I posted about this last year but I just watched the Half the Sky episode of Oprah (more cool linkage here and really amazing stories here) and feel the need to post it again, since most of you don’t know about my old blog, and because it is really a cool video (and an even cooler reality).
I’m reading Half the Sky right now and it is amazing–by which I mean, surprisingly hopeful. I’m inspired by the strong women highlighted in the chapters and where I used to believe human trafficking could not be stopped, I now have hope that it can be. It’s immensely more complicated and widespread than the slavery of previous centuries (ie Transatlantic Slave Trade), but the British put an end to slavery in like 10 years and at significant economic loss. It was a grassroots effort largely won on an ethical argument.
I read Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy last month. It’s written by Kevin Bales, the founder and director of Free the Slaves, (here is its supah-cool website).
Both books take an unflinching look at the horrifying realities of modern-day slavery. They recount, in what is often graphic detail, the experiences of former sex slaves. Half the Sky tells story upon story of rape and torture. Disposable People took me two months to read because I had to keep putting it down. It was too harsh to read all at once. Half the Sky, I think, tells much harsher tales, but they feature heroic women and hopeful endings. For that reason, I find it both harder and easier to read.
Ultimately, they are very inspiring, uplifting, hopeful books full of amazing stories and courageous people. I recommend both of them–but especially Half the Sky. (along with all of Nicholas D Kristof’s NYT columns 😀 )
I shared one of Kristof’s columns with Meggo earlier this summer. It’s about a Pakistani girl who was gang-raped, reported it to the police, and was then gang-raped by four officers. Her story is similar to that of Mukhtar Mai who was sentenced to a gang-raping in 2002 because her brother was accused of a crime (one, might I add, that he didn’t actually commit). Her story is one of those featured in Half the Sky and it is amazing. I found out today–by reading the appendices–that she wrote a book! It is called In the Name of Honor: A Memoir. I know. Who wants to read about gang-rape? (Me!) It’s sickening and horrifying and depressing and really, what’s the point?
I really don’t care if you read it. I’m throwing it out there, though, because I have been so impressed and motivated by these other two books and I am sure that Mukthar Mai’s memoir will not be as depressing as “gang-raped on behalf of her brother” makes it sound. If you read Kristof’s column, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
All this was sort of a discombobulated way of getting to this point: The Girl Effect is real. All it takes is some women’s empowerment and BOOM! World changed. Isn’t that cool?
I recently came across the organization Love146. The folks over at Cakewrecks featured over a dozen charities this month and Love146 was one of them. The organizations president responded with this post. I love the donor comments.
So, that’s my plug for the night. Nicholas D Kristof, The Girl Effect, and ending sexual slavery.
I’m ready to clean up this up this mess. How ’bout you?