Asking For Help

Asking for help after exiting the sex trade is scary – it is terrifying to admit that you can be that vulnerable, and cannot do it on your own.

What I learnt in prostitution was no-one cared whether I lived or died, no-one cared how much damage and poison was put in my body and mind – or least on-one cared enough to do anything practical to drag me out of that world.

I learnt that I was invisible, that if I was seen it was never as a full human being.

I learnt through pain, through hitting brick walls too often, through learning to grow silent and silenced – I learnt the hard way not to even expect others to help me.

I exited prostitution through sheer will power – the desire not to die, the discovery that there was more to life than the sex trade, the building-up of a concept of some future.

I drag myself away from being prostituted – I cut myself off from the places and people who were that world.

Hell I run to another city, I lost all my friends and nearly lost my family.

I run without money, left all my possessions, was homeless – I run into more danger, but I was at the beginning of making myself free.

I was in hell for at least three years after running – but there was a seed of finding I could be human coming into my heart.

For I was still being raped, I was still going to men’s flats rather than the hostel or b’n’b I was meant to be in – I was still in the head of a prostitute.

I still thought my only worth was to give my body to any man, that it did not matter if he hated me, if he did not see me, if he did not say the word prostitute but throw me away anyhow.

Only I could not be that prostitute any more – there was a rebellion inside of me.

I felt it was rape, I know it was abuse – I had the language of a free woman, not the language of the sex slave.

I had no idea what to do, was confused that I could not cut off the pain, confused how furious it made me.

I wanted to kill the men – kill them with a rage that was their individual act of violence, but a build-up of being a sex toy since I was six.

Anger does free you – anger is the beginning of seeing and knowing your own truths.

Only it very painful, and for the prostituted is full of gaps and silences – anger is sometimes just a cover for deep grief.

That anger is still deep in me – but now it more targeted and is often a very calm rage.

I am not angry at the world, I do not rage against all men any more – and more important, my rage is getting less and less turn into self-hatred.

My rage is targeted on those who wilfully ignored or allow the genocide of the prostituted class.

I rage against each and every man who makes the choice to buy or consume the prostituted class.

He does that without regard to whether she has been raped many times before; regardless of how much violence is used on her to make her a sex object for his use; regardless that she is human, he makes her into goods so he can have no conscious as he tortures her.

I rage at each and every sex trade profiteer, man or woman.

They sell the prostituted out sheer greed and sadism; they make the prostituted into non-human goods to be easier move from one aspect of the sex trade to another; profiteers will brainwashed her into submission, will use physical violence to control, will offer her up to business partners/”friends” for free goes as punishment.

I rage at each and every so-called feminist who called it sex work.

They give themselves the image that the sex trade must be liberating and empowering to women, just small changes in the conditions; they push for indoors prostitution in the false belief it is safer and can be made women-friendly; they think they should not judge the prostituted – but would not like to be in the position of having men queuing up to rape them, would not do it unless all punters were clean and non-violent.

I rage at each and every leftist who make excuses for the continuance of the sex trade, or said it is ok for left-wing men and women, but bad when the right consume the sex trade.

They make heroes of men that brutally raped, tortured and murdered the prostituted class, for if they have done even the smallest leftist action they can be pass off as letting off steam with prostituted class; they say porn is fine if owned and controlled by leftist businessmen, men who may hate women and children, but do write cool leftist satire; they think using indoors prostitution is fine – just put in fake unions run by pimps and punters, have inefficient safety precautions, make the prostitutes have health checks but not the punters, that would be a violation of their human rights, and ignore any violence that is all around you.

This rage fuels all that I do in my writing and speeches – all the time I think I said or written enough, the rage and grief gives me more.

It the grief that makes me reach out for help, for a sense of a community.

I know my exited Sisters are with me, I know what amazing work they are doing, I know how they continue through their own grief, pain and anger – I know how they continue as trauma shadowed them.

