Because last night's outreach was so amazing - I (Laurie) just had to write!!!!
Jen C wrote a blog about the outreach and it was great - I can totally relate as far as going out later goes and about migraines... When we used to go out at 3-6am - I used to get migraines all the time - almost every week! There were more than a few times where I'd be so sick, throwing up - right up until an hour before walking out the door. That just made me mad and more determined to hit the streets because as soon as I did, I'd feel better.
There's just a little (ok, a LOT) I want to add to last night's outreach from my perspective...
I've been doing this for a little over 5 years now and have seen a lot out there. We go to different tracks and see different girls every week, different pimps - but one thing that never changes - is the brokenness we see in each girl.
The girls seem to fall in one out of these three categories:
1) A girl who is new, fresh who is being broken. She has just been turning tricks for anywhere from a week, month to 3 months... she is inexperienced and afraid. She may have a pimp who was first a "boyfriend." She "loves" him and is just turning tricks for him "temporarily." Or, a girl who was basically kidnapped and is brainwashed into turning tricks for the pimp. The pimp may drug them or let them use drugs to be able to follow through with the sex act. These girls are still operating out of fear for being beat/disciplined if they don't do what they are told. They are still learning the game, the rules of the game and are being watched at all times, controlled, manipulated and intimidated. Getting arrested, having a bad trick or experience may be enough to scare them to get out - but talking to them is difficult. They are being tried and tested, they have yet to prove their loyalty to the pimp and the game. They are afraid and the consequences of talking to us during the testing time could be fatal.
2) Then there are the girls who have been 'broken' - they know the rules, are desensitized and are "proud" to be in the game. They are "in love" with their pimp and are totally loyal to them. He is their everything - daddy, savior, best friend... they will do just about anything for him, including die for him. They are proud to be a ho and have an attitude to show it. These girls are difficult to reach, even if they are respectful towards us. It's as if there is an invisible "wall" around them which is almost impossible to penetrate. Only Jesus can speak/break through it. These girls are still beat/disciplined and hurt but they have accepted being beaten as part of the life and one of the ways their pimp shows his "love." These girls are allowed to smoke pot and drink but are not allowed to do harder drugs which may threaten to become a bigger priority over the game or the pimp. (Unless her doing harder drugs will benefit the pimp in some way i.e. if she needs to stay up all night she can do speed or if she doesn't want to turn a trick with some gross fat old man her pimp may shoot her up with heroin - but even this is totally controlled and dispensed at the pimps discretion.)
3) This third category of girls/women are those who have been turning tricks for some time (usually 4+ years) and are sick and tired. She has been stripped of all hope, many times is older and cannot compete with the younger girls. She has little or no education or skills besides turning tricks and is now addicted to drugs. At one time, this girl/woman did drugs to be able to turn tricks - now she turn tricks in order to support her drug habit. She believes that the only thing she can do, the only thing she was created for - is to have sex for money and to be used by men. She is broken and is in total bondage. She longs to be free but has no idea how to be free. She is not only addicted to drugs but is also addicted to quick money and a lifestyle that she loves and hates at the same time. If he hasn't dumped her, she may also be "addicted" to her pimp and the dysfunctional relationship they have. She has tried to leave her pimp and the lifestyle numerous times, but over and over, has continued to return to either one or the other, or both. She is open to talk with and pray with, but unless she is totally determined and has a strong support system - she is most likely to return to what she knows best.
Even when a girl has some kind of relationship with Jesus - she needs a support group, accountability and she NEEDS to be taught WHO SHE IS IN CHRIST. Her identity has to be in Jesus, her self worth must come from Him. Otherwise, she may stop turning tricks or stop doing drugs... but she will most likely continue to fall into dysfunctional relationships, not have good communication skills and/or know how to have or make boundaries... there is SO MUCH MORE to a woman coming out of prostitution than just getting out. Getting out is only the beginning.
Jen shared about C*****, who let us pray for her - who cried and told us that she knew she needed and wanted to get out of the game. She is category 3 - she is broken, sick and tired - but doesn't know how she can get out and STAY out. She shared that she has parents who have sent her money to fly back home and who want her to come home - but she always ends up going back to turning tricks, even if she stops for a while.
After we left C*****, Everette asked me what we could have done for her, what if we had taken her and put her in a women's home to get away from her pimp... I explained to him that unless that was totally C*****'s decision and we tried to talk her into going into a place/program without her first "counting the cost" - she would most likely return to her pimp and the consequences for leaving in the first place will most likely not just be harmful, but deadly.
We also want to prayerfully consider where we should place or send a girl. There are places that specifically work with women coming out of prostitution and know how to keep them safe. It is important that the girls are sheltered, given time to heal. It is so important that they are not exploited and/or put on a platform to speak on their experiences before they have been out of the life for AT LEAST (this is just my personal opinion) two years. If haven't gone through necessary healing and learned new healthy life skills and are put on a platform too soon - it adds pressure... as well as if the girl does not have a stable and firm foundation and new identity in Jesus - their identity may become one of speaking, people's approval and performance.
Granted, every woman and every situation is different. Had C***** been a minor - her options would have been different, or if she had only been in the life for months rather than years - it would have been different. This is where we stress how important it is that we are led by the Holy Spirit and not by our emotions or even by logic. Had I sensed that C***** was desperate to leave right then - I may have just taken her home and let her stay with us till her parents sent her money to fly home. But C***** said herself that she knew what she needed to do, she knew what the right thing to do was - but that she just needed to do it... which still doesn't make the whole situation any less heartbreaking.
Last night was amazing. "Caviar" - one of the pimps we met (the one who we saw with at least two girls and who called them a few minutes after we began talking with them) - I started asking him questions when we were standing around by the "Roach Coach" where we got the carne asada tacos...
Caviar had been staring us down when he first saw us and he looked so familiar to me after we first approached him. I asked him if he'd worked on Sunset - he said yes - then I asked him if he knew "G" and a few other players I know - and he did. I asked him how long he'd been in the game and he said "since birth." He was respectful and we spoke a bit about our neutral friends in the game - a few of the older, well respected pimps.
Whenever we are out on the street and we have the opportunity to speak with a pimp or pimps - I always go out of our way to do so. I believe that it is very important that they see that we are not intimidated by them and that they see our hearts, our reason for being out there. These young men are born leaders, called by God to be pastors, evangelists and teachers. Satan is such a liar and he knows that these men have such a calling on their lives and he does whatever he can to deceive them and keep them from their true calling.
We definitely need to start going out on the streets between 2-4am again. Maybe we can alternate teams, alternate weeks. I'm really feeling my age these days. Staying out all night really kicks my butt. I think I'm gonna go back to bed after writing this...
Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers... we really need them. Especially if we will be out later - we need prayer both before and AFTER the outreach. :-)
God is good, He is so faithful and has the power to change lives. Praise His HOLY Name!!!