Be In My Skin

I am overwhelmed by grief and full of body memories.

Sometimes, being an exited woman is so hard, so terrifying and so exhausting. It is living inside memories of multiple sexual, mental and physical violence.

To say memories is so calm, so detached and so easy to write. It nothing like my reality.

My skin is screaming to its truths – screaming to release small portions of its sickness.

Only always remember my personal is not therapy – it does not work that way.

My personal is highly political, for every torture placed into me was common in the sex trade – it is knowing that makes me go forward with my work.

My skin screams with knowing what mental violence is done to the prostituted.

The mental violence of daily being made invisible – prostitutes are everywhere, but most people refused to see them.

The mental violence of constantly being told is just work, maybe nasty work, but work so why complained. It never an issue of human rights, that is just being ridiculous.

The mental violence of be made always sub-human – so sub-human a prostitute has no emotions, has no pain, and is just a machine for men to use and throw away.

The mental violence of being force to smile, made to be always happy – no matter what hell is put into your body and mind, you must be the happy hooker.

Be in my skin – and know the mental violence is rotting me away.

Be in my skin – as body memories bring back the physical violence that was my norm inside prostitution.

Know physical violence is in every aspect of the sex trade – it is used to control, it is part of most porn forced into the prostituted’s bodies, it is made into a joke, it just always there as background noise.

My skin is poisoned by all this physical violence – it is in every cell of my body.

Physical violence used to control as my managers/pimps used beatings real or threatened to keep me sub-human.

Control as I was put in with sadistic punters, if it was felt I was becoming a human or having some dignity.

I was strangled so much – it was my norm.

I was bashed all over my body, bashed into walls, bashed to lose consciousness, bashed because I showed I had a brain – bash for making punter see I was an individual.

Physical violence made me lose hope, made me forget about dignity, made me try to be nothing.

And the worse, was it a joke to most profiteers and punters.

You be in my skin, as physical violence is so normal and so sadistic, and done not by one or three men, but by so many men, you will lose count – be in that skin, and tell me you would keep your dignity and believing in hope.

Be in my skin, and know what it is to live inside knowing sexual torture and/or rape will at any time – know that it is non-violence that is rare in prostitution.

Know that to be raped just by penis in vagina is rare in prostitution – most punters are full of porn.

Porn tells them that penis in vagina is boring, it may be how you rape “good” women, but with whores there are multiple ways to rape and torture.

Only of course, porn teaches men it is impossible to rape or even sexually abuse the prostituted – so once you have pay money or some form of exchange – there will no holds barred.

Think of all the worse you know inside porn – and know it being put into the prostituted all the time everywhere.

Know that your worse imagination is usually just the tip of the iceberg of the hate and violence that these porn-fuelled punters put into the prostituted’s bodies.

I lived when “Deep Throat” was everywhere.

My skin is choking still from all the penises forced deep down my throat, my skin still remembers going unconscious, my skin is still puking up that porn forced into my body.

When I was prostituted – it was fun for punters to play at killing the whore – seeing porn so fulled of cutting up whores, porn of gang-raping whores and then disappearing their bodies.

These punters would nearly kill me, then laugh. My nightmares are drowning in their laughter. My nightmares are full of their constant re-telling of sadistic porn films or books.

My skin cannot forget – however much I write, I speak out and go forward.

It is inside me – and it forces me to be political.

My 2011

2011 has been a year where I have discovered how to have emotions, this is terrifying, but it is a wonderful start to finding how to be a true and full human.

One big event this year was the Slutwalks that spread like a virus for a few months, then quieted down when the weather got cold.

I hope beyond hope it was just a craze, but that type of fun-feminism was everywhere in 2011, especially when trying to have serious debates about porn and prostitution.

Fun-feminism is the handmaiden of the profiteers of the sex trade – for their message is that being inside the sex trade is just work, it will be empowering for women, that porn is an issue of freedom of speech for the users and producers of porn, that prostitution is ok if it is put indoors and made legitimate – that the only reason problem is that others shame women inside the sex trade.

There is no talk of human rights, no talk of male violence to the women inside the sex trade, no talk of how most prostituted women started before they were 15, no talk of being made sub-humans, no talk of any previous violence done to women inside the sex trade – there is no talk that it is all about profit and making women into disposable goods.

This is the background to Slutwalks, this is why there is no placed for the prostituted or exited women on these marches.

I can never or forgive that it was stated “Being a Slut is whether it is for pleasure or for work”

“For work” is their weak way of including women inside the sex trade. It is ok coz it is just work, so we mustn’t worry too much about any violence too much, for it can solved by putting in unions and having safer working conditions.

That is so naive, or just a conscious choice not to care.

Violence is endemic in all aspects of the sex trade, degradation is the norm for the vast majority of women and girls in all aspects of the sex trade.

That is not work – that is a form of slavery.

We should be marching to end this slavery – not to put in alarms, not to put it behind closed doors – we don’t need to tidy it up, we need to fight to abolish every aspect of the sex trade.

A major concern of mine in 2011 has been how language is used to silenced exited women who fight for abolition.

Sex work is used everywhere to make it sounds as if prostitution and other aspects of the sex trade are relatively non-violent and a good career for women.

Sex work is used by the general media instead of prostituted women – coz then the listener or reader will think it might be a little bad, but more than likely it a woman’s free choice and in the long run (very long run) it could be empowering to her, or at the very least solve her immediate problems.

This use of language is crafted by the profiteers of the sex trade for it keeps the focus on the prostituted and away from the male violence from consumers and profiteers of the sex trade.

