I did not think I could add anything to Andrea Dworkin’s speech, but after a very restless night – that is my past screaming at me – I realise I have to give my personal response to her words.
I choose to reproduce her words because I find the anger, pain and grief is important to make real changes to bring forward an end to prostitution.
Too often language around prostitution is keep calm, made to make it seems not so bad, used with large amounts of detachment.
But, to understand torture and mental abuse it is important to place yourself in the shoes of those who are being tortured. This language is allowed by Amnesty International, by left-wing discussions on sweat shops and even animal torture.
But there is a loud silence when discussing the conditions that the majority of prostituted women and girls are forced to survive.
A silence that refuses to know that prostitution is torture. Refuses to know the extreme trauma that is prostitution’s legacy.
A silence that refuses to hear, see or know what is really happening to prostituted women and girls.
It must not be known that women and girls are reduced to holes for any man to fuck.
It must not be known that any man can and will practice any porn fantasy on her body. It does not matter how much she is damaged – for she is nothing.
It must not be known that what these men do must and should not be labelled as rape or sexual torture.
No, it must be re-written and re-shaped to make the violence invisible. To make the reality of the prostituted woman or girl invisible.
Call it a choice. Then if it goes wrong, say the woman or girl made a bad choice or choices.
Say it is sex work, just like any other form of work. Make invisible that she has no rights over her conditions, no right to say no, no right to safety.
Yes, most people dislike their work at some time, many for years. But how many live with sexual torture as a norm, how many have their money taken from them and how many think being murdered is just part of the job.
Damn it, there is a silent genocide of prostituted women and girls all the time everywhere.
Prostituted women and girls are murdered so often it usually not reported. It has to have a sensational angle for the media to be bother with their deaths.
Why report on the deaths of women and girls who had no visibility in life.
Most reporting is more interested in the murderer, than the lives of the women and girls he killed.
Yes, I am angry. I have the anger of a person who know girls and women who were thrown away, their lives dismissed.
I hold them in my heart on a daily basis.
I have the anger on someone who placed on the edge of death – with men saying –
No-one would miss you. You’re nothing.
So I know there is a genocide of prostituted women and girls – only just to clear for another layer of women and girls for men to pay to fuck.
What is important for me in Andrea Dworkin’s words is the visceral descriptions of what it is to be prostituted.
That must be visible to understand where I and other exited women are coming from.
Language is used to make invisible the harms that prostitution did and is doing to our minds and bodies.
Think of living with anal sex so often that you ignore the bleeding. Think how when it comes back as trauma that it may make you faint on the toilet. It may make walking painful. It may stop you sitting in a hard chair.
Think of your mouth being used over and over to have penis after penis force to find your tonsils. Think how you get lockjaw. Think how after eating becomes scary. Think how how swallowing becomes a conscious act.
Think what it is to be only an object that men fuck in any way. Think how they will fuck whether you are tired, ill, in pain, scared, unconscious or even if you are dead.
Thnk what it is to made into a porn fantasy. Think how your safety is unimportant. Your dignity is thrown away. You are nothing remember – you are three holes and two hands.
Think all this and you may be beginning to understand what it is to be prostituted.
Know this, then know why we cannot live with prostitution.
But also as I write, I know why it so hard to find a language to fix the reality of being prostituted.
When each sexual torture became part of a mass of sexual torturing. the silence grow.
How can it be spoken of when it became normal to ignore the pain. To not see the bleeding and bruises on your own body.
How can it named, when each rape is just a job, when every degrading act is to be expected and when all language is used to remind you that you bad and dirty.
The terrifying of recovering from prostitution is knowing it was rape, it was life-threatening, it was torture and it was a complete abuse of human rights.
That can almost impossible to know.
To know that survival was luck, and only by the skin of your teeth.
So if exited prostituted women speak out for abolition of the sex trade, they must not be left to that by themselves.
It is vital that others framed it as a human rights issue.
It is vital to say that men who choose to buy and sell women just for fucking, are choosing to say women are nothing. Saying that male power is the only thing that matters.
It is true that as long as we allow prostitution to be acceptable – no woman or girl is safe or seen as a full human.
To separate the prostituted woman or girl, is say male dominance is ok as long it does not affect me.
To ignore the prostituted woman or girl, is saying men have the right to sexually torture and murder a class of people.
If you choose to turn away, you are choosing to make your own life less safe.