I Can’t Cry

I want to cry so much.

My throat hurts so much coz it so blocked, my eyes are tired of being tired, my heart is in an agony where words disappear to.

I still can’t cry.

I wanted to cry when Lauren Bacall died, for she was my protector when all my world was being thrown to the wolves.

I remember as a 14-year-old wanting to be Lauren Bacall, wanting her presence by my side.

I stood by the bar in a sex club, and try hard to make it into “The Big Sleep”, and make reality disappear.

I imagined the dive I was in was a sophisticated nightclub – where I was wisecracking and keeping men at a distance.

I refuse to see the truth, that I had no voice, no safety, no access to dignity – I refuse to know I was nothing as I imagine I was strong as Lauren Bacall.

I want to cry so much for that lost teenager – but I can’t cry.

I want to cry at the careless use of language that destroyed my soul every day.

I want to cry every time I read, I hear and I come across someone I thought I could trust say “sex worker”.

I want to chop off their head, I want to smash my radio or TV up, I want to stab editors and academics that say those words.

All exited men and women I know, hate the term “sex worker”, and we say over and over and over why we want that language destroyed.

But instead, you listen and copy those who promote that term – do you not question why I and so many exited folks hate to be called sex workers.

It is a term invented and promoted by the sex trade and its allies to make invisible all the common male violence done to the prostituted.

Say prostitution is just work, maybe say it can hard and dangerous work, and it become about the individual prostitute – and never that it is a criminal structure that has the purpose of allowing men access to sadism.

To call it sex work is a terrible lie – said to bring the Left and liberal feminists in line with the sex trade.

I cannot believe how easy it for the Left and liberal feminists allow themselves to be manipulated and guilt-tripped by the sex trade.

I feel like slapping them for so naive/stupid, but i understand it is easier to think it just work and somehow can be made safe – then to know the brutal truth, that male violence is the life-blood of all aspects of prostitution.

Prostitution can never be made safe – for every time a punter makes the choice to buy another human, he is making the choice to own the prostitute body and soul.

That is not work, that is not sex – that is slavery.

Once you have been brought or sold – you know you have no rights to safety, no access to language that others will hear, no access to know consent.

Once you have been brought or sold – you learn to not know rape for it happens too regular for the human mind to comprehend.

Once you have been brought or sold – you teach your body to block out pain from endless tortures of mind, body and soul. You learn as quick as possible how to be alive, but empty of hope, emotions and sense of purpose.

You learn to be a husk.

I want to cry for that empty soul – cry for the endless hate, anger and pain that all the prostituted have forced into them.

I want to cry so, but only my choking and sickness comes.

I want to cry when I hear feminists say it about all women – as yet another of placing the prostituted as an afterthought, hopefully push far enough away to be made invisible.

Yes all women can be on the receiving end of male violence – but it about scale and what it means to belong to the prostituted class.

All women and girls could be raped in their lifetime – but it would considered terrible if a non-prostituted woman is raped in more than 5 separate occasions.

Most of the prostituted are raped in their hundreds, thousands, and in industrialised brothels numbers beyond human comprehension.

Rape is so normal to the prostituted, it become nothing, a non-event.

The prostituted are raped beyond knowing and naming it as rape.

We need another language for that scale of rape, another way of seeing and knowing that reality.

We need the language of extreme torture, the language of numbness and alienation, a language of human rights, a language that reaches into the centuries of silence that built the prostituted class.

I gleaned some language from reading classic horror such as MR James and Edgar Allen Poe.

I gleaned language from reading letters and memoirs from soldiers on the Western Front, in the American Civil War.

I gleaned language from diaries of slaves, from words of twentieth century genocides and civil wars.

Language need to look directly into the void that is prostitution – not turn away to other aspects of male violence, just to abandon yet again the prostituted class.

The men that rape, torture and murder the prostituted on a mass scale – are given permission by making their violence unspeakable – or just unhearable.

