This post is a stream of consciousness of how to be with survivors of the sex trade. It is very personal, and written from frustration – so it just my truth. It is no gospel, just a letting off of steam.
But there may some ugly truths also.
1. Do not say that the sex trade is just the far end of a continuum of violence against women and children. Allow yourself to hear the differences, not just speak of the similarities.
2. Do not say it just rape but multiply. Listen if survivors named it as sexual torture.
3. Do learn about Stockholm Syndrome. Learn how torture survivors live without hope of escape, learn they have to learn to adapt and appear happy. Then think what it is to be a Happy Hooker.
4. Do not assume those inside the sex trade have a different attitude to sex and pain than you and your friends.
5. Don’t think you know the reasons women and girls had to enter the sex trade until she has said in her own words.
6. Do not separate out trafficked women and those who are under-aged from all others enduring the sex trade.
7. Do not assume that all inside the sex trade came from poverty.
8. Do not say continually that the majority must doing to this to fund their drug habit. Know many do not take drugs. And many more were put onto drugs in order to stay awake and endure the sexual torturing.
9. Do not assume that all in the sex trade were abused as children.
10. Know and hear that any woman from any culture, background and age can be trapped inside the sex trade. All it takes is one or two parts of her life going drastically wrong.
11. See and believe in internal trafficking.
12. Know that girls of all backgrounds who has never known real love and affection are the prey of the sex trade. It is not pimps from rap videos that trap them, but people that they thought were close friends or a lover.
13. Do not buy into the myth that escorting is safe.
14. Do not imagine that the sex trade can ever be made feminist-friendly.
15. Stop dividing street and indoors prostitution from each other. See they are both highly dangerous and degrading.
16. Don’t say porn is harmless.
17. See and know that the women inside the porn are being mentally, physically and sexually tortured.
18. Do not ever say prostitution and porn prevents rape – think hard of how many times in one day most women in the sex trade are raped.
19. Do not expect a survivor of the sex trade to show emotions. Know the more you are tortured, the more distanced your emotions become. To survive, you must not know your own reality.
20. Know most survivors have fractured memory – often years missing. This is common when the violence was repetitive and appeared to have no end but death.
21. Do not say you understand, even if you were raped, or inside domestic violence – you more than likely do not. Learn to listen, not to speak over.
22. Do not tell a survivor that she is just confused about what good sex is, saying that is because she was more than likely abused before entering the sex trade.
23. Allow the survivor to be as graphic as she wants – know that it is usually only a tiny tip of an iceberg she is speaking of.
24. Never say sex work, not unless you want to shut her up.
25. Do not say it just nasty and dirty work, but someone has to do it.
26. Do not ask her to give you sexual tips.
27. Don’t just read academic theories on the sex trade – seek out the words and views of survivors.
28. Be sceptical of all media concept of the sex trade.
29. Support and listen to groups that are tackling the sex trade for radical change – not tinkering round the edges by making it safer and more user-friendly.
30. Know that there is nothing new about extreme violence and degradation for women and children in the sex trade. The violence has always been horrific, and always been about completely destroying her essence. The shock only comes when it appears to increase, for it is happening to women and girls outside the sex trade.
31. Stop making those inside the sex trade into sub-humans by ignoring their day-to-day torture.
32. Do not expect an exited woman to be a feminist, a leftist, to be religious, to have interests that you approve of. Let her find her own path to re-building her own life. Know she cannot controlled any more.
33. Do not judge what films she watches, whether she enjoys sports or not, whether she eat meat or not. Do not treat as a victim who you have to educate.
34. Know that having been in sex trade does not mean that she has lost her brain. Her body may have had huge destruction, and she will live alongside trauma – but she has her mind still.
35. Know and teach yourself about PTSD – know many survivors have more extreme trauma than soldiers.
36. Do not listen to hear only about the good johns, in the hope they will wipe out all violence and make the sex trade pretty.
37. Do not think johns will report trafficking, under-aged and other bad practices of the sex trade. Why would they when they are the market for that crap.
38. Know the sex trade thrives on racism – it provides the market to fuck every race or culture in every crude stereotypical way.
39. Know the market is always huge for under-aged girls, for men who know by viewing it in porn that it is harmless, and fucking an under-aged whore is never child abuse only buying of goods.
40. Know there is a market for whatever sick porn dream the consumers will pay over the odds for.
41. Do not buy into that sex trade can be made trendy, that it is just kinky fun. Remember the sexual torturing, and that should curtail your fun.
42. Do not imagine it can made empowering for the women and girls in the sex trade. Know the sex trade will pretend the women have a degree of power – but it will withdraw as fast as it thought of.
43. Know women and girls in the sex trade are punished by more violent sexual torture, by being moved into more dangerous aspects of the sex trade, by putting in with sadistic men. Punished for anything and for nothing. Punished to remind them that they are sub-humans.
44. Know there can never be a good enough reason to buy a woman or girl for a male sexual wants. Be he lonely, be he disabled, be he just argue with his partner, be he wanting adventurous sex, be he plain greedy. He has no right to own another human being.
45. Know the profiteers of the sex trade are creating a silent genocide of women and girls, but making it invisible by replacing the goods.
46. Know anything invented by man, can be dis-invented. There is nothing inevitable about the sex trade, like there is nothing inevitable about racism, nothing inevitable about rape and incest – we can imagine a world where women and children are not brought and sold for male orgasms.
47. If you truly want to understand about male violence and hatred of women and children, then listen and hear exited women. Know they have been on the coal face of how violent men really see women and girls. Do not dismiss their truths.
48. Allow exited to find a new language – not the language of rape, not the language of the left, not the language of feminism. May their words be raw, may there be silences, may there be some beauty inside the horror. May it be the language of the tortured and those who triumphed.
49. If you think you know what is a prostitute, what is a porn star and all other women and girls in the sex trade – think of the opposite, and know both are right.
50. Allow exited women to have a separate voice.