It is Not Linear

Surviving prostitution is living inside fragmented memory, living knowing there is so much that may never be remembered.

We do not remember in a neat linear way, we do have easy facts like time, place, how many men, or each act of violence to hand.

It is not remembered that way – and this post is a start to explain what is to be in that fragmented memory.

I write for I am furious with those who demand facts and solid evidence – and refuse to believe the words and truths of exited women coz they are not linear.

Think a bit about impacted trauma, think and learn.

Impacted trauma is often when the same violence, the same kind of torture, the same hate is done over and over and over and over again.

Done so often that years become months, months become days, and all days become the same.

See a soldier on the Western Front – do you think he could separate one day from another. It is not long spaces of boredom with what feels like moments of terror and death.

See any concentration camps – do really believe those inside that hell remember every moment of every day – when every day is exactly the same hell as the day before. Would it not all become one day, a day without end – a day that you dread will end.

That is impacted trauma – that is what the vast majority of prostituted women and girls live with. It is living with the horror repeated into your body and mind until it all become the same.

Yes, there are many and varied ways that punters rape, bash up, mentally abuse and sexually torture.

But the being in that room alone with men or a man never knowing how violent he will be, that is always the same.

That when you finally have exited enough, are safe enough to remember – that always feels the same. That hundreds or thousands of men become just what you can count on one hand.

I don’t remember places – places I made into dirt, places I was violently raped, places I could have die in – sure, I remember places where I there for months, I remember a few places where my terror is lining the walls.

But places all become the same. Hotel rooms all are just a bed and a bathroom to get clean or be sick in. Flats could be any city.

Places are just swirling round my nightmares, places are sometimes there as I walked down a street, and coldness and rage grabs my heart. Places are everywhere and nowhere.

The worse is I will never know how many punters made me sub-human.

I remember a few of the most sadistic as individuals, I remember men who pretended to be my friend and then made me their whore as individual – but the vast vast majority of punters that destroys all my dreams and hopes have no individuality.

They have no faces, they rarely spoke so no voices to remember – it is just a lumpen weight in my waking dreams and nightmares that is always raping me, always strangling me, always finding ways to make me into living porn.

The punters all become one punters full of rage and hate – a punter determined to undermined all my determination to go forward.

Punters are still in every cell of my body – it is that that fuels this blog, their presence reminds to rid the world of that destruction.

As I write this post, there is sickness in my stomach and throat, as I write my vagina and anus are screaming with memory, as I write I want to faint.

But that is the proof of what those punters did to me – no linear memory or demand for facts can ever be as powerful as those body memories.

If you still want facts or for exited women to remember in a linear way – could it be because you have decided before she has spoken or read her words, she must be a liar or have a mental illness.

You have decided that prostitution is not really that violent – so when exited women speak out that violence, extreme violence, was their norm. That violence underpins every form of prostitution – then you must refuse to hear.

Then you must demand each act of violence is remembered in detail and graphically. If the exited woman is confused or unclear – you can get on your high horse, saying see she is a liar, see it all must be lies.

You have decided without real proof all indoors prostitution must be safe or at least made safe enough to make a profit.

So it is inconvenient that so exited women say no place can made safe for the prostituted – when the whole structure is built on providing punters with the prostituted who are made so sub-human, that all violence done to them will be a non-crime.

But then, exited women do speak or write too many inconvenient truths.

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33 responses to “It is Not Linear

  1. I can never understand why the one’s who are oppressed have to describe their injustices in a forensic, linear way… I have been reading your blog for a while now and as far as I’m concerned; your body pain, your anger, your stories are proof positive that prostitution is morally wrong. Yes, morally wrong. I don’t need dates, times and places to see the great injustice done to you and countless other women, it is written, clearly, everywhere. Wishing you easier tomorrows xox

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  2. “I write for I am furious with those who demand facts and solid evidence – and refuse to believe the words and truths of exited women coz they are not linear.”

    You touch on this towards the end of your essay, but when someone demands “proof,” it must be to their standards. If they are demanding proof in the first place, after having read your blog, there is nothing more you will be able to give them. I think the point you have touched on in this essay is that the concept of proof, especially around sexual slavery, is one that benefits the male supremacist system.

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  3. Rebecca this is completely briliant.