My exited Sisters will always fight for a better world for all of the prostituted class – we have been there, we want to stop the flood of women and girls going into the hells we have known and survived.

But we cannot build a world stripped of the sex trade without the help of many as possible.

It would be wonderful if men who want to end the sex trade would confront their male friends, relatives and colleagues on their use of the sex trade.

Make it clear that consuming porn is not harm-free – point out it is real torture and real rape: point out that most of the women inside the porn have raped many times usually since childhood; point out that free mainstream porn is so violent that most women last round 3 years maximum, and to survive porn it is normal to take drugs or alcohol; point out that there real injuries both internal and external, and many have long-term STDs through doing porn.

Question your mates going to lap-dancing club or buying strippers for a stag-do.

This is not harmless fun – the women are touched up, have objects thrown at them: the women are often forced to do extras from a blowjob to full-blown sex: there is no freedom for the women when surrounded by drunken men seeing her as their sex toy, no freedom for her when she can get a living wage if she does extras.

Question your male friends who go say to Thailand or Amsterdam.

Ask them if they saw any culture outside the red-light district; makes them explain why paying for sex abroad is ok, when is bad at home; ask them if they cared the age of the prostitute, about her injuries or dead eyes, if her pimp were a big presence; ask them to justify their actions.

Think hard how many men you know are using prostitutes.

Think of each and every Friday and Saturday, how many men think it their entitlement to round off their night out by buying a whore; think how easy it for any man anywhere to click on his computer and buy an escort; think how the buying of the prostitute is made so easy and secret that your best mate or even your brother could torturing a prostitute, and then walk out as a decent bloke you would not even question.

I would love if non-prostituted women who fight for abolition did more to support exited women.

I know and deeply that many of you do masses and more than anyone would expect of you for the prostituted class – I love that you believe in real change and are often doing very practical work to be foundations for abolition.

I am very proud of everything you do – and most of my suggestions or ideas are not aimed at the women who giving so much.

This is aimed at women who want to support exited women, and are unsure of what can be done.

Please send comments and read as many blogs by exited women as possible, pleases support Survivors Connect, that does amazing work at having some of the most powerful works by exited women.

But be directed by reading these words – speak in the language of human rights, say words like torture, industrialised rape, genocide, sex trade etc. Do not use the language of labour.

Considered that exited women should be in leadership roles in all actions, writings and conferences about the sex trade, especially if it about ways to progress to abolition. Do not be over-reliant on academia or other forms of outsider research.

Know if you put your faith and trust into giving exited women this leadership role, this will a high risk for them. Exited women are targeted by the sex trade lobby – but not in just a political sense. We are mentally abused to make us turn to suicide or become the robot that we were as a prostitute.

Most of the sex trade lobby have been or are now pimps or punters – these are people with a proven history of physical, sexual and violence to the prostituted class.

They view us sub-human, as girls that are being disobedient – in that mind-set the sex trade lobby have no conscious about completely destroying the prostituted class.

They want us dead or so mentally ill no-one will ever believe us.

We must be punished for not being their property any more.

In that environment, it would be wise to be careful about having computer wars with the sex trade lobby – most who do these wars have the privilege position of being seen as human by the sex trade – so it will just be a war of words for them.

But it does affect the prostituted in real life, whether exited or not.

The pimps and punters that are the foundations of the sex trade lobby will place their hate and anger on the bodies and minds of the prostituted class.

I suppose they would do this for any feeble excuse – but I hate knowing that small computer wars are giving them more “reasons” to rape, brainwash, harass, beat up and murder the prostituted class.

I suppose all I can say is think whether it worth fighting with people who will never changed their minds – or is it more useful to prove the good of your work by practical actions that transform the lives of the prostituted.

For me, I have always thought it is the small things that change the lives for the prostituted or exited women.

