It’s in our backyard

Standard

That’s what shocked Dr. Katharine (Kate) Bushnell in the nineteenth century.  Authorities wouldn’t believe her stories of girls enticed, held captive, and abused in the pristine forests of northern Wisconsin. And today we’re hearnig such a story right in a Cleveland neighborhood- three girls held captive for ten years and no one knew?

For the last five years — off and on– I’ve been writing Kate’s story. A valiant, fearless, unconventional woman living in the Victorian era, it was a lot more difficult for Kate to talk about prostitution, rape, brothels, bondage then than it is in today’s far too open society. The pendulum swings from one side to the other. As the first book Boundless reaches completion, I’ll be writing more about what I’ve found — not only what’s happening today, but how society dealt with “trafficking” more than one hundred years ago.

Share your thoughts and stories.  It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is among us, and I believe God cares about those who are caught in this desperate quickisand.

 

 

 

 

Changing directions

Standard

I’ve shared my joys and concerns over my trip to South Africa — and if new issues arise I’ll get back to it.  But I want to begin sharing what I see going on as threats to women around the world.  Check out the progress of Boundless, my new book about Dr. Katherine Bushnell, who spent her life trying to release women from cruelty, trafficking and disabling attitudes.

Here are two short pieces about women’s response to recent acts of violence:

In the Muslim world, society often judges a victim of rape, rather than the perpetrator.  In spiet of this, women in Turkey are now rallying around a 26-year-old mother of two who killed a man who repeatedly raped her while her husband was away on a seasonal job.  She shot the rapist as he again returned to force his way into her house.  She then turned herself in to the police, saying she preferred to die but had cleansed her honor for her children’s sake.  Intercede for the protection and salvation of this woman and her family.  Also uphold Turkish politicians who wrestle with women’s issues in a harsh male-dominated environment. TWO

India (MNN) —
Remember that rape case in New Delhi that got international attention recently?
Six men assaulted a woman aboard a moving bus, and she later died from her
injuries. The defendants’ lawyer blames her for the attack. “That attitude
is very common in India. To blame a woman for dressing inappropriately or being
in a certain place at a certain time: these are just not constructive, not helpful attitudes.” Brent Hample of India Partners says the culture is a big part of the problem. “Even before they’re born,girls are discriminated against.” If they make it past birth, young girls
are often sold into sexual slavery. “Pray that God would do a miracle within the culture of India [and] within the people of India — within their hearts.”

Two books is like having twins in the birth canal

Standard

Two weeks ago I received a contract for the second book in the series about Katharine Bushnell.  Kate, M.D. is a strong, resilient , courageous woman who encountered sex slavery in the nineteenth century and grappled with it as fiercely as a dog with a bone.

In my coming blogs I’ll talk more about Kate and the not-too-distant-in- the-future  publishing date.  But now I want to talk a little about the publishing process.Anyone who has offered a book to a publisher knows you wait — and wait– and wait.  You keep contacting your editor to see that he’s done everything that he can do.  He has.

But you can understand why I was anxious.  I’m 88 year old — even if you turn 88 around it’s still 88.  But like my brother who is 84, he could mistakenly type 48.  This is a great time of life for me. I’m healthy, no metal parts, and still love to write.  Besides that I don’t have to plan meals, cook them, clean the kitchen and flop on the couch too tired to do anything else. Like last night, I ate a light dinner (had a virtual feast in the Bistro at noon) and worked until ten-thirty.

But getting back to waiting.  Boundless (we’ll call book number one that) had been with another publisher for over a year.  In that process they asked would I please rewrite the book.  I did, and still waited– and then they said “no.”

But in the meantime my editor had found another publisher who was interested. So we managed to keep the two in hand– and when the first said no, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas said “yes.”

So after ten years in the process (far too long to use the birth canal idiom) I actually had a contract and an editor who knew how to gently pull the best out of me.  I’ll probably write about that sometime.

My title says “two books,” and yes book two, The Queen’s Daughters, was accepted two weeks ago. And the process begins all over again.

I don’t know many writers, so most people around me aren’t interested in hearing about the publishing process. Writing back cover copy, a synopsis of your book which took ten years in 35 words, how an endnote line has appeared at the top of the last 75 pages of the manuscript and you don’t know how to get rid of it–  maybe you’re interested.

If so, hang in there, and when I get back to writing my blog — sooner than four months like my last one — I’ll tell you more  of what it takes to publish a book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Password denied again!

