’ve tasted the grape-seed from Your mouth
that now I spit out not wanting to remember
how sweet Your love can be, torturing
my days so I can feel pity for myself
I get lost not remembering the path back
to You I wander wondering if I could ever
feel complete if I ever just stopped
standing in the wrong direction I have no
more truth in my mind no tangible thoughts
I come back to You.
You are my God.
If only I could better share this with You.
If only I could better show my love for You.
Pornland, Oregon: Child Prostitution in Portland
Child prostitution has become a national problem in this country. Yes, I know that you have trouble believing that. You don’t want to believe it, so you tend not to.
“Widespread sex trafficking in children?”, you may be saying to yourself. “Sure, it happens overseas in places like Thailand and Moldova, and while there may be some of it here there’s not that much of it in our country.”
Based on a months long investigation and some reportorial digging, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. We all are. We’re in denial.
In covering news for more than 60 years, I’d like to think that few stories shock me anymore. But this is one of them. We ran across it late last year and the more we dug, the more disturbing it became.
Eighty-year-old men paying a premium to violate teenage girls, sometimes supplied by former drug gangs now into child sex trafficking big time? You’ve got to be kidding. Nope. That’s happening and a lot more along the same lines.
The business is booming. One of the worst areas for it runs along lines running roughly from Seattle to Portland, to San Francisco and Los Angeles, to Las Vegas. But no place in the country is immune.
To pick just one example among many, Portland, Oregon is without doubt one of the nation’s treasures. It has been voted one of the best places to live and work. But according to police, the city and its outlying communities has become a hub for the sexual exploitation of children. In a recent nationwide sting by Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, Portland ranked second in the country for the number of rescued child prostitutes. And according to Doug Justus, the workhorse sergeant in charge of Portland’s tiny Vice Detail, many of the children caught up in this are middle class kids from the area.
The girls, sometimes as young as 12, often 13-16, are lured by a “front man” in his mid-to-late teens. He becomes her “boyfriend,” taking her to dinner, buying her nice things, sometimes meeting her parents. The girl eventually moves in with him. Then he says they need money to continue being together. First, she’s enticed to sleep with his friends to pay the rent. Soon she’s turning tricks for what police say is an endless supply of older men willing to pay top money for sex with very young girls. Other times convincing the young adolescent girls to sell themselves happens very quickly.
“It is an out-of-control problem. It’s unbelievable,” say Justus. “I’ve only done this vice-squad job for three years. I’ve been a cop for 29. If you had told me three years ago that a 14-year-old girl would go to a food court, meet a guy, and three hours later be selling herself, I’d a said, no frigging way. It happens every single day, every day.”
It is a very lucrative business, according to Justus. “An average pimp with one kid will make between $800 and $l,000 a day. That’s seven days a week, 30 days a month,” he said. And the pimps usually have a stable of young girls. No wonder so many criminals in the drug trade have turned to it which they have in droves. There’s less chance of being caught, less chance of being prosecuted if caught, lighter sentences — if any — if convicted.
There is, and has been for a long time, a national “War on Drugs.” There isn’t one on child prostitution and what amounts to a slave trade. Only feeble efforts at best.
Justus is frustrated that the Portland police have only two full-time vice investigators, compared to dozens of drug investigators.
“I’m not a politician. I’m just a cop. But if I’m a criminal and I got busted for drugs and I had a regional (drug) task force over here. And there’s another task force over there, and there, and then I know there’s only two vice investigators in the city of Portland, let me think. I think I’ll sell women because what are the chances of me being caught?”
The story we’ve prepared is not about prostitution per se. This is about child abuse. This is also about statutory rape and compelling prostitution among the young. All are difficult to prove. A major reason, according to police, is that it’s extremely difficult to convince a young girl to testify against their pimps and “johns”. They are afraid.
Sgt. Justus told us the story of a 16-year-old girl whom he convinced to “roll” on her pimp. But before she could testify against him she disappeared — and her pimp walked free. Justus has spent the last year looking for her and fears she’s dead.
How many children are being peddled on the streets of Portland and in other cities and towns, to say nothing of the Internet (Justus and other law enforcement people say Craigslist, along with other Internet sites, are major factors in the spread of child prostitution)? Hard to know about the real numbers. The most conservative estimates are that at least 100,000 American children are being victimized. Many experts say they believe it’s closer to 300,000 or more.
Whatever the number, it is a national outrage and disgrace. And the problem is growing, not diminishing.
Based on our investigation, we’ve prepared an hour long program on this problem. We’ve spoken with parents who never dreamed their young daughter would be caught up in underage prostitution but was. We’ve also interviewed several girls who lived to tell about their experiences of being sold. Tuesday night at 8pm Eastern time on HDNet, via satellite and cable.
(Source: The Huffington Post)
i can hear you.
Wednesday, January 11, is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
victims of human trafficking or persons who suspect their friends or children may be affected by human trafficking are encouraged to call:
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
For help 24 hours day in six languages, regardless of immigration status.
Human trafficking needs to stop. Help us.
