She isn’t wearing a burka. She isn’t on her knees in the middle of the street waiting for the first stone to strike her tender flesh and carry her into another world. But she has been sent to her death nonetheless. Those ordering her death are her parents and the reason is honor.
Instead of a burka, this one is wearing high heels and tight pants. Her red lipstick highlights a shy smile. Tear stained eyes are masked behind heavy eyeliner and fake eyelashes. A thickly padded bra falsely advertises a grown up body in place of the real one that has not yet fully blossomed. She was sent to the city to earn a living at the age of 15 with a 4th grade education. Her parents demand that she work to provide for her family. It is not negotiable. 15 years old is too long to expect to be taken care of, after all. She has a debt to repay and an unquestioning obligation to honor her parents and so she enters the sex trade.
Filial piety is a cultural force in Asia that often carries in its wake ultimate destruction. Filial piety is defined as the important virtue and primary duty of respect, obedience and care for one’s parents and elderly family members. Honoring your parents has been encouraged among various cultures, across the world since the beginning of time. The concept, in and of itself, is not a negative one, it is even a biblical one. But broken humanity in a fallen world can take any good thing and with our selfish lust we pervert and distort it to our own ends. That is the case in the Asian sex trade which is fed in large part by parents and elder family members, who for the sake of being honored, force their children into the beds of predators.
CNN reports that, “once girls enter the sex industry, their average life expectancy is seven years, with homicide and AIDS being the top killers.”
This one will likely be dead by the time she is 22. It won’t happen in one dramatic flourish amid furious shouts and wrath poured out. No, these stones cast will subdue her day by day, or rather night by night. She will bleed to death one drop at a time. She will endure violence and exploitation. Rape will become commonplace. AIDS, forced abortions, and drugs or alcohol to make it all bearable. She will do it without question. She will do it out of love. She will do it for the sake of honor.