Standard

Tonight I’m just warming up my blog with “writers’ bloc.”  Can you believe it took me forty-three minutes to think of a password complicated enough for WordPress to let me in? (They wouldn’t accept the one I designed last week.) Once I finished reading three websites on how to do it, all the ideas of writing about writing have left my mind.  Did you know that computers can roll through thousands of combinations of words and letters in the blink of an eye to figure out my secrets?  So why don’t I just use a password like Ilovelucy?

I’ve promised myself that I’ll write at least one blog a week– about anything that fancies my mind at ten fifteen at night.  Hopefully there’ll be more content — hopefully I won’t have been writing pages of password ideas first.

But I do still have one sharp, concise bit of information. My eleventh book, first historical novel and the product of almost ten years of serious research (I can write about serious things) will be coming out within six months. Can you wait that long? (I can’t!)

You’ll love this woman I’ve written about– a medical doctor, a writer, an advocate for women, courageous and persistent– investigating and exposing ‘trafficking’ in the 19th century.  Her name is Katharine Bushnell — Katie to me.

See you next week!

 

 

Miracle Blog

Standard

After many hours of trying combinations of new passwords with my old and my new email addresses, I finally got back into my own blog. Is there a symbol for tears of joy?

For a simple writer who knows little about technology, the last twenty four hours have been tense. I even lost sleep trying to figure out which combination of email addresses and blogs would work.  Finally this morning I accidentally — but really providentially– used the right two. And here I am (is there a symbol for flying high?)

Now I still have to figure out how to change my old email address to my new one — before May 31st when the old one dies.  There is nothing simple folks (oh pardon the Donald. Is there a symbol for thumbs down?

But before you give up on this inane post — watch for stories from my upcoming book Boundless , a novel based on the life of Dr. Katharine Bushnell.  She was quite a woman, investigating, reporting and rescuing girls caught in trafficking — in the 19th century.  Nice girls didn’t talk about such things then.

 

 

 

Honor Killings

Standard

In his New York Times  column recently Nicholas Kristoff tells about Saba, a young woman who was shot in the head by her father.  Why?  Because she had disobeyed him by falling in love and  marrying without her father’s permission.  It is estimated that over 1000 honor killings take place in Pakistan every year, but very few perpetrators are brought to justice. Courageously, Saba attempted to have her father arrested, but . . . .

You’ll meet Saba herself in A Girl in the River,  nominated for the Oscars’ short documentary award.  Kistoff says whether or not it wins the nomination, it is worth viewing.  This travesty against young women must stop. (I confess I didn’t watch the Oscars)

Pakistan is far away and probably doesn’t seem like an issue in this country.  But I just read Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Bary who faced the threat of death because she dared to . . .  become a Christian.  She was able to keep her faith secret for several years, but when her father found out, he threatened to send her to Sri Lanka to marry an old Muslim man, and the local mosque stood by him . In fact, they are still threatening to sue the American family who protected sixteen-year-old Rifqa when she ran away from home.

Whether it’s honor killing, trafficking, limiting education to boys first or  killing new born girls—the treatment of women and girls in many countries calls us to compassion and action.  I’ve spent over five years writing a biographical fiction about Katharine Bushnell, MD, a Christian activist who investigated and exposed the sex trade in the US and India at the end of the nineteenth century. Lighthouse Publishing tells me the book will be released by December 1, 2016.

 

woman and men created equal

Standard

As I finish editing Boundless, the story of Dr. Katharine Bushnell, I’m overwhelmed at the persistence and bravery of this nineteenth century woman. She spent her life exposing sexual slavery and calling on legislators to pass laws to raise the age of consent and outlaw White Slavery (trafficking then.) She was passionate to serve God and to teach about the value He placed on all humanity. The Bible compelled her, at great personal cost, to fight against those who devalued women in her day. And little has changed – I was heart-sick to read about little girls SOLD BY THEIR PARENTS for as little as $10US dollars. Read on. . .

Asia—2014– In Nepal and India, extreme poverty results in malnutrition, disease, illiteracy, and often deep spiritual depravity.
Little value is placed on women and girls in these countries where they are sold into sex slavery by members of their own families for as little as $10 USD, depending on their age and beauty.