Woman Who Forced Underage Girls Into Prostitution Given Gentle One Year Sentence
A Washington woman who forced teenage girls to have sex with paying clients she found on the internet has been given some superjustice and sentenced to one year of jail time. If you think that punishment is too harsh for a woman who benefitted financially from forcing kids to have sex, don’t fret; she can serve 300 of the days on work release. This isn’t a slap on the wrist, it’s a kiss on the hand followed by a slightly too rough shoulder massage.
Melissa Marie Salsbury recruited the 17 and 18-year-old girls she’d go on to exploit through a series of ads wherein she promised she’d help them get jobs as dancers. When the young women responded, she and her husband, Stanley Lynn Salsbury, Jr. would rent hotel rooms in Kennewick, Washington and force the girls to have sex with clients for money. The Salsburys kept the girls working as prostitutes by threatening them with violence and telling the girls that unless they continued to do their bidding, they’d tell the girls’ boyfriends or their parents. Salsbury found a steady stream of clients who knew the girls were underage by posting ads on backpage.com. For several months, their operation hummed along.
Authorities discovered their coerced teen sex-for-profit ring when one of the girls, who was 17 at the time, confessed what was going on to her high school guidance counselor.
Salsbury eventually pled guilty to promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor, a felony that normally carries a penalty of about 7 to 10 years in prison. Her sentence? A whopping year behind bars.
So why the flaccid 1 year jail sentence for a woman who operated a business that was a breath away from teen sex slavery? Lawyers involved with the case provided several unconvincing reasons. First, Salsbury cooperated with authorities, turning over all requested evidence and the names of several johns and her husband, who aided her in her whoremaking. She also pled guilty, like a good, compliant criminal (except she didn’t, really, plead guilty the whole time). Second, she had a baby back in October, which means that she’ll miss a year of her son’s development, which, according to court documents, “is itself a form of punishment.” Third, and, according to court documents “more troubling” than Salsbury’s actual crimes is the fact that Salsbury had been recruited into sex work as a teenager, and didn’t understand the harm she was doing to the victims, and thus her ability to appreciate the wrongness of her conduct was “impaired.”
Yes, let’s release a woman with an infant who doesn’t understand the harmfulness of teenage sex slavery back into society sans reparative therapy. This sounds like an excellent idea.
If you’re hoping that the other parties involved in the case were given punishments that fit their crimes, you’re going to be disappointed. Salsbury’s husband, who booked the hotel rooms and often accompanied his wife to meet clients, was given 10 days in jail, and if he behaves himself for a year, he can go back to court to get the conviction vacated. The johns who knew the girls’ ages haven’t yet been sentenced, but if the woeful underpunishment trend continues, they’ll probably be forced to eat entire bags of coconut M&Ms and then watch an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba while being frowned at by an offended cat.
Woman who forced girls into sex sentenced to one year in jail [Tri-City Herald]
Bieng Raiya, 21-years-old, is very different from other people his age. Instead of spending his time hanging out and having a crazy social life, he devotes his time to studying and volunteering. He has committed his life to fighting human trafficking in Cambodia, a problem that has bothered him since he was only 14-years-old.
Born in Prey Veng province, Bieng Raiya has always been a hard working student. He is now a third-year student of Sociology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. When he isn’t studying, he is an advocacy and communication group leader of the Child Support Team at NGO Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Having seen the many problems that women face in his community where many are kidnapped and trafficked to the cities or neighbouring countries, Bieng Raya has grown frustrated with the human trafficking industry. His anger led him to join an organization called Child Peer Educator and he is now a leading anti-human-trafficking advocate.
“People in my community are poor and easily cheated to emigrate to the cities or neighbouring countries, and somehow they end up being sex workers or labourers.”
Bieng Raiya is a member of Child Peer Educator in Children and Life Association (CLA), a partner of the NGO CRC. He was trained in Phnom Penh, and now travels to other countries in the Mekong region to have more training and render more knowledge in human trafficking among activist in those countries.
“Whenever I have a project to educate people, I, myself, have to initiate new lesson in order to give an effective and efficient understanding of the issue” he says.
Most of Bieng Raiya’s training programs consist of: role-play, workshops and individual problem solving activities.
Bieng Raiya believes that you must “be thorough if you make a cart, or it will hurt your cow legs”.
“It means if you want to teach people, you have to know more than them, that’s why I have tried to learn everything there is to know about human trafficking.”
“Nothing is easy,” he said.
“Yet I have my own methods to reach people who have or have not experienced trafficking. I have to know how to identify the problem and how to convince them to say their problems so that we can work together and solve them.”
“However, I also face some obstacles since most of the victims are girls, it is hard to approach them and convince them to discuss their problems or the hardships they have been through.”
Besides devoting himself to educating people, Bieng Raiya and his group are also trying to find support from other organizations or other people to work on human trafficking issues as well.
“We are all Cambodian, so what we can do is protect them from cheaters and criminals.”
Bieng Raiya added that we can’t prevent people from migrating, but we can help them migrate safely.
A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”