“Everybody wants to see a “Clown”, but nobody wants to understand.” -C. Kim
I’m writing this blog specifically for my fellow survivors, because I do understand. We’ve heard it all before, “If you tell your story, you will save many lives.” “They want to see your face, because it’s REAL to them.” And my FAVORITE! “We are looking for “new” victims, someone who’s just been rescued.”
Now this is what I will share with you what all of those comments sound to US (Survivors). “Tell your story and you will get 15 minutes of fame and after that you won’t matter because our ratings will get to rise.” “We don’t believe you until we see the tears in your eyes.” And last: “Well . . . you’re getting old and we are tired of hearing your story and we’ve heard it all before, so we need a fresh meat to exploit.”
Let me give you a little hint:
This is not just based off of my own personal experience with media, journalist, and TV Hosts; but I’ve heard the outcries and hurts from my fellow brothers and sisters. I have however heard on the otherside of the spectrum of journalist, media and TV Host the most common question. “We CAN’T find survivors that are willing to speak.” Want to know why??? READ ABOVE!!!
Please note that I’m not attacking ALL journalist, media or TV Host, but most of the ones that have said the same thing as above, yes I’m talking to YOU. I’ve been able to be strong enough to stand up to share my story so I will say this to you on behalf of my fellow brothers and sisters of exploitation/trafficking. We are NOT your pet or a caged animal or clown, we are people who have feelings and what you are DOING is exploiting us. If a survivor contacts you to share their story, suggestion: take it, but don’t exploit it. DO NOT look for new victims even if they want to, they NEED to heal first instead of their trauma being sensationalized. This blog is for you my survivors so that you are not fallen short in media exploitation. Here’s a scenario that most of us go through:
We get a call from a major TV production company that says our story is amazing. We aren’t being compensated for our time, we don’t have an attorney to represent us so that we can AVOID being exploited further, then we are given this glamourous promise. “Guess what! You get to come to (NY or LA), shop around, hang out downtown and see the popular scenary that you see on TV! Then you get an awesome make over and get to meet the TV Host!” REALITY: They fly you in, by the time you settle into this nice hotel it’s past dinner time so you end up missing out on dinner, then the next morning they have you up and early to prepare for the TV shoot/interview. They go over the contract so fast that to you it sounds like foreign language, you don’t understand and the demeanor of the rep doesn’t look warm and inviting, they look rushed so without obliging you sign the dotted line without realizing that any footage they have on you they OWN it, NOT you! You still haven’t ate you’re anxiety is rising on top of that this is your FIRST TV interview, you are risking your life, your vulnerability and your innocence to be exploited on television, but you rationalize yourself by saying, “I’m helping others.” They put you in a “dressing” room nothing like you see in the movies, these are just finger snacks, but you eat them any way, then they have you sit in the make up room for a coupe of hours to do a make over on you, once that is done all you can think about is wanting to say Hi or Thank you to the host of TV for taking the time out to bring up this issue, but then you find yourself not having that time. Once the interview is done and they got what they wanted from you, they immediately fly you out so you can be home.
Excuse me if I sound like a Bitch, but this is NO way to treat a victim/survivor; you are asking a very big thing and you play as if it is small and petty and you have NO idea what further trauma you have just caused here. 1.) Quit promising glamour if you’re not going to deliver; you’re not talking to a TV star wanna be. YOU asked for us to be on your show, YOU begged for us to share our story and yet this is the F*cking thanks that we get??? I’m posting this for other survivors who have YET to be exploited in this way and I want to TEACH them to ASK for what they feel they deserved. I undrstand that compensation for an interview is slim to none unless you are loaded with attorneys by your side or you have become a survivor-celebrity, but for those who are unknown here are some tips for you:
1.) Ask specifically who you are talking to, get first and last name and a contact e-mail and phone.
2.) Whatever they PROMISE you, don’t believe it unless it is in WRITING and e-mail does NOT count.
3.) If you have a caseworker, counselor, pastor share with them your concerns.
4.) NEVER compromise your safety, if you DO NOT want to share your face you have that RIGHT.
5.) If you feel the need to be flown in a day or two before the interview and the day or two after, be sure to let them know that and any big time TV productios don’t believe them when they say they DON’T have the budget for it, if they can afford A star celebrity on their show they CAN afford you.
6.) When in doubt, do NOT obligate yourself to say yes you are not in debt with them, they are ASKING you.
7.) Final Note: Since most of you may not have an attorney to represent you, you now have ME, if you are going through this please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail and I WILL find someone to help you, you don’t have to be re-exploited.
There is NOTHING wrong in sharing your story, to empower and enrich the lives of others just as long as you know full and well this is what YOU want and not the obligation of the church/religion, counseling or even peers if you feel you need more time to heal please follow your heart, others can wait. I pick the title: “Tears of a clown” because that is how we are being treated, the audience wants to see a face, but after the show is finished we are sent away as though we are nothing and regardless of how strong the survivor is, by treating them like a clown only puts them behind the bars you create to seperate the freak behind the cage and the rest of the world. I am writing so my brothers and sisters will learn to stand tall and ASK for respect and have the freedom to share and empower others without further exploitation. Thank you for letting me share . . .