We all know the name Jacob Wetterling. Why? Because of Patty Wetterlings’ VOICE! It’s all about VOICE!
In my nearly 29-years of speaking for MADD, Minnesotans for Safe Driving, and other organizations too numerous to count, I have heard it hundreds of times: “If my loved one had to die (or be injured), there damn well have better be a reason!” “Don’t let my son die in vain!” is what I heard a mother say in hearing a MADD speaker for the first time in 1990. Since then, Victims and Offenders alike step up and give VOICE to their grief and share the irreversible wisdom that might help others not experience what they have experienced!
But here and now, I would like to give voice to Runaways. Recently in the local Minnesota 9 News, the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center is quoted, http://www.jwrc.org saying there are 100 missing children cases in Minnesota at this writing. Their ZERO ABUSE PROJECT is giving a new Voice to the issue, https://www.zeroabuseproject.org/victim-assistance/jwrc/keep-kids-safe/ and is stepping up to help trouble youth and families.
If young people had a voice, running away from home would end. I’m reluctant to call it ‘home,’ because if it felt like a home, maybe runaways would be almost nonexistent. ALWAYS encourage young people to speak up! It might save their lives and slam the brakes on abuse! Remember the saying, ‘We are only as sick as our secrets’? But running away from home and sometimes the secrets therein continues to plague families.
When I was a young person, maybe five years of age or so, I was taken away from my mother and deemed, ‘the worst case of child abuse witnessed in the state of Minnesota.’ Then I, for a long time, felt I was auctioned off to the first family who would take me, and sadly, the abuse continued in my new ‘home’ and was arguably worse.
But this is not just about me. Unforgettably, I listened to Patty Wetterling speak at an MCA event a few years ago. http://www.mn-ca.org/ When I shook Patty’s hand after her presentation, I could feel the trauma that still lingered in her life, but she gave her grief a VOICE! She didn’t allow Jacob’s demise to go unnoticed. She did not let Jacob die in vain!
Remember the song by Soul Asylum, “RUNAWAY TRAIN”? Who cannot cry when viewing this raw and remarkable video? In May of this year, FOX 9 reported that there’s a new version of 'Runaway Train' music video that helps find missing teens: http://www.fox9.com/news/soul-asylum-renews-runaway-train-music-video-to-help-find-missing-teens.
Remembering missing and exploited teens is critical, but what’s equally important is that when we find them, they find their VOICE! If they are located and have no voice, then they’ll likely run away again. Getting to the root of the problem is the only way to address the problems that Runaways face.
180 Degrees owns and administers Brittany’s Place, a ‘Safe Shelter’ for sexually-exploited young females. https://www.180degrees.org/brittanys-place.html?fbclid=IwAR16aYh8FOW_QsStXuQHVvh26jE76oe0E7Fl779wg51vqNEjsDG-baj6o2I
Brittany's Place is one of the best things that happened in Minnesota! It's a Safe & Sound Shelter for Girls who have been victims of sex-trafficking. At Brittany's Place, girls get to be girls again! There is a photograph attending this Blog Article of Willie McManus and myself in front of the Shelter!
Please pray for the girls, runaways teens, and if you want to do more, feel free to donate to these wonderful non-profit organizations! They are Turning Lives Around on many fronts! We might even prevent suicide by engendering VOICE!