Ladies, We Must Stop Saying “Those Women”

In the United States women and girls are free to get an education and have a career of their choosing whereas women and girls in other countries are not that fortunate. But why is it that when a woman or young girl is seen working in the Sex Industry in the U.S. we assume it was all her choice and that perhaps it’s a viable job? Look, I know a girl’s gotta eat but why does she have to sell herself to do so? In a country that boasts to be the leader of democracy and freedom for all why would a woman resort to this and why do some of us find that acceptable? The oldest profession? You mean the oldest OPPression. Believe it or not ladies these women are just like us-seriously. They have hopes and dreams, they want a future possibly a husband and a family and yes they want an education and a career. I know it’s hard to believe but not any one of us were made to be used in this way.

There are several factors that may play into how a woman or young girl finds herself in this seedy, sleazy industry. The first one is incest. Incest can start at a very young age where a child doesn’t know right from wrong and is doing what the adult is telling them to do all the while making them believe it is acceptable. This adult could be a parent, the father who consumes large amounts of pornography where very young girls are consistently violated, or a close family member. This can cause the young girl to become promiscuous, through no fault of her own, and look for validation through sexual acts. She will also be desensitized to dehumanizing or violent sex acts because they were embedded in her via porn and the actual act itself. The second is emotional and mental trauma. Mental illness has become a topic of discussion in the United States and it affects large numbers of women and young girls. Bipolar Disorder claims the lives of young women before the age of 25. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is know to cause havoc with emotions and dysfunctional behavior, two of the most dangerous behaviors are unsafe sex and substance abuse. There’s also suicidal thoughts and intense mood swings. That doesn’t sound like a person who can make good life choices. The third factor is economic instability commonly known as extreme poverty. Contrary to popular belief there are young women out there in this country who are not able to get an education or a decent job through no fault of their own. With hungry children and no place to live you can be sure a bad decision will be made for the sake not being impoverished. This is also attributed to major cuts in social programs that help women, especially single moms get on their feet. Cam anyone say third world country? The fourth thoroughly insidious factor is the force, fraud and coercion of women and girls trafficked and sold as sex slaves in every facet of the sex industry, everywhere possible. Brothels, Strip Clubs, on the Tracks (the Streets), Hotels, Male house parties, etc.

And the last but most important factors all together but equally disturbing are: Misygony, sexual harassment and abuse, violence and sexual violence against women and girls and a growing hate for women as a whole. The numbers are in ladies, from the 2016 presidential election to your friendly religious leaders and society at large. So my question is, if we have all of this against us, why are we against each other? By deeming it okay that a woman is “allegedly” selling herself or is “willingly” in the sex industry and that it’s work just like anything else is the most dangerous and destructive attitude we could possibly have. If we continue to make these viable solutions for women and girls, that’s where they will be told to go instead of an education and a career. There is no such thing as “Those Women” they’re our girls and we need to fight for them and ourselves because realistically the way they are looked at, we are all looked at the same way.

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Pornography is Gender Based Violence-It’s Proven

The rumors are true, we are living in a Porn saturated society and it’s literally killing our women and girls. There are 2 types of porn, soft-core porn and Gonzo Porn which is commonly known as hardcore porn. The latter is found in everyday media such as Network & Cable Television, Hollywood Movies, The Music Industry, Comedies (Stand-up, Sitcoms, and Late Night TV), video games, children’s entertainment and the list goes on. But you can still download the more graphic soft-core porn on the internet. Gonzo (Hardcore) Porn is so far only found on the internet and some seedy sex shops, it shows that you can do anything to a woman you want short of killing her. Although, I don’t how ANY woman could survive what is being done to her on a consistent basis by men who are not peddling romance or love but a thorough hate for women and girls. The men that are watching porn hold high positions in government, communities, the labor force, schools, academia, law enforcement, the sciences and every office job you can think of. Which is one of many reasons why women are experiencing high rates of sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation in the workplace and places of education.

The reason that soft-core porn is so prevalent in today’s market is because the Porn Industry is paying millions of dollars to desensitize people to porn through the media and legislation by basically making it acceptable and normal and a form of ‘Freedom of Speech”. As Dr. Gail Dines puts it, 12yr old boys are told that “That’s what men want” when they are innocently led to these porn sites which they were not looking for. A marketing tool that has served the Porn Industry well over the years. As a result of that, young boys are then lured to a site that offers the most graphic, dehumanizing and horrifying sex scenes that no normal person would ever imagine. This easy access and the fact that porn is so normalized, any 12yr old boy will see nothing wrong with it especially if he sees his father watching it. The statistics of grown men, married with families, watching porn is is staggering. Men are lured just as easily as boys are and can actually be conduits for there sons introduction to pornography.

