Fight the new drug

I’m sure like many people out there, you can’t help but love Ashton Kutcher.

He’s one of those people that no matter what they do, you won’t be able to stay mad at them for long.

This week, my respect for him, not as an actor, but as a humanitarian rose dramatically.

Clearly deeply affected by his testimonies and sheer passion for the cause, he delivered a powerful speech to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee about child sex trafficking/slavery.

Not only was it emotional, but highly forward thinking as he spoke about his organisation, Thorn, and the impact his software has already had on rescuing boys and girls from being trafficked.

Opening with a powerful story about a two year old girl being raped by an american tourist, all the while thinking “she was engaging in play“, left me absolutely devastated. How does this exist? How are children being shared amongst people and not being stopped?! HOW?!

Worldwide Issue

Unfortunately, many people think that child trafficking/slavery only exists in poorer countries. This is not true.

This issue is a global one, and one that is perpetuated even more so by pornography. In the video, Ashton recalls a significant moment where he was asked to identify the location of a child who had been raped for about 3 years and people online were watching and there was nothing he could do at that moment.

Unfortunately, this is very common. Children are often forced to engage in sexual activity in front of a camera which is then either live streamed or taped and then put online. Porn users then watch these videos, unaware (most of the time) as to where and who was filmed. I know – disgusting.

With 35% of all internet downloads related to pornography, there is no sign of slowing down for the porn industry and the dire effects it is having on our society. This means – logically speaking – that if there is an increase in demand, people are going to want to supply, therefore there will be more kids who end up being raped in front of a camera.

Educate yo’self

Porn is intrinsically linked to child sex trafficking/slavery. There is not separating the two. As it is an underground business, creators and producers make it their priority to make it seem that what you’re watching is real and enjoyed by those making it. I can’t imagine any child enjoying forced sex, can you?

As an educated society it is up to us to combat this new drug. Fight the new drug is a secular organisation that is trying to educate as many people as possible about the detrimental effects of porn not only on children, but on yourself.

I know it’s hard and quite confronting to talk about or even address this issue – but whether you’re a user or not, you deserve the chance to make an informed decision.

While we may not be able to create super cool software like Mr. Kutcher, we can help spread the word about the link between Children and porn. Child trafficking should really be in our history books. It breaks my heart that it isn’t.

But I don’t need you to care about my heart. I need you to care about their heart – they need you to care about their heart.


Photos via unsplash

Forgetting happiness

How often do we find ourselves sitting down at a table or chair, or in front of a fridge wondering how it is that we got to that place? I know I’ve done it more times than I care to admit! The horrible thing about it is that we can’t remember – we can’t remember the thing that brought us to the place. We focus on why we are there so much we forget to stop, think, breathe and allow our minds to wander without the constraints of stress or anxiety.

Unfourtunately, I’ve found that this not only happens with random thoughts on the way to the kitchen, but with happiness too.

Society tells us that to be happy and successful in life we have to make money (albeit not explicitly). Don’t deny it. Every business, organisation and job is centred around how much money you make. If it weren’t about the money, why would you be looking for a better job?

Let me guess – to get a house, provide for your family, be financially stable, buy an investment, save for a holiday etc? They all require money. We get jobs to make money to buy what we think is essential for us to be happy in life when really, what we should try to do is take a step back, get the old photo album out and look at pictures of our childhood.

Childhood?  how random? I know.

I know that not everyone had a fantastic childhood – some had horrendous ones and prefer to forget it, but I’ve found that everyone during their childhood had one special memory, one special event or thought that triggered happiness -and it usually never had anything to do with money.

Children have a beautiful ability to see the world as one full of possibility, hope, love and happiness. They take pleasure in the small things whether it be a butterfly, the ocean or even a hug. They know what makes them happy and don’t forget it.

However, for some reason, as we grow up we lose that ability to know what makes us happy and seek it in the most mundane thing of all things.

Tell me something – what will be your legacy? What will people remember you for when you die? Your zest for life and it’s infectiousness? Or everything you owned but can’t take to the grave?

The power of Kindness

“Kindness is like snow–it beautifies everything it covers.”

What would you do if someone started insulting you? Would you insult them back? Would you think of even harsher words to hurl at them just so that they can feel twice the pain you feel or will feel later on?

I don’t have much admiration for people who try to put a fire out with more fire – they are what help burn the forest and houses down faster.

Am I saying that it’s entirely their fault? No, but when you’re in a situation where you have the power and control to cease a fire, why is it that so many of us elongate its life?

Why do so many of us feel that if we allow our pride to disappear for a bit we have lost? Since when has being kind ever been a loss?

I am a firm believer that Kindness will always lead to good things – no matter how long it takes. And that’s the thing; so many of us are incredibly impatient, that once we do show kindness it somehow makes up for all the times we haven’t been and should be more than enough. However, like most things in life we have to work at it.

I don’t proclaim to be the kindest person in the world but I know many people who struggle with the idea of being kind to someone who isn’t to them.

Recently, as all people do, I have been concerned with the fractures and divisions caused along the timeline of history. While many of these were born from complicated and deep issues, I believe that at the core of these problems was the absence of kindness.

Along with the absence of kindness is the absence of memory. The amount of times I have wronged someone, I really have no right to start hurling things at other people.

That’s not to say that when someone wrongs you, you don’t deserve an apology, but keep in mind that like you they are not perfect and deserve the same amount of kindness you do. At the end of the day it’s up to you whether that’s nothing at all.

Frans Lanting talks animals on Ted talks

I was having a look through Ted talks (as one does) and came across this short 3 minute video with guest speaker Frans Lanting.

For those of you who don’t know who this man is, he’s a photographer with much of his work featured on National geographic and Time. His photos are amazing and capture the very essence of what he means to portray and discuss.

The1lit - Frans lanting ted talks - animals

One of the points he touched on was the spirit of the animals. I thought of how foreign it was to think of animals as having spirits. Obviously, since I have not grown up with this notion on a daily basis, I would find it odd. However, it struck me.

As humans, we have the ability to discern and ignore our animalistic instincts which in some cases are incorrect. Our instinct can let us down by consuming us with our emotions, be it rage, passion or pain, where we cannot think logically or come to the right decision.

For me, this has always been the definitive barrier between us. Human and animals. I don’t think language is what differentiates us the most, rather that we have a conscious and can decide to do what’s wrong or right – they don’t.

Yet, when I look at my cat I can’t help but think that there has to be something more to this wonderful creature. How can her heart beat and mouth meow so wonderfully without a spirit in her?

The1lit - frans landing - ted talks cheetah

I’d like to think that once she’s gone from here, that she will go onto somewhere else in spirit – but maybe that’s just me being too hopeful.

Having been brought up believing that all humans have souls this video prompted me to think, why can’t animals? Is it so absurd to think that these living, breathing, beautiful creatures have souls – or spirits? Why can’t they?

Who knows?

Images
1 Unsplash