“Hush Little Baby….”

Laura Bailey from https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/manic-mondays-3-way-prompt-5/  gave another writing challenge for the week. The word is “Hush”.  I saw the word and immediately something came to my mind. I dismissed it though for I wanted to write about something more pleasant. That resulted in no post yesterday. I realized this morning that there are times when you need to just go with the first thought that comes to your mind and not fight it.Thank you Laura for the challenge, even if this one may have been a little harder to write.

The following piece is fiction, but unfortunately for too many children this post hits too close to home! Please let the special children/teens in your life know that they can confide in you, and that you will believe them, even when what they have to say may be the hardest thing you ever had to hear!  You never know, you may be the one that some child really needs right now.

“Hush, Little Baby…”

 

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.”

Holly cradled her dolly in her arms as she softly sang.

“Sally Jane I love you so much, please don’t cry, maybe this time it will be okay.”

Holly sniffed and rubbed her little fist below her eye to wipe away her tears.

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.”

“I’m sorry Sally, I don’t remember all the words, but hush now okay, we can’t let my Mommy hear.”

Holly choked back her sobs, “We don’t want to make Mommy cry, remember what Uncle Joe said, he said we would make Mommy sad. I love Mommy, I don’t want her to be sad.”

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird.”

Again Holly wiped at the tears running down her face, ” I like games Sally, but not the kind of games that Uncle Joe plays, they make me feel strange. Maybe I’m just too young to understand his kind of fun.”

Holly silently rocked Sally Jane back and forth.

“I am scared Sally, are you ever scared? Uncle Joe’s eyes gleamed as he said that the games would get better. Last night I almost asked Mommy if she ever played Uncle Joe’s kind of games, but then I remembered another thing he had said. He told me to “Hush” said that its our little secret. So Sally now you are in on the secret too.”

Holly heard her Mommy’s voice calling from downstairs.

“Holly, are you ready to go?  Uncle john is here.”

Holly gave Sally Jane one more squeeze and then laid her on her bed. She put her finger to her lips and said, “Remember Sally, Hush!”

She wiped away her last tear as she walked out her bedroom door with her tummy feeling funny.

Her Mom gave her a big hug when she came down the stairs. “I hope you have a really fun day today with Uncle Joe. “

Holly hugged her tightly back, not wanting to let go.

“I love you sweetie, but you need to go now, Uncle Joe is waiting.”

Holly’s heart pounded and her hands got sweaty, she wanted so badly to tell her Mommy, but yet she really didn’t know what to say. She didn’t understand, why did she feel so strange?  Maybe it was just that something was wrong with her. Maybe Mommy would be mad at her if she said something.

She sighed while breathing in her Mommy’s sweet perfume, she always smelled so pretty.  Holly gave her one more tight squeeze and then she let go.

Smiling she looked up at her Mommy.

“I love you Mommy, your the best Mommy in the whole world!”  and with that Holly walked out the front  door.

Her  Mom waved goodbye as the car pulled out of the driveway. She then went into Holly’s room to put her clean clothes away. She spotted Sally Jane lying on her bed. She picked her up knowing how much Holly loved her dolly.

“Why Sally, your face is all wet! If I didn’t know better, I would say you were cry…” Holly’s Mom remembered Sally’s tight hug and the way she buried her face in her dress, not letting go. She looked at Sally again and Sally’s big emerald green eyes looked back at her. The sun streamed in the bedroom window, shining on the eyes and making them glisten. As Holly’s Mom looked at them it was almost like the eyes were looking back at her trying to say something.

What was she thinking, this was Sally Jane, just a doll!

She became lost in her thoughts, Holly had been acting kind of strange lately. Carrying Sally over to the rocking chair she sat down and started to sing Holly’s favorite lullaby.

“Hush little baby, don’t say a word….”

 

 

Taken

The bag was put over their head, darkness closed in, as their hands were bound and they were shoved into the car. The bag would be taken off their head, and they would see the light, but the darkness would still be all around them, suffocating their spirit.

Taken away to begin a new life. A life of misery! A life of being sold into sex trafficking. One more number in statistics that are growing too high. One more hurting child . One more person’s life that is  changed in the blink of an eye!

This danger is so real and the statistics are sickening!

Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.

According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.

  • There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
  • According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.
  • The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children. Not all are girls, there are young boys being sold as well.
  • California harbors 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas on the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
  • The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state in the US. 15% of those calls are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
  • Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year.
  • Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
  • The International Labor Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million trafficked victims (55%) compared to 9.5 million (45%) men.

It is scary and it really is everywhere, not only in the big cities. We live in a small town, but we are very close to a major interstate, easy access for a quick getaway.  Unfortunately the numbers have been rising in our area! We have had talks about it with our children, not to scare them, but to make them aware!

