Learning How to be Human

I, like most exited women who were in the sex trade long-term – I am slowly finding what it is to be human.

When exited women speak of trauma – they speak of be utterly lost to how humans communicate, lost to the simple routines of being human, lost to be outside the role of appearing human.

It is trauma that is embedded in us – and we have learnt to be like a human, but only as androids are in a Phillip K Dick short story.

I learnt to be human by copying.

It is why I love films, it is why I read fiction, it is why I love to be in a crowd – it is why I am watcher.

I can repeat the actions of what I think it must be to be human – but more often than not, I do so without emotion or able to stop the emptiness inside in me.

I have no idea what it is to be unique – for by copying and being the role that pleases, I have no idea if I am any more than an empty shell.

With the logical side of my brain, I know I am more than a copy, more than a role – but there is always the constant fear that I still am nothing but what makes others feel makes me human.

Many years ago I read or had read to me by a punter –  “Do Androids Dream of Sheep”.

At the time, it was the beginning of a small voice saying you are more than a role.

For the punter who read Phillip K Dick to me was highly controlling and sadistic – he would sleep deprived me, he would rape me then make me eat when sick, he would rape me then want to be on show as his “girlfriend”, he would pay to keep me for weeks and lock me in his flat.

Between the violence he would read to me his favourite books – mainly posh porn, Japanese horror/porn, Russian books, and Phillip K Dick.

I hated lots of what he read, I hated as I was read parts of posh porn only to be repeated into my body later.

But there was a part of me, the part I wanted hidden from him, the part that was reaching for another life – that found it loved Phillip K Dick.

I found his universe made sense of my prostituted soul.

I thought maybe I was an android so embedded in the human world that I had come to believe I must be human.

It made sense to me as I was embedded inside the sex trade.

It made sense that I did feel pain, or if I had pain/sickness, but I could ignore it and keep going with the role of the whore.

It made sense that I was lived wanting for instructions – I know automatically how to be the prostitute, but had no idea how to shop in a supermarket or how to pay rent.

It made sense that I must be programmed to enjoy being sadistically abused – for I then could know or understand why it was happening all the times by so many men, and nowhere appear to be safe.

It made sense of being brought and sold by mainly men who never spoke to me, who did not look me in the eye – who made me into goods.

I decided I must be an android – for to see the reality that I was a human being destroyed by each and every punter, destroyed each and every time I was filmed, destroyed each and every time I was made to read or view porn, destroyed each and every time profiteers move round to more sadistic prostitution.

To know that reality, would have torn my heart out of my body.

Now, I know that I am and never was an android, heck there is no such thing as a complex android.

Now I the simple and terrible truth – that I was human that was raped, beaten, tortured, brought, sold on, mentally abused and made to imagine death was her only friend – that all I had to hold onto was I was nothing, that I was goods.

I was made sub-human, so I survived by accepting that terrible truth.

The sex trade has always been masters of turning women and girls into sub-humans – it not new, it at least 3000 years old.

It is done by routine violence, by forcing the prostituted to act happy even as their life-force is being stolen.

The violence is not just about power and control – it is about there is a whole class of women and girls who not only enjoy pain and degradation, but the sickness of the sex trade is it build the myths that the prostituted seek out punishment, humiliation and terror.

That is why the myth that sells the most in every culture, every period of history and every continent – is the myth of the empowered Happy Hooker, who controls and manipulates men.

It is an evil myth, for it says that prostitutes love whatever is done to them sexually, love the violence for it is re-branded as play. That prostitutes are making the punters do things that are uncontrollable.

It is a myth that allows punters to believe that any sadism is ok, for prostitutes are designed to be just vessels for whatever his porn-fueled head is full of.

When embedded inside the sex trade, I had to believe that sick myth.

It helps to find a reason that punters treated my body as their experiment in how much pain I could take without losing consciousness or having the bad manners to die on them.

It helps to find a reason why I knew what was fashionable in hard-core porn, though I did not read the magazines or watch the videos – I knew as punters play it out into my body.

It helps me to remember to make the right sex noises or to smile as pain and terror would have been the human reaction.

This post is written to put in the centre of our living death – it just a surface level.

Remember that living death – that is the reason to fight for abolition.


9 responses to “Learning How to be Human

  1. I can totally relate. Thank you so much for putting it into words. It’s so hard to explain to people. Very Well Written.


