Many and humble thanks to Anne-Marie Smolski of the Wellesley Townsman and Josh Perry of Wellesley’s Hometown Weekly for their impressive coverage of my GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign (www.gofundme.com/cnh2i0). Both the Townsman article Wellesley Resident Seeks Crowdfunding to Help Earn Ph.D. and the Hometown Weekly piece Wellesley Resident Crowdfunding Ph.D. helped me get the word out about my campaign and raised awareness about the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
Admittedly, I am always initially hesitant to talk to the press about my experience as a trafficking survivor for fear they will not want to know about me as a whole person and will only ask about the “titillating” details of my exploitation. I have seen and heard about such revictimization time and again when survivors are brave enough to speak publicly. (A popular local TV host had the audacity to ask a survivor who was pregnant at the time of the interview if this child was conceived during her exploitation. The humiliated survivor kept her composure as she graciously answered the child was, in fact, her second with her long-term partner. Personally, I probably would made myself look foolish by going on a tirade about the host’s insensitivity and inanity: I applaud my fellow survivor’s presence of mind.)
So thank you to Ms. Smolski and Mr. Perry for your thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and sincerity in telling my story. Your comprehensive approach has deeply and genuinely contributed to opposing CSEC. By telling my story with such humanity, you have helped my efforts to raise awareness CSEC is, unfortunately, still alive and well in the U.S. and around the world even decades after my own exploitation ended. For that I am eternally grateful.