2011 as I said is the beginning of finding that I have emotions.

I have very sick this year, have felt I was losing it when in reality I coming back into being fully human.

This year I have felt a deeper grief than I could imagine.

I am grieving all that was stolen from me, grieving having to live as the living dead in order to survive, grieving that I was so lost for so long.

My grief is huge, it has only just begun.

I have touch a fury that fuels all my work.

With fury, I find it easy to ignore and never publish those who try to normalise the sex trade, and to make out it just something that has always been with us, so will always be there.

With fury, I can look with a forensic eye at how and why it was and is acceptable to torture women and girls inside the sex trade – and this is made invisible, it also made into a non-event.

With fury, I see a multi-billions dollars sex trade business is seen as just entertainment and a bit of fun – as every moment of every day is committing genocide against the prostituted class.

And I am letting the terror that was buried in order to escape the sex trade.

Now, all the tortures put into my body and mind come out through body memories – it is agonising but it is also a gift to know my own truth.

That is a very shortened version of my 2011.

I will only go forward – thanks everyone who have supported me.

The Personal Is Political

I use this blog to write what appears personal – but everything that I do for the public gaze is political.

I craft my personal history, I only say the parts that happening to thousands of prostituted women and girls. My history is unique and sadly extremely common.

That is why I must write for my history is for too many prostituted women and girls their present.

I do not write to heal – I have others ways to do that.

And also I not that convince that you can heal from many years of extreme torture. I believe you can mend, I believe you can build a brilliant future – but there is always deep holes and scars from the past.

For me, writing is not about healing  – it is about digging deep for the truths, it about changing minds to get true justice for the prostituted through building a path to abolition, it about facing emotions that I thought had been murdered – it is not healing, but may be a way to find how to be fully human.

I write what I would witness writing. This means knowing I cannot changed my past, I cannot give back what was stolen – but as a witness who somehow came out alive, I have the skill to write towards the truth.

This is very hard, very exhausting – but it is also the most wonderful thing I have ever done.

I view my past with a cold forensic eye – when writing I cannot pity, I cannot allow my personal feelings in. It is too important for me to not write with a clear eye.

It is too important to lay bare the common brutality that is and was indoors.

Every torture that went through my body is going through prostituted women and girls in every continent, every city, inside flats and hotels on your doorstep.

That is why I write.

I find it patronising that when exited speak out in highly political voices – when they are clearly using the personal to make a huge connection with all trapped inside prostitution – always it put down by “well that’s sad, but it is just their personal story”.

For it is decided that exited woman can never see beyond her own history – it is decided she too damaged to see the bigger picture.

Well, the exited women I read, listen to and have friendship with not only know the bigger picture – they have vast panorama of how the sex trade is destroying all women and girls right to be fully human.

We know we are never unique to the men that were using – we knew to every punter that went through us, one whore is the same as another.

Each prostitute has a unique history, has individual loves and passions, has her own private dreams – but none of that matters to the sex trade, to punters or to any societies that condone prostitution.

To be considered to be a whore – means having no individuality, no voice, no rights and no hope.

To labelled as the prostitute – means knowing you a fuck-object, that you will thrown away when men are bored of you.

To be a prostitute is to have no existence outside the male gaze and command.

That is why my writing even as it appear personal is always political.

It is the politics of saying – we were never and are not nothing – no we have an immense power.

For if and when we speak our truths, we begin to rip apart male command over women and girls.

When we speak of the cold hate of punters – how they rape, batter and murder the prostituted not from passion, some sexual sadism, but the cold hate of knowing she is under their control, she has no rights and so he do as he wills. She is nothing – so all violence put into her means nothing.

We speak and say in clear stubborn voices that we were always something, we were always unique – so each piece of violence put into us is now remembered, and now we have the to say what was done to force real change and give justice to all the prostituted.

We cannot stop what happened to us, we may never repair all the mental, physical and sexual harms done to us – but we can be part of a movement that give hope to the prostituted.

That is why I write.

It so big the personal – it is never a narrow “story”.

It is always political.

Ghosts of Christmases Past

I now love Christmas – but for much of my life I was terrified of this time of year. It was like seeing hell stretching before me.

I started to re-invent Christmas since I knew I was safe enough, since my thirties.

But in this post, I will explore the ghosts that prostitution put into me.

I only write because it should be knowed that Christmas is made hell for the prostituted, especially inside the so-called high-class end.

I cannot be clear, I am writing through the fog of grief, fog of seeing terror I wish I did not know, fog of the confusion of time and place when everything was so repetitive –  the thick fog of extreme trauma.

I will write as it comes, I may write in a poem – I will write to enter my truths, even as they rip my stomach in half.

I remember from that fog, I did girlfriend experiences during the holiday season.

I hate that expression “girlfriend experience” – it sounds so tame, so civilised, so kind and even sound sophisticated. It is none of that – it is imprisonment, it is sordid, it is fake, and it is usually posh slavery.

Punters who want the girlfriend experience want at Christmas/New Year does, to give the illusion they possess a real girlfriend – only out sight to make her into dirt, and always reminds her that she is just a whore.

He wants to dress her up, wants her to be polite to his family and friends, want to act and look intelligent for that small amount of time.

But, never too intelligent, never do anything to show him up.

She must be pampered and beautiful – his possession to say look I get the girl that everyone else fancies, see I am not nothing.

She is there for his promotion, there coz he is really gay, there to show he is no loner, there to say I am the nice guy.

