Archives for August 2013

Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy

In DISPOSABLE PEOPLE: New Slavery in the Global Economy, abolitionist and author Kevin Bales makes a clarion call for the ending of modern-day slavery around the world.

Slavery is theft — theft of a life, theft of work, theft of any property or produce, theft even of the children a slave might have borne. -Kevin Bales

This book is well researched and documented through the author’s personal experience going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders. His investigation of slavery took him around the globe to Mauritania, Brazil, Thailand, Pakistan, and India.

Even with the resurgence of an abolitionist movement in modern times, the fact is, there are an estimated 27 million people living in slavery around the globe, yet many still escape our awareness or acknowledgement.  Why?

Bales argues that the increasing globalization of the economy–supply and demand–has fueled the “need” for coerced labor in the global supply chain, including forced child labor and debt bondage. What many readers will find interesting is his economic rationale for why slavery is not as profitable or sustainable as fair labor practices.

In what is referred to as the emergence of a “new slavery,” he asserts that modern-day slaves, unlike traditional forms of slavery, are not always considered a long-term investment. That means human beings lose their value. Many are viewed by slave masters as cheap, usable and sometimes (as in the case of sex slavery) reusable, “disposable” people.

Bales also illuminates the urgent need to raise individual and global social consciousness by connecting the dots from the slave to the end-user. He challenges our norms, by highlighting the necessity to re-think our purchase and consumption habits and preferences, and how supply and demand can directly affect slavery. The book challenges political, corporate *and* personal consumption mindsets and behaviors.

Kevin Bales

But he doesn’t just expose readers to this massive global problem and leave the research and case studies on the table. He offers readers strategic solutions. This book will open your eyes to the bigger picture and leave readers with a personal choice once they have been opened.

All of the author’s royalties from this book go to fund anti-slavery projects around the world.

 

 

Buy the Book Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.

Kevin Bales is co-founder of Free the Slaves.

Watch & Listen to Big Think Interviews with Kevin Bales.

Watch Ted Talks Video of Kevin Bales: How To Combat Modern Slavery.

As an author, a professor of sociology, and consultant to the United Nations Global Program on Human Trafficking, Kevin Bales is one of the world’s foremost experts on modern slavery. He has made it his mission to eradicate global slavery. Read More.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

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Rise

“Down and out doesn’t mean done and over. Breathe… and then rise!”

-April McCallum 

#ThisIsYourLife #CarpeDiem    

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Freedom Series: Abuse to Favor

 “For me, my dreams were shaped out of a childhood that was fenced in by fear”

Abuse to Favor is a 96-page minibook that is a part of the Freedom Series created by popular author and speaker, Michelle Borquez. Each booklet shares a woman’s true story about her journey from brokenness to freedom.

In Abuse to Favor, Jo Ann Aleman shares her story, struggles, and triumph over abuse.  It begins with her father, a man she recalls as generous and loving with his children, but extremely abusive to their mother.  Her “normal” was a violently abuse home life fueled by alcohol binges. A home (a life) that healthy families would see as filled with fear-invoking, pain-inducing, spirit-shattering chaos.  Time and again, her mother would pack the children up and flee for safety, then return when things seemed more settled, and so it went on and on.

The cycle brought on by her father’s rage and abuse directed at her mother caused her to go to a place she felt more secure–her mind–a place that no one could touch, a place that seemed safe. Like so many others in her situation, she dreamed about how her life would be different. She fantasized about someone coming to rescue and protect her: a savior.

But, as with any story of abuse, there’s always more than what appears on the surface. Why did her mother stay in that abusive situation? Her mother stayed because of her own experience with abuse. She and her siblings experienced great physical, emotional and mental abuse by their stepfather.  So she promised herself that her future children would never be subjected to a stepfather. But it wasn’t that he was a stepfather. It was that he was a broken abusive man.

“Many times we think of abuse as being only physical; however, abuse takes on many forms. Sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and emotional abuse—even neglect–are all perversions of real, unconditional love.”

Fast forward to Jo Ann Aleman’s adult life… with her childhood promises to herself still with her, she married someone she thought would take her in a direction that was new and better. To a place she could only recognize in her dreams. But he didn’t.  She shares about his abuse and the ultimate disintegration of the marriage.  So longing to be loved, she quickly found herself in another marriage, this time to an older man. She hoped he would bring the security she so desperately wanted. Again, it was not to be found. He too, abused her both physically and emotionally.

