Trafficked: a personal experience of being human trafficked.
Today, January 11th, I am joining many others in wearing blue for Human Trafficking Awareness. Today "we" share our story....
This is the part of my story I do not share as freely as other parts. This is because I do not know how to honor this truth without possibly triggering others. I want to share that I am trying my best in this post to not trigger and to honor my truth at the same time. Therefore, please read with caution and please have grace for me.
Another reason I have yet to share this part of my story is because it is not my part to tell: it is Brookee’s, one of my personalities, story to tell.
Y’all the mind is such an amazing thing. My mind decided a long time ago when I was very little that I could not understand the abuse or manage the emotions that came along with my abuse that it split into different entities, other personalities, that endured the pain for me. These personalities held my trauma’s for a very long time to themselves. It was not until 2016 that they revealed themselves to me and one by one shared their stories, which were my stories with me. There’s compartmentalizing, theirs blocking trauma from your memory, and then there’s a dissociated state that makes you think it happened to someone else entirely.
Brookee is quiet. She does not front (come to the surface) often. She has only spoken out loud a handful of times. Today, we share this story together. Therefore, I will use the term “us” and “we” in place of “me” and “I”.
It is also worth mentioning that neither Brookee, nor myself thought what we endured was human trafficking. We studied human trafficking in college. We raised awareness of child trafficking that was/is occurring in Africa. We raised and sent funds to support human trafficking awareness and trafficked victims. We hosted presentations and guest speakers to share about domestic human trafficking in our own country. We knew human trafficking. And yet, when Brookee shared her story with me, we did not land on the word “trafficked” for what happened to us for some time. Human trafficking is not only selling children to work and to pay off debts, human trafficking is not only men sexually exploiting women, and all genders, for their own personal profit, human trafficking is not only in the distance, far away from our own backyards. According to www.dhs.gov, “Human trafficking involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act.” Furthermore, dhs (Department of Homeland Security) shared that “Every year, millions of men, women [and all other genders] and children are trafficked worldwide - including right here in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality.”
This is our story:
It started when I was 15, Brookee was eighteen. Other trauma holding personalities are often older than the body at the time of the trauma. To my understanding this is because I, the host, and the body are too young to understand or endure the trauma.
My twin and many others our age would go to the roller rink on Friday nights, and just hangout. Some of them actually skated, but most of them stood around crushing on one another. Boring in my books. I was never into crushing on people or giggling over attempts to flirt.
I went to the bowling alley. My brother, Patrick, and his friends went there on Friday, Saturday and sometimes other nights to drink, bowl and stand around acting cool. They were older than me. They weren’t flirting and crushing on each other, they were dating each other and/or the guys were talking about what they wanted to do to girls. I did not partake in the conversations, but I did drink. I drank especially after my dad died, at the age of 14. This is where things get fuzzy and things turn dark.
My mother started dating a man, or less than a man, about six months after my dad passed away. Very quickly after they started dating he started staying the night, and even quicker after he started spending the night, he started visiting me in my room at night. All my brother’s friends, who were big brothers to me too, were drinking to party and have a good time. I took my first sip to be cool like them... I learned quickly that alcohol allowed me to not feel and every sip after that was to not feel what this less than a man did to me throughout the night. I was protecting myself, so I thought.
My brother’s friends, my other big brothers and sisters would be at the bowling alley too. They kept their eye on me, saved me from drinking too much and kept me safe. These friends were not always in the bowling alley though, and when they were not there we were not safe. Patrick followed us to the bathroom once. He said he was watching me so we did not fall. He said he needed to help. What he did was not helpful. After that, he brought a friend to the bathroom. None of them helped me do anything we wanted to do. Before long they were telling us to go to the bathroom or a car outside and we went obediently. I, Brookee, learned quickly to go willingly. If I tried to not go my arm would be squeezed hard and they would threaten to hurt me in other ways too. Patrick had been abusive for most of our lives. These threats to hurt us were not just threats, they were promises, and I
could not let the body be hurt in that way. What they did to us is unspeakable, and we will not try to speak it out loud here for risks of triggering you. Please just know this time was unimaginable, and I did what I needed to do to protect Threasa [Tee] and the rest of the personalities. I learned quickly not to fight, not to let them leave evidence of abuse.
We remember sleeping over at an apartment that three or four guys lived in. It always smelled like booze, smokes and bad body odor. I would gag at the smell and the guys would tell me if I puked on their floor they’d kill me. We remember getting rides home or rides to school in the morning. Threasa remembers being sore, but always thought it was just how she slept or something. I, Brookee, knew the truth, but did not dare to share the truth with Threas
a, as she could not emotionally handle what was happening. I mean, who could? When the guys dropped us off they sometimes would give us cash to give to Patrick. They would thank us for “last night” and tell us they’ll see us again soon. We have only recently understood that this cash flow and a flow of alcohol Patrick was given was payments for what he allowed the guys to do with us.
Patrick used our body, our pain for his own profit and did not give a damn about the hurt and damage it caused us. Years and years later we struggle to trust and struggle to engage intimately, physically and emotionally, with others.
When I, Brookee, first shared these stories with Threasa, she did not believe me. I mean, who would, and at the same time, this type of abuse and profit cannot be made up. Even knowing how mean Patrick can be, Threasa could not bring herself to accept that he in fact could be this evil. Years and years Threasa felt dirty, damaged and discussing but could not remember why. I, Brookee, held those memories for her. Sharing them with her was one of the bravest things I ever did. And now sharing them with all of you is the second bravest thing.
This is my story, our story. This is Brookee’s story: one of my personalities who endured unmanageable pain for me and the body. My personality that has grown to trust me and confide in me, for the love of our system and the possibility of our healing. We share this story with you to raise awareness of human trafficking. Human trafficking is not just the picture of the kid in darkness, it’s not just exploitations of women, and other genders, on the streets. Human trafficking is closer than you can imagine. If you find yourself relating to this blog, and/or compelled to raise awareness to this dark, not talked about enough, and misunderstood horror, please reach out to the Department of Homeland Security for ways to get involved in outreach and awareness raising efforts.