I always believed, if I was given the choice between rape and death, death would be my answer. Yet, not many rape victims are given that choice.
I recently watched a documentary on human trafficking, The Day My God Died. This documentary focused on the women sold into prostitution in India. These women are living out my worst nightmare. Scarier still was my initial reaction: 'don't feel guilty about it - it's not your fault' and go on with my day.
We have been conditioned to care about things that don't matter. We have been programed for apathy. People in power depend on our programming and continually flood us with distractions. You would be surprised how close to the Matrix we really are. Facebook, reality television, movies, network news, internet, email, texts, IPhones, and the social pressure of marriage, kids, and consumer consumption keeps us pretty busy. It is easy to get lost in the noise.
Human trafficking for prostitution is enabled by a combination of power and apathy. Rape is an act of enforcing, taking and establishing power over an individual or a community. Apathy is how rape and prostitution grow into a global human trafficking phenomenon.
As long as us 'regular people' keep our mouths shut, human rights violations will continue at an alarming rate.
Many of us push these disturbing revelations to the back of our brains and move on with our little worlds of little problems: paying student loans, applying for jobs, stress with friends and family, harping on equal pay, free healthcare, wanting to be in a relationship, etc.
Self-indulgence is also a crime. I commit it every day. I smile, give to charity and talk about politics at dinner parties, but then I go home and worry about my waist size. As I stare at myself in the mirror, I hope the U.N. is doing something to stop all of these horrible things. Newsflash: The U.N. is doing next to nothing.
I am positive there are people are benefiting from my well-tuned apathy. This weekend some guy is going to spend money so he can rape a 10 year old girl. Yes, I'm being that critical of myself, and you should too. If enough of us were upset about it, I'm guessing his weekend would be a little more complicated than simply walking into a dark alley of brothels.
Contrary to what most non-Americans would like to think, public apathy isn't only a U.S. problem, this is a universal problem. We need millions, billions of people upset. Boycotting Fox News is not going to do it (though it would be a start).
It's not a problem that can be saved by money or knocking on brothel doors. Our little donations are like bringing one tube of antibiotic lotion to a M.A.S.H unit under sniper fire. We need to turn around and start shooting the snipers.
This is not to say the efforts of those who are presently at the front lines are meaningless. On the contrary, they are heroic. However, I'm pretty sure most involved want the trafficking to stop completely.
The trick is to stop the crime at the source. Follow the money. Oddly, the money ends up in many politicians' wallets - even politicians we like. Human trafficking is interwoven into our society and to disrupt it would mean disrupting an entire global system. That disruption would make some powerful people very angry.
People have found a way to lock themselves into their little worlds. What they don't understand is they are digging their heads in the sand like ostriches and doing more damage by doing nothing.
Quite frankly, I don't know what to do - except get angry and write. I am going to keep writing, mostly letters, which will probably be ignored, but it is something of worth. I am at least taking my head out of the sand.
So, every little extra bite of food you take today and every little meaningless conversation you have about Twitter and Facebook, I want you to think about your life in comparison with a human rights victim. Congratulations, your apathy silences their screams. Enjoy your burger and go ahead, update your status - I'm pretty sure there's a girl in India getting raped right now, but your status update about your trivial problems are much more important.