She Walks In Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
   Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
   Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
   Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
   How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
   But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
   A heart whose love is innocent!

(Lord Byron)

As National Women’s History Month draws to a close, I thought I’d touch on some important things today.

I’d like to talk about a Twitter friend I befriended about a year ago.  She was a strong advocate for stopping the sex trafficking trade.  I had no idea why she was spreading the word at the time, but I followed her and talked to her on Twitter about these things all of the time. 

Believe it or not, the sex trafficking trade is a pretty hot trade in the United States…even though it is highly illegal.

Women are trafficked to the states from other countries with the guise that they are escaping their countries, getting legal documents to travel to America, and placed into a job (little do they know that the job is in the sex industry).  Other women are kidnapped and sold into the sex slave trade (or in some instances…the slave trade).

Slavery was abolished in America back on January 31, 1865.  The 13th Amendment was adopted by Congress on that day: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

At the time, they were talking about blacks living as slaves in America.  Today, we have a new kind of slavery.  It may only exist in the black markets (ironic it’s called that?), but it exists.  Actually, it exists in all 50 states in America.  It’s called sex trafficking…and guess what?  Children are being sex trafficked in America.

What number are we looking at?  Try over 300,000+ children are in the sex slave trade in the United States of America. 

Jamie Walton (@JamieWalton) and I started talking a year ago about sex trafficking and the other atrocities happening in America (and worldwide).  I donated to various charities that helped kids that were victims of the sex trafficking schemes thanks to Jamie.

We would always share news related stories on sex trafficking, or comment on various things we had read.

Little did I know that there was a reason why Jamie was so passionate about this subject.  She was once one of those kids.  She was one of the statistics of children in the US sex trafficking network.

Sexually molested by her step-father at the age of 8, then later by other sexual predators and pedophiles, Jamie lived the nightmare childhood.  She was the target for many pedophiles and was taken advantage of repeatedly by various different men.

By the time she was 13 years old, she had entered into the sex trafficking network thanks to an AOL chatroom where she met a 46-year old man online who introduced her into prostitution.  And we’re not talking about the “it’s just sex” prostitution…we’re talking about the darker (and more dangerous) side of sex.

Where were her parents in all of this?  Her father was absent.  Mom remarried a loser addicted to drugs.  Her mom was an alcoholic and abused prescription pills.

Her mom could have stopped the abuse…by believing her daughter when she said that her step-father had molested her the first time. 

Her mom could have stopped her daughter from entering the sex trafficking world…if she hadn’t let that 46 year old man stay over and sleep in her daughter’s bedroom (when she was 13). 

But the fact is…her mother didn’t stop it.

Jamie tells her story to New Jersey Devils fan, filmmaker, writer, actor, director (and many other titles) Kevin Smith (aka Silent Bob to those who love his work). Click Here to Listen to the Interview

What is important about Kevin Smith’s interview…they make an announcement about The Wayne Foundation.  This foundation is now headed up by Jamie, with Kevin Smith as VP, to raise funds to start a safe house for kids that are in Jamie’s similar situation.  For kids needing to break free from the sex trafficking trade, sexually abused kids, etc. this place will be for them. 

They can’t help all 300,000+ kids, but they’re hoping it will start a movement where they can help a few kids at a time…and maybe someone else in other states will follow suit and set up safe houses for these kids.

It’s not only going to take a lot of money in donations (forever), along with clothing, furniture, cars, and other donations, but it’s going to take a lot to create this place for kids to run to.  Pimps will want their product back.  They’ll kill to get their product back.  They’ll need security.  They’ll need their local, state, and federal government to help these kids.

The goal is not to just offer a safe place for these kids, but it’s also designed to help them heal and move forward in life.  Out of all of the stuff that has happened to Jamie in her childhood, she has learned to heal from it and do something great…she’s heading this charity up.  Through hell, she ended up finding her own heaven.  She found a better day.

Some of the tweets I’ve seen that have gone to Jamie since Kevin Smith posted up the interview had me realize just how powerful of a woman Jamie is.  One person said that he was surprised she hadn’t killed herself after everything that had happened to her.

It makes you think that all of those stories that people tell about how they had a horrible childhood…don’t compare to Jamie’s story.  And you know what?  She became a functioning adult, with a job, a good husband, and a beautiful smile on her face.  She overcame those horrible things in her childhood and hopped on that magical ride of the universe and found her path.

This is how you heal from being a victim.  You move forward by helping other people.

The reason why I befriended Jamie a year ago was because she was talking about the sex trafficking trade.  Not too many tweeters talk about it. 

I’ve worked with VDay and numerous women’s groups that work to overcome violence against women…they advocate change, and help their sisters move forward and heal.  It’s a global effort.

