Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown

“Does that van belong to you?” Mare of Easttown asks in the fifth episode of a series seeking to solve the murder of a young mother. A windowless blue work van sits parked in the foreground as the camera pans over a quiet residential street.

I shrieked when I saw the paneled van in the show. It looked exactly like the van that dropped me off each morning where I was relentlessly teased for arriving at middle school in a child molester van. After my father threatened to kill us and my mom’s colleagues, after he stalked my frightened therapist…

Our legal system treats children like we’re living in a Monty Python sketch about the Middle Ages

Art by courtroom sketch artist, Marylin Church

At its core, Allen v. Farrow is about how children only have as many legal rights as the adults around them are willing to bestow. As Dylan Farrow says at the beginning of the HBO documentary’s third episode, “What I remember is that after the attic, things started changing really rapidly. I said this thing, and it started this nightmare of lawyers, and the phone ringing, and everything changed.” In 1992, Woody Allen was investigated for child sex abuse charges. That same year, I was a six-year-old child actor 3,000 miles away on the west coast, being sexually abused by…

I joined AmeriCorps out of desperation when I graduated during the 2008 recession. I hope Gen Z doesn’t make the same mistake I did during the COVID pandemic’s dismal job market.

AmeriWhore logo
AmeriWhore logo

It’s AmeriCorps Week! Every year in March, a cheerful email celebrating AmeriCorps Week drops into my inbox, and I am reminded of how I became homeless 6 months into my term of service. Earning about $3 per hour from my AmeriCorps living stipend, I think about the hypocrisy of a government-funded program paying people less than minimum wage as the debate rages on over raising the federal minimum wage, student loan forgiveness, and the legality and ethics of unpaid internships. I remember AmeriCorps Orientation Day, when everyone seated in the North Seattle hotel conference room gasped as we were taught…

My journey down the rabbit hole of trying to understand how someone who also grew up homeless could possibly vote against raising the minimum wage

Comic of Sinema curtsying with a thumbs down to vote against minimum wage increase, wearing a mask that reads “Fuck the Poor”
Comic of Sinema curtsying with a thumbs down to vote against minimum wage increase, wearing a mask that reads “Fuck the Poor”

Kyrsten Sinema’s 2018 senate race campaign was a joke. No, really. I mean it literally. Two hundred years ago, the idiom about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps was a joke about how ridiculous it would be for a man to pull himself out of a swamp or over a fence by grabbing hold of the bootstraps on his shoes. And yet, what was originally meant as a joke when Andrew Jackson was president, is today a socially acceptable way to scold poor people for being poor.

No one who has ever lived in the Pacific Northwest should be surprised that a QAnon mayor took over the town of Sequim

Washington coast beach at sunset

Dungeness crab. You find it on restaurant menus from New York to Seattle. And you find it stumbling over rocks in the Salish Sea’s quiet bays and estuaries, all along the coast near Sequim, Washington (pronounced “skwim” in the Klallam language). Windswept bluffs rise above the famous crustacean’s namesake, Dungeness Bay, so named by Captain George Vancouver on April 30, 1792, when he decided that it looked like the English coast of Kent. Captain Vancouver’s own name is also plastered over the communities of what we now call Vancouver, B.C., Vancouver Island, and Vancouver, Washington. When my little sister was…

How can we effectively reform CPS, an agency that is complicit in child abuse and endangerment?

Trigger Warning (child abuse and CPS negligence)

Cholla Cactus with many thorns against a clear blue sky

Last night, Kellyanne Conway posted nude photos of her daughter on Twitter. Less than a week ago, the night before Biden and Harris’s inauguration, Twitter was outraged by leaked videos of Kellyanne Conway threatening her daughter with: “You’re lucky your mom’s pro-life!” Tweets that CPS needed to be called popped up across the timeline. Many people who barely survived their own abusive parents gently replied, explaining that it is naive to think that CPS (Child Protective Services) will investigate a powerful, wealthy white mother. …

If QAnon Actually Cared About Children, They Would Demand CPS Reform

Photo of author’s childhood elementary school, now boarded up with an abandoned circle of desks discarded beneath a tree

*Trigger warning

Last Wednesday, QAnon flags waved in the winter D.C. wind as followers stormed Congress. Watching the siege unfold, I thought of the irony of QAnon followers’ violence and their dubious claim to care so much about trafficked children. Afterall, 2016’s Pizzagate is when QAnon entered the public’s consciousness.

A week after the siege, I finally received a call back from a Child Protective Services (CPS) case worker. I had been waiting for this call since November 26 when I found out that CPS had placed my 3 month old niece with my father, a man who molested me…

Illustration courtesy of Radiolab

What does it mean when many of the cadavers used for biomedical research are the bodies of poor people who, when alive, never could have afforded the treatments they helped develop for the wealthy?

In the throes of grieving a loved one, many families discover cadaver donation companies when they have to seek alternative ways to cover funeral expenses. Although for-profit whole body donation companies do not track the income or socioeconomic data of donors, public reviews online and my own experience working as a coordinator suggest that a large majority choose to donate their bodies to science out of…

Photo of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in her 20s, courtesy of NYT

Grieving RBG and Democracy in America

The night of the 2016 election, I heard gunshots and neighbors sobbing four stories below my apartment. The morning after the election, I walked into the OB/Gyn clinic that I worked at. Normally our workday started with cracking jokes and offers for coffee runs. But on that morning four years ago, it was somber and silent. Everyone, including patients in the waiting room looked like they were on the verge of vomiting or crying. Before I even sat down at my desk the phone rang.

A woman’s voice: “Hello, I need an IUD. The kind that lasts 5 years.” Normally…

Photo of author’s childhood elementary school, now boarded up with an abandoned circle of desks discarded beneath a tree

I call myself a child trafficking survivor because “trafficking” is more succinct than explaining how my dad pimped me until age 10. But the term that once offered me solace with its linguistic distance from the more graphic realities of my childhood has been co-opted. The word I could use to explain my fear of men in white trucks has been hijacked by QAnon conspiracy theorists. In recent years, the word “trafficking” has been rendered meaningless and sensationalized through the political commodification of real survivors’ trauma. And this is harmful to us all.

The “Q” in QAnon is allegedly a…

Sabra Boyd

Sabra is a child trafficking survivor who is seeking an agent for her true crime memoir | The Glass Castle x The Godfather | sabraboyd.com

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