If you look at the images today that are constantly being shoved into the faces of women and girls, you will see that it emulates a pornified behavior. Young girls are drawn to it under the guise of music, fashion and popular culture all industries that porn is working with. Because of this, young girls believe it is okay to be this way, boys will like you, you’ll be popular, all the girls will envy and want to be like you-which is what the Porn Industry is counting on to keep up their supply. But that could not be farther from the truth. The truth about being a “Porn Star” is, your raped and tortured EVERYDAY, your body is riddled with STDs or worse with little or no medical attention, your constantly abused verbally, physically and emotionally. All this for the male audience.

And what do women and young girls want? They want to loved, accepted and respected all of which the Porn Industry does not offer. What they do offer is subservience of the most lascivious kind, to be looked at and treated as not human and used at will for all sorts of perversion. All of this amounts to gender hate which in turn leads to gender based violence. These men and boys are told and shown that there are women and girls out there who really want to be treated in this way and actually like it. As this is being consumed, the more the hatred increases not only for the women in pornography but for every woman a male come in contact with-even their own wives and daughters.

So, how do we stop men and boys from drinking the Koolaid that holds the poison? Well, it seems that when 2 or more women are gathered fighting for their human rights it called “complaining”. But maybe if we have REAL men fighting with us, changing laws, making the clarification between freedom of speech and hate speech working with other men and boys helping to cure them of this disease and bringing them back to humanity, we can make a difference. Putting an end to men and boys watching porn will hit the industry right in their bank account and cut off the oxygen to the head of the octopus whose arms are strangling our culture.

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The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Trafficking

Syria has exploded into a vast wasteland of leveled buildings, destroyed holy sites and the bodies of those who tried to save or flee their country. ISIS has done more than strike fear into the hearts of the Syrians, they have ripped all hope and a future from them. But Syrians are paying a high price to get that hope and future back.

Homeless, impoverished and desperate many flee the country to find a better life-any means necessary. ISIS is not the only network that is using human trafficking to keep refugees in bondage. Other groups of human smuggling “Mafias” have emerged and they are just a vicious and inhuman forcing refugees into the most horrible conditions possible and at times leaving them for dead.

The push for an Islamic Caliphate combined with bombings, beheadings and rapes has left other religious minorities in a state of panic. Christians being the largest group desperately desiring to leave fall in the hands of  militant Islamists who target them fiercely with increased rapes, kidnappings and human trafficking. Paralyzing fear leaves Christians terrified to tell their stories for fear of retribution.

The problem has escalated even beyond the UNHCR’s control with overcrowded refugees camps in Jordan and Lebanon. NGOs and aid agencies have estimated large numbers of women have been trafficked for sex and children have been exploited for labor. The International Center For Migration Policy Development found this to be the case as well. All of this is exacerbated by Europe’s Xenophobia about islam building walls, fences and border patrols to keep Syrians looking for safe refuge out. And if that doesn’t work, some Europeans will resort to public beatings, even a “Photo Journalist” will take part in trying to injure a Syrian man just trying to get himself and his child to safety.

If this is how human trafficking is being handled in most of the world, imagine how much worse it can get in the United States? They say there are sympathizers already here who quietly support ISIS and the Islamic State and young men are being enamored and ensnared by ideology that speaks to their manhood giving them rights over all women. Copycat is the name of the game, if they can’t get to Syria or Iraq they will set up camp here spurring a whole new level of human trafficking. It’s not ridiculous to assume this, after all we are a global world getting closer and closer to each other. As the refugee crisis grows so does the sex market and the men who buy it.

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The Streets of Cairo After The Revolution

At the start of the Arab Spring the revolution in Egypt took center stage with a massive outpouring of Egyptians filling the squares of Cairo. The most prominent and most viewed around the world was Tahrir Square. Men and women from all religious backgrounds claiming not division but that they are all Egyptian and the stand as one. It seemed the Mubarak regime has brought the people together in one struggle. Women were even seen as strong opponents to the government and were shown actually leading the struggle in some cases.

There was, however, a more darker side of the revolution. Abductions,  a sexual attack on an American female journalist, beatings and violence. Those against the revolution and democracy as a whole had created an environment of division and fear. Then came the police and the army to bring an end to the chaos and what ensued from there was more violence and more division. Then, finally the Mubarak administration collapsed which made way for the incoming president Mohammed Mursi and another uprising that resulted in his ousting and imprisonment.

