The Price of Secrecy

Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP
Blog by Sr. Judy Morris, OP

On a gray Monday morning I found myself seated in a waiting room of a Louisville judicial center – definitely not a typical Monday for me! This journey had its beginning a few weeks earlier at a meeting of PATH (Persons Against the Trafficking of Humans), a group of Sisters, Associates and concerned citizens in Louisville who are working to reduce human trafficking in the area. One of our members is a survivor of human trafficking. As a five-year old she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her father and handed over to other men to rape. As often is the case, this is a story wrapped in secrecy. A powerful, intimidating father easily persuaded his daughter to keep his behavior secret.

The story does not end with the destruction of childhood, but surfaced with her father making contact many years later, wanting to mend the relationship with visits. The email contact was made on Father’s Day! Mary, (not her name), asked for our support by praying for her as she goes to court to seek an emergency protective order. She also asked if anyone would join her at the courthouse prior to appearing before the judge. She needed the support of friends who would walk with her during this frightening time, dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome.

For several years I have been actively involved in addressing human trafficking by supporting legislation, volunteering in SOAP events, attending rallies, prayer vigils and speaking to many groups, but this commitment has made the issue up close and personal. Perhaps this is the greatest contribution we can make when we stand in solidarity with survivors, providing physical presence and emotional support.

This event made it clear that systems fail victims. This abuse over many years was not caught by educational systems, medical systems, legal systems or family. The symptoms were there. The help was not.

The war on women continues in many forms.

Posted in Peace & Justice Blog

2 responses to “The Price of Secrecy

  1. Thank you for bringing this story to our attention. When I was teaching in religious education many years ago, I followed up on a boy who was frequently absent from class. After going to the home, I found such such a mess and neglect of two young children and a mother who was soliciting her daughter. The young boy was drinking beer and lining up his empty cans along the wall. Needless to say, this got reported and I was called to go to court to witness against this mother. It was a real ordeal for me yet I was grateful that they finally caught up with the mother and the children were placed in a good home and the boy and teenage girl given psychological assistance. Yes, we need to keep our senses open to cases like these and have the courage to follow through with guidance and assistance. Thanks again,

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