This is an unanswerable question which is always asked of those of us somehow survived the sex trade.
It is unanswerable for we do not know.
Do not know when so many strong and vibrant friends, and folks we did not know were destroyed by the sex trade.
Do not know how we survived many near-death experiences.
Do not know how we woke each morning after many hours of mental, sexual and physical torture.
Do not know how we survived our many suicide attempts.
All we know it against all that was thrown at us we lived.
That should be seen as heroic – there should parades, fireworks, a day of memorial and celebration for all the prostituted.
But our survival is greeted with silence, with embarrassment, with a conscious turning away from any message we bring with us.
For we should have never survived – never of lived, never of remember what it was to be prostituted, never been alive with a voice and the will to make others listen to learn.
The harsh fact of the silencing, ignorance and closing of those of us who have exited the sex trade is we cannot be allowed to be alive enough have a voice.
This is shown on so many levels – whether by the usual suspects of those who benefit in the continence of sex trade, but also by folks who say they are allies of us.
It is shown every time there are records of murders of females – where there is no mentions of the many murdered prostituted women and girls, no mention of those murdered in the porn industry.
These deaths are made invisible, made unimportant – if mentioned mostly as an afterthought to “normal” domestic violence murders.
But – the murders of the prostituted class is happening everywhere, every day, maybe every half hour of every day.
It is considered that women inside the sex trade are at the minimum 12 times more likely to die a violent death that women of similar age and background – it may as much as 20 times more likely.
If it considered that women may dies at least 2 a week from domestic violence – then try to imagine 12-20 times that number.
But this genocide goes on, for the prostituted are never alone to be human enough for their lives to matter.
That means to murder a prostitute is made into a non-event – it becomes just the throwing away of the trash.
The deaths of the prostituted are mostly unreported. If reported, all too often she is made nameless.
If the murdered prostitute is allowed to have a name, her life is narrow down to “just another dead whore”.
The message is clear – we should not mourn the murdered prostituted, that grief should be for “real” women.
Death was the norm when we were inside prostitution.
We learnt that our lives meant nothing – so most of the prostituted grow hardened to the idea of death.
Sometimes the only reminder that we were alive, was finding we could still feel pain or get moments of grief – or even some connection to what it was to be happy.
To have emotions was terrifying – but they were vital to send signals that there more to life than being buried in the sex trade.
Emotions needed to be controlled – for all too often, sex trade profiteers and punters used any sign that we were still human against us.
To show fear encourage more violence.
To cry was to be laughed at, was to made to cry by yet more violence.
To laugh at the ridiculousness of it all was to be punished.
To be quiet was not to put the punter at the centre of everything.
To show anger was placed yourself in grave danger.
To want to protect yourself would make a danger to the sex trade, so you will be thrown away.
I always laugh with bitter tears remembering that deadening all emotions became the way I survived how bad it was.
Often the real meaning of “if it was so bad, how come you’re alive then?” is – why did you do nothing to run away, or report the violence.
Again this very hard to answer, yes there is a surface of easy answers of not knowing how to report, being taught to trust no-one outside the sex trade, not knowing anywhere was safe to run to – but the real answers are deeper and far more tragic.
Most of us who were trapped inside the sex trade have no clear answers is why we did not run – for to be honest, many of us did run away only to find we landed straight back into the hell of the sex trade.
Running away is very hard if you don’t where or who you are running – sometimes going back to what you think you might understand seems the only solution.
It must be been seen that the vast majority of those inside the sex trade comes from backgrounds or experiences that have taught them that they are less than human – and the skill of the sex trade and its profiteers to keep them as sub-human.
Look at the prostituted class and what do you see.
You will see the majority have experienced childhood abuse.
You will see that indigenous and ethnic minorities women overwhelm who is made into the prostituted.
You will see all man-made disasters – wars, famine, poverty etc – are used to recruit the prostituted.
You will see that the sex trade market is about young flesh – under-aged prostitution is the norm not some perversion.
And you will see that the sex trade will prey on all women and girls – for there a market for everything from posh white schoolgirl to Asians in saunas, from high-class escort to street-based prostitute.
The sex trade never will get tired of exploiting and oppressing the prostituted – and by ignoring their violence, you become part of the problem.