Virginity auctions.

My heart hurts for a young, Brazilian woman named Rebecca Bernardo.

Her mother, who had a stroke, is now bed-ridden and requires assistance to eat and use the bathroom. The news says Bernardo, who is 18, barely could afford to hire help for her mom. In effort to raise funds sufficient to meet her mom’s needs, Bernardo used a YouTube video to solicit bids on what her mom – according to CNN – wishes she wouldn’t sell: her virginity.

A Brazilian news channel offered to cover Bernardo’s mom’s medical expenses if Bernardo calls off the virginity auction. Media ethics aside (journalists aren’t supposed to get involved), the outlet’s offer finagles Bernardo out of a bind. It provides her mom with what she needs without requiring prostitution of Bernardo.

It’s kind of a no-brainer. Except there is a snag in the story: Bernardo said no.

According to CNN, she turned the channel down because the sum of money the channel promised to provide to Bernardo solely would cover her mom’s medical expenses. It would not be enough, said the story, also to move her and her mom to a new town, where Bernardo could “start a new life.”

“There comes a time when you have to make decisions to get what you want,” Bernardo said to CNN. “You have to be strong.”

Which is true. I totes agree.

But if Bernardo says no when somebody offers to pay for what her mom needs, maybe what her mom needs isn’t what Bernardo actually wants. And if what her mom needs isn’t what Bernardo actually wants, what does she want?

I can’t answer that.

I can, however, say this:

One indeed must “be strong” in the face of something that’s hard. It requires strength to do a difficult thing, in other words. I don’t doubt it is difficult to take care of a mom who needs constant medical attention when you don’t have the money to pay for it.

But which action requires real strength: praying, trusting, and working through a really bad bind, or having sex for money so you can quickly find your way out of it?

I don’t blame Bernardo for her choice, although I neither agree with it nor trust her motives, given her decision to turn down the media outlet’s money. But I pray she opens her heart to real strength, before she accepts anybody’s bid.

Click here to read the story on CNN.

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