She is nothing expect what he makes her.

I would dance, I would talk, I would be careful not to drink too much – but I was empty.

Only memory makes clear that emptiness was never empty, only I had no words that I could speak, and no way I would be seen.

Inside, I was on constant alert. Alert to spend as little time alone with the punter, alert to never get drunk in case I say too much or be too vulnerable, alert that no-one in the room knew from other parts of my life.

Inside, I was full of fury. Fury that I was invisible as I was being brought and sold, fury that he was assumed to be a decent bloke, and the fury that I was not screaming and exposing the hypocrisy of it all.

But mostly I was silent, coz I knew I would always have to be alone with the punter.

Then I knew more than likely, than I would know real hell.

The men that make the choice to buy girlfriend experience, want to own her not just for sex, they want her mind, they want to break her time to find all she has to keep private to stay sane.

I was kept by some of these punters for many hours, for days and in the worse cases for months.

I was broken down, and made to be every porn-dream they had that their woman should be.

I was used to sadistic sex – my mind and body had been trained to accept the unacceptable from a very young age. But nothing prepared me for the girlfriend experience.

I was used to being sexually tortured, but usually it was just sexual violence – no words, no communication, no recognition that I was human. All I was a living thing for punters to fuck.

But girlfriend experience was a level of hell I could never imagine.

It was that I made to imagine there was some normality, as we eat meals, chatted like friends, and even watch TV.

I would slip into stupidity – and imagine I was seen, imagine I could be liked, imagined I was more than a fuck-object.

I fall into remembering that I was human – I became vulnerable, forgot to be tough and hard.

It was then I was always pushed back into who I had been made – a dirty little whore who deserve to be hurt.

And so when I sexually tortured for hours on end, as I was not allowed to sleep, as doors were locked on me, as my body was bashed round the room – I could never forgive myself for imaging that they could have been decent blokes, never forgive myself for imaging I was ever more that a whore.

Now, I see that time, and grief clamps down on my heart.

I love the spirit in me then, that so wanted to believe in hope, see the good in others, and wanted simple pleasures – it was always even as so many were smashing it out of me.

I see me then, and know I remain a good person, even as I thought I was worth nothing – I was always able to keep going forward, when I thought I was dying.

I was in hell – and I am very proud that when I somehow left that world – I became someone who knows joy, a person who still good in others, a person who believe in seeing the present to build a future, a person not afraid to confront my past.

I am proud of who I am – for I always know where I come from.

Every Day a Bonus

I am now a free woman now – I say that and I get scared.

I stopped being raped as my norm when I waas 27, today I am 49 today, and I still live with fear of that time.

It is mostly background noise, mostly a sickness that follows me.

But each day I wake, each day I have more distance from being a sex object, each day I become more into my skin – each day is a bonus that I am alive.

In so many ways – like so exited women will know – we should be dead.

There is no way exited women were meant to survive the horrors of prostitution – and if they do live, they must forget, or at least say it was great.

Exited women are inconvenient – they will not shut up if they say it was hell; they go on and on and on about no more women and girls being made into fuck-objects; they keep whining on about trauma – exited women keep speaking the inconvenient truths.

That is why society and the sex trade would rather prostituted women and girls would just have the decency to die.

Don’t say it is institutionalised rape, rape on an industrial scale. Don’t say it rape until there no words left, rape in every cell of the prostitutes’ body, rape that makes her the living dead.

Don’t say the men that buy the prostituted make a conscious choice to make her nothing but an object he will wank into, that he is the one that makes the conscious choice whether to be violent or not, that his choices make him a rapist, a sadist, have no empathy – his choices make him a criminal.

Don’t say that sexual torture is the norm for most prostituted women and girls, that living with death is the norm for most prostituted women and girls, that living is a miracle for most prostituted women and girls.

Don’t say that prostitution is nothing to do with sex – it got no communication, no respect, no seeking of equality, no care if she is killed or seriously injured – it is not sex, it is all about the money, the power over the prostituted, the ability to make women and girls into dirt.

Don’t say any of this – don’t go near the truths, lies are easier to digest.

To stop these words being spoken, society and the sex trade wants exited women dead.

Our truths rip apart all excuses for the endless making of fuck-toys to buy and sell.

The excuse, the boring excuse – that prostitution is the “oldest profession”. Well, that is just bullshit, and only said by those who want to always to have access to a class of women and girls named as the prostituted.

It is said to pretend prostitution is just a job, maybe a nasty and scary job – but it has no connection to slavery. No connection except having the right to safety taken away from the prostituted including high likelihood of death, no connection except freedom of movement is stolen from the prostituted, no connection except the prostituted have no voice of power in most societies.

That is just a few connections with slavery, there are countless others, it mirrors slavery. It is the largest form of slavery in the world in modern times.

The sickening excuse and lie that we must have prostituted women and girls, to stop sadists from raping and sexually torturing “real” women and girls.

How can anyone say that without stopping half way through speaking. You are saying it is ok to rape, to torture, to destroy the very essence of the prostituted – so long as it keep in that neat little box, as long it doesn’t infect “normal” society.

Well, you think that, you are the sickness destroying society.

You think that – then be honest, and say straight that you believe that the prostituted are sub-humans.

The excuse and constant lie that if prostitution was just legal and all put indoors everything will be fine.

Said by those who loved the profits made from disposable prostituted class, said by politicians who see easy routes to more taxes, said by women who think a man who goes with a “clean” prostitute is better than he has an affair.