    I think the linear demands made on exited women are sadistic, they are designed to demean us further. We refuse to equivocate to the linear, petty requests we receive from a star chamber of pimps, Johns and self-important people who need to belittle us because they know they wouldn’t have had the chops to survive what we did. . We see their sadistic linear questioning for what it really is: a belittling denial of our experiences. They’d never ask a solder to descibe each breath he took in a battle. But this is what they demand of us. We reject their salacious questions. We turn the questions back on them. How many times did they raise a fork to their mouths today? They can’t answer that. How many times this week did they burp? We experienced violence at least that often.

    I was so blown away by this:

    See a soldier on the Western Front – do you think he could separate one day from another. It is not long spaces of boredom with what feels like moments of terror and death.

    See any concentration camps – do really believe those inside that hell remember every moment of every day – when every day is exactly the same hell as the day before. Would it not all become one day, a day without end – a day that you dread will end.

    What you wrote above — that’s it exactly. What it’s like, but people don’t want you to say this. You live in the immediate and eternity, the linear is an artefact of safety and prosperity.

    What you wrote above — ‘it is not long spaces of boredom ….” This is what people don’t get. You cannot be bored when you are in danger and afraid for your life — your body being invaded by someone who’s bigger and stronger — there is no mundane in this kind of life.

    You are such a splendid writer.

    Loads of love always, xoxoxoxo

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  4. Thanks everyone – this post is one the hardest thing I have done – I am still sick from writing it. It come from a place that will no longer stay silent, a place that is coming into life.

    Susan – thanks so much for your support and deep insights.
    Womononajourney – you give me so much solid support, thanks so much.

    Stella – thanks for your praise, and deep support.

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  5. I read somewhere that this act/work is like a controlled rape. This made sense to me, and perhaps is some way to see it as an attempt to each time, merge the experience into the whole, not linear at all, as you suggest also. As if it is all just the one experience that the participant is trying to extract a better outcome from. It is as if the trauma of an original wound can be settled, if somehow the person is able to construct a safe structure around the acted out behaviour/event. I am hoping that this way of looking at it may bring some more insight and even lessening of despair. The demand for any sort of linear recounting, is at least disgusting and voyeuristic. It is unreasonable and abusive, just like asking a child to recount it’s own abuse, and as trauma splits the mind, as is well known, it is an attempt to propel the teller back into another abusive experience. It think the fact that the work is so accepted, from the point of view of the “users” is an indication of the lack of health of the society in general. A dirty secret. Who is it who must be sacrificed so that these people can have available a population of the broken, but voiceless and faceless. I wonder how many participants in this work are not recipients of childhood sexual abuse. Would there be any? Maybe only those who have a drug habit, and would this also lead back to some combination of childhood trauma? I am trying to find some purpose and positive healing outcome to the individual in resolving by ultimately forgetting all of the memory and cleansing the body of all these experiences. This is what I wish for you. I do not think it is impossible, as a re-empowering and re-framing of what is horrific to many to contemplate, you may take as your own embraced journey to peace. I think writing as you do is also helping you a great deal. As all of them is in every one “punter”, so all of us are in your struggle to “get it right” “have a better outcome”! The mind is also a natural cataloguing mechanism of context, for without context, the blur of experience is just searching for a “point”.

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  6. Rebecca I can’t imagine everything you and countless other women have been through. Neither can those apathetic smug bastards, asking for proof that can never be procured. They simply want to silence or argue for sadistic amusement, how can anyone be so blind with putting on the blindfold themselves. Women’s especially women’s voices are
    worthless to them, any interaction with them is
    pointless but you already know that. Rebecca I respect your courage to the highest degree, keep writing as much as you will. Your archives are a testiment to the reality of prostitution.

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  7. I agree it is important to give yourself a free voice, to purge all that you can. I also think it is possible after you have done this as much as you want to and need to, that you will completely cleanse from what was done. I think that you will forgive yourself and see that you have been on a journey to investigate an earlier wound. I think you will see that the shame and karma belongs to any human being who uses and abuses another, misusing an opportunity to exert power over another, exploiting for their own enjoyment, pleasure, or sadism. You will come out of it feeling cleansed, by reclaiming your power. It is baffling that these people are hiding in our supermarkets, bank queues, as normal citizens, and yet they are criminals to assault and punish another human being for their entertainment. When is the culture going to wake up to the poison of our current trends, sending respect for the feminine further backwards, by stealth, through so-called entertainment. Our men are being promoted to become narcissistic robots with feelings shut down, being groomed into self-centered entitled juvenile “hunters” frozen in their development. When the “punters” are exposed and shamed, there will be more respect given to women. Men are compartmentalising their images of women, split roles and values, and does this come from the sexual guilt promoted through religion?

