Sometimes I wish that the top 5 most life-shaping experiences of every person on this earth was written on their forehead. Let me expand on this by asking a few probing questions:
Have you ever been hurt by someone and wondered how a person can become so cruel?
Have you ever been surprised to discover a secret about someone that is close to you?
If we all had the top 5 details about our lives written on our foreheads, these situations would be a bit easier to navigate through. Was he abused as a child? Did her father abandon the family? Did she come from a wealthy home? Did he have a terrible accident?
Fortunately, relationships can offer a safe haven for those stories to come out, one-by-one. Sadly, there are many stories that are left untold. I am about to tell you one.
Two weeks ago, after being too busy for months to perform any kind of maintenance on my eyebrows, I went in for a wax. As I tried not to focus on my burning forehead between strips, the aesthetician shared a story that has haunted me since.
Her husband used to work with a guy who was dating a woman from Hungary. Lack of job opportunities had brought this woman to Canada, and once she arrived she soon realized she could make decent money stripping. So she worked at a local strip club, made a living, and began dating the Canadian man I already mentioned.
Eventually her visa expired and she returned to Hungary. She did not want to strip anymore but realized it was her only “employment experience.” This pushed her into the Hungarian sex trade. After a while a group of Arab men approached her with a promise to make way more money in Western Europe, and she took the bait. She would make enough money to finally get out of the trade.
Three years ago her boyfriend in Canada received a phone call. It was her. She sounded terrified, explaining that she was locked up somewhere in Europe, and that people were speaking German. No one has heard from her since.
What keeps coming to mind again and again is that stripping stripped her of choice, despite it being her decision at first. She began to believe the lie that she is was only good for sex, and that real dreams were no longer attainable. This eventually led her into a place where no person ever wants to find themselves. When you feel no worth and are blinded by lack of opportunity, you become easy prey for predators.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this woman. I don’t know her name. I don’t know if she is dead or alive. But I am saddened that her story, whatever it is in its fullness, is not being told. I would hope that if I vanished off the face of the earth, people would still think of me. In telling her story, we acknowledge her existence and honour her memory.
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” –Rudyard Kipling