After watching the movie “Sound of Freedom” I was motivated into writing my reaction, or “response” for use of a better word. Apart from the trauma that was triggered in me, no tears were shed, only harsh, inexplicable emotions that God alone would be able to comfort. I do not recommend this movie to anyone who suffers from PTSD or who has experienced abuse of any form. Don’t expect ‘entertainment’ from this movie, although many walking into the theatre appeared to be doing so – munching on their popcorn and slurping their drinks as they chattered in wait to watch a “movie.” This is “life” on the dark side, and not some production to fill in recreational or leisure time. If you’re planning on watching this film, I highly recommend you pray a while, before the introduction to another soul’s nightmare begins.
The lights were turned back on, as people left their seats and started walking out toward the ‘exit’ signs, with conversations flowing around little hubs of friends waiting to leave the theatre. All I could hear was the deafening sound of silence within my soul, enveloped by a darkness that couldn’t be described, as I sat in the stillness of my thoughts: “how do we fix this?” Mesmerized into an endless trance, I just sat there. The Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy that I prayed before the session began, had prepared me well, as I was able to control my emotions throughout the screening. Too many emotions were stirred in my mind and heart – mostly anger, followed by hopelessness and grief. Now what? There was nothing but silence.
Without giving away too much of its content, “the sound of freedom” resounded in the playful clapping of young children, once trapped and now freed from the prison of their abusers. A handful only. That’s right, just a small handful of children from the millions reported missing in the world of child sex trafficking. “How do we fix this?” We watched a movie. We saw 1% of the horror that is out there, but “how do we fix this?” My silence, and the darkness I felt in my soul, are nothing compared to the trauma that would haunt these children for the rest of their lives. That’s where my darkness is triggered, in reflecting on their trauma and wondering how the other 99% of ‘unsaved’ children are surviving through each day of this monstrous nightmare. I can’t help but ask God “why?” and “how can we stop this abuse?” I can’t help but ask myself “what can I do?”
I’ve seen and heard enough in my lifetime to confidently say that this horrific evil of child sex trafficking is literally “hell” on earth. This movie has left me perplexed as to the level of cruelty to which humans can descend….to the absolute lowest form of evil – “if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)
Upon my return home from watching “The Sound of Freedom” my immediate reaction was to write…to express the pain and anguish I was feeling…to pray and beg for God’s mercy for those young souls who were lost and waiting to be found…wondering and asking themselves: “Where are the good people out there? Isn’t anyone coming to save me? Why isn’t anyone stopping this from happening to me?” Nothing but questions without answers. Prayer and offering reparation come to mind…then what? Hope? Faith? I don’t know what to pray for after seeing this eye-opener that reveals the reality of pornography and how it leads to a higher demand for supply that the dark web of human trafficking provides. Stop the ‘demand’ and you will cease the ‘supply’ but how do we stop the demand? Do I pray for God’s mercy on the souls of those paedophiles? Do I pray for God to give the victims courage to endure the torture they are living? Do I pray for the parents of those children, that they may find some reason to continue living each day, wondering where their children are? Or do I pray that anyone who has a hand in this wicked business of selling children would be sent to hell? Honestly, I don’t know what to pray for.
My heart that burns for love of Jesus, is weeping; the fire of that love is being extinguished by tears of utter grief. Why am I so surprised, when I knew what to expect? I’ve been working in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault for 30 years. I’ve heard stories, seen legal battles, and even known victims who were murdered by perpetrators. Why am I surprised? Perhaps it was the number of victims in this movie that shocked me…seeing more than a few children at once, in such vile circumstances, shocked me into disbelief despite having decades of experience with victims of abuse. Millions of innocent young souls are being traded for money, but “God’s children are not for sale!” This is what I must remember. This is what will reignite the Faith and Hope that is my stronghold, and it will empower others also to fight with the same battle cry: “God’s children are not for sale!” This is why we must not allow our grief and shock to paralyse us.
I’m writing all this down because I know that my relief will come from expressing the fears and anguish within me, aided by prayer and the Grace of God alone. We must find a way to stop this evil. Prayer and reparation are only part of the solution. I don’t have answers, but I know that God will provide in some form. I just don’t know what He will provide, but I will continue to pray for an answer and direction. God will find a way to direct the path of “good people” to do something in stopping this atrocity. God have mercy on us.
After writing this article, I was introduced by a friend to the organisation that is doing something to rescue children – Destiny Rescue. Please support them in their efforts. They are the answer to my question “how do we fix this?” For more details go to their website: www.destinyrescue.org.
As We Forgive Those: Forgiveness and Healing From Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church with Poetry and Meditation
– Joanna Dimitty (Paperback)
This has been a seven-year journey for me from revelation to forgiveness and healing, and finally, an apology from the diocesan bishop. I endeavour to answer the often-asked question, how can I be a practicing Catholic when it was a Catholic priest that abused me? I invite you to journey with me from betrayal and shame to forgiveness and healing.