By: Kate Krassowski, Regular Contributor
“Self-love, self-respect, and self-worth. There is a reason they all start with self. You cannot find them in anyone else.” –Unknown
The subject of domestic sex-trafficking has been coming up a lot in my life lately. I don’t want to speak directly to that issue because there is so much that I don’t know about it yet. But I do want to speak to some of the internal issues, which through my discussions on this horrible problem, have come up as common contributors. The deep-rooted issues are what have gotten me thinking because they are something we can all identify with.
These women are pulled into that world for many reasons and in many different ways, but I don’t want this to be strictly factual. Through my discussions about the world they live in and how these women end up where they are, there is a deeper problem that starts during childhood. Poverty and low self-esteem are two main factors that trap these women in a vicious cycle. Poverty can’t always be controlled but determination can be a great characteristic instilled into girls to keep them pushing forward to something greater.
It all starts when we’re young and the ways in which we are empowered to know our worth. These girls are in the game so long that they become brainwashed that they aren’t ever going to make it on their own. They rely on their trafficker and trust them, even in the most abusive situations. I know there are specific situations where women are literally kidnapped and forced into this life, and no matter how much self-respect or strength they have, they are stuck. But for the more common reasons why they are trafficked and why they stay, if we teach girls at a young age to dream bigger, to have goals, and to love themselves it will hopefully give them enough drive to leave the life or to fight to not be in those shoes in the first place.
Because of this, I started thinking about this lack of contentment that women seem to have with themselves. This is a global problem no matter what life you lead. Imagine a world where women are happy enough with who they are and with the goals they have for themselves that they don’t rely on men to give them something to live for. Men are great, and I love all of the ones that are in my life, but even in my relationships, which are healthy and non-abusive across the board, I’ve still found myself being more excited to hang out with a boy than to pursue my goals. “I’ll be happier to wake up in the morning if he’s there” was always a common thought. I hope one day that I can be 100% content with myself and be validated by my personal success rather than being validated by the boy I’m dating. I’m in love now and have a man that I give a lot of my time to, and he thankfully supports where I’m headed. However, even in a great relationship, nothing is for certain and it’s important that we value what we want and who we are above anything else. At the end of the day it might just be you and that has to be okay. In fact, that has to be more than okay, it has to be enough. And it IS enough, just being you, following your heart, and making your own plans.
This isn’t a mindset that we learn overnight, it’s one that is developed from a young age, or one that we have to work at every day to achieve. Being happy with who you are and knowing your worth is an invaluable lesson that I hope will become a trending phenomenon.
Self-worth and self-esteem are powerful building blocks to success. How do you nurture your self-worth? How can you help others who might be struggling with their self-worth? Kate also raises the difficult topic of human trafficking and the factors self-esteem play in this serious human rights issue. Educate yourself about this problem, maybe you'll be inspired to step up and help make change happen!
She moved to Los Angeles from Cleveland, OH after graduating with a B.A in Film Production from BGSU. She is passionate about speaking out against how women are viewed in the media and being part of changing it.