“The deep root of failure in our lives is to think, 'Oh how useless and powerless I am.' It is essential to think strongly and forcefully, 'I can do it,' without boasting or fretting.” - Dalai Lama
Often we shrink back from a social ill, an unjustice, and abject suffering all because we tell ourselves a bunch of falsehoods:
- That doesn't happen in my community.
- I can't change the world.
- If I do something I might endanger myself or my family.
- The problem is too complex and the simple thing I do won't solve anything.
The list goes on...
The problem is that most times, these things are in your neighborhood, endangering you and your family already and you do change the world anytime you make even the smallest action to alleviate the suffering of a single person.
The eye opener this week is about child sexual trafficking. So before you go down the road of saying, "I can spot a pedophile and it doesn't happen in my neighborhood...let me just offer you some fact-based alternatives:
- It does happen in your neighborhood and it does endanger you and your family.
- Men who engage in sex with children are often married and have kids of their own.
- Teenage prostitutes are not sluts or have some congenital character flaw. They are victims of a crime.
- As long as there are people who will pay for child sex, all children (including the ones you know and love) are at risk. Poverty, abuse, substance abuse, and neglect are contributors to the problem in many cases but middle and upper class status provide no real protection.
- The average age of child sexual exploitation appears to be 14, but girls as young as 10 and 11 are regularly exploited.
- Ignorance is not an excuse. A recent study found that "Most men who commercially sexually exploit adolescent females are not necessarily looking for a female they know to be under 18, but rather are looking to pay for sex with “young” females. Some of these men actively avoid any discussion of the actual age of the “young” female they are requesting, while other men ask for a young adult (e.g., a 19-year-old) apparently without realizing that in doing so they put themselves at extremely high risk for soliciting sex from a female who is actually under 18."
It is happening to someone's daughter!