Blog Post by Ethan Morrow
In the midst of pain, and what appears to be failure, what do you do? How do you get up and keep fighting? I had to ask myself that question last month when the Oregon House passed a very tough bill.
After weeks of fighting to avoid passing this bill via an online petition, the bill was passed. For me, this was a devastating blow to my gut. I felt like I had been punched multiple times. Because of this bill, it was still a misdemeanor to pay for sex with a minor in Oregon. Because of this bill, I still felt like our children could not be protected like they should be. As a dedicated Defender, there couldn’t be any worse feeling.
For a while, I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t motivate myself. After all, what was the point of continuing the fight? Was I even making a difference? So, for a while there, in my mind, I had given up. I had lost hope. It may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was. The Oregon Senate not passing this bill was extremely discouraging, because it was a very simple bill that protected children. That’s a no-brainer, right? If the Senate won’t pass a simple bill, then how will we do anything else?
But then, out of nowhere, an internal voice spoke to me. You are a Defender, Ethan. You are a Defender. Defenders do not give up. Then I was reminded how we did make a difference. In just over 5 days, almost 800 people from all over the US had signed that petition. Nationwide, people stood in agreement with me. Nationwide, people stood up and supported young girls. And people did notice. The press noticed. Nationwide, people cared.
So, do you want to know what I did?
I got back up. I got back up, made the simple choice to go to work, and kept fighting. I turned my deep disappointment into deep motivation. And to my surprise, a few days after that, all of the fighting paid off. I watched the miraculous happen as Senator Floyd Prozanski stood up and made a movement to take the bill back to committee so it could be re-amended, making it a felony on the first offense to purchase sex from minors. An article on this event can be found here.
Because we kept fighting, life change happened. Because we kept fighting, Oregon is properly protecting trafficked children. And I now I realize something: If we had stopped fighting after a devastating setback, it would still be a misdemeanor in Oregon to purchase sex from a minor.
So I have one simple message to say to all of you today. Defenders, don’t ever stop fighting. Keep fighting, and never give up. Because if we stop fighting, what are all of the young girls who are still being trafficked going to do? Who is going to defend them, through thick and thin? That’s our job, men. That is our job.
Don’t. Ever. Stop. Fighting.