March 11, 2015

A Letter to the Man on the Other Side of the Screen

Dear Man on the Other Side of the Screen,

I don’t know who you are, what you do, your marital status or if you are a parent. What I do know is that I am a human, a real person. I am someone’s daughter, a student and lady, but most of all, I KNOW I have a hope and future! However, it wasn’t always that way. You know the women you look at on the other side of the screen? I was that girl. I was that victim.

During that time in my life, my boyfriend told me that we were doing an at home art project. It was to be private and between us. Years later, I found out this was a lie and he was not my boyfriend and that this art project was actually pornography. The pornography I did is the same thing as what you are watching.

There is a very important point I want you to hear from me. I want to let you know that I forgive you. I forgive you for choosing to watch what my trafficker made me do when you felt lonely. I forgive you for using me to cheat on your partner. I forgive you for using me to get you through those difficult moments when you felt an unbearable sense of loneliness or depression. I forgive you for paying money for the pornography that I never received because my trafficker kept all of it. I know you may not have done all of these things, but regardless, from the bottom of my heart, I forgive you.

If you don’t already know, the main reason people develop an addiction to porn is because they have a pain inside that hasn’t been dealt with. I want to let you know I have felt that pain, too. I felt that pain when I endured the shame from being sexually abused as a child. I felt that pain when I did not have the close support I needed when I was younger. As you have probably felt, I felt alone, like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. The pain I felt while doing the pornography was real, but the truth is that it is not who I am anymore! Just like I found freedom from the bondage I was in, so can you!

Through many years of counseling, developing a solid support system and seeking help through the restoration residential program, Mercy Ministries, my life is beautiful again. I now know how to love myself and see myself as clean and redeemed, and not that girl who was on your screen. I know my future is bright and I can now feel true joy!

I know the struggle you face with pornography seems like an unbreakable habit. I’m here to tell you that it is not! I fully believe you can overcome this addiction because it is not who you are! Just like my experience being sexually trafficked and exploited in the pornography industry was not always a part of my life, neither is this addiction you are struggling with.

Dead issues buried alive do not die. You must deal with the root of the issue in order to be able to see something new blossom. I am standing in firm belief that you will overcome this because pornography is more than just pictures and videos: they are children, often girls and sometimes boys. Regardless of their gender, they truly do not want to be there. They are people like me. I believe in you, but most of all, I forgive you.

Sincerely,

The Restored Woman Who is No Longer On The Other Side of the Screen

Anna Malika

In addition to her internship with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Anna is currently an international public speaker as well as a survivor and policy advocate in the movement to end Human Trafficking. Her personal focus is on the link between sex trafficking and pornography. Her role in the movement has been greatly focused around policy, law and curriculum development for safe houses working with survivors of sex trafficking. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

Learn more about Anna at AnnaMalika.com

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