“Many nights I was awakened by his fists pummeling my face. He would get so drunk that he would black out, and the next morning we would wake up to a house that looked like a tornado had ripped through it… He was bent on compete destruction.”

As you may have noticed in your own life, there is this resilience about human nature. No matter how bad things get, no matter how improbable the odds, in our little broken torn-apart state, we still somehow find a way to reach out like a flower in the shadows, straining toward the sunshine, hoping against hope for something good.  Jo Ann Aleman was no different. Her heart reached out yet again, longing for love. She spent twelve years in “prison” with her third husband. A man who abused her through fear and intimidation, lashing out through physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse. But this time, it spilled over onto her daughter.

That’s when something shifted. This time, she didn’t reach out to a man, but to God. She writes, “Although we are all somewhat conditioned by our environment, something deep inside of us reveals the truth.” There was more for her.  She wanted once and for all, to be free.

Sharon Kay Ball (a professional counselor) uses biblical illustrations to define healthy and unhealthy thinking and behaviors, and speaks to the issues of conflict, power, authority, power struggles, and abuse that can affect any type of relationship. She also walks readers through common abuser behavior:  using rage, silence, intimidation, altering your sense of reality, criticizing, and blame-shifting to control their victim.

“His words only confirmed my feelings. They shaped me, took root in my heart, and I believed the things he said.”

Ball breaks down the phases in the cycle of abuse and talks about making a “safe plan.” Although it’s crucial to get out of an abusive relationship physically, it’s not enough. Victims need to purge themselves from the damaging affects of abuse that are left embedded in their minds and spirits. That means talking about trust, low self-image, forgiveness, anger, and learning how to move forward.

Aleman writes, “I was free on the surface, yet broken and deeply wounded inside.” That was, until she decided to no longer allow herself to be defined by abusive men, but by a loving God who offered hope and healing.

You may also be interested in:

Domestic Violence: But He Really is a Good Person

What is Emotional Abuse?

Quotes From Women Who Have Suffered Emotional Abuse

Sexual Violence Against Women: Rape, Abuse and Incest

Innocence Lost: Women and Childhood Sexual Abuse

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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What is Oppression?

What is Oppression? To oppress is to burden a person, or people, with cruel or unjust impositions or restraint, and/or, to be subject to a burdensome or harsh domination, authority or misuse of power.

Archaic definitions include descriptive wording such as: to weigh down, press upon, crush, subdue or suppress.  Some say: to afflict, hold something back, or put an end to. Origins connect to the idea of squeezing or suffocating. Words that depict a lack of liberty, self, the ability to be successful and simply breathe. Regardless of the cause, oppression is typically attended by overwhelming stress, heavy sorrow and hopelessness.

Further, Social oppression involves the systematic, socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group or category of people by another.

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself” –Thomas Paine

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Love Inside Your Heart…

“May the love hidden deep inside your heart find the love waiting in your dreams. May the laughter that you find in your tomorrow wipe away the pain you find in your yesterdays.” –Author Unknown

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Freedom Series: Abandonment to Forgiveness

Abandonment to Forgiveness is a 96-page minibook in the Freedom Series created by Michelle Borquez. This booklet shares a story and life-changing principles that turn hopelessness to hope, bitterness to forgiveness, and the impossible into the possible.

When Michelle Moore was fourteen, her mother disappeared from her life. The woman who gave birth to her, cared for her, and shared life–the mother she loved–was gone, and without warning. She’d changed her identity and vanished without a trace. Her mother left no forwarding address and no explanation. She said, “My mom was my best friend.”

Michelle’s world, as she once knew it, was turned upside down overnight. None of the adults in her life could fill in the blanks for her, and adding insult to injury, no one else in the family–her father, her aunt and uncle, her grandparents—seemed to want her either. In Abandonment to Favor, Michelle’s questions echo what every other abandoned child (or person) wants to know:

  • Why did this happen to me?
  • Why did the other person get to move on?
  • What am I supposed to do with all of this hurt?

