Yesterday I received a phone call from a friend, distraught. Her Mother’s Day, which had begun with joy, came to a disturbing close. She had discovered that her ex-husband had secretly taken their 22-year old son on a long weekend to Bangkok, Thailand for his university graduation gift. Realizing the trip was kept from her and knowing her former husband’s history in the underworld of sex, she could only suspect why Thailand was the chosen destination.
She tried to contact them both, to no avail. I encouraged her to email a letter to her son, who was still in Thailand.
I am inspired to share what she wrote:
I see that my messages to you and your father have not been responded to. As a woman, my innards are in deep suspicion, pain and panic. And as a mother, I asked myself on the end of Mother’s Day, where did I go wrong? I also have had to do a lot of self-forgiveness for being the woman I was back then, who married a man who could potentially model that kind of behavior. But for today, as the adult that you now are, I want to appeal to your sensitivity and integrity. You have two sisters, and every woman working in the pay-for-sex trade is someone’s daughter, sister or mother. I want every man to ask himself if he would want another man to engage in that kind of behavior with his sister, mother or daughter. But deep down, I know that such questioning is not enough, or this underworld trade of flesh could not flourish to the extremes it does. Most importantly, to any degree you would use a woman or girl in the sex trade, is somehow a violation of your very own self. And I am sorry for wherever I am responsible in having modeled the acceptance of disrespect in my marriage and for not having set the necessary limits when I should have. I am also sorry that I never dared to discuss the reality of the sex trade with you, because I just didn’t want to go there.
My greatest wish for you is that you develop a sexuality that is of mutual discovery, respect, tenderness, love and delight, because you so deserve it. May you heal anything that hinders this. My prayer is that whatever you lived, if indeed you have lived anything, that it be processed with the deepest awareness and self-honesty. I wish you all the support in this world and I am here as your number one supporter, whether directly or from afar, in helping you to become the best version of yourself. I love you, Mom
The spiritual masters tell us that every encounter is a holy encounter. In the sex trade, some of these encounters are consensual. Too often, they are not, as helpless children and disadvantaged adults are trafficked in a sophisticated, slick, international operation. At first glance, it is next to impossible to see the sacred in such forced ‘encounters’.
I have counseled several women over the years of various nationalities that have escaped the sex trade industry – some had gone in willingly, some had been tricked into it. Some had developed cynical and tough facades, some had drunk and drugged through every ‘encounter,’ and some had worked as high class call girls, living a more plush psychodrama of the same disconnect and exploitation. As children, they were all emotionally abused, neglected and/or sexually traumatized. The majority realized after a lot of healing work, that they were in a psychodrama with their childhood abusers through the pimps that controlled them and clients they had sex with. Some even came to the mighty feat of forgiving all involved, including themselves, as they mastered the art of Bold Forgiveness.
I have also counseled many men who have gone to this underworld for sex. In every case, they, too, were in a psychodrama – out of either the damage of being sexually abused, the craving for love and connection that they didn’t know how to obtain any other way, or the unconscious frenzied dance of their own unclaimed, turbulent emotions and defiant sexual energy.
I trust that my friend’s son upon his return, with whatever experiences he comes back with, along with his mother, will have an initiation into the challenge of engaging in adult, transparent, heartfelt dialogue.
For more on forgiveness, go to: Wayne Dyer’s 15 steps to Forgiveness.