Personality Cafe banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Retired Administrator
Joined
·
18,118 Posts
Just so you know, Somaly Mam has been identified as INFP Healer Idealist by David Keirsey. (Somaly Mam | Please Understand Me)

but there is a controversy regarding the authenticity of her actions and such. (just google somaly mam to know what i'm talking about)

What do you think?
I think the Newsweek story paints an awful picture, but a journalist Abigail Pesta went and attempted to re-interview several sources and got conflicting stories (and found one of the sources had been identified wrong).

So...I find it unfortunate that Newsweek sort of cast a shadow on her entire life story and also questioned the stories of the other women. One of the stories seems particularly dirty, the question of whether or not a fourteen year old girl is kidnapped and put into a brothel or whether she "ran away with her boyfriend." And choosing to highlight the other story, that is contradictory to what the girl says herself. And really--why does it matter how it's framed anyway? A fourteen year old prostitute/slave is a victim regardless of how she got there...that's just splitting hairs and also casting doubt on her character (running away with boyfriend? She's not so innocent!)

Certainly, it did raise some questions. But at the same time, I feel very strongly that when people relate emotional stories of themselves or others, a lot more attention can be put on expressing the emotional experience. A personal story is very much about how it was experienced subjectively, and because I am certain there are many personal, horrendous stories of sex slaves that aren't told, I'm not going to hold a microscope to Mam's story as it is just being used to bring a personal face to a serious issue...something that simply reporting on kidnappings or underage prostitutes being sold into brothels will not do.

Basically, I see Mam as doing something good for the world, and sharing her own story and the stories of women who are sex slaves. Finding some conflicting details doesn't invalidate everything she's done or talked about. She is not a journalist, but someone who is sharing personal experiences and stories. So I do not hold her to the same expectations for objective reporting, as I would for a journalist.

But the Marie Claire reply was interesting as well. Like the medical records for the eye surgery one of the girls supposedly had were not presented to the Marie Claire journalist, and she was told that there were no records. So it becomes one person's word against another's, and it's not clear who's bias is stronger.

So...from what I have read, no I don't think she is a fraud. I think she's helped a lot of people and has done good work. I also think that it was very courageous for her to open up and share her story publicly as she's done, and also that the other young women were courageous. I am sorry they were subjected to seemingly unsubstantiated character smear (for an unknown purpose). It makes me angry.

Also...just considering the INFP aspect and comparing myself to her, I don't think her "silence" was a good way to redeem herself. But I personally often feel that the truth will come out, and so will not always busy myself to argue things right away but take more time to consider what happened. Not that I am saying that's why she seemed to admit her "guilt" by not commenting or arguing with the Newsweek article.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
As long as the money she is raising is actually going to victims of sex trafficking and slavery, then what she was doing was beneficial to the world. Who cares if she fibbed her story when her organization was actually helping out victims of these atrocities that she claimed to go through. Which is more important: defaming her for her lies, or recognizing her for the money her organization has raised and the light it has shed on these issues? People aren't perfect, and sometimes seemingly bad things need to happen to achieve a greater good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,567 Posts
Is she a fraud, I wonder what the teen prostitutes in bondage think. I wonder if when they are about to be helped into what is hopefully and likely a much better life think,"nah, she was vague and misleading in her interviews, she's not completely authentic", I wonder if they'd turn down her help because of this. I read the Newsweek article, if all the things they accuse her of are true what does this amount to? Assuming she completely fabricated her back story, that she misrepresents the situation that persists and that she coached those young women into lying to further her agenda, which is far from proven, then what has she done that is so awfully bad? Even her detractors say that she has been fundamental in helping thousands of young women to have a chance at a better life. Her critics have a problem with her meeting with and socializing among the rich and famous, they say she can be less than pleasant to be around, but the worst they can actually accuse her of is being less than accurate about her past. Even if everything she has said about her past is a bald faced lie the fact remains that she's helped all these women. The proof for me is in the pudding, her actions have had a good effect. If I thought that by lying I could help thousands of people who suffer to have a better life I'd happily do so, my personal sense of virtue won't help them at all. I've never understood peoples compulsion to tear down and destroy those who remind us that we could do more for those around us, that we could be making the world better, but its been my experience that people love to trash those who do. They question their motives, they question their dedication, they seek out any inconsistency and try to make that into evidence that everything they do is tainted. They never seem to give a bit of thought to how they could make the situation better, to how they could improve things, the say "oh those people should be jailed", but they have no solution for the root problem. So then, if we destroy those like Somaly Mam, if we shun her, punish her for not being perfect then what, what happens to those girls, who's going to help them then?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,364 Posts
I personally dislike lying, but I can think of a number of reasons why someone might do it. If the money is actually going towards making a tangible difference in these people's lives, I'm not going to get my knickers in a knot about about whether she might have distorted the truth or not.

If her lies extended to what she was doing with that money and fame, or if she was merely selling her story for a profit, I would have a different opinion. But ultimately, I care more about actions than words. I find it sad that people will go out of their way to devalue a good action.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Turlowe
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top