Abandonment leaves a person feeling devastated along with a string of other adjectives: alone, hurt, rejected, sad, angry, bitter, unloved, and the list goes on. Whether it’s a child whose been abandoned, a spouse, friend, or another close relationship, the damage of rejection cuts deep and it takes a great toll. On top of that, the people around her couldn’t understand or relate to the deep pain she carried. When there are no answers, no reasons, no empathy–nothing–the concept of forgiveness doesn’t seem to make any sense. She writes, I couldn’t get past my past.”  And, like so many others, she learned to withhold forgiveness because it gave her a sense of control.

As she moved into womanhood and became a wife and mother, she began to look closer at her abandonment issues. What was it that she really wanted out of life? How did she want the relationships in her life to be that were present and real? She came to understand that holding on to her anger and pain would keep her focused on and locked into the past, when what she desperately wanted was to move forward. Unforgiveness squeezes out our joy and stifles our peace. She wanted freedom from that burden she’d carried around for so long. Over time, Michelle came to realize that to hold on to unforgiveness was really to hold on to a false sense of control. She falsely believed that she could control something that in reality, she had absolutely no power over. The only thing she did have power over was her own choices.

Michelle Moore, Co-author of "Abandonment to Forgiveness"

Although there was no magic bullet, no mantra, no perfect words or behaviors that could reverse or change the reality or the feelings that came from her abandonment, Michelle chose to take what happened to her and use it for good. She purposed to free herself by embracing biblical truths about forgiveness, her own worth, and allowing God’s love to flow into the devastated places in her heart and fill them with hope and promise for her future. She reset expectations, embraced gratefulness for the good things in her life, and chose to take a realistic path of understanding that she could only control the things that were in her grasp.

In the middle section of this booklet, there’s a mini Bible study by Paige Henderson where, in part, she takes readers through a list of myths and truths about forgiveness. One of the biggest myths is a little like the chicken and egg question about what comes first: forgiveness or healing? Truth: We can’t heal until we forgive. “Forgiving is truly an issue of counting the cost and deciding… that either you can stay bitter and deal with the totality of issues that come with that choice, or you can heal… and live!

In the last section, “Steps to Freedom,” Sharon Kay Ball helps define what true forgiveness is and what it is not. She says, When children are abandoned, they learn very quickly not to trust. They learn how to put walls up to protect themselves so they can survive.”  Abandonment leaves us with missing pieces, like a puzzle. When we don’t understand the “whys” that are a part of our puzzle, we tend to try and fill those empty spaces with misfit pieces (people, things, wrong beliefs) that will never fill them. Until we embrace truth, we cannot find our peace and will always be grasping for answers.

In conclusion, she walks readers through the journey to healing by way of reflection and insight, journaling, the importance of telling their story, appropriately grieving the missing pieces, and through brief but meaningful writing assignments that will help them in the healing process. 

Most women have experienced some degree of rejection or abandonment at some point in their lives. Whether it was as devastating as Michelle’s story, or not, emotional shrapnel gets embedded and it needs to come out. Ultimately, the goal is to move from victim to survivor. It’s time to get free, embrace God’s love, and move forward. “Forgiveness brings ultimate freedom” — Set yourself free!

Purchase the book: Abandonment to Forgiveness

You may also be interested in:

10 Quotes about Forgiveness  

25 Quotes about Anger

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Freedom Series: Fear To Courage

Unhealthy fear is a liar. If not stopped, it will always seek to bully us into believing lies about ourselves and about others, ultimately morphing our reality. It is a thief. It robs our peace and joy, and in many cases, the faith and courage to follow our dreams and live healthy fulfilled lives. But the worst part about unhealthy fear is that it can become a slave master. Its single focused goal is to destroy the truth and any potential goodness in our lives by disempowering us and holding us captive.

From Fear to Courage is a 96-page minibook that is part of the Freedom Series created by author and popular women’s speaker, Michelle Borquez. Women desperately want to get to the other side of fear, shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness, or any other issue that keeps them from finding their ultimate freedom in life, but often they don’t know how. The book’s authors use biblical truths to guide readers out of their unhealthy fears into a place of understanding, healing, and freedom.

Have you (or someone you know) kept a secret that has bound you in chains, choked off your voice, drowned your hopes, or silenced your dreams?

