I am Confused

I am writing because I cannot stop crying. I think that if I can reach out maybe I can have some rest.

What I find hard is that I am in a place where I should be happy. All I feel is a lake of sadness.

I know that there are women that care. I know I have got back the good parts of my family. But I feel a grief that I cannot stem.

Getting feeling back into my body and mind is confusing me.

When I say I had no feelings in the past I speak my truth.

I lived as a body that was detached from my mind. My mind was detached from the reality I was living with.

When I go through PTSD, I feel my mind and body going into one. I feel as I slowly become whole, that I see the past with clarity.

This is highly painful and often it can be terrifying.

My journey has been a difficult and is a common story of recovering from child abuse and prostitution.

For most of my life I have avoided my reality by reinventing my life as a story.

This makes it safe and fits it into a nice neat box. But always the pain, anger and grief go over the edges.

All my life I spoke my “story” as I think others can hear it. I watch body language to see how a listener hears me. I try not to upset the listener or reader. Then in flashes I say small pieces to shock.

All the time I speak the truth, but always in fragments. I scared to say the whole.

I am terrified if I am seen I will be rejected. 

I have for years scared to say my background. I find it hard to say I from an upper middle-class background.

When I write that, my demons rise to the surface. That I am lucky, I should not complain.

I hear myself wanting to disappear.

When I first spoke of abuse, it was not believed because my family were rich. I lived in a street were there were many silenced girls, Many had eating disorders. Many had scars from self-harm.

We were taught not to communicate. Our families taught us never to trust the neighbours.

I remember I lived in a silence that allow abuse to be invisible.

We know never to complain, for we were fortunate.

Once when I try to speak of my stepdad’s abuse, it was dismissed with a shake of the head –

“You did accept money from him”.

I did and I took presents.

He taught me with ease how to be a “whore”. And that made me go into silence.

My truth has so much pain that I have kept silent for too long.

Always I could not belong.

Men who used as a prostituted girl and woman saw that difference. They saw and their violence and hate rip into me.

I remember that I was stubborn to the point of recklessness.

An example, I have always read novels. This I did even in the sex trade.

Men want to believe that prostituted women and girls are brainless and certainly have no existence outside of their fantasy.

To see me holding a book, to see me engrossed in a book, made them furious.

I should of known better, for my stepdad had rip up many of my books. But I was stubborn, and save up pocket money and brought another book.

As a prostituted girl and woman, I could not hide that I wanted to read. I was “punished” for this defiance by gang-rapes, vicious beatings ups and name-calling that now eats at my soul.

I had to read. It was the only thing in my life that was private. I read difficult books to prove to myself that I was still alive.

I had to read of other lives, I had to know that my life was not normal.

I read fiction, as I fictionalise my own existence.

It was ironic because some men give me books, thinking that I would see them as humans.

One give me “Lolita”. I rip that up.

For too much of my life I have been afraid to say a middle- class girl like me could be trapped inside the sex trade. This fear made me blame myself.

For to make sense of my reality I had to believe that I had “chosen” to be prostituted. I reinvented my reality into that I was a rebel.

Only, it made no sense as I was being tortured and raped. My rebellion was very self-defeating.

I brought up to believe that all mistakes were your own fault, and not to makes excuses for screwing up your life. My family and class had little sympathy for those who fall through the gaps.

I thought I should stop the abuse by myself. Only I did all I could imagine to end it and it got more and more dangerous.

So I fall back onto self-hatred.

I could not see how the sex trade and the men that used it, were seeing me as easy prey. They know I had been silenced for years.

My memories of being inside the sex trade are ones of having no knowledge that people could care. I had no knowledge that sex did not have to be with pain.

I was closed down to a world where communication matter. If I spoke words they were not heard, or translated into a male fantasy.

I lived in a world, where I was acting so much that I completely could not remember who I was. 

In that world, I had to believe it was my choice. A wrong choice, but I had to believe that I was the “bad”. To see an alternative may of push me to an edge where I would destroy myself.

I could not see the reality of the violence and hate I experienced to many years after I had exited.

To see how I was tortured in such a calculated and detached way, exploded my brain when I was living with some stability.

To see it at the time, I would lose my hold on the thin threads that keeping me sane.

When I hear “happy hookers”, I always remember me. I was very much in denial as a prostituted girl and woman. I re-wrote my reality as me being reckless with own safety. I had to think that I had some control over my life.

I would not see how control had been taken from since I was six. That I had been moulded into a sex object. I would not see that.

As I hear “happy hookers”, I know they are in denial, and I really want them to exit the sex trade and face their reality, however painful and full of grief.

The last thing that sends my mind into confusion is that I have many years I cannot remember.

I know I was between six and twenty-seven. I know I lived than, but to say that I can remember would be untrue.

One way I deal with the pain of such a lose is by watching old TV from late 60’s to 80’s. I listen to music from that time. By making some connection with popular culture from that period, I find I can remember events beyond the constant abuse.

I remember I enjoyed “Batman” and “The Avengers”. I have memories of talking about “Doctor Who” and “The Monkees” at school.

I remember being involved with the Miner’s Strike, joining Anti-Apartheid and Chilean Solidarity. I remember being active to I burnt myself out.

I remember hearing of political torture and feeling I understand, but not knowing why.

I remember liking 60’s soul, 80’s pop.

All this I remember so unclearly. I remember moments where I fitted in.

But, I also know it never lasted very long. 

I would reach into the real world, only for my self-hate and manipulation place me back into the sex trade.

I am very confused by my past.

Usually I write or say my past as a neat story. But, the reality is that I cannot understand how I survived. I cannot understand why I kept going in and out of the sex trade.

I have learnt the more I think I understand, the more confused I get.

To any woman reading this who has exited the sex trade. It is a long and scary journey coming into the “real world”. It is so worth it, for I have found that I slowly finding out that I am human.

3 responses to “I am Confused

  1. Thanks for this new piece, Rebecca. It is awesome!

    I understand you being confused, and this is indeed a part of your journey toward recovery. I’m hoping some prostituted women (will) hear you.

    We love you, Rebecca! Lots of kudos to you! 🙂

    “As I hear “happy hookers”, I know they are in denial, and I really want them to exit the sex trade and face their reality, however painful and full of grief.” So true!


  2. One aspect resonates so much with me and that is the claim ‘all mistakes you make are your own fault.’ I too was taught any and all mistakes I made were my fault. This lie is still being told to girls and women. It is a deliberate strategy designed to keep male accountability invisible and excused. My family too bought into the lie that the only person responsible for mistakes and misfortune is the one it is happening to. All lies as I later discovered.

    Yes it is very confusing and painful – in fact it is very, very painful but hang in there Rebecca – you have women around you who see you and understand.


  3. ah rebecca! You search for truth that makes you feel so alone only makes your writing more relevant. Personally, I can really relate to the fear of “saying it all” and being “seen” for fear of the judgment you (and I, and many others) have already receieved. Of course, not everyone would understand, but for those that do your words are so brave and for those afraid to hope, they are a gift. xx


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