this really got my attention

i’m sure by now, most of you have heard about the sex scandal involving NY Governor Spitzer. the prostitute’s identity has recently been revealed – her name is Kristen Dupre, and she is a 22-year-old would-be singer from New Jersey, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

the radio report i heard this morning worded it this way “She left her home in New Jersey at age 17 to New York to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer.”

a singer. not a prostitute. not the subject of a scandal involving a political figure. not a woman who is objectified and used for just sex.

i don’t know why this hit me so hard, but the only thing i could think of when the radio news report said the words “to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer” i just immediately began to feel a tinge of sympathy for this girl. she had dreams. aspirations. goals. she wanted to be someone – someone famous, perhaps. but there is no doubt in my mind that this girl did not aspire to be a prostitute who would one day be exposed and shamed for her involvement with a well-known political figure.

Dupre writes that she left home at 17 to begin “my odyssey to New York.”

“It was my decision, and I’ve never looked back,” she writes. “Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse. Left an older brother who had already split. Left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again.

“Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone. I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music.”

i’m sure some of you would disagree with me, and perhaps have very little sympathy for this girl who is in such a terrible situation. but for some reason, i just can’t allow myself to condemn a girl just one year younger than me who started out her adult life with honest goals and aspirations, only to end up traveling down a devastating path that will most likely scar her and leave her broken and emotionally damaged for quite some time.

it seems to me that sometimes – maybe too oftentimes – i neglect the option of sympathizing with those like Kristen, caught up in a life of sin and bad decisions. but where is the love and compassion? certainly, the choice of prostitution was not at all a good one – but it was not her first choice. not by a long shot. and now, look where she has ended up? this girl needs love. she needs someone to tell her she is beautiful, and worthy of love, regardless of whether or not she sells her body. she needs hope. she needs compassion. the last thing she needs right now is condemnation.

i am still somewhat surprised with myself that i am having such a reaction to this situation – but i’m also glad that it got my attention and forced me to rethink how i respond to and show compassion to others who so greatly need more than just a condescending look or a judgmental opinion.

for the story, go here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/13/spitzer.kristen/index.html

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