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  8. Ashley – Thanks for your comment so much. I have not done with my writing – for it not about purging myself, or any form of narrow therapy or healing. It is done from a political angle of fighting towards abolition of prostitution – I write for the women and girls still existing inside prostitution, not to repair my past.
    I have forgiven myself – for I know and see that women and girls inside prostitution have limited or choices about how they are treated. I know to survive that world you are full of self-hate, and that will come as being tough and saying you are happy.. Trauma for prostituted women is seeing you were trapped when you were told you were free.

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  9. Good to hear that you are healed and working to create a better future. There are several fronts aren’t there. A major one is the perception of the feminine as victim of masculine. The powerless children at the effect of abuse. There would be no workers available if there were no damaged young ones, ready to take the place of those healing themselves. Abusers and clients are the damaged kids also experiencing domestic violence, neglect and abuse. It must suit some for this to continue. Energetically and economically. How are clients made, and how are workers made? If this can be addressed there would be no industry. There are clearly people making money from damage of others, eg. drug industry. There are also entities gaining energy by the industry continuing. Same with porn and other activities that harvest human misery and despair. I do not believe that any legislation, or penalty of any kind can prevent, until root causes are addressed. It will be necessary to investigate for whose benefit it exists, because such damage promoting activities are never allowed to continue for an accidental purpose.

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  10. It’s so important and challenging to write the experience of prostitution — which is so far from anyone’s fantasy of it. To make people understand it, we need to make them feel what it’s like. You do this so stunningly with your writing Rebecca. As a woman who was prostituted for ten years I never felt a need to forgive myself. But I did feel society wanted me to be ashamed, feel guilt. I don’t think this had anything to do with religion. I think predators will always do their best to blame their victims. Racism was used as a justiifcation for slavery because people wanted slaves. Now the idea that prostituted women are ‘bad’ or ‘want it’ or all the other lies — are used because punters want women to abuse and pimps want to make money of women and girls they enslave.

    The punters and pimps try to paint prostituted women as sexual rivals to nonprostituted women, but nothing could be further from the truth. This is a device used to alienate women in prostitution from the rest of womanhood — in order to prevent social change.

    I so agree with Rebecca’s wise words:
    Trauma for prostituted women is seeing you were trapped when you were told you were free.

    Trauma is also having to pretend you were free while prostituted, pretend you are ashamed, or risk being socially cast out. People who never experienced it want to write your script. People want you to feel shame but that makes no sense. Why should you be ashamed for being raped, threatened and beaten up until you went along with it in order to survive?

    But the truth about prostitution is so threatening to so many people. It’s so difficult to do what Rebecca does here — to show what it’s like.

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  11. I agree with what you say, and I would take it even wider, that some marriages and relationships are actually prostitution over a long term basis, disguised as something else. Also the competition you speak of is part of the religious view that female is either madonna or whore. That some societies actually punish the woman who is raped, abused or is even only accused of infidelity. There is a con game of abuse going on, and it is very deep in gender identity. The competition or splitting of women into categories, is encouraged in society in general, it is to male advantage if they can make women compete for the best male to provide for them, and also for women to make men compete for the best vessel of their genes to survive. All this comes down to very primal and basic treatment of humans as livestock. By all means talk about how horrible it was, but be aware that by continuing to go over it, you are embedding it in your own energy field, and keeping the demon alive. Of course shout from the rooftops, and publish, write a film script, anything that will get information into mainstream, but is mainstream society really interested unless it is coated in entertainment/voyeurism. Find a way for more exposure than a band of special interest, so I hope for this to happen.

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  12. I’ve been happily married for fourteen years, and to me marriage has been the absolute opposite of prostitution. I don’t think it’s ever accurate to compare marriage to prostitution. That denies how horrific prostitution is.

    Yes certain types of marriages can be terrible for women. But it’s not the same thing.

    What Rebecca is doing here is recreating the experience of prostitution as a survivor and an artist. I don’t think that’s “embedding it in her energy field.” As a survivor iI find it quite freeing to read her words. Giving a name to something previously unnameable is both inspiring and healing. Goya’s painting monsters didn’t make him one. When Eric Maria Remarque wrote All Quiet on the Western Front he was promoting peace not war. But to do this he had to show the experience of the trenches.

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  13. I didn’t mean to come on so strong previously. But I think it’s wrong to tell someone who’s trying to express the truth about a brutal experience that they are courting bad energy. Denying the truth about prostitution does us survivors so much harm. And the purpose of art is to express the eternity of human experience — in other words, truth.

