As Valentine’s Day draws near, hearts of all ages are racing in springs of love.  Each love-struck person wondering what gifts to buy and more importantly what gifts they will get.  What to wear, where to go and if perhaps this one day could lead to something more permanent. Many of our girls also have plans for Valentine’s Day as well.  While some are in rich wholesome relationships, we can’t help worry about the ones who are desperately in love with the men who trafficked them, many of them already married with children. Which brings us to the question, why do these good girls fall in love with bad boys and refuse to report them when they are rescued from prostitution. Below are a few keys reasons why survivors often look the other way.

Oblivious to the warning bells

The love and marriage scam

Many victims are lured with the promise of romance and marriage.   Traffickers/ brothel keepers play a game of pretend love. They totally nail the part of a love-struck hopeless romantic and coax their poor unsuspecting victim to run away with them to the big shiny city where a cushy job is waiting for them.  With the promise of the sky and moon, the girls view them as their knights in armor and are ready to go to the ends of the earth with their man, only the end of the earth turns out to be a stinky and dingy brothel with a brothel owner from hell as the welcoming committee.  This victim will not report the boyfriend because some part of her still believes that deep down he loves her, she also doesn’t want to look foolish by admitting that she was gullible and ran away and there is no happily after waiting for her.

The belt speaks louder than words

Stone cold fear of their perpetrators

The girls and women live under the laws of blackmail and terror that make them afraid to report their abusers.  Brothel keepers brainwash girls to think their “rescuers” will eventually throw them into jail, which is why the girls view the police and social workers many times with suspicion and fear.

Warped feelings

Trauma Bonding

A classic case of trauma bonding-the victim gets attached to her abuser.  It is a psychological response to abuse. It occurs when the abused person forms an unhealthy bond with the person who abuses them. The person experiencing abuse may develop sympathy for the abusive person, which becomes reinforced by cycles of abuse, followed by remorse. When a victim gets romantically involved with her abuser, her own emotions and desire to be accepted by her abuser would make her hesitate to report him.

I’ll wait for you

Strong Emotions in Society

Indians by nature are very emotional. When girls get romantically involved, it soon evolves into very intense feelings, which can spiral out of control, thus it makes it harder for them to report their abusers. For many of the victims, it would have been the first time a boy paid attention to her and it is her own need for “love” and false promises by the perpetrator that prevent her from filing a report against him.

It is important that women and girls learn their worth and value at an early age, as esteeming themselves will prevent them being abused by perpetrators.

 On Valentine’s Day, we hope all girls find wholesome love and value themselves so they can glow and grow.