The sun beats down mercilessly on the parched North Texas earth below. I inhale the salty, thick air and silently thank God for the invention of mango...
Who's the boss?
August 5, 2014
Make Your Voice Heard
May 1, 2013
Rethinking Ordinary: A mom's view of the Kindergarten experience
August 20, 2014
Silence the Violence Bank Issue Update
November 11, 2014
As many of you know, the Silence the Violence bank account was compromised yesterday. But before I start there, let me update you on some major occurrences in the last four days.
The office door is brown. And not that dull color most of us think of as brown, but a vibrant and rich brown. The color of melting milk chocolate and expensive shiny oak furniture. I reached out to touch its nougaty layer when the door opens.
I am invited inside to the Texas Attorney General Elect, Ken Paxton's office, and am ushered towards the fanciest chair I have ever seen this side of the Mason-Dixon line. The next two hours would be filled with ferocious note taking, hard questions, and tons and tons of paperwork.
I'm here because I came to offer the first piece of legislation I had ever written-the Silence the Violence Act. The goal of this act is three fold—create stiffer penalties for predators, eliminate criminal punishment for juvenile prostitution and provide a funded mandate for abuse prevention education in public schools.
Have I lost you yet? :) Good.
For the most part, everyone was on the same page with me, but the deal breaker came on the issue of juvenile prostitution—which is the part of the legislation I am most passionate about.
The representative from Texas Senator-Elect Van Taylor's office was very knowledge about the topic and told me my legislation wouldn't work immediately. “This is a billion dollar industry with a massive lobby. They will bring in girls who are 16 years old who are intelligent and articulate, and will testify they want this lifestyle. We have to respect their wishes, and the courts will throw out this bill in a heartbeat.”
I felt like the air had gotten knocked out of me.
Me: “Respectfully, I disagree with you completely.”
She did not see that coming. Before she could completely raise her left eyebrow at me, I continued.
“If the age of consent for statutory rape is 18, then how can a 16 year old consent to selling her body? When we outlaw juvenile prostitution, we reaffirm that a child can sell their body and continue to relay the myth they are not victims of abuse but violators of the law. No child chooses this and when we don't create laws that reflect this reality, we promulgate the myth that “some kids” are prone to this lifestyle, and ignore the predatory grooming and childhood abuse that led to this point and add to the cyclical nature of shame and abuse.”
Sigh...(insert panting) that was a lot. I watch her mull over my point before she answers.
“Wow, good point. I do agree with you, but I've seen smaller chips toward juvenile prostitution try and fail. Last year, we got knocked down when we tried to pass a bill for strip clubs, massage parlors, and “adult lounges” to id their workers. The sex trade lobby has an army behind it and you have to have an army to go against it, and unfortunately, the general public isn't aware of this issue.”
“Please turn to page 4. You will see 210 signatures from constituents who are ready for change.”
Noticeable change in the atmosphere, and the conversation bounces upward—towards change and transformation.
The meeting ended on a very positive note, and I look forward to see how the Silence the Violence Act will play out in the opening session. I also want to thank those of you who signed the petition. I am still collecting signatures and meeting with reps, so please continue to pass it on.
This high on Friday was met with a low on Monday when I learned that my Silence the Violence business account was compromised by scammers who seemingly got my information from a leak in Square.com. Anyone who knows me well knows that Im pretty much bullet proof—but this one got to me. It hit me to my core.
The last few months with STV have been a little rough. I have had meetings cancelled at the last minute, and have spent many late nights up finding case studies to support my legislation. I don't take a salary and I share a percentage of the funds raised from Radically Ordinary with Silence the Violence as well as other amazing orgs like Hagar International because I believe what I do and believe about this topic matters.
Getting that meeting Friday and making an impression made me feel like I was on the mountaintop.
This security breach however threw me back down one hundred steps and made me ask once again-why? Why does it have to be me that cares so much about this? Why can't it be Mark Cuban or somebody with a loud mouth, influence, and tons of money??
And then I remembered. This week exactly, four years ago, I was in Cambodia. I remembered.
I remembered why and I wept.
Because it isn't just a great story that (in my opinion) became a great book. And its not just money that makes a different. It's those real girls who didn't ask for this reality either. And for some reason those girls pierce me to my core and melt my heart of stone. I care. God help me I care so much.
So this is just a very current reminder that this is a very real journey of highs AND lows, a reminder that I sure as hell better quit feeling sorry for myself and get up swinging. A reminder that good friends are happy to encourage me with kind words.
Because if one thing is for certain I damn sure need an army to have my back.