Adapting to Hell

I am exhausted by the constant refrain that prostitution is not an issue because many of the prostituted may say they are happy in the world of the sex trade.

I find unsurprising that many women inside prostitution would say – but what saddened is how their word is taken on the surface.

It is almost like the only many want to hear is the voices of the Happy Hooker, or the prostitute who speak to a script that means outsiders do not have to be concern about conditions for the prostituted.

It is very hard for me not to be cynical, as see no analysis of why a prostitute may say she is fine, no interest in her past or if she has any future.

The words of the Happy Hooker is fossilised and kept under glass.

She is kept struck in a time – the time she under the control of a punter, the time when the sex trade can pour poison into her.

The time without hope, the time without contact with reality, the time where all thoughts have to vanish.

And you make the choice to take her at her word.

Do you purposely ignore that there is mental abuse in every aspect of the sex trade?

Do you purposely frame sexual violence inside the sex trade as non-events or play-acting?

Do you purposely decide in a random fashion that if a prostitute is paid – then that must be her full consent to being made into sexual goods?

Tell why you choose to believe beyond evidence, beyond common sense and ignoring the real – that a prostitute must be happy and independent just coz her word.

I worked in Women’s Aid, and expected battered women to say over and over that they loved their abuser, that with work they could stop the violence, that everything would be fine.

I know many women or girls raped by a man they knew well or lived with – heard many times how it was an accident, that it must have been something she did.

I have read accounts of kidnapped victims who adapt so much they think the kidnapper is the only person who can care for them.

I know many survivors of torture adapt by blocking out the bad and clinging hold tight to any good that comes their way.

It is normal to adapt to hell if there appears to no end, no hope, so thoughts that the outside cares if you are alive or dead.

If you can see and understand the battered, woman, the incested child, the soldier in the front-line, or those tortured for their beliefs will adapt by saying they are fine.

You know to question their words, and not see just the surface smile, but looks for embedded suffering.

Why then do you do the same for the prostituted?

I would say it is wilful ignorance that is being a bystander to the daily genocide of the prostituted class.

It is like you are a toddler, who thinks if you shut your eyes tight enough then nothing bad can ever happen.

You refuse to see the ordinary sexual violence that is prostitution – instead you name it sex work, say it must be ok for it chosen, say all the violence is just acting out.

You refuse to see the deaths and disappearances that destroy the concept that like any other job, maybe a wee bit more dangerous.

Refuse to know that it is common that the prostituted are killed or died before they 27. That the known murders of the prostituted is estimated to 12 to 20 times more than women or girls of similar age or background.

How many jobs do you know where murder is just considered to work risk.

I know many jobs where working conditions are life-threatening – but that is not murder, it is either accidental or manslaughter.

I do not know of many or any jobs where rape is the job, where all sexual violence or harassment is just what your role is.

I do not think miners, deep-sea fishermen, workers in fast-food expect on a regular basic to be anally raped, to forced to deep-throat, and to smile when in sexual agony.

All this sexual, mental and sexual abuse of the prostituted is hidden in plain view – and let’s be honest to not see that hell is a choice.

So wake and smell the coffee – learn to see below the image of the Happy Hooker.

Learn to open your heart to compassion, your mind to empathy.

Learn that the prostituted have to adapt to survive – so maybe the word of the Happy Hooker is just voice of the sex trade, leaving an empty shell.

It your job to go below those words, and find the human in every prostitute that is screaming –


There must be more – more than this Hell.

5 responses to “Adapting to Hell

  1. Powerful and unforgettable content and writing style. Thank you for sharing to reminding us about the realities of prostitution so we cannot become complacent.


  2. None of us are happy here, some of the richer of us seem to have deluded themselves that the lies of enjoying it must continue once they leave the brothel in the morning and follow them to their activism, as if the patriarchy would reward such self-silencing in “feminism”, or that self-denial is somehow “agency”.


  3. I will write more in the future. Yes payment for sex is vile. In another context payment for sex could be seen as corrupt as payment for votes in any election experience – club, local, national etc.

    Totally corrupt.

    Violating the human spirit where each individual, can declare its interests, and flourish and blossom

    Sex should be freely given and freely taken.

    But often the absolutely right right right campaigning against the happy hooker, against payment for sex often cuts out any opportunity to say that while coerced, forced or financially driven sex is disgusting, abominable, vile, at the same time, sex freely given and freely received is wonderful, and many many people including me want more more more of it.

    I was touched by sexual abuse in my family but then I was left alone. For many many years I wanted to explore and enjoy sex and love in all its manifestations but because I was left alone, shunned, kept out of life’s subtleties, flirtations, subtexts etc, this did not happen.

    Then, when I was 47 my life’s circumstances changed and I was introduced to life’s subtleties, life’s flirtations, life’s subtexts. For the next 23 years I have been able to explore, enjoy and experience both the happiness and pain of human relationships.

    I’m not very good at it, being a late starter.

    I acknowledge your pain which I can never experience. But can you please allow a mention in some of your communications that sex, freely given and freely enjoyed is Good.

    I have been unable to ally myself to the Fawcett Society because of this but would like to develop a dialogue with the Society in the future.

    Your postings are enabling me to develop my thinking on all of this. This has never happened in the 20-odd years since I found out about the abuse in my family (and the abuse that I believe happened to me).

    Your postings are the first for this.

    Thank you so much. I am starting to feel that after 20 years I am reaching someone out there who understands what I am talking about. I will probably post a lot. You don’t need to answer, I pick up stuff from your postings – I am so glad you have not blocked me. Please understand I am trying to get a dialogue going.

    (I logged on to post about music and how it is different for all of us, and how it can dig too deep into too much pain and vulnerability, but then also how another time, later, maybe it can heal and allow us to just have a good time, rejoice, rejoice.



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