Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Parental Advisory: This Post Contains Graphic Images

I took Corduroy Dog for a walk the other day and passed a man, about the same age as my dad, loaning his cell phone to a woman on the street. She was probably my age, but she looked like she had at least twenty years on me. Her face was wrinkled. Some of her teeth were broken or blackened. She was as thin as anyone I've ever seen. I imagined that her bones could break through her skin. She wore the tell-tale signs of crystal meth use on her body like a garment. He was driving a Lexus. Shelby County tag. White laundered shirt and khaki pants. Braided belt and loafers with tassels. His white hair was coiffed and his nails were manicured. He had a thick gold watch on his wrist.

Corduroy Dog let out a long low snarl like she does when she knows something's wrong. The hair on her back stood at attention. And suddenly I knew what it was I was seeing.

When he saw me walking towards them, he grabbed his cell phone, jumped in the car and drove away. She pulled her hood over her face (it was warm outside) and hurriedly crossed the street. If shame has a spirit, I saw it that day. If shame has a voice, I heard it.

I gave him the finger as he drove away. And that was probably wrong. But it felt right.

Tonight, all through the city, in this neighborhood, women are selling themselves or being sold for drugs and money. Women who were born into vulnerable situations. Incestuous situations. Alcoholism. Neglect. And this is where they come to do what they do. And this is where the sexual predator finds them to victimize them for the thousandth time and then drive home to wife and children. He thinks he's better than her. He thinks he has a right to use her, to exploit her. His lust has made a prisoner of him.

I think of Jesus speaking to the prostitutes. The woman at the well. Women the world left on the dungheaps of society to die. Jesus cared for them. Jesus called them to travel with him and learn from him. He equated them with his male disciples as he allowed them to wash his feet, to sit and learn from him, to eat with him, to work with him. In a society where the distinctions between men and women were infinitely more pronounced than they are in modern America, Jesus broke the rules of orthodoxy to reach across gender lines and love trashed women. Jesus did.

Tonight in the city, women are trafficked like drugs. Women are forced into sexual slavery and prostitution. Here, in this city, tonight. Sexual trafficking isn't something that exists only in Southeast Asia or Latin America. Here. Tonight. This is happening.

Our churches are having meetings to decide who can be a deacon. What women are good for. When it's appropriate for women to speak in church. And somewhere, a woman is sold for her body. And I can't believe that Jesus approves of our priorities.


G. Twilley said...

Not all of our churches:-). Have some hope that Jesus will (and is) working redemption through His people - I know (trust me, I know, maybe in different ways, but I know) that it's hard...but there is hope in the same Jesus who came to the prostitute and said, "follow me."

susan said...

Yes, it's true. Not all of our churches. I will have hope.

amanda hannah said...

that makes my physically sick. and makes me want to seriously injure that disgusting man.

susan said...

It was definitely hard to see. I don't see a lot of prostitution around here really (which explains why I didn't really recognize it at first) but I can't help but wonder why someone with the means that this guy obviously had wouldn't just hire an escort. Why would he pick an obviously sick drug user up off some street? I just think there must be some other really twisted desire for abjection there and that's what is really nauseating. There are a lot of people (men and women) who just really hate women. I think Satan hates women because God loves them.