    I love these words of Primo Levi’s on truth and denial:

    “It is easier to deny entry to a memory than free oneself from it after it has been recorded. This … was the purpose of many of the artifices thought up by the Nazi commanders in order to protect the consciousness of those assigned to do the dirty work and ensure their services, disagreeable even to the most hardened cutthroat.”
    ….
    “The well-known euphemisms (‘final solution,’ ‘special treatment,’ the very term Einsatzkommando literally ‘prompt-employment unit, disguised a frightful reality) were used not only to deceive the victims and prevent a defensive reaction on their part, they were also meant, within the limits of the possible, to prevent public opinion, and those sections of the army not directly involved, from finding out what was happening in all the territories occupied by the Third Reich.”

    “The entire history of the brief “millennial Reich” can be read as a war against memory, an Orwellian falsification of memory, falsification of reality, negation of reality. All Hitler’s biographers … agree on the flight from reality which marked his last years, especially beginning with the first Russian winter. He had forbidden and denied his subjects any access to the truth, contaminating their morality and their memory; but, to a degree which gradually increased, attaining complete paranoia in the Bunker, he barred the path of truth to himself as well. Like all gamblers, he erected around himself a stage set of superstitious lies and in which he ended up believing with the same fanatical faith that he demanded from every German. His collapse was not only a salvation for mankind but also a demonstration of the price to be paid when one dismembers the truth.”

    — Primo Levi, from the Drowned and the Saved

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  14. my comment:

    “I agree with what you say, and I would take it even wider, that some marriages and relationships are actually prostitution over a long term basis, disguised as something else.”

    I do NOT believe I said all marriages, and was drawing the comparison of slave/prostitute played out within many such arrangements. I did not say yours. I am happy you have found a good life. It does not mean that anyone should not aspire to a better, healthier expression of r/ship. I have witnessed some mixed culture/race unions. I have listened to men from other cultures speak on their attitudes.

    your comment:

    Yes certain types of marriages can be terrible for women. But it’s not the same thing. ….

    I never said it was the same thing, I said I would like to take it even wider, a wider view, and I was drawing comparisons…. You seem to misread my comments, then twist them and use that to make me wrong somehow. Taking it even wider, is not saying it is the same thing, by definition. I do not know how much more clear I could be, stating the parameters.

    Original Rebecca quote:

    “The punters all become one punters full of rage and hate – a punter determined to undermined all my determination to go forward.

    Punters are still in every cell of my body – it is that that fuels this blog, their presence reminds to rid the world of that destruction.

    As I write this post, there is sickness in my stomach and throat, as I write my vagina and anus are screaming with memory, as I write I want to faint.”

    my comment:

    By all means talk about how horrible it was, but be aware that by continuing to go over it, you are embedding it in your own energy field, and keeping the demon alive. Of course shout from the rooftops, and publish, write a film script, anything that will get information into mainstream, …

    I think both my comments are my own opinion and address the original blog posting, true to my beliefs and wish for the best outcome for Rebecca and all others.

    your comment:

    But I think it’s wrong to tell someone who’s trying to express the truth about a brutal experience that they are courting bad energy. Denying the truth about prostitution does us survivors so much harm. ….

    From her own words it is stated that as she writes it is affecting her physically. So how can it not still be in her energy field. Your own reactions and healing, or feeling quite freed, are your business, and I am not seeking to deny you that or anyone else their feelings.

    I am speaking to Rebecca, directly to her words written, and with the best intention for her happiness. She needs to express this in her art at this time. By feeling she can do something to bring understanding and shed light upon the issue, this will empower her more through her art. You seem determined to twist, find some fault with what I have written and my intentions. Also I dont find any value in bringing in references to writings and topics unrelated. That is just my opinion! I do not think it makes anything to do with Rebecca’s topic any clearer. There is obviously still a lot of emotion around the whole issue for you, and that is entirely understandable. Preaching to the converted here.

    I was speaking from the point of view of healing and moving on with her life. There is a term coined by Carolyn Myss, “wound-ology”. Perhaps a time will come when the person will want less connection with the “wound” for all the energy will have gone out of it, and there will be a new vista opening, completely cleansed. Or not? Her choice. I have spoken about it in a “wider” perspective, as to the cause, and mechanics by which this aberration is enabled to continue. If you think you will convert some men by relaying your story, I have an unhappy take on that, most are not interested. Sorry, it is the way they are wired. Entitlement!