It is rubbish, but easy to believe rubbish.

There is nothing safe or ever can be made safe enough about indoors prostitution. It is being behind closed doors, often guarded by profiteers wishing harm on the prostituted – shut in a room with a punter who has time and space to be sadistic or not, to rape in many complicated ways, to film if he wants, to bring in others to gang-rape – it is to be in a room where often as one sadist pig leaves another one arrives.

You may well say that is just the harsh end of prostitution, it must the criminal end, it is must be rare – well it is common, it condoned and made normal by most societies, and the “harshness” is just what the prostituted are meant to do as their “job”.

But you may say escorting and so-called girlfriend experience is safe and nice, if you are to do prostitution, why not go for the posh end.

Ha ha ha – hollow harsh laughter. Maybe if you read porn or cheap pro-sex trade propaganda, then you will believe there anything safe about escorting and being girlfriend experience. In many ways, it can be the most dangerous form of prostitution.

You are shut alone in a room with a punter with no idea how violent he may be. He will think he is entitled to have whatever sexual act his porn-head can imagine – he will rape, he will tied you up, he could force your head down a toilet, he can smashed into walls, he will do anal and oral rape, he will make your body his property.

It is his choice if he decide not to be a sadist, not to make the prostitute into nothing but living porn.

For many prostitutes who are with rich punters, with punters who have power and status to have all their violence made invisible – are not raped and tortured for an hour or a night – these men/bastards have the power and money to own the prostitute for weeks or months.

These prostituted women and girls have their voices stolen – for who believes a “whore” against a man of status, a man of fame, a man who society decides is the good man.

This is furious post – but as this my birthday, I say let my words stir some to enough anger to do more than reading my words, more than just saying how strong and courageous I and all other exited women are.

I want you to act.

I want to support abolitionist movements, I want you to support the Nordic approach, I want to seek out and digest the multiple voices of exited women – I wanted to think beyond stereotypes and simple views of prostitution.

Make my birthday have some meaning, that is the best present you can give me.

My Heart-Felt Dreams

I could write with detachment, but grief is eating at my essence – and all that is left is to say is why I must dream hard.

I have no idea how I survived prostitution – all I know is by surviving, and the slow recovery of memory and seeing my truths – that I must write to part of the movement to free the prostituted class.

I have no choice but to say my truths – even as it forces horrific body memories into me; even as memory show the true hate and violence that countless punters and profiteers put into my mind and body; even as my writing makes me exhausted and sick.

I have no choice but to say my truths – for I cannot and will allow the lies and propaganda of those who support the sex trade to control all information about the prostituted class; for I speak with the million of prostituted women and girls still trapped inside the hell named prostitution, and with the many exited women living with extreme trauma; for I cannot be silent knowing every minute of every day prostitutes are being sexually tortured, raped, discarded, forced into hard-core porn and murdered.

I write for the vast majority of prostituted women and girls who have had hope and their very essence stolen from them. I write from a place of pain and grief – but I am always thankful that I have the inner strength to keep my voice , so many brilliant prostituted women and girls have had their voices stolen.

So I dream very hard.

I dream that the Nordic Approach becomes the normal way to start the road to abolition of prostitution.

I dream that men will one day wonder with horror and disgust, that in the past so many males thought it was their right to buy and sell the prostituted class. That it viewed as barbaric, as some stupidity of past male nature.

I dream that if we live in a world where prostitution was dead – that we learn from that time of callousness, we learn never to make any into a fuck-object – we learn never to say there must be a “need” for men to buy sex.

I dream we kick all the excuses to the curb.

Be it prostitution is a social service – think of all those ugly men, disabled men, men who cannot communicate with “real” women.

Be it that prostitution prevent rape to “real” women – so it is ok to sexually torture a prostitute.

Be it prostitution is ok if it made legal and put indoors – sure, no man would ever batter and rape a prostitute when shut in a room alone with her. Sure sex trade profiteers care so much about laws and are so respectful to their prostituted goods.

Be it prostitution is fine if the prostitute is over 18 – for there never hate and violence put onto adult prostitutes by punters and profiteers. or even if she may of enter prostitution under-aged, suddenly at 18 she is in total control of her life and will therefore be safe enough for society to turn its back on her.

I could go on, but these endless excuses, and pity-fests for the sex trade profiteers and punters, are in all my work.

I dream I can live in a world where those excuses are destroyed – making space for the voice of the prostituted class to be heard.

I have to dream – for anger, grief and pain need to dream that there must be some space in this planet for the prostituted – we cannot be discarded forever.

I must dream harder.

You Are So Cold

I dedicate to all my Sister exited women who may understand where I coming from.
It is expected to be emotional after exiting the sex trade, this is rarely true. But to not have emotions is made that the woman must be cold, and the ignorant response to that coldness is that she must ok.

Well, if it really was that bad she would be crying, she would have a massive temper, she may be attempting suicide on a regular basis.

She would a wreck – which is good, for many outsider can deal with the exited woman better if she their image of the prostituted victim.

I do not understand why anyone think most exited women would have emotions – when most prostituted women and girls survived by being roles, by acting tough, and especially by hiding all emotions.

Why would any exited woman trust those in the outside world enough to show the depths of her emotions, when all around her are reminders of her betrayal?

Is it that you want her to be emotional so you can feel better about yourself – so you can have the power-trip of playing the role of a carer, so you can distract yourself from that you could be her, so you only focus on her as an individual and ignore that the structure of sex trade that tried to destroy her – ignore that you are part of a society that condones that daily destruction.

