Girl Leads Totally Normal Life

Moldavian Students

Last night, we came back to the hotel and went to the restaurant where some of us ate ice cream and drank a little Moldavian wine. We shared some of our own stories. We talked about good blogging practices.

I said that I didn’t feel like I had any stories to share yesterday. Of course, I’m brimming with stories, but some feel like they need to sit and be worked through in my mind before I’m ready to share them. I need time to process. I want to do the stories of the men and women that I’m meeting here justice. They deserve AT LEAST my very best writing.

I sat and listened to two gentlemen speak yesterday about their work in prevention and how they find that people are less likely to support preventative measures because it’s hard to measure success of people who never fall in the river. The stories about saving the broken are way sexier than stories about kids who go to school and do well and go on to live productive lives. “Girl Leads Totally Normal Life” isn’t a very good headline.

And yet I’m the same. I haven’t written about the not-so-shocking parts of my trip. I didn’t write about going to teach in the pubic schools. I didn’t write about the work being done at the youth club. I didn’t write about the singing on the bus. No, those boring, mundane things – who wants to read that?

Except that is the work that is so important. Yes, I am profoundly grateful for the opportunities offered to women who have been exploited here. I am thankful for the opportunity to see beauty from brokenness.

But I also need to let you know that there is work being done to prevent the brokenness in the first place. To keep kids from falling in the river, as we were told yesterday.

I don’t have a story for that girl. She’s just walking in the snow that’s falling over Moldova this morning. She’s with friends, going to school. In a few years she’ll graduate and go on to university. She’ll marry, raise a family, and live a totally normal life.

Perhaps not worthy of headlines, but in this instance, I think that’s okay.

  • Joy in this Journey


  • Ed_Cyzewski

    Wow! That is such an important observation Alise.

    And dare I say this… The irony is that while “prevention” doesn’t have the same ring to it, it’s the kind of stuff that ANYONE can do. Maybe restoring someone who has experienced trauma will require professional counsel, but good heavens… Helping in a youth club or tutoring is way more accessible for folks.

  • hillsideslide

    i think that’s exactly the sort of thing Mr Rogers did.

    it wasn’t sexy. still, it drew us in.

    you have my vote to get crackin on that.
    (you’re off to a good start)

  • Monika Jankun-Kelly

    I would love to hear more “girl leads normal life” and less “brutalized victim struggles with PTSD”. What does it say about us that many find the latter a “sexier” story? O.o The suffering of our fellow humans is not entertainment, is not a “teachable moment”, it’s suffering. Thanks for taking the time to let the stories simmer and percolate in your mind. I look forward to reading what the BoL staff have to say about motivating prevention with great interest. Maybe something about how they keep their spirits up? Who cares for the caretakers?

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      Read the links you posted, great stuff. Oh my gosh, this! How fabulous is it? Super duper extra warm fuzzy fabulous! This is why we focus on prevention, to make this possible!

      “When asked what their proudest moment would be, more than one young person mentioned raising a good family and/or being a good mother/father/wife/husband. How fabulous is that?!”

    • Monika Jankun-Kelly

      Read another link you provided, to Prudy’s blog. The bit about the young mother whose boyfriend told her to abort or he would leave really struck me. What a scumbag! What utter scum! Or maybe just a scared stupid boy, I should be more charitable, but I just can’t, so much rage right now! While I am adamantly pro-choice, I am certainly against coerced abortion, that’s horrid. I really hope the BoL sex ed programs teach girls (and boys) that they should discuss the consequences of sex, such as possible pregnancy, and what they plan to do if that happens, before they have sex. Before! Not when she gets pregnant! And if your boyfriend isn’t on the same page as you, he isn’t right for you! Teach girls they don’t have to put out to get a boy or keep a boy or to not feel lonely. Grrr. Arrrrgh.