The Game When you own the mind…you own the body.

The Game

When you own the mind, you own the body.

I set the alarm for 12:30 AM. I knew I wouldn’t actually sleep. Just mostly trying to rest, anticipate and be open to the mission I was a part of that cold November night. I knew to be sure to bring a jacket, as the windows would be down a lot.

They call it “the game”. The game of pimps owning girls, pimps competing with one another to steal their girls, pimps patrolling the streets to make sure the girls didn’t talk to the competition. If the girls talk to the competition, it can be dangerous. She can be abused, cut, made to pay in a number of ways.

It was now nearing 1 AM. I was in the car with Kyla, who does this every week. Connecting with the girls on the street. Showing them a way out. We saw a few young girls dressed like they had been out for the night.human-trafficking Out “clubbing”. Were they on their way home? They walked across the busy lanes of the well-lit retail area and into a residential neighborhood. We stopped at the light and we watched them disappear into the darkness.

“Look ahead…see all those cars going into that neighborhood? Do you see their taillights? Do you see how they are all turning left? Those are Johns”, Kyla told me.

We pulled across the street and took our place. It felt like we were in the drive-thru at McDonalds- waiting our turn. And when we made our left turn into the neighborhood we became a part of a mass of cars, all with one driver, some old, some young, all sharing the same common denominator of seeking sex for hire. It was a mid-month Friday night. Pay day when not so many bills were due. So extra money meant more dollars to spend on sex.

Sophia was the first girl I met. She was maybe 15 with her pimps name tattooed on her neck. Sophia was standing by herself at the edge of the street, waiting for a car to pull over and invite her in. Dressed in a red mini skirt, a faux fur black vest with a black bra underneath, and spike black and silver high heels, she walked over to us when we rolled down the window. “Hi” we said.” would you like a gift?” How about some hot chocolate? Pretty cold out there tonight isn’t it?” ‘Oh yes, thank you,’ said Sophia.

We had instant hot chocolate ready and handed it to her. “By the way,” Kyla said, “we know about the game. You’ll find a lip gloss with an 800 number on it in the little gift bag.” Sophia moved back to her spot on the street. Back to work.

There were 13 girls on the block that night. Some of the young girls were sure to have been trafficked. The young victims could have come from playgrounds, malls, online and as runaways. And some older who were probably taken years ago. Some were dressed scantily, others dressed in sweats. Some of them were Caucasian, some African American, some Hispanic…a mix of nationalities and mostly women. The young victims came from playgrounds, malls, online and as runaways.

My experience that night could be played out in many cities and towns across the country.

There’s much to learn. There’s so much to know about this billion dollar industry. How can we get involved in eradication, how can we recognize the need for us to come together and create awareness. And how can we recognize the signs of trafficking in order to help.

Linda Rendleman

CEO/Cofounder

Women Like Us Foundation

 

Her Work-Women’s Work

Her work, I really think her work
Is finding what her real work is
And doing it,
Her work, her own work,
Her being human,
Her being in the world.

Ursula K. Le Guin

 Kenyacropped-Cattandme1

What is OUR work?  The work of the feminine…the work of this gender… the meaning to the activities of our lives, day in and day out.

My mind runs to the measuring of my life by the quality of relationships; family, children, friends, coworkers and the richness felt by my personal soul when I give back to the world.

But these would simply be the by-product of an even deeper work, a work that is constant and continual and has been there my entire life.  From the moment that I get out of bed, throughout my days, into my evenings; over holidays, Saturdays, Sundays; in times of joy, in times of strife, in times of quiet reflection or chaos;  that deeper work is the discovery, re-discovery and re-birth of me along the way.

My work is to be a woman on my own terms and of my own definition.  My work is to understand that the woman I was at 19, at 32, at 45, at 55 and on and on will be ever-growing, continually developing, always learning and re-defining the meaning of me.  And it’s my work to persevere in it.

And so, my work, is to understand, accept, support, educate and know, really know, the person who is me. To question, seek answers, feel the energy of the world and claim what I want from it, and, in turn encourage other women to come along with me.  And, as I travel on this life journey of defining and knowing myself, of being a part of and doing the job of living, I know that my work is to make my own personal contribution and share what I’ve learned with the world so you, they, whomever, too can take what is needed from my life and do your work.

Linda Rendleman  CEO/Cofounder
Women Like Us Foundation

 

At The MPAA, Geena Davis Says Raising Awareness Key To Change The Ratio On Women In Movies

Geena-DavisAt The MPAA, Geena Davis Says Raising Awareness Key To Change The Ratio On Women In Movies.

Find out what Geena is doing to make sure women get equal part in film.  Her charity, See Jane is an important part in helping us understand and change the way women are perceived in film.  Because, with that, this affects how women are perceived everywhere and, yes how girls perceive themselves.  WLUF supports her in her mission.

Welcome from CEO Linda Rendleman

It is wonderful to think that we are doing such work and it all happened so quickly.   I love the idea of giving back, and that’s what Women Like Us Foundation is all about.

Over the years, I often felt that my mission has grown stronger.  The mission of bringing women together.  Supporting them to be strong, find their voice, and create their own way.  And it can be confusing…with all the things we women do, to take time to notice the world, to understand it’s needs, and to learn, in time that by fulfilling needs of others, giving back to those who have an empty place, can, indeed, motivate us, as well.

So as we continue with the Women Like Us Foundation programs; our school and women’s center in Costa Rica where my partner, Sally, is teaching English, yoga and building a library as we speak; the birthing center we support in Uganda where 80% of the women who come to give birth are victims of AIDS; the orphanage in Rishikesh, India where “untouchable” children are given a chance to make their way in the world through education and a new found self-respect; Lifeline efforts in Serbia where a Princess Katherine is working hard to provide for the orphans of her country; our program in Africa…a pre-school where children discovered a benefactor in artist Nancy Noel and we support; Katie’s school in Soweto where Katie raises dollars for higher education for these young people in Africa…and on.

We’re equally blessed to support programs for teen and teen girls right here in the United States.  The One Girl Award program mentors girls and teaches them the importance of humanitarian work through voulunteerism trips to developing countries; Olivia’s Cause, a young woman with alopecia who speaks to teens about self-esteem and anti-bullying; and our Hollywood Tween Mentoring program where they meet monthly with tween girls for discussion and learning on all things that create awareness of stepping stones to create a strong sense of self-worth and future direction.

And that’s what this blog is for…to continue to write about all that we do, show you pictures and video of the people in our lives and the fabulous volunteers we have gotten to know.  To encourage you to comment, become a part, send ideas on what we can do better.  Anything you want.  We want to have a conversation with you.

You’ll hear from me, from Sally, from our programs all over the world.  And we hope you’ll join us on this very special journey in all of our lives and the lives of others.

Cofounder, CEO

Women Like Us Foundation