I'm a sucker for charities. They all know if they ring and ask, I'll send them a cheque. It all started with the Guide Dog Association. Now it's out of hand. Currently these are the charities that ring me – the heart foundation, kidney foundation, stroke foundation, epilepsy foundation, children with special needs, australian lifesaving, smith family, red cross, salvation army and house with no steps. And the westpac helicotper.
I said to Daz – what I need to do is pick one charity and just support it. Then tell all the others thats what I'm doing and not to ring anymore.
And I've found the one I want to support after reading this book. I've read thousands of books, many of them autobiographies, lots of sad stories, so many people have a sad story to tell. But this was different somehow – it's really deeply affected me – maybe it was just the way she wrote it, maybe because she has come through a horror story and used it to help others. It's just a story everyone should be aware of. This is one of those things that people like to pretend isn't happening. Or its not happening in their world, so its not their problem.
Somaly Mam lived in Cambodia and was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was 12 years old. She spent ten years in the brothels of Cambodia before she found a way out. And when she did she started rescuing girls from brothels and helping them recover and start new lives. She tells of how the conditions and violence against these young girls is getting worse as years pass and the girls are now sometimes only six or eight years old.
So when you're looking for something to be thankful for, why not be thankful that you're not an eight year old girl, chained up in the basement of a brothel, with a group of fifty year old men waiting outside to rape you. Do you know that in Cambodia they believe that if you have sex with a virgin it will protect you from getting AIDS. So these little girls are sold to a man, then they are sewn up and sold as a virgin again. And again.