Is that why you have such a need for exited women to be emotional?

I say that most women who are lucky enough to exit the sex trade, often need their pride and self-respect as much as they need oxygen. To lay bare too many emotion to please others, is a destruction of that pride.

Do not expect or demand that an exited woman will or can trust you, just because you say you are friendly and trustworthy. Do not push her – you could push towards the deadness of the sex trade again.

Instead know if an exited woman make the choice to be emotional with you, to speak to the truth of her own experiences – it is a great honour and gift she is giving you.

Let it be freely given, not demanded or taken from her.

Know the reality of the sex trade – is to survive being inside that hell the prostituted woman or girl has to learn to have no emotions, or to play the emotions that are demanded from her.

To be a good prostitute, a good porn actress, a good stripper, good at massage, good mail-order bride and so many other sex trade roles – you must learn the coded emotions that mean you may survive.

The major emotions to know and learn is to smile, the calming emotions to please men, the ignorance of disgust, the emotions of the willing hostess-slave.

Learn that role and you may stay alive. May for at any time, in any place and regardless how good you are at your role – any punter or profiteer can kill you out of some whim or to prove he is a man.

You may survive – if you ignore the urge to kill yourself, or to live so close to death that you may “by accident” fall into death.

Surviving the sex trade is just luck – how can it not be, when so many amazing prostituted women and girls have left us.

But a major way to have the chance to survive is to murder all emotions – and play the role of the perfect porn-toy.

That is something that is impossible for the majority of exited women to speak about – hell, it nearly impossible for most to know in their own minds and hearts.

It is hard to express how to survive you did the lowest, the things that sickened every cell of your body – you did what punters demanded, you did what managers/profiteers made you into.

How can words or writing truly express that desperate need to survive that nearly kill all that was human in you.

All you do is find some peace for what you had to be – and know you did the most amazing act possible – you exited that hell.

Is it any wonder that exited women appears tough and unemotional?

For me, they are all the greatest heroes I know of.

I don’t need to see emotions to believe that.

What’s in a Name

Because of broken glasses and a broken mind, I have not been able to write this week.

This week I feel broken inside, but know it is a strength not a weakness. For this slow breaking up is coming back into becoming fully human.

This is the place I am writing this post from, after that brief preamble, I will try to get to the point – but I not afraid to explore by rambling.

This post is exploring why I write under my real name, what a name means to me.

I know for many their own name is so familiar that they may forget it belongs to them. Their name is no big deal.

That is not always true for prostituted women – many of whom lose track of their real name or in some cases to survive by forgetting  they had a name.

To have a name that you can announce before you, is to know you are fully human and that your presence has some impact.

Many prostituted women and girls do not have that luxury. Too many accept their nothingness by accepting the names given to them by the sex trade. Too many survive being made into sex objects by refusing to speak any name.

Too many have come to believe their name are words of violence – slut, whore, bitch, cunt, slave, slag and so many more words they get lost in the wind.

What’s in a name for the prostituted – personally, I would say it is everything. To regain that you can use your real name, is part of the beginning of regaining a life that belongs to the exited woman.

When I was prostituted, I lived inside a confused haze, a haze of refusing sleep, a haze of always expecting some form of violence, a haze of going dead to perform the happy hooker inside whatever trash was thrown at me.

In that environment, my name meant nothing.

Usually I give no name, naming me was pointless when I was just an object to fuck, smash and pretend to kill.

But on occasions, I give out my real name. My name meant nothing to me, it was never connected to my existence. It was just words spoken by the living dead.

My name was killing me then – now I want to use my name to say that I am alive.

My name now is spoken with pride.

Pride that I not only survived, but remembered enough to fight with fury and grief to say no more damage to women and girls in the name of the sex trade.

Pride that I have a name – I was not made into a statistic of yet another dead prostitute, a statistic of yet another exited woman so mentally destroyed she is still distanced from her real name.

I am proud – but it is a pride that drowns in grief, that so names of brilliant women and girls from the sex trade are lost and never known.

A name is everything – when for large parts of your life you have been nothing.

A name is saying I am an individual, not an object for any punter or profiteer to buy and sell.

A name is reclaiming what it is to be human – after or many years of forgetting that any part can be known as human. Years of believing your purpose was to nameless holes to be filled, nameless pieces of the body to get fuck, hit and tortured.

Being nothing but what punters and profiteers make and then name you as. You may named whore, stripper, escort, common prostitute, phone sex, brought wife, and endless other names that make you lose your essence.

Who needs a name when no punter or profiteer see you, only see the role they have predetermined for you. You are nothing but goods – whether those goods are under-aged whores, whores of every ethnicity or culture to destroyed; whether the goods are made “posh” named as escorts, girlfriend material, a wife that is brought online or in sex tourism.

None of these need names – just get on and please the punter and profiteer – give her no name beyond that role, then we all can pretend no real damage is done to her, she is just an object after all.

Getting back a name is to let in that there was masses of damage done not just in general to the prostituted – but allow in the terror and grief that huge damage was done to the individual exited prostituted woman.

To get back a name to say and know that all control was stolen – that is why having a name meant so little.

To get back a name is to feel with a consciousness the injuries, the rapes, the tortures and the near-death experiences that were all too common in prostitution. Getting back a name, allows in the pain and the grief, and the knowledge there was no protection from that violence and hate.

To get back a name is to know by remembering that was a position of no power or control – to remember how it is have no choice, and to fight for a world where no woman or girl become so lost inside the sex trade.