During those times the streets and the squares saw a strong police presence, nightly curfews and quieter neighborhoods. But now that Egypt has a new president that they feel pretty confident in, there apparently is no need for a wide police presence because everything is good now right? Not quite. There is still the old problem of street harassment against women that has resurfaced even stronger on the streets and in the cars of Cairo. There have been several campaigns that have been created designed to stop street harassment, even UN Women has played a small part in empowering the women of Egypt to “Take back the streets”. However, this was short-lived. With no real police presence, harassers are having a free for all following women and girls in cars and on the streets. Some of them are bold enough to get out of their cars and follow them on foot to further assert their authority on them.

There is an entitlement attitude that some men in Egypt feel it is their right to treat a women in that way and if there is no one to stop them, they themselves will not stop. All those awareness campaigns must start again with a wider scope and a greater police presence to let them know this will not be tolerated not only by the women but by the public at large. The government must also realize this is a human rights violation, to make women and girls feel unsafe to go to the market, school or a cafe. A lot of it does take place during daytime hours.

But of course first the attitude about women in Egyptian society must change to accommodate further appreciation for women being a viable contribution to the country. Small changes have been made but unfortunately they are not that noticeable. To be fair, street harassment is not an Egyptian problem, it is a global problem. Especially in a city like New York it is magnified to epic proportions. The similarities are staggering if not the same. We must all work together to stop this, it’s a long road but one that must be traveled daily.

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Benin City Nigeria-The City Of God

IMG_2936IMG_2925Recently I had the privilege of traveling to Nigeria to try and be of some assistance to the girls who are still missing, trapped by terrorist group Boko Haram. What I saw was extreme poverty, lack of employment, and a fierce thirst and hunger for……….God. Children drinking commercialized water out of plastic bags wearing T-shirts with western world graphics and images on the side of the road selling anything they can to bring money to their families so they can eat. Every road has at the very minimum five churches, businesses donning names that call on people to have faith and God Is Good all set the scene for a country whose economy and government has failed them. But there is hope. For every poor village there are smiles, laughter and joy even in the most difficult times. However, this becomes more difficult for the mothers and fathers that have lost their daughters to Boko Haram, missing since April 14, 2014.


Thursday August 27, 2015 marks day 500 since 276 Chibok girls were abducted. At the same time 57 escaped finding some opening, running and running and not looking back grateful for their life. But now there are still 219 missing with no indication where they are. Calls IMG_2912inundate the Buhari administration to #BringBackOurGirls as the hashtag goes that has taken over twitter land in the past two years. This has certainly not proved to be an easy task by no means. No one understands why things are taking so long, why is this so hard and why aren’t you doing anything? Maybe the government expects the rest of the missing girls to be as brave as the 57 that escaped, just close their eyes and run. Whatever the case, it’s unacceptable. Months go by and people are still wondering if these girls will ever come home, can they come home and of course are they still alive?

IMG_2924Casualties mount while we watch the sneering faces of Boko Haram literally taunting the families of the girls they have stolen. Children suffer too. IDP camps are set up in the outer regions of Benin that house hundreds of children and young teenagers whose parents were killed by the terror group. Some children even forced to watch them die, their mothers get raped and their older sisters get taken and somehow these children-by the grace of God, escaped only to be homeless and displaced. How could this happen? Families are desperately looking for the young ones to bring them home. On August 13th the Nigerian Government decided that these children belong back in the North, where it all happened. That they were not the responsibility of the people of Benin. This struck fear and terror in the hearts of these children, there was screaming, fainting and seizures. Sending them back would have not only been devastating but fatal for them. IMG_2955Because of media coverage and exposure the government had a sudden “Change of heart”. Going to the camp and seeing buses lined up made me fearful of what was coming, but my fears were calmed when I found out that the buses were for the children who were reunited with their families and are going to a safe place. There are still many who are hopeful their families will find them so they wait patiently playing games, sleeping or just plain having faith in God. For now the IDP camp is home, classrooms have been built so they can continue studying, there is still a need for a proper stove and oven as well as a clean sanitary toilet as opposed to a hole in the ground with no privacy. Medications and personal hygiene items are desperately needed, especially for the young girls-it is however better than being a Boko Haram wife or a child soldier.

So we continue to wait, continue to pray, continue to have faith and believe that one day soon our sisters will come home and be released from their nightmare. Until then we continue to scream #BringBackOurGirls!

