By Dylan Deprey
A girl in her early twenties sits on the couch. Her dad comes home from work drunk, and is ready to sexually abuse her for the second night in a row. The intensity builds as the walls tremor. Her mother arrives and in her hand she wields a pistol.
The father sits in the crosshairs as she aims the gun at the man who gave her HIV. The gun blasts as screams grasp at the audience’s heartstrings. The young black female is now responsible to raise her sister, a girl just few years younger then her.
She is a young adult who is insecure and unaware of the dangers of those who could really hurt her. After being guided by the wrong people, her ignorance for her own identity leads her to leave with a charming man at a club. This is the same man who gets her hooked on heroin and pushes her to work the streets.
For the past couple of years Milwaukee has held the infamous title of one of the biggest human and sex trafficking hubs in the country. It is an industry diluted by the forced silence of young girls lured from broken homes and promised unimaginable hope. It is an industry that has few repercussions for the “Johns” who come from all walks of life.
The Destiny Productions play, “Blame,” is a real-life window into the world of sexual, physical and mental abuse that transpires everyday to the women forced to work the streets of Milwaukee.
Pastor Martha Austin is the CEO of Destiny Productions. She is also the writer, director and producer of “Blame.” She previewed the show for fellow pastors, elected officials and family at the In Tandem Theater, July 31.
The preview was just a taste of the entire play, which is set to take the stage at the Marcus Performing Arts Center on September 30th and run until October 1st.
Austin said that the play touches on the underworld of human trafficking and the suicidal levels of low self-esteem. It also intertwines the desperation of drug addiction and the spirit of murder.
“Doesn’t this sound like something we’re all accustomed to now,” Austin said.
The cast is primarily made up of local Milwaukee actors and actresses. Jeremy Flowers plays an ex-pimp turned pastor who tries to reason with some of the current pimps on the street.
Flowers may have a different name in the play but he actually is replaying his own life. Flowers said he turned his life around and left the sex trafficking industry after finding God.
“I just want to present a real sense of reality in the play,” Flowers said. “It’s emotional for me because I’ve played the other role.”
Elected officials were asked to acknowledge some of the issues presented in “Blame.” Sen. Lena Taylor said that she saw a piece of her own life in the play. She related with the main character having to take care of her younger sister when she was a “sister-mom” to her younger brother.
David Crowley, a Candidate for Wisconsin State Assembly, 17th District, said the play reminded him of where he grew up and the drug abuse that plagues the streets of Milwaukee. He said that when he was a child he would get home from school, drop his backpack off and stay out until the lights came on because his house was the crack house.
“What I have realized is that this doesn’t’ necessarily just talk about what’s going on in our community because we see this everyday, but this is also what our leaders see,” Crowley said.
“If we are talking about solving this, we need to come together as people and that is the only way we are going to solve this,” Crowley said.