I have a name because I survive enough to fight the sex trade.

Without Hope, What Are We

THIS POST IS WRITTEN WITH ALL MY AMAZING EXITED FRIENDS DEEP IN MY HEART

I have incredible sadness today, the sadness from the centre of lost hope.

The centre of what it really was to be trapped inside the sex trade, the place that hope appears a million miles away.

For the last 14 hours, I have touched that place.

I dig deep into that place, I find hope never left, it just was terrified to show too much life.

But hope can never truly leave – for then that would death.

I do not know how I can write that – with my logical mind I know that it is a fact; but my gut, my bleeding heart – there is the opposite.

Saying hope was a con, was a betrayal – hope was slowly killing me as I saw no exit from a living hell.

How can I speak of a fight for hope for the prostituted – when I lived a time where all hope was stolen from me?

I know the easy answer, that I and so many other wonderful exited women in the end discover hope was a real solid thing – not some trick to keep us trapped.

I know that – but I also cannot forget the middle of having no hope, the middle when all that hope was a con to make us forget for a short while, we were nothing but a sex object.

I know the time when hope had been destroyed so much, that we the prostituted lost who we were.

For what can a human be if they know no hope.

I know that middle where nothing can matter, nothing can have any impact.

Being alive is a matter of going through the motions – a time where being alive is just huge sick joke.

That is living without hope. That is the environment that far too many prostituted women and girls endured – as too much of the world turns a blind eye or imagine the prostituted must be happy.

How can any prostitute believe in hope, when her reality is to a machine for men to rape?

How can any prostitute believe in hope, when any time her manager/pimp can move away from all she knows and more than likely into increased violence?

How can any prostitute believe in hope, when she is surrounded by other prostitutes disappearing and everyone acting as if they never existed?

What is hope in that environment?

I suppose I write this scream of despair – to say if you are fighting and campaigning to end prostitution, than you are the hope for those who feel they have been abandoned.

Every time you believe the word of a prostituted woman, every time you sign a petition for real change in the sex trade, every time you refuse the term sex work, every time you speak up for the prostituted, every time you to change laws, every time you work with prostituted women living with trauma – you are a massive part of giving back hope to women and girls who had forgotten it existed.

In our despair – you can be a small guiding light.

A light to find our own inner spirit to find hope never really left – just the hate and terror was too strong for hope to raise it head up.

Show us the way to hope, and so fast many prostituted will know their own dignity and find their own paths to full exiting.

A Piece by Taylor Lee

From Not for Sale”.  This piece goes to places that so few survivors have the strength to be open about.

“IN AND OUT:  A SURVIVOR’S MEMOIR OF STRIPPING

SLOW SUICIDE

The silence is stifling; a slow suicide that can only be stopped by voice and truth. Each time I conquer my fear for a moment and let my thoughts take form in words, I fight death. Each time I expose my wounded soul, I sign a contract to live another day and encourage others to do the same.

I originally intended to write a chapter rich with psycho-social theory and analysis of stripping. Writing a research paper, analysing others’ experiences and theorising about them is easier than processing and explaining your own experiences. Yet facts, abstract and removed from immediacy and emotion, do not change the world. In addition, silence equals a slow suicide for those of us who have gotten out of the sex industry. So I have decided to base this chapter on my personal story. My story shows how a woman enters prostitution, why she stays in prostitution, and how she gets out, if she does. Although my experiences is not representative of all women in prostitution, many elements of it are common among the population that I have worked with, both in the sex industry and then in social service as an advocate for prostituted women.

Many of the poems and journal entries in this chapter were scribbled during the middle of the night, during my second and third years after leaving stripping, in a notebook that I kept at the head of my bed. Some entries seem foreign; I do not remember writing them. Apparently my thoughts and feelings demanded expression; in fact, journaling served as a conduit for emotional and psychic catharsis as it connected thought with affect and past with present. Without this form of release and the processing that followed, I believe that I would still be struck. I would have either returned to the life or lived miserably outside of it.

STRIPPING AS PROSTITUTION

This chapter is largely about stripping in adult entertainment clubs. However, I do not see stripping as a discrete entity, but as a component of the much larger system of prostitution. Accordingly, I use the term ‘prostitution’ to illuminate the true nature of strip clubs that is often concealed by euphemism, strategic presentation, and market positioning. Identifying stripping as a form of prostitution – and strippers as prostituted women – fights the glamorisation and mystification of stripping. Stripping is simply the sale of sexuality: sexual contact for money, shopping trips, expensive dinners, and/or drugs. The sale of sexuality through stripping also leads to the customer’s impression that he has brought the right to touch, grab, slap or otherwise violate, degrade, or devalue the woman stripping.

The connection between prostitution (including stripping) and money is often acknowledged, but the role of economics and power is often misunderstood or unexamined. Many believe that women profit from prostitution, when the largest portion of the profits goes to pimps, club owners, and other businessmen. Many also believe that the women possess the power in stripping. Actually the managers, owners, and investors are the ones in power, even though stripping may feel empowering to the individual woman. For example, club rules forbid dating customers, as the clubs consider such interaction prostitution – but the club’s management, investors, lawyers, and friends are different, of course. The clubs are clearly not concerned with abolishing prostitution, but rather with controlling it. Pleasing the higher-ups is good for business, but taking business out of the club with regular customers is bad for business. The terms ‘prostitution’ and ‘sex industry’ address this reality and highlight the true position of women in stripping as that of commodity.

THEN AND NOW

….

