Build the Rage

Build the Rage

“Build the Rage”-A Mother’s Day Message?

It’s that season again…Mother’s Day and time to get out the mower. I get a real workout while I walk and mow. I also get some of my best thinking, praying and writing done when I mow. Today was one of those days, to the point that I had to shut the mower down and come inside to capture the emotion that was boiling up inside me.

The emotion is typically not viewed positively. In fact it’s one that we push away, because it’s usually seen as a negative. Thinking on that and reflecting that this might become a post for North Star’s blog, I had second thoughts. That quickly went away as this emotion grew and I realized that it was extremely relevant- in fact, very much so in light of Mother’s Day approaching. It was the emotion of rage. Rage? How is that a sentimental, sweet, motherly though? Okay, sentimental? A little. Sweet it’s not, but motherly, yes. Let me explain why.

As I was mowing, I was pondering the dilemma that one of the local survivors North Star Initiative supports is facing.  She is in her thirties and had been trafficked her entire life until a few years ago. “Emma” has been waiting for The Harbor to open so that she could have a safe, secure place to heal.  In the meantime, her former traffickers and pimps know where she lives and still contact her as well as occasionally show up at her door in an attempt to manipulate, scare, or get her back.  Her trafficking experience was horrific and she still experiences flashbacks, body memories and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Now, she is being faced with the news that she must move due to issues with her home and has a short time to find a new place to live. “Emma” anticipates the funding to come for North Star, hoping that The Harbor will be able to open soon for her and others like her.

My thoughts quickly moved on to the other 3 calls that we got earlier this month for several local women being trafficked in the Lancaster area and the 4th message I received this week regarding another trafficking situation that was occurring in Lancaster.  These women were all HERE, NOW, in need of safety… restoration… and we have to turn them away because there still isn’t enough funding for The Harbor to open.  Helpless… that was the feeling that was welling up within me.  But then I felt it, the other one, the other competing emotion that grows stronger and compels me. With it comes a faint beat of a battle drum and a war cry that wins out, bringing a need to act, to do something…to engage.

Rage. It has been a while since I experienced this.  I felt it often at the inception of North Star Initiative when I first heard and understood that trafficking was in my backyard.  It spiraled within me when I first saw “the girl at the window” on East Lincoln Highway in the massage spa and the johns frequenting it for their satisfaction. Rage. It’s not a popular emotion that we encourage. However, it is a profound, righteous one that is expressed when things are not as they should be or the vulnerable are being hurt and neglected.

Rage (noun) \ˈrāj\:  a strong feeling of anger that is difficult to control; an intense feeling: passion.  I will never forget the first time I heard it encouraged during an anti-trafficking seminar I was in.  “We have to build the rage,” said another abolitionist, “People need to stop being okay with the fact that there are victims being trafficked within our midst and there are no safe places for them to go.”   “What?” I thought, “Did she say that and is it even politically correct?”  But the more I reminisce on this, the more I believe it is a correct response.

I also believe it is a message that is for this season we call Mother’s Day.  You see, rage is that Mother Bear response that rises up within me when someone is picking on and bullying one of my kids or a friend isn’t treating them right.  Rage is that emotion that makes me want to protect them when I see them being hurt or there is injustice done.  Rage (or passion) is the appropriate Mother Bear response when we know that the vulnerable being trafficked by the manipulative pimp for his business and used by the johns for their pleasure are right here in our backyard and no one notices or cares.  It is the correct response when we have our own secure houses we can go to anytime, but the “Emmas” don’t have one and are fearing for their lives.  Rage is an appropriate response when the woman that North Star had to turn away is sitting in the county prison because The Harbor isn’t open to care for her and the prison is the only place that can keep her “safe” from her pimp.

As a Mom of 3 children, rage is an emotion that drives me to protect.  However, it is also one that we need to feel about trafficking thriving in our world, our backyard.  As moms, it’s time to recognize that these vulnerable women being exploited here within our county’s borders are our family. Today we declare as Jesus does that these are our daughters… our sisters that need to be restored.   NOW is the time to beat the drum and rally the war cry, “Enough!”  It’s time to protect our own and “build the rage”.

Jen Sensenig

Founder of North Star Initiative