In the dark room, a speakeasy, he waits. We meet him there, cool and collected. He's a rebel, an outlaw. He's also arrogant. A scruffy-looking nerf herder. He's Han Solo.
Han has a story, but for thirty years it's been hidden. Why is he so rough and guarded? Why does he respond with such discontent?
Photo by Lucrezia Carnelos on Unsplash
In 2018, the story was revealed, and we learn Han's sad and sordid history. There's a reason he's arrogant. There's a reason he's rough around the edges. His pain and sadness have calloused over his dynamic personality. He's lonely. He's recovering.
Star Wars is my family's favorite story. And when I watched "Solo" with my husband last year I was legitimately moved by the story of the hero I have known for so long. He's not just a jerk for no reason. He's guarded from Princess Leia's affection for a good reason.
I'm drawing a silly comparison. It's a story about a completely fictional character in a completely fictional world. But people are just like Han Solo. The writers wrote him very well. They wrote him true.
The girl walking the track or the girl being sold by her pimp has a story. Whatever led her to that place, whether she is underage and automatically a victim or over 18 and legally making a choice to work, her story is her own.
The work of Peoria Home and other long-term recovery programs for women walking away from prostitution and addiction are necessary. When all the other things that make up a person lead them to the life, they need time and resources to recover. A friend recently cited a statistic that women leaving the life on average have to try seven times to do so. It takes courage and determination. They need protection and community. They need environments with strong boundaries and open arms, even when they walk away and then come back.
The survivors I have met are among the strongest people I have ever met. It's an honor to know them. The goal for Clothed in Dignity is to raise money and awareness, and to encourage compassion for every woman in any stage of recovery from trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.
I'm on day 30 of wearing a dress. Not even 10% thru the challenge, and my heart is warmed with compassion and empathy for people's stories.
What's your story?