  2. What a powerful post! I can really relate to the idea of copying too, coming from a broken home where there was little good to copy therefore having to “fake” and stumble and fumble my way through Life for a while (obviously a smaller scale than the copying and survival necessary in porn & prostitution). As many other animals, humans learn by watching and copying, and though not all of us have good things to copy, we know on a primal level what hurts and feels wrong, even if we don’t always have the language or ability to say NO or get out of the environment at the moment.

    I see prostitution/porn as the ultimate manifestation of the larger cultural sickness that is going on (whatever we call it: patriarchy/colonization/kyriarchy, etc.) where women & girls are brainwashed on many different levels to be some impossible, unrealistic and non-human ideal. Your post describes this well and makes total sense. Sounds like copying (and detaching) is a successful coping strategy in prostitution; people can only explore other, healthier ways of Being when they are physically and Spiritually safe enough to do so.

    What an interesting good thing that came out of the terrible experience with the Phillip K. Dick punter – it helped you survive your circumstances at the time. From horror can come healing and hope; your painful past allows you to do the powerful work you’re doing now. I know you are much more than your past as well as your present political work, but your voice and Spirit shine through your words which is what makes you an interesting human being to me.

    I too slowly started becoming human later in life (and after therapy!), when I gave myself permission and space to be myself. When we are not given this permission and ability to be ourselves and explore and experiment with different sides of us, then how can we know our identity? The good news is that as long as we’re breathing, it’s never too late to nurture and make blossom who we really are. Yay for being and reclaiming Human! (and sorry for the essay-length post.) 🙂


  3. Pingback: Survivors Connect Network

  4. The more I read of your posts, by all you girls, I can only think “how have you managed to survive”? I can only commend you for now doing what you are so couragesly doing. I cannot imagine the horror that each of you have been through. After reading Stella’s post the other day, I was further horrified to see how theses sadistic pimps (they are the “inhuman”! Psychopaths of the worst variety) can continue to harass and threaten you. Is there anything that us mere mortals can do to help you with your battle? I believe trafficking goes on in my country too, I expect most countries are not immune, but what can I do personally to help with exposing this disgusting slave trade of women. Should I start sharing all of your posts on FB?? Shall I send your posts to some one in the Government, write letters to them? Start an organization in my country? I’m sure that most people have their heads in the sand about this devastating situation so what can we do to open their eyes to bring about some change?
    I will pray for you all that you continue to receive the help you deserve and the courage and strength to continue your fight. Blessings Tovah


  5. You know – this sounds dreadful – but I have had a huge amount of help from watching the character Dexter on TV come to grips with his humanity over the seasons. Apart from the serial killer bit (I happily can’t say I relate to THAT part) it is incredible to see my psyche explored so clearly, week in, week out, to actually shout at the screen ‘you DO have feelings! You DO!!!’… It’s as if I’m watching myself heal, accepting the scar tissue that will never go away, but believing it is possible to pass for a human so well that eventually I become one. Then again, as Rutger Hauer’s replicant puts it in ‘Blade Runner’ (based on ‘Do Androids Dream…’): ‘all these things will be lost in time – like tears in the rain’


  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying what has been extremely difficult for me to put into words so others can understand the abuses I suffered. Profound for me is all I can say, as I read your blog I found myself in a place that I hadn’t been before, I could actually feel. I wasn’t outside my body, I no longer felt like an empty shell or an android aimlessly walking through life. You have not only touched me but helped me in a way I didn’t think possible. I am truly grateful for your contribution to my survival and the share of your story. I have been carrying this heavy burden for nearly 30 years of my life. Recovery is new for me since I attempted to bury my past, which of course is impossible to do. Sending Hugz!


  7. I love your post!…It hurts me to read about your experience; yet it somehow strengthens me so much!!!!
    Frankly you and all those survivors out there make me proud to be a woman!!!!Such powerful voices you have. Its a shame that some people out there choose to look the other side than help out when you needed to be helped. Healing within is a choice and its wonderful how you have become so intuned with yourself.
    I do believe in the coming years there will be a greater rise of survivors like you and believers like me helping survivors like you. I would like you to read my blog post on http://www.upliftingreflections.wordpress.com on Jesus and the Prostitute.
    All I have to say is you have nothing to be ashamed about anymore!!!…Do not ever let anyone tell you otherwise or condemn you for your past!Its done!!!. I know the scars can be deep but please remember you have healing available in a God that loves you and has always stood up for you. I do pray you receive healing both physically, emotionally. Hugggsssss!!!


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