Happy Friday! Today, I want to introduce you to someone who means a whole bunch to me. Say hello to my sister-in-law, Shelby! Shelby married my brother almost five years ago & we instantly became best friends just before he popped the question! I am so lucky to have her in my life as a friend & the sister I never knew I always wanted/needed. She is a strong woman who lives selflessly as a stay-at-home mom to my first niece, Raegan. She has always been a person I can go to with anything. She has realistic advice, an understanding heart, & supports me in everything I do. She loves donuts, cats, coffee mugs, & hanging out with me (see what I did there?). I am so excited to have her here today talking about a campaign she has been a part of the past two years called Dressember. Keep reading to hear why this campaign is so important to her, women, our city, & society in general.
What is Dressember?
Dressember is a campaign aimed to raise money & bring awareness to human sex trafficking through wearing a dress everyday for the month of December (hence the name, Dressember!). Dressember teams up with organizations to help fight modern day slavery by helping with rescue missions, counseling, & after care. Dressember started with one girl wearing a dress for a month to push herself outside of her comfort zone. Little did she know a few years later it would be bigger than that & go world wide. Today, women everywhere are teaming up & choosing to wear a dress during the month of December in order to stand up & fight sex trafficking with the hope to bring light to something that has been kept in the dark for so long.
What made you choose to participate?
I’ve had a few friends participate before & I thought it was such a cool & fun thing to do to raise awareness, but I just never thought it was something I could do. Last year God had put it on my heart so heavily that I couldn’t say no. I teamed up with one of my good friends & signed up for Dressember! Before Dressember even started my family & friends helped me reach my personal financial goal & from that moment I knew this was something I had to do, & was able to do. The best part is is that anyone can do it. I don’t have a real social media presence, or a job where I go into an office & talk to people all day. I am a stay-at-home mom & I take care of a crazy toddler, but if I can help spread awareness, then so can you! Throw on that dress & inform people!
Why do you think this cause matters?
I am so passionate about this cause because it’s something that is happening not only in our country, but right here in our city, & it’s happening to our people & children. Sex trafficking is becoming one of the largest crimes in the world & is only second to drugs. People are being sold for money, sex, labor, & even their organs. How do we put a price on a human life? Dressember is giving a voice to so many that don’t have a voice.
What do you hope to accomplish by spreading the word about Dressember, & sex trafficking?
My hope is just letting people know that this is real! Sex trafficking is happening here in our city. In Reno, we are known for our casinos, strip clubs, brothels, & legalized prostitution. Those places are the largest breeding ground for sex trafficking. The many events we have here in the Reno/Sparks area, like The Rib Cook Off, Hot August Nights, & Street Vibrations, bring people in just for sex trafficking. This is literally happening right in front of our faces. I want people to be informed on how to spot a human trafficker & how to spot a victim. I just want people to know that this is something we shouldn’t turn our heads from. We should stand up & fight for those who can’t. These people are worth saving.
How can I get involved/donate?
Anyone can join Dressember, even the guys in your life! Girls can wear a dress all month long, & guys can wear a tie or bow tie, it’s that simple! The point is to wear something out of the everyday normal so that it gets people asking questions which helps to start the conversation. You can also sign up on Dressember.com to become an advocate & choose how you want to campaign. I use social media to post my daily outfits & the statistics about human sex trafficking. You can check out my posts here to read the stats about human sex trafficking sent to you by Dressember when you sign up to campaign. And here is my personal campaign & the link to donate.
What has been the hardest part about wearing a dress all month long?
I am a sweats & sweatshirt kind of mom. I like to throw my hair up & wear as little make-up as possible while still looking like I have my stuff together. Being a stay-at-home mom to a toddler means graham cracker & peanut butter smears all over my clothes, so the thought of wearing a dress for a month straight & taking a picture of myself daily is really tough. Everyday I seem to stare at my closet & want to put on anything but a dress. But I have to remember, this is not about me or my comfort. It’s about the people who’s comfort & freedom have been ripped from them. It’s bigger than a dress.
Why do you do it?
I have a daughter who is just about 18 months old & I don’t want her to grow up in a world where people are being sold & woman are being used as objects. I want her to know that her body is her own & that no one can ever own her or anyone else. I want her to use her voice for those who don’t have one. I want to be the greatest role model I can be for her. I do this for her, but also for those women, men (yes, men!), & children who are currently enslaved in the sex trafficking industry. They are still people & no one deserves to be treated the way that they are. Everyone deserves to be free & no one should ever put a price on another human life.
. . .
I can’t thank Shelby enough for letting me ask her these questions & for sharing her heart on the topic of human sex trafficking. I’m proud to call this woman my sister-in-law & friend, & am lucky that I get to do life with her. Though this issue is real & terrifying, be encouraged that women like Shelby, & others involved in Dressember are willing to stand up & be a voice for the voiceless. You can make a difference too by donating here until January 31st, 2018.
Don’t let our sisters, friends, neighbors, & human strangers suffer anymore. Fight, speak up, & help to end modern day slavery.
– abbey kay
*brought to you by a girl who lives in a city where darkness dwells, but hopes to help shine a light where it’s needed