I want to write more on language, and say why I do not think that the experiences of prostituted women and girls fits into the language of rape.
It is rape, but it rape made into nothing.
There need to be a language that fits that nothing.
Often the language of rape goes along a linear line from victim to survivor. I know there is a muddle in and round that route, but in rape language, there is a goal that many women can achieve.
Most exited women from the sex trade will not have that luxury.
I deeply believe that many women and girls that have been raped will become survivors – they will never forget, they will be triggered.
But women and girls who are raped and given real support will recover.
That is not true for women from the sex trade.
Firstly, it is extremely rare to be given adequate and specialise support.
Most support is round everything but the prostitution. Support to come off drugs, support to speak about rapes that can be one-off or distanced from the sex trade, support round anger management, support with housing or childcare.
The sex trade is an unexploded bomb that it is thought best not to mention.
I think one aspect of rape language that alien to many exited women is the focus on the individual.
When you are raped as a prostitute, you are nobody. Any whore will do.
When the johns or managers beat you up, if they choose to kill – it is not a person they are destroying, it just unwanted goods.
Rape is seen as a deeply personal crime – only if it happens to non-whores.
Rape language speaks of empowerment and becoming a survivor.
I for one, cannot know how my prostitution fit in that path.
For me, surviving was remembering to keep breathing as I was thinking I must be dead.
Surviving was making all my emotions go dead so nothing could matter.
Surviving was not thinking it was rape, for then I would die.
Surviving was not caring man after man after man and on and on and on – rape me, torture me, laugh at me, pretend they care then toss me like trash.
Surviving was acting like none of it matters.
Listen and hear – survivor is poisonous word to me.
Now, I have no adequate words for what it is to be an exited women.
Witness could be one word.
A witness can see and view her past and know nothing can changed that time. A witness will know that time with a forensic eye – not with judgement, not looking for a linear way out, not with self-hate – only having a clear eye that see all and attempt to live with it.
A witness does not see her tortures as unique – but an attack on all women and girls in the sex trade. She knows and grieves that her body and mind was close to destruction – knowing to the johns and managers she was interchangeable with any other prostituted woman or girl.
A witness sees and knows her rapes and tortures go back many centuries, go into every country in the world, cut across culture, class and any other society excuses.
A witness know she is always views as a whore whatever she achieves.
Knowing that she has learnt to hear the unacceptable.
She hears and knows that all the time, everywhere, whores are murdered. Rarely reported, and if reported she is blame for own murder.
She hears and knows that far too many people, not just men, think it is a nonsense that whores could be raped. It is their job after all.
She hears and knows that there must be good and bad whores – all of which must be fuckable goods. Bad whores who are the throwaway women and girls – raped, beaten and murdered, but who gives a damn. Good whores that men decide are classy – of course being still whores, they are also raped, beaten up and murdered – but it is hidden from the public gaze.
A witness knows to be silent about the violence, instead she only speaks after finding what is acceptable for the listener to decide might be true.
So she adopts the language of rape, when it poisons her skin.
How can she speak a language which makes sexual violence one-off events.
She was raped for years, raped thousands of times, raped by men who all became the same – rape was a word without meaning in that world.
Rape was named work, rape was all you were – and rape did not happen to whores, for only good women and girls could be raped.
It is hard to speak the language of rape when after being raped, you just wait for another man to rape you.
That is the world of the sex trade.
I do not have a new language – but please listen, and hear mine and many other exited women struggle to know our truths.
Wait for our words – then speak.