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victim porn

Someday soon, I am going to start sharing (directly, through writing, and indirectly, through art) the stories of some trafficking victims I know. Before I do that, we need to have a serious talk.

Right now, in our world, it’s really cool and hipsterly to be an activist. These activist people make films, write books, take pictures, record music, create art, and wear t-shirts in the name of activism. I love to see people use their different talents for the helpless and unspoken for. But sometimes, we activist people get really caught up in our activist causes. We start to think, “My cause is really important,” and we talk it up- big time. We tell the saddest stories we’ve ever heard, come up with incredible statistics that would frighten anyone, and show pictures of helpless looking children to sad music like that annoying humane society commercial. We talk about victims, tragedies, and horrific acts that are hard to believe. We do it because we care about the issues, but our care can be misplaced.

Once, I heard somebody (I wish I could remember who!) term this issue “victim porn.” It’s not actual porn. What I mean is sensationalizing tragedies to get a reaction from people. We focus on the most outrageous and terrible stories, and then we gawk and stare, as if we’ve just seen a terrible car accident. Along the way, I’ve learned that this probably isn’t the best way to handle things. Listen, if you want an ugly story, you can probably find one. By now, I’ve read a lot of ugly stories, and met a lot of people who have survived unbelievable abuse. And I bet you could find a worse statistic or a worse story. Unfortunately, there is a lot of evil in human hearts, and it’s easy to find. But focusing on the tragedies isn’t always helpful because we forget about the people involved.

Behind every tragedy is a regular person. Regular people don’t want to be poked and prodded about the ugliest parts of their lives. They’re humans, not zoo exhibits. (Though I don’t recommend poking or prodding zoo animals, either.)  Regular people need to be loved. Victims of tragedies need to be outrageously loved. Thankfully, I have a God that loves me outrageously- so much that my cup overflows. So I always have a lot of extra love to give away, and with his strength, I plan to do just that. So, when we talk about victims, remember they’re people. The victims I know have all been removed from situations of trafficking; now they’re regular people trying to move on. About 50 times a day, E tells me “I wish I could just have a regular life.” She wants to go to college. She wants to get a job. She wants a house so she can decorate it beautifully. And she wants a chihuahua. (Actually, she wants 5 chihuahuas. I’m not even joking. She loves them.) I’m not here to sell her victim status and get people to join the cause. I’m here to tell you the truth about what trafficking looks like. And then I’m here to love her with the extravagant love that God has poured into my heart. I hope and pray that she’ll see Christ in me and learn to love him, too.

Kyle

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jacklyn #

    i love your writing style, kyle. you write so boldly, truthfully and simply. thank you for the reminder of this sad truth in our society.

    also, i had to laugh at your humane society video because i was literally just talking about that with someone yesterday — don’t show me poor abused dogs when i know there’s a heck of a lot of people who are poor & abused that have souls…anyway. love you.

    jack

    June 15, 2012
  2. Kelly Filipowicz #

    Your heart and your words are definite gifts from God! It is such a pleasure to read how God is using you, your art and your passions to love on His children.

    I pray for you daily Kyle. I can’t wait for the day we can sit together and talk all about your summer. It may take a few visits, but I look forward to every minute. Until then, continue to keep your nose in the Word and listen for the Lord’s voice. You are so loved by the Flips!

    June 15, 2012

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