Sex, Power and the Big Game


Sex, Power and the Big Game

Children as young as 11 are being sold for sex in the United States. It is estimated that 16,000 to 25,000 women and children are trafficked each day in the Chicago land area.

How can we raise awareness, spread the word and change the prevailing attitudes and misuse of power over women?

Creative Activist, Mary Bonnet’s play Shadowtown 11: the Johns begins to look at how pornography and prostitution/ sex trafficking affect the family. I am an aware, educated activist in this arena and I was deeply moved by her play. The portrayals of the innocent bachelor party with 13 men having sex with an underage girl, to the father playing out his sex fantasies or the son a porn addict unable to have intimate relationships thinking he is in love with the prostitute was gripping. It was powerful and thought provoking.

 My father, pre- internet used to send porn through the mail to his female friend wrapped in a brown paper bag. Until I saw this play I did not get why my mother was “crazy “. She felt less than, worthless and unlovable. No wonder she acted out. I never had the complete story why my mother was called a “ball buster”. Now I get it and I have more empathy for her situation.  This play made me wonder about my attitude toward men, relationships, sexuality growing up. What story did I tell myself to justify my fathers’ actions?

January is now National Slavery and Human trafficking Prevention month and Super Bowl Sunday is being hosted in Phoenix on February 1, 2015.

Traditionally, advertisers spend millions during the game to promote sex and booze. What kind of messages are we sending to young men?

Last year in January there were numerous articles written about the myth that human trafficking increases during sporting events. It does not matter if the numbers don’t hold up for that day. The NFL has had real domestic violence issues and child abuse allegations this year. The league is supposedly cracking down with cuts, mandatory education and censure. It is not enough.

 Broadcasters, ESPN and anyone who covers the game has an opportunity and the responsibility to add Public Service Announcements about trafficking, porn addiction, violence against women and child sexual abuse.   Millions of men and boys around the world need to hear the truth about sex trafficking. It is not sexy, it is not fun, the girls don’t want it. If they are not being part of the solution then you are part of the problem. We need to take responsibility for what is happening and begin an awareness campaign. Actually football players should be wearing navy blue gloves/ribbons for sex trafficking awareness.

 Learn the facts. Become educated.

A trafficker can be someone you know, or your family knows. A child may be still living at home, attending school and being sold for sex.

Sex trafficking can occur through an escort or marriage service, brothels, bars and clubs. It is big business, 32 billion dollars globally. If men/ boys don’t buy they go out of business.

Signs a child could be a victim:

Unexplained gifts, jewelry or cell phones

Controlling boyfriends or relationships

Vague stories about their whereabouts

Marked changes in behavior and speech

Hidden communication/emails/texts

Unexplained school absences

Run away from home



Call to Action: If you know anyone at ESPN that can make this happen…call them. Let them know how important this is. Share a PSA.

If you are in Chicago you can still see Shadowntown 11: The Johns through November 23

TEDx: It’s On Us

TEDx: It’s On Us

A week ago I was at an Engaging Speakers conference and someone mentioned that Naperville was looking for speakers for their TEDx talks. I immediately took action. I looked it up on google. I opened the application and called to ask about a deadline. They said just apply it may be for next year and they still have one or two spots open now.

Then it hit me, are you crazy. It is the wrong time, The Creative Activist isn’t’ done….the fear took over and old coping patterns returned with a vengeance. There is not enough food in my house to numb the feelings of terror and overwhelm. Shopping on HSN and QVC did not alleviate the “not good enough” messages that were looping in my head.

I talked with my coach and she that is good your recognizing your patterns. So I began to write and write and write. I have 39 pages scribbled in in my journal. I keep waking up at three AM with another download. My friend Sarah came over and she did some energy work on me. The lump in my throat, the hairball from hell, needed to move or there was no way I was going to be able to do this three minute video application. The burning in my throat and chest eased but it was still tight so she suggested start talking and I did. I felt better.  Expressing my truth, sharing it with another person is healing. Creative expression in whatever form is powerful medicine.

Then I asked, Kathy Eldon, of Creative Visions who has given two TED talks what she thought. She said tell your story….they are looking for a heroes’ journey. So more panic, more food, numb myself with television.  I have shared my story of healing from childhood sexual abuse in numerous places but not on a big stage. I worry about how much I divulge. There seem to be two philosophies among speakers; just mention you were abused or paint a picture and experience.  Will my art work distract people or help them understand? It is so much easier to talk about the people I interviewed then myself.002

So I went back to my three year mission and vision statement that I wrote a few months ago.” Last month Hillary Clinton introduced me at the Clinton Foundation and I shared the “best creative expression practices “including Bajalia jewelry which employs women in India and Pakistan only if they agree to educate their daughters. One man came up to me afterwards and said I am going to change my business model. I can see the changes that are happening in churches and synagogues. They are creating safe spaces for people to share their stories of abuse or being an abuser. It is a community concern now not just a family problem. I have to tell you I had the biggest grin on my face last October when I saw football players’ wearing purple for domestic violence awareness. We are blessed to be living in a time where it is freely talked about and so many are committed to making a loving, peaceful, respectful and safe world for women and children. This or something better.”

Child abuse and domestic violence are all over the news recently. In a speech yesterday, the president announced “It’s on Us,” a nationwide public service campaign aimed at urging young people to do more to prevent campus sexual assaults. Mr. Obama called for a “fundamental shift in our culture” in the way women are treated and in the response to victims of sexual assault.

Commissioner Goodell said that effective immediately any N.F.L. employee or player who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.

It is time for me to step forward on whatever stage I command (hopefully TEDx: It’s On Us) and talk about the things that matter to me; creative expression and service which nurture self-esteem, resilience and healing.  We need to create more engaging education and awareness campaigns. We need to bring together community leaders, service providers, creatives and business people to create new initiatives that spark conversation.  Develop best practices that encourage safe, loving supporting communities where it is OUR collective problem. It is time for football players to wear blue (child abuse awareness) and purple (domestic violence awareness) and when someone asks what does this mean. What does this have to do with me?  We will have the answers. IT’S ON US.

Here is my first take for the application I would really like your feedback and create a talk that speaks to you where I can really be of service. Thanks so much