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It’s bigger than a dress!

For the month of December I will be participating in Dressember because I believe in everyday advocacy. By wearing a little black dress for 31 days  I am raising awareness and funds for the millions of abused women and girls across the globe. The little black dress I am wearing (worn in rotation with another LBD I already owned) is made by and overcomer of sex trafficking who through Elegantees has been provided with secure source of income that reinforces independence, a healthy self image, and confidence that restores lives. You can sponsor my 31 day dress wearing mission to fight enforced labour and human trafficking by donating to the Dressember fundraiser page. The proceeds of the month long fundraiser support the work done by A21 and The International Justice Mission (IJM) who work to fight human trafficking and injustices against the poor on all levels, from top down policy work to bottom up rescues and rehabilitation of victims. Your dollar could help rescue children as young as two years old from cyber sex trafficking, as seen in this recent success story from the IJM. Please give even if you can only spare a dollar, every bit counts!

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Outfit Round Up Days 18-20

Well it’s five days out from Christmas and things have been hectic. As a methodical and organised Virgo I have to admit that December and Christmas are my least favourite times of the year. The unexpected last minute party invites, long lines at the stores, schedule interrupting holiday traffic, office closures, and pressure to wrap up the years work do not maketh a happy Virgo (I know the Virgos are nodding along right now).  Needless to say that around this time of year my anxiety levels climb. While it’s not PC or commonplace to talk about issues like anxiety, depression, or any other ‘taboo’ type topics, it’s pretty likely that yourself or someone you know suffers from at least one of these issues. We should be able to talk about these types of disorders or issues as easily as we talk about catching a cold or flu. I’ve been laying low the last few days to destress from the Christmas rush and reduce the anxiety levels. One thing I haven’t had to worry about this December is what to wear. While uniform dressing can get pretty boring I have been enjoying the challenge of dressing up my LBD with accessories (even if they don’t stay on for long in the heat). Day 18 outfit was a secondhand scarf, bag, and belt, with my fave boots and a sun protecting hat. Half way through taking these photos near my house I realised I had a furry upside-down audience.  So cute!

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Palms and Hot-Hot-Heat.

The hardest part about the fashion part of this LBD challenge has been keeping things different in the humid summer weather. It’s been easy enough to throw on a dress each morning and head out the door, but keeping accessorised in the heat and not looking totally boring every day has been hard work. Shoes, handbags, and hats seem to be winners on really hot days. Having a fringe has been a challenge in the heat (it ends up stuck to my forehead most of the time) but a hat hides all manner of hair sins along with keeping the sun off! Day 19 I headed out early to the Big Pineapple Market to get my packaging free bulk goods and some locally grown produce. I was pretty chuffed to get a compliment on my GIGANTIC vintage leather shopping bag. It’s not my husbands favourite item and often gets some curious looks from people in the street as I walk by (possibly because my bag is as big as my torso). The shoes are one’s I’ve had for years but don’t get to wear too often. Sandals were always my go-to shoe but after getting a set of orthotics I tend to be in boots or sneakers most of the time in order to make my podiatrist proud.

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Reflect on What’s Going Right!

It can be pretty easy to feel frustrated with the challenges that one faces when taking part in a fundraiser. To date mine have been mostly technical difficulties when dealing with online auctions, and online overseas fundraising pages that have absorbed many hours. One of the biggest blunders has been discovering that the Dressember fundraising page is donating in USD not AUD and has resulted in many people making much larger donations (myself included having donated electronically on others behalf) than they had intended due to the AUD being so low. Sorry folks! I wasn’t made aware of this important fact. The upside of this is that when we look at the Dressember fundraiser page we have actually made around $430 AUD  (showing $310 USD). Very happy with those efforts!!! Thanks to all who have donated in some way shape or form, be it products, cash, time or auction bids. For day 20 I’m donning the reflective sunnies and a thrifted crop tee (turned around and unbuttoned to wear as a vest), thrifted bag, and some boots.

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Dressember Story Time.

Dressember is one part fundraiser and one part awareness campaign. This is Anna’s story and it has been passed to me by Dressember from the team at A21:

Throughout her childhood, Anna had seen a great deal of poverty and sickness in Eastern Europe. The future was never certain, but instead of allowing the constant struggle to numb her from a young age, the pain she saw actually inspired her to the point where she dreamed of becoming a nurse. As a result of her formative years, she wanted nothing more than to grow up and be able to soothe the pain of others. And so, one day, when her cousin came to visit, Anna sat down and shared this vision to make a difference and help those in need. After listening to Anna’s aspirations, her beloved older cousin encouraged her to pursue her dreams and suggested that she should move to Greece to study. She convinced Anna that there were a lot more career opportunities in Greece, compared to her home country. Anna wasn’t aware of it, but her father and uncle were in the next room listening to the plans for the future take place. They eventually interrupted the conversation and wholeheartedly encouraged her to go as well. Surprised, but also overjoyed at their support, Anna, accompanied by her cousin, prepared to travel to Greece for study. She had no way of knowing she was walking into a trap set up by people she thought she could trust.

Upon arriving in Greece, her cousin told her that she owed her €6,000 for the travel arrangements and that Anna was to be put to work as a sex slave to pay off her debt. Feeling betrayed and confused, Anna refused and fought as hard as she could to escape. As a number of dark shadows approached her, she kicked and screamed but no one heard her cries. The dream she had of helping people and alleviating their pain was quickly being replaced by an inconceivable nightmare. She was beaten, chained to a bed and raped. It quickly became clear to her that the life she came to Greece for was far from the reality she had just stepped into.  There was no escape from the 40-50 clients she was forced to serve each day. Emptied of the fight within her, Anna gave in to the horror of her new life and was held as a slave for two years.

However, on a day like any other, she was rescued in a police raid and brought to the A21 shelter. She was immediately given access to medical care, but the workers at the shelter knew that the psychological trauma was going to take a lot longer to heal. Three years later, after receiving help and support in the A21 safe house and transition home, Anna’s passion to make a difference in the world was reignited. With assistance, she applied and was accepted into nursing school in her home country. She just finished up her third semester, and is finally living out her dream!

It’s hard to believe that there are stories like Anna’s in 2015. By reading this story you are part of the solution to sex trafficking and ending slave labour. Awareness is the biggest part of the battle. If you can’t donate to Dressember share this story with someone you know. It might be hard to talk about but if nothing is said then nothing can be changed!