This is a personal account of my experiences of doing a TV interview with media students about the dangers of escorting.
It includes two letters that I wrote when I was terrified. I include them, for I had limited support from the film company, and much of it was quite naive.
I meet two women who took me to a very posh hotel – hell I determined to get the best, then took out to supper.
The evening went well, though my fear was building up.
But outwardly I was funny, entertaining and good at playing the role of together woman.
It was after supper that it got hard, for they did not take me back to the hotel, or check I was ok.
And it was only 7.30, and my fear was it was going to be a very long night.
So I went to the hotel, and paid an outrageous amount for a pint of Peroni.
I think I was testing myself, for like so many whores hotel bars bring back deadness or the opposite horrific memories.
Slowly I realise that I just looked ordinary, not a whore waiting to be picked up. I was invisible in a good way.
When men smile at me yesterday, it was just nodding to someone on their own, but not wanting to talk, not wanting to get fucked.
So I went my room and wrote this
I am here before I am interviewed tomorrow, and I am terrified. Terrified that I am a liar – that I speak out against prostitution, but I am lying.
How do I know that what I say is an over-exaggeration or a lie. I know that I lived with torture – but how much. Do I say it to just fit in.
I am scared that my body is so fat now, that is yet another way of destroying myself,
I choose to be ugly to protect myself from sex.
Sex that I want but hate. Sex when every time I go there is going again and again back to being a whore.
I am scared that I still dream of dying. That death dreams comfort me so much.
I am scared coz I know that I want to whore myself out.
But in that fear – I know that I won’t. As my mind wanders back to King’s Cross and Soho, goes to wanting to wanting to be picked up in hotel bars. As my mind wander there, I know I will just go to bed and watch TV.
But, Christ, I am scared.
For tomorrow, questions of what prostitution is and what does do to you. Questions of why I’m against it. Why, why, why.
Answers come out, but feelings go dead. I perform still, I’m a robot still.
Christ, I hate myself.
I am scared.
END OF LETTER
So, I watch TV and slept restlessly.
The next morning, when it was eventually 7, I slowly got ready for breakfast.
Then smoked and walked in the cold – but my fear need this other letter.
Today the day – they are coming at round 10.30. Hell, hope this goes ok.
I did sleep relatively ok – that is I went to sleep round 11 – woke at 4 – woke at 5 – then slept to 7. That’s all normal for me. Fun, fun, fun of insomnia, menopause and PTSD.
Decided to have a big breakfast as one way to relax. Lovely Victorian OTT decorations.
Had a smoke and brief walk round Russell Square. Now, listen to Sounds of the Sixties – my normal Saturday morning waking up.
What can I say about prostitution – well escorting.How can I speak without being too graphic – without reaching into that deadness that refuses to stay private.
She wants a voice. A voice that wants to know why she survived.
Escorting was never a word that I knew until many years later. But then, I didn’t know that I was a prostitute.
I just knew I was in rooms with men with no names, no intention of knowing me, no kind emotions, some exchange of money or a bed for some time.
But often, I never knew I was a prostitute coz I saw no money – only constant violence. How was I meant to know that the main reason I was bashed so often, was so johns could get away with not paying me. How was I meant to know that others got their profit from stealing any money I should have had.
How could I know that I was trapped, when my world view was so narrowed down. All I knew was that I went from one violent situation to another to another to another.
I supposed I was a crap escort. Well, I was exchanged between men in their flats and hotel rooms. I was made into a “girlfriend”, until they got bored of me.
I was a girlfriend that was there to obey, to be there for any sexual act however dangerous, I had to read their minds, had to be interested in their interests. I would not mind being locked in, being sexually tortured, being raped on demand, being humiliated in front of their friends. I was nothing after all, I was a whore.
How do you warn others against escorting. After all, the sex trade has done a damned good job of making it appear harm-free and full of money.
How do you make it clear that no escort can ever control the john’s violence. Even if the majority only want “normal” sexual services, it only takes seconds to rape, to batter – to murder any escort anywhere at any time.
How do you say that the sex trade will make the escort do extras – that is more dangerous sexual acts – and yes, you will earn more money – but only by going dead inside and being in life-threatening situations.
Escorting can never be safe enough.
Johns make the choice whether to use safe sex or not. Johns make the choice whether or not to batter, to sexually torture, to rape or to kill. The john can knock you unconscious and not pay. The managers will profit by letting the escort being put in danger. The manager will not care about her safety or mental welfare – for she was goods, never a human.
Man, I am scared.
END OF LETTER
The film eventually arrived, too many of them three men and three women.
I cannot very clear from now, coz I became the role.
All I know is then I give a very good interview and was friendly to them all. I played the role of the strong survivor, but refuse to feel.
After many tedious prep shoots, and walking round in artsy-fartsy style, we got down to the interview.
I was asked questions of how I got involved with escorting.
I explained that I did know the words for what happening to me, and that I could only called escorting with hindsight. But even then, I found it hard to fit in that label.
They asked about the dangers – which was easy to answer, for I refused to let it in as I spoke of near-death and sexual torture.
They asked what I say to a woman who said she was happy doing escorting.
I said I would condemn her, for I do not believe she can be blamed for those emotions or word.
Rather I would blame the sex trade for flooding our culture with the concept that a woman’s worth is to be a sex object.
I would blame the sex trade for lying that it will safe and a great money earner.
I cannot blame the woman, for I believe deeply that the vast majority of women in escorting have deep self-hatred that they are blocking out – and would want to make that worse.
Also, I believe that when women say they are happy in prostitution they cannot hear the opposite view, for they have to block out all the negative aspects in order to survive.
I said, that if they do exit, that then trauma will come – as the violence and degradation is made real.
I feel compassion for women who claimed to be happy, for that was me – so how could I condemn.
When I finished, I was in shock.
And also, strong opinions rose up in me.
I spoke until I was dead again – mainly of the cold callousness of the sex trade and johns. I do not know my words, only I know I made the women in the group more politically against the sex trade.
I think I done a good thing – but I am still scared.