It is signing petitions that help improve their lives; it is being open to listen and hear an exited woman, without comparing with your life or closing her down; it is speaking up against the push for indoors prostitution; it is questioning words like ho or slut; it is opening your mind to any man could be a consumer of the sex trade, and don’t say I like him so I won’t believe it of him.

The most important thing to do for exited women is to believe what seems unbelievable, allow yourself to know and feel the unbearable that was their norm – do not turn away and say it is too much.

You are just hearing the surface, the censored version that exited women are able to tell you. You did not live that unbearable.

To turn away from the exited women – is to tell them they are sub-human, that their truths are too terrible to know, that they should be silenced again.

Turn away and you are doing the work of the sex trade lobby.

So do something however small – do something to show you view the prostituted as fully human.

5 responses to “Asking For Help

  1. Dear R,

    Firstly, thank-you for your courage in writing and publishing this blog. I realise how hard it is and admire your strength and bravery.

    You request feedback, support…

    Here’s something about me… I am a visual artist living in Amsterdam – a city where I am confronted with the cruel and abysmal Dutch policies on prostitution more or less on a daily basis.
    You write that we should be aware that becoming ensnared in prostitution is not something necessarily only applicable to others, and I think that along with the daily confrontations of living in Amsterdam, it also the sense that there-but-for-the-grace-of-god (or whatever) go I, which affects me. As a teenager desperate for (male) attention and approval I came very close to becoming trapped. Looking back I realise that there was a period in the early 80’s when I was probably being actively groomed for this role and it is only through the simple luck of coincidental circumstance of a particular moment that this didn’t run its course.

    For some time I have been trying to find a way to say something about this through my art-practice, but so far have not been able to figure out how. In the meantime, in order to be doing something practical rather than just raging, I work as a volunteer with women who have either been rescued or have escaped, from (overtly) forced prostitution. (I write overtly because I too believe that there is not really any such thing as voluntary prostitution). These women are almost without exception not originally from the Netherlands. Almost all come from countries where desperate circumstances drove them to take risky decisions and make dangerous choices. Most are from sub-Saharan Africa, many from ex-East-block Europe. I work once a week as an emergency buddy – taking women who have only recently escaped, out from the hostel, on a one-to-one basis just to do something nice for a day, a walk, a talk, the children’s zoo, visit to a house-boat, learning to ride a bicycle… Language is often difficult – although I speak French, Spanish and Russian, and a tiny bit of Portuguese, sometimes there is almost no common language and we are reduced to signs and drawings – often the women are illiterate in any language. All of them are damaged.

    Recently took part in a live TV discussion programme about possibly changes to the current law, where I held the (unpopular) position advocating the so-called Swedish-model – which makes paying for sex illegal and the punters responsible and liable to be prosecuted, and ranted against Dutch tolerance.

    Meanwhile I continue to try to think of a way to produce something (a video-work, or a publication perhaps) indicting the Dutch attitude toward the industry, which seems to elevate the idea of tolerance to godly heights – even if it’s a tolerance of torture and atrocity. Dutch so-called pragmatism is earning the country appalling amounts of money and any opposition to the current policy seems to be based on ensuring that visibly criminal elements do not drive away tourists.

    It’s a struggle to change attitudes in a country like this and none of what I do ever seems like enough.

    Be strong.
    Love Jimi


  2. I’ve been asking for help for 3 years now, and I definitely get how people don’t want to listen or turn you away. I’ve been abandoned by everyone I’ve asked for help save for 3 people, but they’re professionals who get paid to help me so I don’t think that counts. I’ve even been left alone by fellow survivors who say they will help me, but eventually turn their backs. I’ve survived child sexual slavery, including prostitution and pornography, and I guess it’s because I’m male that no one wants to help me.

    Sorry, anyway, keep doing what you’re doing!


  3. Jack don’t give up …ever! Keep tryin to get the help you need. Even though they are paid to help they still care and may be just the help you need. Someday somewhere you find someone who will listen and help…keep trying. Keep growing and learning.


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