We must struggle to find a language that fits that scale – we must face without fear the terror, the agony and the depths of grief that give some meaning to what it is to be prostituted.

And not silenced those who speak out by saying it about all women.

Learn to hear the differences, learn to be quiet and wait for spaces to open for you to talk.

I wish I could cry – i wish so much.

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12 responses to “I Can’t Cry

  1. They silence our speech- they try. They speak for us shoving the gags in our mouths and covering our eyes which also speak. This reached me at midnight, A crack in my throat. We will never let them take our words. They have stolen everything but our words. They nearly won , they nearly won. They did not win what is ours. You know why I can sleep, if fitfully tonight? You reached me at midnight, exhausted, but warm in this cabin on the river, You reached me right here. You know why I can sleep tonight. Because you used our words. Thank you Rebecca. Simone Andrea Watson

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  2. This has shocked me so much. I always thought it was better to say ‘sex worker’ because ‘prostitute’ seems demeaning, but this post has made me think that as much as anyone who considers themselves a free and happy ‘sex worker’ has the right to be referred to as such, I can’t be using it as a blanket term, because it does give an ok-ness to prostitution, which, whatever the experiences of individual prostituted people, is, in its current form, an incredibly dangerous ‘job’. A ‘job’ in which people are raped and beaten and killed in much higher levels than in the general population. And a ‘job’ that people are sometimes forced into against their will. You’ve really made me think. Thanks for writing this

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  3. Simone – I am sorry i disturbed – but sometimes it can like little revolutions to know how our route to a language has been stolen. Our bodies will always carry that language, xxx

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  4. Viliakohnhawake – thanks so much for your comment. I would suggest you should question whether anyone in prostitution has made a ree and happy choice to be. Rather, when inside prostitution, it is normal to teach yourself to put on a happy face, and to tell yourselves it was a free choice. Also, the skill of sex trade profiteers is to break down the prostituted, and then give them the language of the Happy Hooker. It is common for prostituted women who claim they are happy and free – to speak a very different language when and if they are lucky enough to exit. When inside prostitution it can impossible to know the full reality of the violence, so for some kind of survival it becomes important to imagine it is fine.
    There is no time or culture that normalises prostitution where the prostituted were sae – for prostitution is always about making the prostituted class sub-human, and therefore all violence done to them is made unimportant;

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  5. rmott62 – Thanks for your reply. I realise I have a very limited understanding of the experience of prostituted people, and in fact am possibly only just now realising just how much that understanding has been shaped – by programmes such as Belle De Jour, by porn, by the general derogatory language aimed at women – taunts of being a ‘slut’ a ‘hooker’ are some of the worst things you can call a woman. And yet we feminists so often love to pretend that ‘sex work’ can be a respected and equal profession – how can that be if the worst thing you can call a woman is a ‘hooker’? The whole of society would have to change to make that possible.
    Your explanation of the ‘Happy Hooker’ makes so much sense – it’s so logical – especially if you compare your language about being prostituted with the language of any abuse survivor – the mind is a powerful thing, and most survivors have all had experiences of convincing ourselves that something that we cannot change is ok in order to survive it.
    As I say, I think that the media has done a highly successful blanket job on prostitution – we are so careful not to ‘judge’ people’s ‘choices’ that we give almost no airtime to the idea that prostitution is nowhere near a ‘free’ choice. When I think about it, there’s obviously a reason why people who are prostituted are often economically at the bottom of the pile – how can something be a free choice when the only choice involved is between starvation and prostitution?
    And as you say, although in a utopian world prostitution could be, in concept, the same as any other job, we have never encountered a society that treats prostitutes as fully human – which is why there’s so much violence against them. It’s illogical to say that because something is ok in theory, it’s ok in practice, when we have evidence that the way that it is set up and practised is wrong.
    It’s similar to my recent revelation about porn – although it’s great idea for people to be able to freely and openly view sex – that’s not what the porn industry is, in reality.
    I’m fully sex-positive and like to respect people’s differing ways of life, but I don’t think that it’s anti sex-positive, or closed-minded, to criticise cultural norms that rape and kill people.
    Thanks for your bravery on talking about this openly, I know it must be hard.