When I came to NYC, I was expected to take my career up a higher notch and work in the non-profit realm.  But at the time I was asked to do it, I declined.  Why?  Because for once in my life, I had to focus on healing myself.  I came to NYC broken.  I needed to find the strength to fix myself first. 

How can I help the world, if I cannot help myself? 

Men always ask why I get involved with these women’s groups.  Am I also a victim trying to heal?

Yes.  I was a victim of sexual assault. 

No.  I don’t talk about it.  Why?  Because I can’t remember most of it.

“Losing 100 Pounds of Unhappiness” starts from that point…that attack…the repeated attacks.

That’s why that switch was turned on in my brain…the safety switch.  It turned on in an effort to make me as fat and ugly as fast as possible.  I gained 30 pounds in the first two months.  I dressed like a boy.  I wore hats and baggy clothes to mask what I looked like.  I wanted to be invisible.  Because…just maybe…if I looked like a boy or if I was ugly…or if I was invisible…it wouldn’t happen to me again.

That’s the safety switch.

I hung around cops all of the time (for 5 years).  I worked with them, did my internship with them, and volunteered with them.  I took self-defense courses…anything to make me feel safe.

Seventeen years later, and I’ve only just discovered why my body is the way it is today.  The book process is about starting from today and working my way backward.  Why?  Because I have to remember the strengths I’ve gained in these past seventeen years in order to find the tools to confront that entire first semester of my freshman year in college.

Sometimes you need every weapon in your arsenal to confront your biggest fear…remembering what happened to you.  You really need every weapon you’ve accumulated to slay that monster hiding in the recesses of your mind. 

The odd thing is that the attacks weren’t the only period of time I forgot.  It blanked out a lot of my childhood and years growing up. 

A friend of mine had brought up something that happened when we were in high school.  I looked at her blankly like I had no idea what she was talking about.  I asked, “That happened?”

She just looked at me in shock and said, “I can’t believe you have no memory of that.”  She then went on about how there were so many things from our childhood and teen years that I don’t remember.  She said it was like a huge chunk of my memory was completely gone.

That’s what happens when someone suffers a traumatic event.  That also happened to Jamie.  She couldn’t remember if she was sexually molested by her step-father or not.  Her psychiatrist had to show her the police reports in order for her to believe that something had indeed happened to her.

In the Smodcast, Jamie mentioned that 1 in 3 women are a victim of sexual assault sometime in their lifetime.  Sexual assault does not always mean rape.

The National Center for Victims of Crime defines sexual assault:

Sexual assault takes many forms including attacks such as rape or attempted rape, as well as any unwanted sexual contact or threats. Usually a sexual assault occurs when someone touches any part of another person’s body in a sexual way, even through clothes, without that person’s consent. Some types of sexual acts which fall under the category of sexual assault include forced sexual intercourse (rape), sodomy (oral or anal sexual acts), child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape. Sexual assault in any form is often a devastating crime. Assailants can be strangers, acquaintances, friends, or family members. Assailants commit sexual assault by way of violence, threats, coercion, manipulation, pressure or tricks. Whatever the circumstances, no one asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted.

I highly recommend taking an hour and a half out of your schedule to listen to the Smodcast.  There are two parts to it.  Only the first part is up, which talks about the rock bottom in Jamie’s life.  The second part is all about how she rose above it all to become the beautiful woman she is today.

The Wayne Foundation (named after Wayne Gretzky and Batman’s Bruce Wayne) needs help.  They need donations.  You can donate by going to The Wayne Foundation’s Page.  Currently, it is under Kevin Smith’s website (View Askew) until they can get a site of their own.

Twitter is a powerful voice.  It can take a young woman who has been through so much in life to find a new friend who will help her along on her journey.  Jamie met Kevin through Twitter.  Who would have thought that Twitter could take a random person, give her the ear of a celebrity, and then watch them embark on a new adventure together…to save kids from sex trafficking? 

For the Devils and their fans, spread the word…

Kevin Smith has been the Devils fan celebrity that we have grown to cherish.  He is New Jersey wherever he may roam.  If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have all of those New Jersey films out there. 

We should help out The Wayne Foundation.  What they’re doing could start a trend across the world.  These kids need saving.  All 50 states have kids in the sex trafficking trade.  If the government can’t stop it, even though slavery has been abolished, then we, as a community, need to stop it and give these kids tools to escape it, heal from it, and move on.

Thanks to Jamie for sharing her history…and becoming a hero.  She is an inspiration.  Thanks also to Kevin Smith for giving Jamie a platform in which to use her voice to broadcast out into the universe that change must happen…because child fucking is so wrong.  It’s time to put an end to pedophilia and the market where children are freely being sold into prostitution in all 50 states of the United States of America.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth is the voice behind