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A Porn Saturated World

Everything you look at today has some sort of overtly pornographic connotation to it. I call it “The Head of The Octopus”, it has an arm in every industry that distorts what reality is. The industries that are affected are all forms of media (entertainment, movies, music, TV, fashion, etc.). These are things that are consumed on a daily basis therefore, porn is consumed on a daily basis knowingly and unknowingly. This will lead a consumer to wanting to know what porn really looks like by actually viewing it in it’s original state. The pornification of our media and the women and girls in our society is the catalyst that leads consumers, mostly men and boys, to watch pornography on a regular basis. This makes them addicted to it as well as viewing women and girls through a dark lens of violence and rape. It distorts, twists, and manipulates the mindsets of men and boys into treating women and girls as commodities, something to be used and then discarded.

The pornography and child pornography industry is a billion dollar business because our society has been desensitized to it and therefore buys into it in many ways. Sexual overtones pour out in children’s movies that are supposedly made by film companies that are ‘Family Oriented”, this causes a complacent attitude when a child is doing something that is completely inappropriate but is then overlooked because  they may have been imitating something that they saw in the latest Disney film or Pixar-take your pick. Children’s entertainment speaks to the adults that are bored but will find it entertaining when crude or sexualized behavior occurs. Music is no different. The Rap and Hip-Hop genre has made sure their target audience is children-no that’s not a mistake.

Mixing the innocence of a child with mature subjects of a sexual nature is a dangerous combination. This will give them the wrong idea about life and relationships and could very well send them into the trappings of a Pedeophile who will then introduce them to hard core pornography. Parents cannot afford to be complacent about this.

This is more than an addiction-it is a disease, infecting every part of our lives, consciously and unconsciously. The justifications that are being put upon this industry to make it “ok” to view are absolutely inaccurate and can’t be farther from the truth. Women and girls who are forced into this for a variety of reasons but mostly because they are being preyed upon, drugged, threatened, in pain and deeply depressed. Does that still sound “Sexy”? What you are viewing is a broken, depressed and intoxicated woman/girl being raped-repeatedly. This torture doesn’t stop when you’re finished watching, her nightmare continues and continues-and continues. All the jokes and scenarios that are playing out in movies, music videos, comedy etc. concerning the sexual oppression and dehumanization of women and girls are all coming out of the head of the octopus directly to your TV, mobile phone, tablet, laptop, iPad, Smart device, YouTube-the list goes on.

The question is, will you spread the disease or will you look for the cure?








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Why Aftercare Is So Important

Those of us that work in this, for lack of a better word, industry of supporting women and girls and helping them down that path to true freedom, we can all agree that it should not stop there. What happens when the counseling ends? When the monthly support group is over? Or when the funding runs out for the program that promised stable communication with a social worker and case manager? There is an unsettling trend that is happening, women and girls are going back to “The Life” because there is no one there in the times when they REALLY need someone. When they just need to talk and the counselor/social worker has clocked out for the day and is feeling burnt out. When they’re depressed because they are having a hard time finding a job, a home, a babysitter. Or when they’ve had nightmares of what their exploiter had done to them but comparing it to no job, no money, no place to live and wondering if it’s better to go back to him? Rationalizing that yes, he beat me and I have to do a lot of things I don’t want to but I had a roof over my head, I knew how to get by, he was my only family.

The biggest gap in services for survivors of sex trafficking is aftercare. This is a piece that is sorely lacking in many service providing organizations. And it’s not because they don’t care, it’s because they have so many other badly needed services to attend to and making sure there is adequate funding as well as getting women and girls a safe place to stay when they are no longer under the control of their exploiter. But here’s the beauty of aftercare, you don’t need much funding, you may not need any at all. This is a program that once it is launched it can take care of itself. Aftercare can pick up where counseling ends, when the appointment with the social worker is over and when  group therapy is no longer available. You already have the people who will run it. The survivors. The only thing you need, and you don’t need to fundraise for it-is love. That should be the basic foundation for any aftercare program.

Real love is what these women and girls crave. Someone who truly cares about them and is interested in how they are doing. Survivors are the perfect structure and they can give other survivors REAL empowerment and support, they’ve been through it, they know it hurts and they know the importance having someone there when they need them the most. They understand the late night phone calls, the panic attacks, fear of their exploiter and lack of family. So the goal then is to create sisterly bonds that will come naturally-and they will come. I am not saying that every single woman or girl will be receptive at first but with patient love and a non judgmental attitude, they will come around.

New York City has a lot, but not this. I intend to bring it to this city that I was born and raised in. And as I said, my model is simple, it is free, it is love.




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