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  6. Reblogged this on Opinionated Ms Me and commented:
    This post has opened my eyes about prostitution in a really big way – I’m still questioning, as I question every new idea I find, but it’s a compelling read and worth considering I think 🙂
    (More of my meaningless opinions in the comment section btw)

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  7. Thanks, this answer will shorter than I want, but I have had a very hard day.
    The media is often controlled by the sex trade, and therefore its ways of portraying the prostituted is highly romantic or just dead bodies for a crime plot.
    It is not wrong to judge people’s choices, I would judge the choices of any rapist, all punters, all sex trade profiteers and other forms of male violence. When it is said we must not judge the choices of the prostituted, it is always done without full knowledge of the whole life the prostitute. There are many reasons that make prostitution not a choice – much than just the economic reasons. The prostituted woman or girl could have been previously abused, and come to think of herself as nothing but a sex object. She may be with a “boyfriend” who is trapping into the sex trade. The most important factor that creates the prostituted class, is that many females are vulnerable for they have never experienced real emotional love.
    The sex trade will go for all classes, ethnicities and types of women and girls to make their market full of variety. So there many women and girls who not poor who are used by the sex trade.
    I do not like the expression sex positive – for it is used to spread the lie that the reason abolitionists fight to end the sex trade is just coz they are scared of or hate sex. This is done to ridicule, and to strip us of our radical politics.
    Thanks for being brave enough to question the media and other sex trade lies.

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  8. Friday night and a bit pissed.. Sex workers. Crying with pain. Please Rebecca keep crying and shouting and being angry. I still feel I am sounding patronising but I don’t don’t don’t want that. Keep SHOUTING AND BEING ANGRY.

    I want to reply more. Maybe I won’t be able to tonight but later I hope.

    Sex workers. Hmm. I’ve been a factory worker. I’ve been a farm worker. (My heart all my life has loved all farm workers and I have a PhD and so what does that say?).

    Being a worker of any kind, a labourer, a manual worker, people treat you basically like shit or are terribly patronising. Even when you are, as I was, a mature student, high achieving.

    So what about sex workers?

    I went to a couple of sex parties supporting a sex workers cooperative or something similar. I didn’t feel comfortable.

    I’ve lost the plot tonight. Would like to say more another time.

    I am pissed having drunk a bottle of chianti, cooking a supper for me and John. Recently (I am 69) my sex drive has gone (sad, very sad) and John (aged 78) is not well but he will do sex even and especially when he is not well. I can’t do that.. He is driven by sex, a sex addict, I think he has lived as a sex worker/ a prostitute. I am dealing with that as well.

    Please keep posting.

    Great love to you all out there (I think there are thousands, millions of you)

    Jackie

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  9. There is so much here. You are right about language. I love language, words, that’s my thing. But when .I try to talk about the stuff you are writing about I struggle to find words. Please keep searching for a vocabulary. I will try also. I speak as much as I can while struggling, but I never hear anyone else speak about these matters at all, and they go silent on me when I speak.

    John does respond, which is whyI have been with him on and off for 23 years, he will respond, will talk about these things – sometimes, powerfully, bitterly, often obliquely. I am sure he has been involved in related criminal stuff (he denies everything) but because he talks, communicates, and has been very caring and loving and supportive in general life (tho possessive) to me I want the communication, and the loving and support, to keep going.

    I’ve read the end of my last message – I referred to him as a sex worker. I agree the term is inadequate. Sex slave (permanent, temporary, part time, full time) is better. But the straight part of me thinks that sex slave sounds titillating. Prostitute sounds awful, to the straight part of me. (Why?) I prefer slavery language. lt is real.

    Thanks.

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