by Jennisue Jessen
If only the sternum came equipped with a zipper, stepping out of the red light district I would have gladly unzipped my chest and shaken off my skin. My heart, bruised and swollen, was raging against the confines of my ribs.

For several hours the only words that broke through my gritted teeth were, “I am angry. I am just so stinkin’ angry!”

It isn’t like I am new to this…like I have never witnessed exploitation. I am in the red light district every week and live with girls set free. I spent 13 years of my young life on the auction block myself. My grandfather happily negotiating my sale to whichever pedophile would pay bring him the most money or the most power.

But tonight the blows came hard and fast and the powerlessness I felt left me gasping for breath.

Here are a few of the things I witnessed:
• At least 6 new girls 15 or younger, shy eyes downcast, clearly reluctant to face the night ahead. 
• 1 perpetrator whom we have been tracking in a bar shopping for his latest victim. As of yet, we have been unable to gather enough evidence for him to be arrested.
• 1 of the homeless kids we work with leaving the red light district on the back of a pedophile’s bike
• 1 little sister, with a sweater buttoned up to her chin, hiding behind a bush watching the windows of a locked brothel hoping for a flicker, a signal, any sign at all from a sister locked inside.

And my soul grew claustrophobic inside my flesh. I said it again and again, “I am so mad!” I stomp my feet and my husband keeps a safe distance. Some choose to look away, some refuse to engage, some hide from that which is unsavory. Sometimes I wish I had that luxury. But then I remember.

Jesus. The one who sees. The one who sets free.

The blows may come hard and fast. It may appear that all is lost. But this all ends well, friends. Victory is sure. Jesus wins…every time. There is love and justice. And there is wrath and vengeance.

So I dig in my heels and brace myself for the fight. I will take my angry broken heart and march back into the darkness. There I will take a stand, watching and waiting for a happy ending that only the God of the Universe can bring.
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