They refer to themselves as “the walking dead” for they are without hope. Girls as young as 7 have been sold into slavery. These women and girls are confined in a room called “the cage” where they are beaten, starved, and raped until their will is broken. Then they are forced to service customers to repay their debt–a debt that incurs more in interest than they are paid for their services. those brothels, conditions are filthy and sickness is rampant. Girls who succumb to infection are turned out on the streets to die. (Just like infected girls were turned out of the brothels in the British military cantonments in India in the 1890’s)

Vision Beyond Borders launched its Vision for Women to answer the growing crisis. The safe house they helped fund just 6 months ago is full, and more women are ready to come out of the industry.
Adapted from Mission Network News by Joan Kramer

At least today exposing trafficking does not depend on a lone woman here and there to fight against the evil. The Bible teaches that men and women were created equal in God’s sight, and equal to work side by side: “God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female created he them. So God blessed them and told them, ‘Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals’ . . . Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way”. Genesis 1: 27-29, 31.

Appeal postponed

Standard

Fifth appeal postponed for Asia Bibi
Pakistan (MNN) — Imprisoned in 2010 and sentenced to death for blasphemy, Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has had her appeal postponed for the fifth time. No new date has been set for her to appeal her death sentence. Blasphemy is a serious crime in Pakistan, and anyone accused receives harsh treatment from the courts. Asia is the mother of five. Her husband and children have gone into hiding. Asia is held in solitary confinement many miles from her family. Several Pakistani leaders who have attempted to help mitigate her case have been killed, so it’s possible the judge is afraid to reverse her death penalty—hence the postponement.

This young women in her late twenties faces a different enslavement from trafficking. But she is locked into a life of hopelessness– a life of fear and loneliness. Her crime? She defended Jesus Christ, her Lord, when a group of villagers working in a fruit orchard refused her water because she was a Christian.

One can only imagine the word battle that followed as she defended her right to drink from the village well. A likely scenario– the irate women went home to their husbands angrily denouncing Asia’s religion, accusing her of blasphemy against Mohammed. The news spread, a crowd gathered and raced to the police station. Once the accusation was carried to the police, there was no turning back. Asia was found guilty of blasphemy, sentenced to hang and has languished in a dirty, bug-infested, prison, cooking her own meager meals to avoid being poisoned by guards or other inmates for almost four years. Its reported that her family– husband and five children– are moving from house to house, even to other cities, to seek safety.

Jesus came to free captives unjustly held–captives bound by every kind of evil. His mission statement in Luke 4 was based on the words of Isaiah the prophet. “The Spirit pf the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:l,2.

Many are working behind the scenes to free Asia. Those of us who can’t lobby, work through the halls of justice and power, can at least pray for her health, and peace of mind that God has not forgotten her.

A ready market in the Magreb of Africa for young girls.

Standard

Professor Lawrance of the Rochester Institute of Technology said that if he were to visit any number of West African countries “I would have no difficulty, within a matter of hours, in finding a place to procure children.”

While the imagery of a slave market conveyed by the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, may have been aimed partly at attracting attention, Professor Lawrance said, “it is not a stretch of the truth to imagine where you could buy children, sitting and waiting to be sold.”

Child trafficking is considered such an insidious problem that the United Nations Human Rights Council has assigned special rapporteurs to investigate it for nearly 25 years. The last rapporteur, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, a Moroccan pediatrician who specializes in the protection of vulnerable children, said in a report to the council in March that they were more at risk than ever to sexual slavery. “Millions of girls and boys worldwide are victims of sexual exploitation, even though this issue in recent years has gained increased visibility,” she said.In report she issued in December, Dr. Maalla M’jid said that in recent years, the increase of child trafficking has been greater for girls.

Rights advocates say many cases go undetected. Susan Bissell, the chief of child protection at Unicef, said Wednesday in a phone interview that there were 1.2 million known cases a year of child trafficking globally, “and that’s a gross underestimate, because of situations in this context; it’s totally clandestine.”

Rights groups have conducted numerous studies documenting the trafficking of girls and women in Africa, which is often done through deceptive means. In a 2010 report, for example, Human Rights Watch found networks in Ivory Coast and Nigeria that systematically trafficked in Nigerian women who had thought they were being recruited as apprentice hairdressers or tailors or the person who took them would hurt them.”

Ms. Bissell said part of the enforcement problem lay in many victims’ lack of official identities — 230 million children do not have birth certificates, which makes them virtually impossible to trace.
Adapted from New York Times May 8,2014

This evil seems to have no end. Can you imagine what would happen if these perpetrators had grown up in a loving home with parents who modeled honesty and respect for each other? Parents who made sure children were educated–or at least taught basic values like love, kindness, integrity, a work ethic,– and that God, who loves them, created both boys and girls as equally valuable and full of potential?