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  15. btw, I think the only way to stop it is to create a world where all parties choose not to participate. No prohibition has ever worked, or it would not be called the world’s oldest profession.

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  16. Rebecca’s comment:

    It is done from a political angle of fighting towards abolition of prostitution – I write for the women and girls still existing inside prostitution, not to repair my past……

    From this I understood her motive and purpose. Prior to that I reacted to the pain contained in the words. So I take it that she feels there is a chance of fighting for abolition. My comments after relate to how so many are blind to how gender inequality plays a part. Who can be so powerful to abolish such human behaviour. How successful has anyone been to abolish child abuse? Drug use?

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  17. Ashley – I understand it is easier to frame my writing as individual healing, but that is just a side effect of why I write, and to be very honest I am finding it quite patronising of a few radical feminists view of exited women that ignores that we are deeply political.
    It is very important to separate out marriage that are abusive from prostitution – it is not just part of some continuum, where prostitution is mostly placed as an appendix to other forms of male violence. Of course there are some similarilities – but there are many differences, and these differences are vitally important.
    It is important to know male violence in long-term relationship is horrific – but it done to a seen individual woman. The prostitute is not seen by the men that abuse her – she is just viewed as a commodity who is faceless and voiceless. The major difference is that most women in long-term relation are very unlucky and is seen as disgusting if she is raped by more than ten men – whilst most prostitutes are raped by so many punters and profiteers that it become impossible to number how – no wonder it becomes a blur and the abusers go into one.
    A prostitute is made into nothing but holes to be fucked – that is her purpose – that is why so exited women become political and do not seek just individual healing. For we must destroy the structure of prostitution, not just make one person ok.
    In that context, it is important to know that one way many exited women can discover their political writing, is less by comparing with domestic violence and the language of individual rape – and more by reading writings by groups who have come through torture and impacted trauma – therefore the writings of Primo Levi, comparing to soldiers inside the hell of war etc is highly relevant.
    I do believe that to bring real change and in the long term abolition of the sex trade, it is very important to show in-depth the realities of the conditions and mental effects of being prostituted – or to bring real change it must viewed as a human rights issue, an issue of torture. This is happening due to the powerful words of exited women – who speak to destroy prostitution, not to just heal themselves.
    Of course, writing and speaking out will bring out the trauma – but there will always be trauma when there is no justice. Justice will only come when prostitution is abolished.

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  18. Stella – Thanks so much for your wonderful support.
    I hope the more exited women speak out our truths and discover a language to fit that – the closer we get to others seeing it not just a journey of healing, but a push for basic human rights and dignity for all the prostituted.
    I believe that demand that we speak in a linear manner is a form of mental torture – it is not expected of most groups that survive torture. Do we expect political prisoner to remember every second of every time they were tortured? It is voyeuristic, and use to trip us up to prove we must be liars – that proven it is can decided that prostitution must continue, coz it not that bad really. We must be framed as liars or mentally ill for we are challenging the multi-billions profits of the sex trade – we are the living ace of the destruction that they paint as entertainment and harm-free. We were not meant to have a voice, we were not meant to remember – actually we are meant to be destroyed and silenced.
    Thanks for your kind words about my work.
    We did have to live in the moment, but that moment became so one it lasted forever. That was the way to survive the endless repetition of sexual torture and being made into nothing. You are right to say that outsiders do not want to know that living inside torture, has long periods of boredom and moments of horror. That is is the reality of long-term torture.
    It is true I do not need to forgive myself – for it a demand of society that prostitutes should feel ashamed, coz then it can made the fault of the individual prostitute – and not the structure of the sex trade that makes the prostitute into a commodity, or the fault of punters who make the choice to buy the prostitute to put his porn fantasies into a living object.
    I think to just think that exited women just write to heal themselves is deeply insulting and patronising. We are not allowed to be political, we are not capable of making art.
    Healing is private – blogging is public.

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  19. Ashley —

    I am sorry you feel I am twisting your words and meaning. That wasn’t my intention. I was trying to convey my perspective as a survivor of prostitution.

    That said, part of your message seems intended to silence Rebecca and other survivors. Discourage us. And I wonder what the motive is for this.

    You wrote:
    If you think you will convert some men by relaying your story, I have an unhappy take on that, most are not interested.

    My response:
    Neither Rebecca nor I mentioned ‘converting’ men via telling our stories. Though given the fact that I’ve been with thousands of men I think I probably have a better understanding of them than you.