I found this writing months after it had been written and wondered who wrote it. Later I remembered dreaming it. This entry is powerful because it was written at a time when I was trying to walk away from my past but found that I was bound by it.

I spent six years in the sex industry. For most of that time, I was dancing in adult entertainment clubs and traveling throughout the country. The chronology is unclear and events are foggy.

Although the years I spent in the sex industry seem cut off from the rest of my life, a closer analysis reveals clear ties between that time and my earlier experiences. The connection is subtle but profound. My training began in childhood, when I lived in a neighbourhood with boys who spent many hours educating the girls on the block about sex. The boys demonstrated how our body parts could be used. Perhaps it was just child’s play, but I had been alive less than a half-dozen years (clearly long enough to know that this was inappropriate). In any case, I learned then exactly what girls are for.

Afterwards, I only had to turn on the television to learn more about women’s roles. I saw women serving men, existing in the shadow of men, being beautiful, being thin, and loving their lot in life…. I was becoming what I was supposed to be – thin but curved, cute and young but able to be sexy. The first time I had sex, I was raped by someone close enough to my family to call my mother ‘mom’. Now, I was sure what I was for. I knew that my greatest asset was my sexuality and knew how badly it was desired. I also realised that I had little control over my sexuality, that it could be taken at will. It was easy to give it for profit; at least then I was in control.

For most women I know, it is not hard for them to see where their work in prostitution began. I have heard more versions of my own story than I ever imagined I would. Nearly all the stories tell of abuse. Each story ends with entry into work where they profit from the sale of their bodies or sexuality, because they can, and in some cases they must, in order to attain some sense of control in their lives. Funny, I thought I was the only one. I felt isolated and crazy…. So I do – I tell others. Unfortunately, I must be cautious in both personal and professional domains, as many will still cast stones.

Because many women who have worked in the sex industry have difficult histories, they have developed elaborate defence mechanisms and coping strategies. Compartmentlisation is commonly used by prostituted women as a means of protection. By compartmentalising different experiences, a woman is able to have separate arenas of thought and action. In one arena she may be a caring, attentive mother who would do anything for her children, while in another compartment she may be a drug addict who will do anything with anyone for money or a high. Perhaps she is a successful student during the week and a sexy stripper each weekend. Regardless of the details, there is no distinct compartments that are conveniently separate…. Women in the sex industry frequently display selective memory or some type of mental block. The purpose of the denial is to protect oneself from painful experiences like rape or abuse and/or from looking at some of one’s behaviours, like having sex with strangers and pretending to enjoy it.

Both compartmentalisation and memory alteration are dissociative processes that illustrate the presence of trauma before and/or during sex work. As a woman leaves prostitution, she often tries to forget her past and deny any components of her life that are connected to prostitution. She actually needs to recognise that she is the sum total of all of her experiences. The guilt and shame o the past can trap a woman and make getting out of prostitution impossible. Re-framing the past, recognising one’s strengths and gains, is necessary to reduce the shame and guilt enough so that they are no longer stumbling blocks to exiting the life.

SELLING MY SELF

…. It is no longer my own. Virginity stolen. Body desecrated…. My body is not my Self.  Long ago the ties were severed, leaving my body as a vessel for, but disconnected from, my soul.

…. It is not difficult. Once a woman is abused, as a majority of women in the sex industry have been, she gains the powerful skill of dissociation. Once a woman’s ownership rights over her body are stolen, the body becomes foreign, separated from the Self. The body becomes a tool, a weapon, a burden to drag around. The body can then be used for profit or further abuse. Some victims feel betrayed by their bodies and turn to punishing them. The body can be abused with alcohol, food, starvation, self-mutilation, and even death. The victim of abuse is left to frantically seek ways to regain her control (by abusing herself) and ways to increase her power (by abusing others). Promiscuity and prostitution fit here, for if you give sex away it cannot be taken and if you profit economically you are gaining power in this society. It is not difficult at all.

Women often enter the sex industry in attempts to gain power in their lives and control over themselves. Unfortunately, by the time a woman heals and sees what is happening, she is often struck. Addiction to the lifestyle is the norm…. I was furious with him , but even more the fact that what he said is reality for so many women – as if through a revolving door, women leave and return to the sex industry time and again. Addictions bring them back. The addictions include fast money, power, drugs, alcohol, adrenaline, attention, love. Rarely is it a single addiction. Many women don’t even attempt to leave, as they are aware of what they must give up and know that they cannot.

GETTING OUT

…. For each woman it is different. I remember looking around me on my last night of work in a strip club, and I was afraid. Every way I turned I saw zombies, the living dead, pastel people. I realised I was one of them. The lights, the noise, the money, the drinks, the beauty were all distracting mirages. I could not hear my Self, yet I knew I was not the image that others saw. I realised why I had spent so many years in clubs. The commotion outside of me allowed me to exist without looking inside. I did not have to see the confusion or feel the pain within me. As I looked around me that night, I realised that time had healed old wounds. I did not need the distractions to avoid them. In fact, I wanted to hear my inner voice again. I needed to feel again before I disappeared, as I knew I would if I stayed.

Pastel people, you have attained serenity on the surface. Nothing truly excites or agitates. The surges and pulses of creation run deep and muffled. Slough off your social mask. Rejuvenate. Renew the spirit that is life. Soon vibrancy returns; the colours of gemstones and night and light emerge. And with that, passion, rage, true tranquility.

