I stand in front of you California, Sacramento
Wearing the first bridal gown I’ve ever worn
At my wedding, I didn’t wear white
Despite being a virgin
I didn’t look like Cinderella,
Draped in a gorgeous gown, my feet stuffed into magical glass slippers
Doves weren’t happily released, wheeling and swooping in a bright blue sky
No one attended my wedding,
Not even my mother
I was alone with my soon-to-be husband
In a dark room at midnight
I wore long pajamas,
Dotted with turmeric stains
My sleeves dripping with dishwater,
Reeking of Palmolive and stale curry
In my spiritual marriage,
I repeated after a stranger that I took him to be my husband
In less than thirty seconds, I was married. Tadah. I was married.
I was still playing with Barbies,
Dressing them up to look like Cinderella
I was 12 the night I wed. 12. Did you hear me? 12.
I was playing with Barbies. Did you hear me? Playing with Barbies.
I stayed with this man until I was 20
And I could finally escape
The years I should’ve been studying,
Should’ve had boyfriends
Should’ve had the right to wear mini skirts
Should’ve been free to be a tween and a teen
I was imprisoned as a wife
Today, I stand in front of you wearing a white bridal gown
Thirty years after I broke free from my shackles.
But I still suffer because the long-term effects of child marriage last indefinitely.
Today I stand in front of you wearing a white wedding gown
But it doesn’t represent my innocence. It represents my badassery.
This polyester palace represents my marriage to myself,
To my dreams, to my future
This palatial lace estate represents
My autonomy, my freedom
My commitment to help all girls live in a world where they can be girls
I am purposefully gendering the word,
Since girls are most affected by these archaic laws
California, do what is right.
Ban the rape of children!
I beg you to not allow one girl to have to go through what I went through.
Today, we/YOU have the power
To change the lives of 1000s of future California girls
So, we can rejoice in The Beach Boys’ lyrics,
Singing high from rooftops throughout the United States
“I wish THEY all could be California girls.”
My name is Dr. Tamara MC,
And I am a child marriage victoress.
Ashley Bowerman: Welcome back to 13 news. I’m Ashley Bowerman. Human trafficking has plagued our community and many others for years, and experts say there are no signs that it’s slowing down. That’s why members of our community are bringing awareness to the growing problem. 13 news reporter Alex Valdez is joining us live here in studio after attending a local forum tonight.
Alex, what did you learn from this panel of experts?
Alex Valdez: while Ashley, it can happen at any time, anywhere and to anybody. This is a message advocates say everyone needs to know when it comes to human trafficking. Human trafficking comes in many different forms.
Dr. Tamara MC: I grew up in a religious cult, so in a religious, coercive community, and the girls were married off by the time they were 14.
So, I was a child bride, so I was married very young.
Alex Valdez: Tamara MC is now what she calls a victim expert, helping others who might be in her situation.
Dr. Tamara MC: Now that I’m out of the situation, I’m supporting other survivors like myself and other victims who still haven’t been able to leave.
Alex Valdez: She says, traffickers target children on social media with affection, money, and drugs to get them to have sex with adults.
Dr. Tamara MC: When I was young, I could have never called myself a human trafficking victim because I didn’t even know what the word men, and I thought that was for somebody else, but not me.
Alex Valdez: The state launched a sex trafficking hotline last year, which has been crucial in the fight.
Tonia Alegria: Every quarter, uh, the calls increase.
So we have, about 120 initial calls and then a little over 1800 ongoing case management calls to and from.
Alex Valdez: Advocates say it comes down to every single person to report any signs of sex crimes happening in the community.
Tonia Alegria: It can happen to anyone any age, any time, any place. And often traffickers and buyers look like people such as yourself.
Even, like me.
Alex Valdez: And even though big events like the Gem Show and the Super Bowl tend to be hot spots for human trafficking, those who are close to the issue say the community needs to be on the lookout for signs year around. If anyone you know, or if you are a victim of human trafficking, you can call the number on your screen 1 877 429 8477.
You can also find that number along with more information up on our website. kold.com reporting live in studio Alex Valdez 13 News.
My name is pronounced:
“Tamara” like the sun will come out tomorrow.
“MC” like emcee, not McDonalds.
My students often call me Doc MC, and you can too.
Someone who believes in the magical strength of all girls, women, and female-identifying humans to live free in matriarchal magnificence.
And yes, I did make up this title.
Pink is power. Unicorns represents our eternal search for magic.
Joy is transgressive. Being joyful is activism.
“Joy and pain
Like sunshine and rain”
This is an inclusive space, and anyone who supports our mission is welcome.
I’ve loved Barbie since I was a little girl. She was able to do all the things I dreamed of before I was physically able.
Barbie was my girl way before the movie premiered.
Absolutely nothing. That’s exactly why unicorns are the symbol of my brand and my website. Unicorns stand for freedom.