    You wrote:
    No prohibition has ever worked, or it would not be called the world’s oldest profession.

    My response:
    Prohibition refers to consumables — drugs and alcohol. Prostituted women are treated like consumables but we aren’t — we’re human beings. Connecting the idea of prohibition with prostitution is John-centered. It ignores what happens to prostituted women — makes them invisible. Which Rebecca shows so vividly through her art.

    You wrote:
    Also I dont find any value in bringing in references to writings and topics unrelated. That is just my opinion! I do not think it makes anything to do with Rebecca’s topic any clearer.

    My response:
    I love how Rebecca responded to this statement above, and I completely agree. I’d like to add that it makes me sad that anyone would respond that way to Primo Levi’s magnificent words. I just don’t operate from a place of spiritual impoverishment — a place where I’m not allowed to refer to the great artists that have helped sustain me through the ordeal of prostitution.

    Rebecca is a great artist. Such artists often feel completely overcome as they work on art that deals with brutality. Tolstoy was despondent for weeks after he wrote the death of Prince Andrei. Yet how terrible it would be if he didn’t write War and Peace — if he felt that recreating the horror of war meant he was keeping a demon alive.

    During the Leningrad blockade in WWII, when millions starved to death, people read War and Peace — it helped them figure out how to survive by reading people had survived famine and terrible winters of war and invasion.

    Words are powerful. That’s why people try to silence the survivors of prostitution.

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  20. I do not think either of you have understood what I have said and have attributed the things you fear in what you have read. It is your own feelings that people are trying to stop you from speaking that are making you misinterpret my words and intentions. How are you trying to abolish prostitution? How will this take place in your view? You speak of feelings in your blog, which is private and personal, as is the topic. It is reasonable for people to respond with feelings of hope for a change to the pain and despair. If you have no use for this reaction, and want purely a discussion of the possibility of changing what causes the problem, then why not state that? So it is a testimonial of the effects of this activity from the point of view of one female. If you have experienced a negative feedback by radical feminists and this is driving some of the purpose of the blog then that is good to know. I think your comment that as you have been with thousands of men, that you may know them better than I, to be patronising, if you do not like that word? My opinion based on my experience is no less valid than yours?? Someone trapped in a marriage is no less suffering from torture. A child being tortured by a violent abusive father is no less suffering from torture. My thoughts are that there is a larger issue around the way women, and vulnerable children are viewed, and I am trying to show you that to stop this one expression of disdain for women and the feminine, not separate prostitution as a special category, and you may want to keep it separate, one cannot isolate this one activity out and stop it without seeing overall what keeps damage in place. It is a pity that you feel that you have not been validated. You reacted that I am John centred by saying that they are not interested, to know of the personal impacts on individuals, so who was it who was asking for linear testimony, the title of the blog comment? Use of the word prohibition, which meant to be ironic in it’s use. Bringing about the abolition of this activity is a prohibition, and yes the way men see workers is as a service industry, a commodity, and that is my point! I think the way trauma and abuse works is universal as all humans have a predictable range of reactions. It does not respect categories neatly, and is evident after many activities humans engage in. Unfortunate you have both turned what was meant to be support and empathy into what you perceive as insults and patronising comments. When I mentioned forgiving yourself, I was not for a minute suggesting that you should be feeling shame. It was the language of a private healing which I now understand was a forbidden topic to bring up. All people who have been victims of crime/abuse or torture do need to go through this process to break through, and it is evident from what has been written that it is seen as an insult, instead of the opposite, which was intended. My point was that to make a change, you have to see all the things that are holding the activity in a place of acceptance, tolerated, otherwise there will be no perception of a need to. So your purpose, if I finally have it understood, is you don’t want any empathy or sympathy toward individual healing, you just want people to understand prostitution is a bad thing, causes untold damage, and should not happen. You should know because you have been there. People should be very careful even daring to comment because they will get shot down, no matter even if they are agreeing with you and showing support, if they do not use words exactly in the way you are wanting to see them used. Radical feminists are bad for not thinking you have a voice. You have a belief that people try to silence survivors. Maybe if you start thinking the opposite and you may see that you have more support than you dreamed of.

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  21. Ashley I’m very sorry what I said hurt you. I regret that. The internet is such an imperfect means of communication. I hope you can forgive me my verbal clumsiness.

    I’d like to address this point:
    I think your comment that as you have been with thousands of men, that you may know them better than I, to be patronising, if you do not like that word? My opinion based on my experience is no less valid than yours?