The movie Taken portrays the horrors of human trafficking pretty well. Yes it is a fictional movie, BUT…it does show how quickly someone can be taken and how fast they can be transported out of the country. This is a $32 billion a year industry, these people know what they are doing; they unfortunately know how not to get caught and how not to let their victims be found.

I think one of the most poignant scenes in the movie for me was when the young girls were being auctioned off. My Mother’s heart was breaking and silently screaming. I knew everyone was just actors on the movie, but it was too real. There are too many young girls that are not actresses, they are being forced to play a role in a depressing never ending play.

These men that lure children away are enticing and charming. As the statistics mentioned, a lot of these young teens  are runaways. These vile men prey on them. They promise  them elaborate things, anything looks good to these vulnerable teens. They are looking for an escape from what they are running away from. Looking for shelter, these men offer that and more. They spin the web to attract the fly.

They smoothly make grand promises to the teen, and their young mind gets excited, thinking how their life can change. They put on the charm, before placing the “bag” over the child’s head. By the time the child realizes the truth, it is too late, and their hearts are shattered.

One troubling  local incident happened the other week. It may not have had anything to do with sex trafficking, but it definitely was suspicious. I  am pretty confident that the man didn’t have anything good in mind!

It is the time of year for small town  fairs, and this night 3 pretty teens were enjoying themselves at the fair. They did karaoke, and as they were walking away from their performance, a young man came up to them. He gave them high compliments about their singing and dancing. He continued to say that he knows this may sound strange  since we are in a small town, but he has a buddy who would be very interested in meeting these girls. His buddy works for a  large business who is looking for some talented dancers. Would they come with him to meet his friend?

Gives you chills doesn’t it? Sounds like something you would see on TV, as you sit there on your couch yelling at the TV, telling the girls not to fall for this trap. Its not a TV show though, not a movie!  This is not in some back alley somewhere. This guy didn’t jump out of a car trying to nab these girls.

No, it was done in a very business like, charming manner and 2 of the girls started to get excited. What young girl doesn’t like to be told that she is talented and doesn’t start dreaming about how maybe this is her lucky break!  Fortunately one of those girls wasn’t as easily swayed by his charm,  and she politely told the guy “No Thanks”, as she led her friends away!

Thinking of the children that don’t get away breaks my heart, the ones that get trapped.

 I know that I am not capable of  physically rescuing these children, but I am able to bring awareness to the problem. I am able to help volunteer with our local organization against Human Trafficking. Sometimes its not as much about what you can’t do, but more about looking at what you can do!

 

 

Be Still

I wanted to give a little introduction to this post.  This post was written about a week ago, but I wasn’t ready to post it yet.  It wasn’t finished.  It happened just as I wrote.  This wasn’t a planned post. Once again I had sat down to write something else and well… you will see what happens. 

I had this saved in my drafts, not knowing when I would post it. It needed more to it. It stirred me, but I wasn’t satisfied with it,  and I didn’t know when I would add to it. When I would feel the emotions again that made me start it in the first place.  Then yesterday happened.

Yesterday an article came out in our paper talking about our upcoming trial. I wasn’t aware that an article would be posted. Again thoughts started to tumble in my brain. I thought of the post that had been saved.  I knew now was the time. Now was the time to pull it out and let my heart finish it. 

Be Still

I sat down to write a post. I turned a song on and I faltered. I got caught up in the song and my emotions started breaking free of my heart. I tried to conceal them. I had a post to write.

My heart started to ache as memories came, and rolled down my cheeks. The trial was coming soon. I would come face to face with the one who I have known now as the sexual  abuser of  my daughter. Face to face with the one who I used to know as a dear friend.  The lump grew bigger in my throat. I tried to swallow it. I had a post to write.

I thought of the people who may not understand our story. The ones who only  know half of the story. The ones who don’t want to believe the horrible truth, even if they are reading it in black and white. How can I explain? Is it my job to make them understand?

My eyes grow moist once more, as my heart cries out. How can I make sense of everything? I can’t wrap my mind around the thinking of the one who started this chain of events. The one who would prey on the innocence of young children.

Why did he make the choices that he did?  It is like a broken record playing in my mind. The kind you want to shut off, but it hauntingly continues to play. “Why?”, The question that has no answer. At least no answer that I can give.

Only 1 person can answer that question. Only 1 person has those answers locked down deep within the darkness of his soul. Answers that even he may not fully understand if he ever has the courage to find the key that unlocks them.

What do I do with my “why’s”, what do I do with my longing for answers to this mess? Oh,  how do I shut off my mind?

I need to focus. I have a post to write.

I don’t like to be someone that is left in the dark. I want answers that will explain the many questions from this Mother’s broken heart.

The words , “Be Still”, echo in my head. Like a gentle whisper from my soul.