In Fear to Courage, Kim Vastine shares her personal story of shame, betrayal, loneliness, and anger brought on by childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by an uncle, someone she “should” have been able to trust. Instead, she was lied to, stolen from, and enslaved to her abuser.  Fear became an unwanted and demanding companion. She uses words like torment, pain, fear, and grief to describe how the abuse made her feel.

Adding fuel to the fire, yet another family member compounded her abuse profile. Speaking of her father’s volatile outbursts that would leave the family, “cowering, sobbing, or desperately striving to seem invisible,” she concluded, “as bad as it was physically, emotionally it was worse.” And just when you wonder how much more a child can endure, she tells of yet another abuse in a place she “should” have felt safe and secure.

The images and memories of abuse branded in her mind helped formulate how she saw the world, God, and herself. My voice was silent, but my heart cried out for justice.” Like flecks of emotional shrapnel searing through the skin, unless extracted, they remain embedded in our minds and spirits. In her case, she learned to mask her negative emotions in deceptive and unhealthy ways.

Paige Henderson writes, “When fear dictates, love is silenced.” This booklet invites women to take the critical journey “moving from life-crushing fear to life-changing courage.” None of us can survive without hope or apart from love. She helps readers put fear into perspective. To understand the awe-inspired “fear” of God and positive healthy choices, as opposed to unhealthy fear that distorts truth, steals our voice, and robs us of our intended destiny. Love is more powerful than fear, but as long as we give fear a place, we give it power.

Then she uses examples from the Bible to show the consistency (predictability) of human nature in our reaction to fear: hiding or running in the opposite direction, and then speaks to trust and identity issues and how they inform us on how we relate to ourselves and the world. The heavy burden of abuse and its fallout are real, but remember, we are not alone in the battle. When childhood abuse occurs, children are left to define their trauma through their own experience and feelings, never grasping what it all means and where they fit in the overall scheme of what has happened to them. (Underscore, to them.)

Abused children typically draw conclusions based on false thinking, and as they mature and advance into adult relationships, they act out what they believe. Although a woman’s body matures and changes, for those who have suffered from childhood trauma, their wounded little girl remains still very much a part of them. That little girl is desperate to be loved, feel worthy, and to be seen and heard. She needs healing.

Henderson talks about the significance of fortifying our lives (how we think, feel, and act) in the way we build our life foundations.  How important it is that we build wisely, and with truth, because eventually, we act on what we believe. We live out our lives, based on what we believe to be true. Using a simple Q&A format, she encourages readers to pause and reflect, and then record their thoughts and feelings. The process helps define the root causes of fear and the difference between healthy and unhealthy fears and their effect.

Armed with a healthy understanding about fear, love, and the importance (and power) of taking personal responsibility for our ultimate wholeness and freedom, Sharon Kay Ball rounds out the book with a section called, “Steps to Freedom.” She discusses the devastation of sexual and emotional abuse including disempowerment and trauma. Readers are then given steps to help in the process of healing those broken places.

Victims of abuse will learn how to un-pack and re-pack, so to speak, their belief systems (about truth, themselves, and others), so they can move from fear to courage, and from victim to survivor. That means taking the power away from the perpetrators, and reclaiming it for ourselves. She reminds us that, “secrets only carry power when they are kept secret.” And discusses how to get past self-blame, the importance of not stuffing bad memories, and how to process anger in a healthy way. She also underscores the value of journaling and working with a professional therapist if necessary.

“When fear enslaves us, it paralyzes us and keeps us from having the courage to live out our purpose in life.” –Michelle Borquez

This booklet begins with Kim’s story about sexual and other abuses. Maybe your fears have different origins. But the fact remains: fear is a liar and fear is a thief. Eventually, unhealthy fear becomes a slave master, and until we replace it with truth, it will keep us where we don’t want to be, in a perpetual internal prison.

It’s time to let go of fear and claim your freedom. Commit to the process because you are worth it. Give yourself permission to take the journey that will eventually lead you out of the cage and into your freedom.

Purchase the book: Fear to Courage

You may also be interested in:

Fear is a Liar

20 Quotes about Pushing Past Fear

Live Fearless, Live Free.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

Note: Rose Publishing provided me with an advanced reader copy of this booklet.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™–”Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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