by Maria Marballi
I do believe that the Lord has this particular faction of young women on His heart: the abused turned prostitute. When the gift of sex is broken in a young child, the image of sex polarizes from holy, to unholy: from beauty to evil, from pleasure to pain. The image is tarnished, as they become victims of incest and abuse, each sitting solitarily in their rooms praying for the memories to magically disappear- for innocence to be restored. Hands over their head, buried between their knees against the cold floor. This is where many prostitutes begin their journey.
It’s grim to try and understand why exactly the abused return to a life of sexual entrapment, but we do know what God has to say. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). And those that cause His little ones to stumble, often times stumbled themselves into the trap that dulls the mind like a drug: pornography. It first appears a “small sin,” a mild impediment on the journey towards eternal life, however, slowly becomes an increasingly lofty barrier that grows superior with each opened window browser. Some stories progress as an addiction obligated to be fed: an easy feat nowadays, I might add. As the addicted stand before the mountain of compiled digitalized sexual experiences, they need more; they need the real thing. Now what?
One in every three girls and one in every six boys are sexually abused by the time they blow out their eighteenth candle. I am not one to provide a hard-fast rule on the progression from pornography viewer to abuser- however the viewing of such material creates an insatiable appetite that causes some to reach into the screen and grasp the experience only to place it on the obligatory shoulders of a child. This is not to say that porn viewers become abusers, but rather that pedophiles have a history of viewing pornography more often than not- and my purpose is to understand the transition from bad to worse and how the worse manifests itself in the victim.
Now living in the twenty-first century, the pornography industry supplies a range of content that encompasses far more than “just sex.” It is violence- and hardly disguised from such. Since when does rape on video become our eyes’ desire? Who can say when, all we know is that it happened. And as the viewer acquired an increased tolerance for bizarre triple X content, they biologically needed something new to fill the craving, and that can happen through the exploitation of the ones who cannot defend themselves, whose battered and trained voices do not feel worthy of shouting for help: children. The little girl whose first sexual experience was forcefully thrust upon her may often times knows little else of love and attention- and run back to the place she understands best: because the unforgivable past seemingly outweighs the unknown. That’s the girl wearing dollar bills beneath her garments. That’s the girl smirking through the glass window. That’s the girl smiling through the computer screen.
Many stories begin with abuse and lead to the child or adolescent running away from home due to lack of support and Christ-like love within the family. The abused child that later finds herself in prostitution not knowing where else to go. “I have to pay the bills.” According to the CNN Freedom Project, “the statistic most cited by police and child advocates is that within 48 hours of running away, one in three teens will be approached by someone in the sex trade.” Then the girl hobbles along after the nice man who gave her a whistle and called her pretty, and then a life of what seemed like choice begins, and evolves into a life controlled by pimps and fueled by those partaking in the sex industry. And the chance that this story began with the viewing of pornography by the pedophile is appropriately high.
It all potentially started when someone decided to watch porn. And hundreds followed. Thousands. Millions. It has become normalized, legalized and mainstreamed. And apart from Christ, we are slaves to it. We made it “OK” to watch porn in public libraries. We made it “OK” to put it in PG 13 movies and in our favorite television shows. We made it OK, commonplace, acceptable.
Women are being cycled and recycled. They are abused as children, then are quickly folded into the stream of sex workers, while fragments of their hearts harden one sex act at a time; and society is constantly saying that it’s “OK.”
The solution does not solely rely on rescue missions to India and Moldova; it all begins in the heart, it all begins with pursuit. The pursuit of justice. The pursuit of purity. Because the pursuit of justice in the sex trafficking realm is not an “out there” issue. It is as close to the heart as it is far across the globe. This generation can pride itself on its activist mindedness only once we are cleansed from the root problem that fuels the trafficking industry as a whole: sex culture. It seems that we must first be pruned before we can start packing our bags for rescue missions. Come, Lord Jesus.
Labels. It may be time to keep them in the grocery store and let the story of the prostitute speak for itself; let the story of the pornography addict speak for itself. And let the story of the abused speak for itself. Because they all began with each other, and the out from the cycle is Christ.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” (II Peter 1:4)
Click here to read Part I of “Sex and Shades of Grey”
Maria Marballi is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and is currently serving as a pureJUSTICE intern.