“Be Still”, did I hear right? “Be Still!” How? How can that answer the 101 questions that rumble around in my brain. The ones that get rather loud at times, demanding an answer.

“Be Still!” That doesn’t help explain everything. It doesn’t answer the turmoil that swirls around like angry waves inside of me.

“Be Still!”  I don’t need all the answers. Having all the answers is not the key to being still! It is about being still, amidst the waves that swirl around me.  About breathing in the peace and expelling  the troubled thoughts. About coming up for air and taking deep breaths of refreshment.

Taking deep breaths, before being swept under by the waves again.

“Be Still!” I need to  rest in the knowledge that my family and I are not alone!  We are so grateful for the loving support we have from so many.

The tears slow down  and the peace starts to gently roll in. Like God commanded the angry waves to “Be Still”,  in the storm that raged. He speaks again in a gentle whisper to my soul. “Be Still!”

Counting Down….

10, 9, 8…weeks to go! 8 weeks until my family and I stand strong, as we enter through courtroom doors. I am not counting the days, hours and minutes yet, but feeling that the time will come before I know it.

8 weeks to go until my heart is worn on my sleeve as I take the stand and testify. This is not Judge Judy’s court room, this is not about something small. I’m fighting for my daughter and her innocence that was stolen. I’m taking a stand for all the other children that are out there and hurting, that have no one to be their voice.

One out of every 10 children will be sexually abused before the age of 18. My husband and I want to send out the message that this is horrible and needs stopped. Can we stop it? NO, but we can make it loud and clear that we won’t tolerate it! We can show up in court in 8 weeks to fight for justice and we will! We may have knocking knees and a racing heart, but we will be there. We will be there , because we love our children. We will fight for them no matter what.

In 90% of sexual abuse cases the child knows the perpetrator! Yes, that is staggering to think about, but the message really needs to be heard! We hear about stranger danger all the time, it is preached to our children at school. Our children do need to learn about being wise around strangers, that is true. But our children need to know that its not only bad touches from a stranger that is wrong!

No matter the relationship you have with an adult, if they give you bad touches, it is wrong! It doesn’t matter if it is a relative or close friends, the neighbor or your teacher. No matter who it is, it is never right!

Our children need to be taught to not be afraid to tell us.  Our children need to know that even if the perpetrator is someone that Mommy and Daddy really like that we still will believe them. Only between 4-6% of child sexual abuse cases are fabricated. This is not something children lie about. They are much more likely to stay secretive about it, because they are scared, ashamed, and the list goes on. A lot of times they are threatened not to tell.  They are much more likely to act out in different ways trying to get the message out to you without actually saying it. We as parents need to be tuned in to that. Tuned into our child’s behavior and noticing when it is different than normal. We still may not see the signs, we are not perfect, but we need to be aware.

Here are some signs that can be displayed most often in younger children:.

    • Has nightmares or other sleep problems without an explanation
    • Seems distracted or distant at odd times
    • Has a sudden change in eating habits
    • Refuses to eat
    • Loses or drastically increases appetite
    • Has trouble swallowing
    • Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, insecurity, or withdrawal
    • Leaves “clues” that seem likely to provoke a discussion about sexual issues
    • Develops new or unusual fear of certain people or places
    • Refuses to talk about a secret shared with an adult or older child
    • Writes, draws, plays, or dreams of sexual or frightening images

 

  • Thinks of self or body as repulsive, dirty, or bad
  • Exhibits adult-like sexual behaviors, language, and knowledge

Here are signs exhibited in adolescents and teens:

 

  • Self-injury (cutting, burning)
  • Inadequate personal hygiene
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Running away from home
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Suicide attempts
  • Fear of intimacy or closeness
  • Compulsive eating or dieting

This is not saying that if your child exhibits any of these signs that sexual abuse is the reason! There can definitely be  other things going on. This is only to make you aware of signs of possible abuse. Please don’t put blinders on and think that it can never happen to your child. This is real life. We are far from living in a picture perfect world! We also cannot believe that we can always protect our children. Unfortunately we can’t, no matter how hard we try. It’s just a fact. An ugly one, but a real one!

These are all ugly facts that I talked about in this post. I would have much preferred writing a cheerier post, but this is my reality now. Yes I could keep this ugly fact hidden in the closet, but who would that help? I have been told to be real. For in being real maybe I can touch another hurting soul. Isn’t that what life should be about? Reaching out to others with a caring heart. Reaching out to others who may feel so alone by saying, “me too”. I feel your pain, your guilt, your fear, I am here.

8 weeks until our day in court comes. It was about a year and a half ago when I was told that I needed to “just walk away!” That I needed to just let go of the words that poured out of my daughter’s heart. In 8 weeks I will face the one who dared to say that to me. He will see that there is no way that a Mother Bear just walks away!