Why I Ride

We Must Listen

Hey y’all! My name is Bunsri! I will be graduating this May from the University of Dallas and Texas Woman’s University with my degree in biology and nursing! Some other fun facts about me are that I am obsessed with my dog, Buddy. I ask my dad for the best directions somewhere, even when I know I’m just going to use google maps. I have watched every single Harry Potter movie over 200 times. I could live off avocados. And I had never ridden my bike for more than a lap around my neighborhood.  

I admit that before I came across Pedal the Pacific my idea of sex trafficking was what is showed in movies: strangers kidnapping girls, dark alleys, white vans, bags full of cash. My knowledge was very limited. After diving into Pedal the Pacific’s resource library I learned that it is more common for a trafficker to know their victims, such as a family member, and that victims aren’t being taken to other countries but rather are being kept in their hometown.(Polarisproject.org)

I was filled with both anger and confusion. Why didn’t I know about this?

Why hadn’t I been taught about this in school? Why weren’t people talking about this?! Rather I was taught “stranger danger” and that staying out too late alone is not safe. But I was learning that people and spaces that are supposed to be safe are not always.

My family is my everything. If it weren’t for my mom, dad, and brother I truly would not be here. It was actually my brother who gave me that last push off the edge to apply to Pedal the Pacific. Their support has always been the net I knew would be there to catch me when I fell or the foundation on which I could grow upon. And that is what I wanted to be for survivors.  

I want to be that net that would catch them and the foundation that would let them grow. I want to be the person that is screaming for them when they need it. I want to be holding their hand when they need it. I want to be their hype woman. I want to be the ear that hears them. I want to be the laugh that responds to their jokes. I want to be the person that hugs them when they need it most. I want to be there for them.

We need to listen to survivors to show them that their voices are important. We need to show them that we see them as worthy because they are. We need to work as a community to educate ourselves on what sex trafficking truly is and how best we can support survivors. We need to fight for those that might not feel ready just yet to fight on their own.  

I know I am no expert and that I still have so much to learn but I also know that what I have learned so far is helping to start these conversations. So, I ride. I ride because no survivor should feel that they are on a single man team. I ride because being loved and supported by a family should not be a privilege.  I ride because survivors should be protected. I ride because my contribution, no matter how small or big in the grand scheme, can help make change.  

December 1, 2023
Madilyn Warner

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