    I’m sorry you took it as patronizing — I regretted phrasing it that way after I sent the comment. But I think my point is valid. Please don’t take this explanation as an attack on you — I’m just trying to show where I’m coming from, OK?

    We prostitution survivors are always being told all about men and all about prostitution by everyone else. As if our experiences don’t matter. Men will do this, men won’t do this, men are this way or that way, this won’t work, that won’t work, yada yada yada. I’m not saying that’s what you were doing. But the truth is we survivors know more about the worst sorts of men than anyone else. It’s a pretty obvious point that’s rarely made. If we think something will help women in prostitution it’s worth remembering we know more about punters than anyone else. We know more about the sex industry than anyone else. Our traumatic experiences don’t disqualify us as activists and artists — they empower us.

    I want survivors of prostitution to ‘own’ this. Because so often our knowledge is dismissed, discounted. I’m not saying that’s what you were doing, OK? Not at all.

    If you support what Rebecca’s doing I hope you’ll spread the word about her blog. And please keep speaking out about prostitution.

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  22. Ashley – you are putting words and ideas that I have not got.
    I do believe in coming to terms with my past – but as I said that is not the only purpose of this blog, and much of that journey is private, and done outside of my work. Of course, my work will give me pain and grief – of course I write about. But all I write is not just about my individual pain, grief and anger – it is only written if it has a connection to other exited and prostituted women.
    I have nothing against radical feminists – I believe deeply that radical feminism are the only group that fully backs abolition of prostitution. It is just a few radical feminists who tend to speak about male violence being a continuum, and often place the realities of women inside the sex trade as an afterthought.
    I do believe it is vital that exited women can and do have a separate voice, and that they can speak out about their realities without always having to be interconnected to other forms of male violence. I believe that can give them space to discover a language and tactics to fight for abolition.
    Abolition is becoming more and more a reality – for when the language of prostitution is spoken as human rights issue – which means partly laying out the grief, pain and anger off being inside prostitution.
    But also, there is a very good beginning towards the goal of abolition of the Nordic Approach. This means making it a criminal act to buy and sell the prostituted – whilst at the decriminalising the prostituted and providing long-term holistic exiting schemes. This does not go far enough, but it a very good start at giving back the prostituted human rights and dignity.

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  23. yes, the nordics are very forward thinking when it comes to human rights, and women are very much in the forefront of policy making. They have a higher proportion representation of women, and have done so for longer than most other countries. A lot of other countries have a majority of males in these positions. I got it. The consumer has to take responsibility. There is a lot of money changing hands. There is a human trafficking issue involved also, as there are women here, from asia mostly, who have been duped trying to find work, and have been treated as slaves, threatened, and had travel docs and id withheld. Shockingly few male clients have tried to help them escape. This says something very horrid about so called normal males who are amongst us! Demand for services, links into the broad sweep of media available, incidious internet porn, which is being used as sex education by inexperienced new generations, and variety of porn and violent games promoting addictions in any male who uses a computer. The focus has been on the women being bad, disposable, without identity, without voice, and protecting the privacy and identity of the user, consumer, punter, these men are given all the consideration to make their activities “invisible” “covert” “without blame” “just didn’t happen” “denied”. So how can one try to get rights for people who have been “disappeared”, by agreement!

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  24. I just want to take up Stella’s point about abolition, abolising prostitution is not the same as prohibition. As Stella rightly says, prohibition is about consumables and the point is prostituted women are not consumables, we are all human beings with ina’ienable rights to dignity, safety and freedom. Prostitution is a crime against humanity full stop. Johns are not consumers, they are criminals. They rape, they assault, they kidnapp. Stella’s and Rebecca’s stories are political because they are a wake up call to the crimes of the sex industry. Prostitution is not the world’s oldest profession, pimping is. Much love to you xox

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  25. Susan, Did you not read my comment about irony, and good god, do you think I am a moron, I am not making any further comments, because I seem to be in some sort of lecture theatre! Do you honestly think I need that information, or have you not read anything I have said? Do you think you need to inform people about the obvious, a wake up call? Oh please, you have not read anything I have typed, and you must think you are talking to a kid??? What you have said is so basic, and unnecessary. Good Luck. full stop?? what? Ironic is …. ?? Can you not read the WHOLE comment to get a true grip on what was said??? byeeeeeee Go talk to some males who need this b a s i c concept re-adjustment!

