Meat.

I am the vice president of a club on campus called “In It To End It,” which is part of a national initiative to end human trafficking, and in order to raise money to free people from modern day slavery we decided to sell pizza to drunk college students during homecoming weekend.

This is what happens when you are a girl standing on greek row at 2 a.m.: Boys come up to you and point out the size of your breasts, they tell you that they’ll only buy your pizza if you give them your number, they openly rate girls in front of you, and if you’re lucky a forty year old pervert might even decline your pizza in favor of a girl who he says “has legs impossible to close.”

Greek culture, and the party culture that goes along with it, is entirely foreign to me.

I’ve watched alcohol ruin lives and families of people that I love, and I’ve realized that in college and high school, there isn’t a  problem with underage drinking so much as there is a problem with drinking to lose all inhibition. People don’t drink to be sociable anymore, they drink to lose themselves. I’ve had countless conversations in the past month alone where people who are drinking tell me that it’s hollow and empty, but they continue to do it because without the buzz of the alcohol they are afraid that they aren’t enough, that the alcohol tricks people into thinking they’re better – friendlier, bolder.

And thats where dehumanization begins. Thats when it becomes okay to look at people like they are nothing more than meat.

I am not a piece of meat.

I am a full human, with a brain and a body which houses it.

And so is every other human on this campus.

In walking to my classes I catch countless appraisals of girls as if they’re livestock. I watch the flicker of boys’ eyes as they run up and down the passing bodies, and I watch as they lick their lips and punch the shoulders of the boys with them, begging them to catch a glimpse. On Greek row boys assign numbers to the girls that pass by them, openly evaluating their hotness, openly discussing all the things that they want to to do them in the dark. Girls are naught but a toy for their filthy desires. They aren’t ashamed of their appraisals, and they aren’t sorry for their reactions.

I can feel eyes on me when I am walking to and from class, occasionally I’ll catch the eyes of an onlooker and downturn my face so as to pretend I didn’t see him mentally undressing me. There is this stigma that accompanies the appraisal – am I a ten or a two? Some part of me will always wonder, and that’s what breaks my heart the most.

Multiple times in my life I have been told to “sit down and look pretty.” I’ve been put down, an item to look at rather than inspire. There are others, my sisters, who have treaded the paths of sexual violence and abuse, found themselves in the mentality that they aren’t good enough – that they’ll never be good enough. We live in a porn-saturated-society, every fantasy and desire can be quelled at the click of a button, so why tell a woman that she’s beautiful when you’re looking for nothing more than to validate your masculinity by telling your frat brothers about all of the girls you’ve screwed during the weekend?Masculinity today is no longer about protection, it is about the release of sexual tension.  We are the faceless generation. Slaves to desire because no one is willing to remove the chains which have already been unlocked.

I am losing heart.

Recently my university hosted a screening of the documentary “The Hunting Ground,” which follows the stories of multiple collegiate women who have been raped and silenced. Their respective universities told them to be silent because to point the finger meant losing valuable athletes and income for the universities. And this is not an unusual story. Girls that I know and love have been the victims of sexual violence, but it is an injustice that carries so much shame that often they are silent. What could happen if they did speak? They don’t want to be the demise of the boys, they rationalize that its normal, that its not a big deal, and then they drink themselves into oblivion to avoid the truth. What do boys do about that? They laugh at them being so drunk and the cycle repeats.

At the screening of the documentary, everyone left as soon as they received credit for being there, they could care less about the injustice, they just wanted the extra credit. People get uncomfortable when they are put face to face with an injustice as potent as this. We all hear statistics – 1 in 3, 1 in 4 – the list goes on, but the victims are more than a number and their pain is more than a story.

Meat. A puppet for desire. How did we come so far? When did the woman’s body lose its mystery and beauty in favor of debauchery?

I know that this is not all the world has to offer. I know that there are men out there that genuinely care for their sisters and strive to protect them; even if 90% of them do suck.

So what happens now?

