There are expressions that I use and is used commonly by abolitionists, that make many uncomfortable. For me, it is interesting that words that defined our reality, are the words that are so often written out.
I use words with care and with the knowledge that language can and does shock others out of complacency.
For that reason, I think expressions such as “prostituted woman or girl”, “sex trade”, “profiteers” and “torture” are vital to set the terms of why I and many abolitionists.
Prostituted women or girl is a vital expression to place who and what the role is that these women and girls are made by the sex trade.
To be prostituted is to be made sub-human, it is to be moulded to fit what the profiteers and consumers of the sex trade want and need her to be.
It not that she is a victim – rather she made to be controlled and manipulated until her sense of self has nearly disappeared.
We must use language that makes loud and clear the destruction of her essence – for me, prostituted woman expresses what I was and how it was never my fault, but always a pre-planned scheme to mould me into a hell and makes me believe it was my choice.
To say I was prostituted – it to lay bare the blame squarely onto the sex trade profiteers, onto each and every punters that made the choice to consume me – and most important to place the blame at all those in power who do nothing to end prostitution, and by doing nothing condone the destruction of the prostituted class.
To be named as a prostituted woman or girl is to see and know how you are without control, without a voice and without basic human rights.
If you are uncomfortable with the term prostituted woman or girl – maybe you should look within yourself at why.
There is the classic reason not to use that term – but use instead the apparently pc expression “sex worker”.
Only, as most exited women know sex worker is the term promoted by the sex trade lobbyists – and is used to say prostitution is a normal part of life, and to cover-up any violence and degradation done to the prostituted.
Sex worker is a totally offensive expression – and I will never use it, unless to explain why it should never be used.
There is the argument that to be a prostituted woman or girl is to be struck inside the patriarchal view of the roles of females.
That is great when said with detachment, great when written into an academic theory – but it avoids the realities of living inside prostitution.
It is said that as men invented prostitution – we must break away from their definitions.
I say that we used man-made definitions and show them for what they really mean.
The term prostituted can and is stripped of glamour and being just entertainment – instead it is used to lay bare the torture, the rapes so normalised that there no language to frame it in, the survival by making yourself dead, and the knowledge the far too, way too many of the prostituted are wiped out all the time.
For me the term prostituted women and girl embraces that reality – that no other words can.
It fits our lives and memories – so learn to accept our language.
There can be a backing away from the use of sex trade or sex industry.
Sure, it makes you uncomfortable – but again look inside yourself why you turn away.
I think sex trade is a brilliant expression – for it lay bare that for the majority of women and girls inside prostitution are in conditions of slavery.
Sex industry lay bare that to be prostituted is to be made into consumable good without any humanity or individuality. Just made into three holes and two hands.
Inside the sex industry all prostitutes become interchangeable, to most sex trade profiteers and consumers they do see the prostitute as a human, they are just goods to use and throw away.
I have been told not to call sex trade or sex industry – for that reminds too many it might associated with sex.
Of course – most prostitution is not sex – it is serial rape and sexual torture – but it is nearly always sexual violence.
To exclude the word sex – is to give the men who abuse and torture the prostituted far too much. It is making their sexual rage and hate invisible.
This is brief, for it is painful to have explain why words matter.
Words can and do change attitudes – but only when they confront and map the reality of the hell that prostituted women and girls have to live in or are living in trauma after exiting.
Words should shock, should make the listener/reader confront their own prejudices, it should make you uncomfortable.
This is not an academic or theory for exited women – or we have in our hearts and minds that whilst you may debate language – millions of prostituted women and girls are trapped and being destroyed.
Let exited women use words that fit their realities – and don’t let your feeling of being uncomfortable get in the way of being part of the movement for abolition.