It is simple. As long as a woman has one reason why prostitution is not so bad, as long as she has one benefit to cling to, she is able to continue sex work. On my last day, I saw clearly: No, they are not just lonely guys looking for a friend. No, I do not love existing for their pleasure. No, the money is not making me happy. No, I will not talk to and dance for whoever pays me the most even if I want to spit in his face. I left because I knew I could. Although I could no longer afford the house I rented, I had friends to stay with. I could not pack and move my things by myself, but I had a family who helped me. I could not get financial aid and I could not afford school, but my family lent me money until I could sell my car. I was afraid of all the changes. I felt stigmatised and was certain others would know and judge me…. My mind was set. Nine years later i have a family, a master’s degree, a socially acceptable job, and a future.

As happy as I am on some levels, I am troubled on others…. Most of the women I worked with in the sex industry and in social service could not do the same. They did not have the support. They were not read bedtime stories every night while growing up. While I got out through privilege, many women in prostitution have no other options.

STAYING OUT

For too long my skin has been my passport, my body my resume. How easy for a woman to do. Sexuality disguised as power and liberation soon entraps and limits expression. The remedy: discontinuation of a hyper-sexual identity. Learn how to be in the world, how sexuality can be beautiful, and how to stop allowing sexuality to overshadow all components of identity. Becoming more than parts, or the sum of parts, heals the soul and promises new life. Transition is a difficult necessity.      

A woman is on shaky, new ground when she leaves prostitution. It is not difficult to understand why many women return to the sex industry soon after they try to ‘get out’ (funny that we use that term, as if they are imprisoned). In prostitution, one relies on sexuality as the core of one’s being. Emotions are polluted; relations are clouded; the self is sacrificed for a repertoire confined to the realm of sexuality. Through limited possibilities a limiting expectations, identity is lost. Once the focus shifts and these roles are cast away, the world is strange and unwelcoming. The path is rough and uncharted. Relations seem empty and drab.

I, like most women in the sex industry, had become a character. I had a stage name, a sexual persona, a second identity. Club managers are smart. They encourage this process and help each new recruit dissociate by insisting that she wear costumes and have a stage names and create a ‘bio’: she can become anyone she wants to be. After years, my real name was as foreign as my stage name was familiar. My sexuality had become my most important feature and most valuable trait after years earning a living by magnifying it. When I left the sex industry, I realised that I was out of balance. Like a child, I had to relearn how to have friends based on personality, how to think as an intelligent woman, how to love with my heart. Above all, I had to take time to discover who I am, what I like, what I want. It is hard. It is scary. It is worth it.

After becoming accustomed to daily life outside of prostitution, I realised that things are not so different. The discrimination and devaluing that I faced as a stripper were also present in academia and the rest of the ‘outside’ world. It became obvious that the problem is not only prostitution. The problem is the treatment of and expectations placed on women.  The environment and events may vary, but the story is the same for women everywhere. Women have limited options and face constricting gender role expectations. We are bombarded by images of what we should be. Some insist women have come a long way. I don’t think so. Oppression has become more subtle, more dangerous, since it is hidden.

FREE TO CHOOSE

….

Some proclaim that women are free to choose or resist work in the sex industry. Through my writing, research, and work on the issue I have a different understanding of prostitution. Choice is not so clear any more…. In cases where kidnapping, torture and/or mind control are used to force a woman into prostitution and to keep her there, clearly choice is not applicable. Certainly coercion and exploitation of economics, abuse, and naiveté also need to be taken into account.

My experiences don’t include forced sex work such as sex rings and sexual slavery. I did not get kidnapped or answer to an abusive pimp; there was choice on some level. This allowed me the delusion that I was in control of my destiny. I did not see the connection between my ‘choice’ to enter the sex industry and my past. I did not see that I was primed for this choice through earlier experiences resulting in my Self being severed from my body, in my awareness that my a sexuality/body was my most valued asset, and in my finding power only through sexuality. I was not conscious of the manipulation and coercion that occurred on a personal and societal level.

In retrospect, manipulation and coercion led to my entry into the sex industry and then to my remaining there. Manipulation was subtle…. Further, economics rewards and social acceptance (in that arena) were directly connected to my popularity and what I was willing to do. The terms ‘stripper’ and ‘prostitute’ were replayed with ‘adult entertainer’ and ‘escort’ to separate us hard-working, ethical professionals from the sleazy type (the difference being the wardrobe and environment, not the function or dynamics). The coercion I faced did not involve physical force. Instead the coercion was emotional and psychological in nature….

MOVING ON

…. The road out of prostitution has been long and tough. I have gone through stages of stabilising, normalising, forgetting the past, hiding the past, then processing, accepting, and finally integrating past, present and future into my Self. Simply regaining relative physical and mental health was a year-long process. Normalising – becoming a part of the day world, living day-to-day, becoming a human being rather than a facade – took additional time and required resisting the temptation to return to the life. At first, the daily grind was devoid of the excitement, the chaos, the adrenaline rush, and the drug or alcohol high of the night world.

For a time, I believed that forgetting the past would lead to happiness. Later, I realised that forgetting was impossible, and that in my attempts to do so I was fragmenting my Self and denying a portion of my Self – the effect being psychological imprisonment. Through my writing and through social service work with other women in the sex industry, I have been over time to accept my past experiences. Still, integrating these experiences into a complete Self is difficult because in retrospect the experiences seem so foreign.

I have been out of the sex industry long enough for it to feel like a lifetime ago. I am certain that we need to fight the system of prostitution and we need to do so without shaming the women used in the system. Chances are good that their lives have been difficult enough.