She looked disappointed.
I must admit, I really enjoyed seeing that disappointed face. I have a right to feel so, just like she had a right to look disappointed.
You must be thinking… “Bukola! What has fufu or pounded yam and melon vegetable soup (the image I used for this post) got to do with disappointment?”
Like you, I wondered why someone will be interested in me telling my tragic story on an early morning, rather than learning about the work I do to advocate for others, and how she can learn some skills to help identify or prevent others from becoming victims of human trafficking.
“Why didn’t she take the time to learn about me before that day,” I thought to myself. I even told her that my experiences of victimization was documented in my book, but her facial expression told me she was not interested in reading any book from a “victim” because I didn’t think that she even saw me as a survivor, let alone a subject matter expert. I had the strange feeling that she disregarded me as an immigrant too, as if an immigrant is less human than a non immigrant in the U.S. Of course, I have accent. And, oh! “Your accent is strong” remembering how some people tell me why they can’t understand what I was saying. So, why would or should she be interested in a book authored by a “victim” of human trafficking with a “strong accent.”
How did this happen? Well, let me back up a little without starting from the beginning. We sat to discuss after I had presented to her group because she and her group were interested in the anti-trafficking work. Well, as we began, she said, “I don’t know you” looking at me as if I should start telling her the gory details of my traumatic past.
My name and title…~wink~
I have dealt with enough people like her in the little past 10 years that I have been doing this advocacy work. I looked at her and said, well, “My name is Bukola Oriola and I am a member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. I am also the founder of The Enitan Story, a nonprofit organization that advocates for victims and empowers survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.” As I continued, explaining some of the work of my organization, I reached into my bag and pulled out a business card with my name and title as a member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Trust me, the card looks prestigious too. ~wink~ ~wink~
I saw the disappointment on her face, and I must confess, I loved it.
My point ….
Well, I hope that you get my point with this little post here. Please, when you meet a survivor, you don’t ask them directly or indirectly to start telling you their traumatic experiences. They have done more than enough favor to you if they have documented such experience in a book form. Get the book to read, and you can come with questions from the book. That way, you are respecting them and not acting as if you are better off a human being than them. It also shows that you genuinely want to learn rather than starting a pity party. Survivors do not want your pity; Survivors want your respect.
By the way, the 10th Anniversary of Imprisoned book comes up this weekend at Northtown Mall, Blaine, Minnesota. If you are in the Twin Cities area, stop by any time between Friday, April 26 and Sunday, April 28. The mall opens at 10:00 a.m. daily. I will also be featuring 11 other authors and their books. There are various categories from inspiration, to hobbies, to self help, and children’s books.
Get autographed copy of Imprisoned book
In case you are not in the area and are not able to come, but are interested in my traumatic story, you can get an autographed copy of Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim at http://bit.ly/AutographedBukola. After reading, trust me, no question is off limit. Bring them on, and I will do my best to answer every single question you have from my book.
Do you know that I am not just a published author, but a publisher, book publishing consultant, and coach for other indie authors? Check out my Author’s Page on Amazon. That way, you can see some other titles that I have been privileged to publish. In addition, you will get notified once I have a new release, like I Declare: Gratitude that just released today. Get your copy on kindle or paperback today.
Until next time.
PS: I want to hear from you. Send me your questions, comments or suggestions. Thank you.