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  26. Ashley,

    Rebecca shares her life experience here, which happens to be a living nightmare most of the time thanks entirely to this. Her life experience is not subject for debate. Just because you choose to treat her experience as if it were somehow negotiable does not make it so. You don’t have to agree to see that her suffering is beyond contestation. There is no debate. All you can do is make it worse for her.

    Please, have some respect.

    -Miss Andrist

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  27. I so agree with Rebecca. Her beautiful words bear repeating:

    I do believe it is vital that exited women can and do have a separate voice, and that they can speak out about their realities without always having to be interconnected to other forms of male violence. I believe that can give them space to discover a language and tactics to fight for abolition.
    Abolition is becoming more and more a reality – for when the language of prostitution is spoken as human rights issue – which means partly laying out the grief, pain and anger off being inside prostitution.

    love love love to you all xoxo

    We are forming a network of prostitution survivors, for camaraderie, support and activism. The network isn’t live yet, but you can email me about it at casualflocks@gmail.com

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  28. Exactly Rebecca ‘exited women do speak or write too many inconvenient truths’ and sadly many women refuse to listen to prostituted women’s experiences. Instead they attempt to minimalise the immense harm men inflict on prostituted women.

    No excuses, no justification and no minimalisation – men are the ones responsible for ensuring prostitution continues to exist and that is why abolition is the only answer. By the way agriculture is the oldest profession and prostitution is the oldest male oppression of women.

    Like

  29. Ashley, it is not patronizing for Rebecca to say that she knows men better than you from her time as a prostitute. Prostitution has not only allowed her to interact “intimately” with many more men than you, but also allowed her to play a role of sexual object that is very different from “wife” which you may play in your marriage.

    Besides healing, it is very important for Everyone to look at the words and experiences of women exiting this form of work. They have seen the worst of sexism, being treated as disposable sex toys by men who have no social responsibility to care about them. I do not think women have to be damaged to go into prostitution. Sometimes they just really need the money, and cannot find better options. A lot of the time society glamorizes the role of prostitute, so these women going in do not know how bad it will get. This is why I am for stopping prostitution with the Nordic model of punishing the buyer, not the worker. In Sweden this has proved very successful.

    Prostitution and Pimping may have been around since the dawn of time (so has murder) but that does not mean we have to accept it. Men are not bound by their biology anymore than women are. To make excuses like this for men’s abuse of women is to ignore the few men we know that DO make an effort to treat women well, and to give up all hope for ever improving humanity. The fact that not every man is a rapist show that not all men HAVE to be rapists. The fact that any men take interest in feminist issues and acknowldge their privilege and try to work for a better society is proof that men do not have to allow testosterone to run their lives.

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  30. It is ever so humilating and frustrating to even begin speaking of forced pornography. When the films are done in secret and sold underground there is no way to validate or prove it happened. Why is it that those of us sold into this horror are not validated? The only proof I have is the experiences of the other girls and women who were forced and drugged as I was…if they are still alive, if they can be found, and if they are approachable. The silence chokes and gags me. The pain of being discounted shreds my soul, and smatters of insanity shriek through my mind all the while the fragments of memories replay and haunt. The pornographer was a Hitler youth gone extreme in this country spilling out his evil despicable hate on women and girls, able bodied and disabled in film.

    Your writing and words are exquisit, they validate those of us who have had any utterance from our gut squashed and mangled. You capture the core with your descriptions and validate that in me which few will.

    Your words that people say prostitution is not violent is the same as people saying porn is just acting, the woman likes it, she chose this. It is violent, it is disgusting and it lives in me still. Being drugged and filmed repeatedly tore away at the core of my soul till there was nothing left. Hopelessness, torture, devastation – then being brought back to reality the filming is complete after the retakes. What happened becomes a blur in my mind, and eventually sinks into that black hole where my soul used to be. The cameras are put away, lights are turned off, we are ushered out and the door closes. The filming is done for now and the pornographer and men simply wander off into the night. I on the other hand, and the others filmed in that stench, can barely walk are throwing up shaking off the counteracting drugs incapable of any speech we do not even talk with each other. I rocked myself in a corner more than once hovering next to a wall because it was stable and not moving while my head was in a whirlwind of torment. I never got close to or comforted another. I never let anyone comfort me or touch me. There was too much at stake and I struggled for something to hold onto while the whole of what just happened smashed into me over and over. But there is no real proof, it has walked out with the camera and is controled by another and will be edited and sold from someone’s sick fantasy.

    Naideen

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  31. Pingback: The Obama Administration’s Record On Human Trafficking Issues | The ObamaCrat.Com™

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