Men of character its time to stand up. We live in a world where a man’s voice carries real weight. A man who speaks out on the issue of sexual violence and dehumanization has a voice as potent as twenty girls speaking at the same caliber. Men of character its time to set the example, its time to establish a new precedent of respect.

Ladies, you are so valuable, you don’t need the approval of a douche to believe it. Its okay to say no. It’s okay to deal with your hurt. It’s okay to be hurt. Its okay to tell someone to leave you alone. And its especially okay to speak up.

Its time to end the perversion. What happened to the respect?

Will the real men please stand up?

meat

Ten Weeks in Myanmar

I’ve been back in America for a little over two months now.

In that time I have moved into my first apartment, started my Sophomore year of college, gotten a job, learned to cook with recipes, and questioned my life choices.

For some of you all of this may come as a shock since I have neglected to post anything to the blog for almost five months months now, maybe this is the first time that you have even heard of my trip. This was a season of life which didn’t lend itself well to the multimedia world as I had no interest in being held prisoner or being the source of the demise of the nationals around me.  So, I’m now back in the country and beginning to work through processing my trip.

I was granted the beautiful opportunity to move to the country of Myanmar for ten whole weeks this summer in order to work with local mission efforts through the Assemblies of God in the country’s largest city. There were so many aspects of the trip that took my spirit by surprise, but now, as I sit here transposing this message to all of you, my heart is overwhelmed with strikingly large portions of grief and gratitude. The process of adjusting back to my life in America is no small feat.

Things like drinkable tap water and worm-less food stuffs is something that has proven difficult to adjust back to. Not to mention the parasite (which I have affectionately named Jackson) who made his home  in my gut and paralyzes me with puking fits every so often. Life on this side of the world is so vastly different that I am constantly finding myself at a loss for words.

The veil is thin in Southeast Asia. I saw and learned things there that stretched the capacity of my brain to comprehend the supernatural.  I was a part of a country whose spiritual warfare never struggles to manifest itself clearly. Myanmar is broken. There is darkness there like I have never experienced before.

But there is also light so blinding that I often felt unworthy. I would gather with fellow believers, welcomed into their home to share food and worship together. The people of Myanmar taught me what the church was created to look like.

“42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” -Acts 2:42-47

The church functioned as a whole. They gathered together every week to break bread and serve the Lord. We spent time singing praises after dinner, in the living room of city apartments, saturating in the Spirit. They loved each other wholly, spent their time serving one another and helping one another. As the Acts 2 church they had everything in common.

The people of Myanmar are beautiful for so many different reasons, but amongst the top is their capacity for selfless generosity. As a foreigner, though I had to spend time earning their trust, they were so generous in extending their love to me – welcoming me into their homes, sharing what little food they had – they are a people devoted to one another. They have to be. For so many years an oppressive government and twisted system have made it impossible for them to function any other way.

It is now, while I have been back in America for months now that I realize that there is no possible way to tell the world about my time in Myanmar while still doing justice to all that the Lord did in my own heart in the time that I lived there. It has been a long while since I left the country, but in so many ways I am still processing, as I believe that I will continue to for months, even years to come.

God restored my passion, generously reminding me of the calling that I feel to serve the nations, so go, to be sent. College does a good job of voiding passions that seem unreasonable, but as there is no way that I could have possibly gotten to the country of Myanmar without the Lord’s divine hand, I am confident that he is faithful to carry me through the world with the passion that he has so deeply imprinted on my heart.

There are so many things that I want to say, but as I have struggled for months to find the words, I struggle still to communicate my time in Myanmar with a lens which does justice to the faithfulness of the Lord and the beauty of the people.

So, for now, I would like to extend a thank you to all of those who committed to pray for me while I was overseas, and those who have so deeply cared for me in my time while being there and in coming back to life in America.

Until then, love you all, and I will be talking to you again soon! I mean it!

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Kings and Queens in the village outreach. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so big in my life.

P.S. Something to look out for! I have been asked to write an article for Tirzah Magazine, which will be published in the upcoming months. It discusses my time serving in the Village and the process of getting to Myanmar. Check out the article here: Walking Humbly with Your God