**The following words are written by a guest author- not my own. I'm honored to use my platform as a place for other women and men to share their stories of what freedom means and why they're participating in Dressember. The following is a personal, authentic account.
If you'd like to share your own story, please fill out the form here. There is plenty of space so don't be shy!*
Warning: Some of the links that I have provided with facts about sex trafficking may be disturbing or triggering for some. Please use personal discretion.
I live in a fairytale-like world many girls don’t even dare to dream about.
A world where I don’t have to fear where my next meal will come from or what I’ll have to do to get it.
A place where I don’t have to sell my body, my dignity, or my sanity to people who treat me like a slave.
A world where I am treasured and loved.
A world where I am free.
But what DOES freedom mean to me?
I struggled with coming up with a topic for my post, mainly because I wanted to be original, but also authentic. The biggest problem I deal with every “Dressember” is finding a connection to the cause. This year, I desired to take part not merely because I have participated for the past two years, or because my sister-in-law asked me to join her group, but because I wanted to.
And honestly, it’s hard.
It’s not that I don’t care: sex trafficking is a disgusting, life-crushing industry that needs to be abolished. But how do I avoid getting lost in all the facts and diagrams—to see the faces and the stories behind the statistics?
How do I make things personal?
The more I examine my lack of connection to the real issues behind Dressember, the more I realize that I do not feel affected by trafficking. I know that last statement sounds very selfish, but as I look at the issues that I DO pour my heart into, and see that the issues I am most passionate about have shaped me, broken me, and have become personal because of my individual journey. I don’t have a personal connection to sex trafficking—or even sexual abuse and harassment—the way that many advocates do. (Remember the #metoo movement? I didn’t take part in that because I literally could not think of an example.) Yet maybe the horrors that I have been spared from have provided me, even in a small way, with the connection that I needed.
I realized that because trafficking wasn’t “personal” to my own experiences, I was also free from the pain, aching, and FEAR that comes along with those experiences.
And now I know that freedom means to me: freedom from fear.
I want little girls in third world countries to be able to walk to school without the fear of being
kidnapped or raped.
I want freedom for the mothers who don’t know how else to feed their children, and for the abused porn stars who are forced to carry out acts of violence for the pleasure of others.
I want everyone to have that freedom.
I have dealt with my own crushing fears—sometimes I even fear simple things like wearing dresses for a whole month. The first year I participate in Dressember, I feared being alone during the month because my husband and I had just moved away from everyone that we knew. Sometimes I fear that no one will support me, or that others will ignore what I have to say. Sometimes I fear my own apparent LACK of feelings and empathy for the men, women, and children who are trapped in fear every day.
But more than what I feel, Dressember is all about doing what’s right and getting past your fears to keep fighting for something bigger than ourselves—even if no one else is there doing it there alongside you.
The amazing thing is that there are hundreds of women (and men) fighting for the same cause! Every year I feel less and less alone because I see others joining to become advocates for
The thing that amazes me about Dressember is that it doesn’t matter your age, your political status, your race, your religious views, etc. Literally any person who believes in freedom can join together with other people of differing backgrounds and beliefs. Dressember is a uniting movement that spans across continents and reaches past barriers and prejudices. Together we fight for this freedom from fear— to fight for a beautiful fairytale-like world where victims can find restoration, healing, and wholeness.
Words by: Rachael M., Greely, CO