The Effects of Making That Speech

I am extremely proud of making the speech to Feminists in London, but this post is about the incredible toll it has had on me.

First, I know I came across as strong and in control during the speech. That is a role that I do on automatic.

To survive prostitution, I often had to appear outwardly in control and calm.

To live one life in prostitution and one life as a normal granddaughter, normal going on holiday person, normal in the pub woman – I learnt to be a control freak.

Only I survive by refusing to have feelings, killing off any vulnerability and not allowing that anything was real.

This I cannot do any more. Now I am in a terrible state.

Sure, I do know I will be ok. I always am.

But I want and need more than being strong, more than how well I cope, more than always fighting just to remember to put one step in front of the other.

I need women who read this blog, or have other connections with me, to support me through thoughts/prayers, through jokes, through music, through pictures, through confronting friends who say stupid stuff about prostitution, through signing anti-prostitution petitions, through not saying sex workers or free choice anywhere near me, and through just viewing anti-sex trade work as connected to anti-slavery and a fight for basic human rights.

I need that some of you do small things to change attitudes to the sex trade.

I don’t need to do big things, if that means it is too hard and you yet again abandon prostituted women and girls.

Do something however small – for each small action mounts up.

Do something – for women and girls are being tortured now.

Do something – for girls are being recruited now.

Do something – because women and girls are being raped so often now, that they cannot name it even as abuse.

Do something – for exited women have to live with extreme trauma without no specialist help, or so little they feel guilty asking for it.

Just don’t turn away.

Too many women and girls are murdered or just cannot live for you to have that luxury.

9 responses to “The Effects of Making That Speech

  1. I was thinking about what the cost to you of standing up and giving that speech might be. I’m sorry it was so hard on you.

    Will work for everything you ask. I cannot stand the fact we live in a world where women and children are prostituted.


  2. I was in the audience on Saturday and listened to your speech.
    Thank you!
    Thank you for blowing our ignorance away with your words.
    Thank you for cutting through all the bullshit we have seen in the media about prostitution.
    Thank you for standing up and having the balls to be honest about your experiences. Anyone with a half a brain will know it wasn’t easy.
    But you did it.
    You should be bloody proud of yourself, for if it wasn’t for people like you, I would be walking around in ignorance, as would every other member of that audience.

    Never again will I look at prostitution with some bullshit tinted glasses.
    Never again will I leave any ignorant comment unchallenged.
    Your words have made their mark on me, I will never forget how your speech affected me, how I wanted to break down and cry for you, how I wanted to just run up on stage and hug you, and hope that I could take some of that pain away. How I wanted to beat the shit out of every “man” who ever hurt you.
    Horrified doesn’t even begin to cover it.
    But you are courageously turning your awful experiences into a positive, you are shining the light into the darkness and waking people up from the dream world.

    Thank you.


  3. I too was in the audience on Saturday. I thought you thoroughly deserved that standing ovation, and more. Thank you for sharing your experiences and for bringing the truth about the realities of prostitution before people who are lucky enough not to have gone through it for themselves. Thank you for being strong enough to speak with such eloquence on experiences no person should ever have to go through at all.
    It will be my mission to rail against prostitution and its close relations pornography and rape, whenever I possibly can. I think we should all be writing to our MPs to demand a change in the law which would criminalise the men (and occasionally women) who pay for these ‘services’. And we need to shout with louder voices against the pornification of the mainstream and the growing acceptance of rape culture. Not going to be easy, but at least you’ve made one more recruit – and many more I’m sure.
    Thank you.


  4. Rebecca, you are amazing. The difference you are making is amazing, and I hope that the feedback helps to heal some of your enormous hurts.

    Holding you in my heart.


  5. Thanks everyone, so so much. You have all reached my heart.

    Khadijeh – It is so moving what you said. I feel very proud if I have cut through the bullshit that makes the violence and degradation that is prostitution invisible. For just one brief conversation in a pub challenging others ignorance is wonderful. Thanks so much.

    Eat Your Sherbert Kate – Thanks so so much. I am delighted that I could inspired you. It is very hard, but doing small things can make it easily.

    Feminamist – I so glad that you wrote. It is very painful, but I will always go forward. I hold you in my heart.


  6. Pingback: Seventh Carnival of Feminists « Shut Up, Sit Down

  7. My god, you are amazing. I occasionally feel bruised just by the flamings one gets on the Internet; how pathetically over-sensitive that seems now. Thank you so much for being so brave, and I hope you feel a little better reading these comments and knowing that you ARE making a difference, step by small step.

    I will try to do as you suggest, I promise. I WILL do something.

    Look after yourself. You deserve to be cherished.


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