Surviving prostitution is horrible.
I know we are strong, we have empathy, we can be the bravest people I know – but to all my fellow exited friends and colleagues, we live with knowing what we would rather not know.
We know and understand male sexual violence.
We know and understand what it is to be made sub-human.
We know and understand what torture is and how the human being somehow survives torture beyond knowledge.
We are carriers of deep knowledge – heck, we are a resource.
But I and most of my survivors friends would love to turn back time, and to be ignorant.
You live five minutes with even a small part of our knowledge, and tell me you would not turn back time.
I would imagine I never went down the path I did – I imagine the normal upper-middle class background I was born into.
I imagine a world where I had a mother who loved me, or at least put my safety and welfare as a major purpose.
Not the world of knowing I was nothing to my mum – knowing she saw me as an inconvenient, as born evil, as a blockade to her progress.
I imagine a world where my stepdad never meet my mother, a world where he was not even a thought in our family.
Not the world where his wants and needs were more important than my safety.
Not the world where he could randomly abuse me when his whim took him – and always my mother told me how I provoke him.
I had pushed him too far.
I would eat down my hate, my sense of no justice, my fury that wanted burn down my home.
I would imagine a world where I had no knowledge of prostitution, no idea that sex could be nothing, no connection of pain with that sex.
Not the world that I knew from too young.
The world of my six-year-old who run away from school into King’s Cross and Soho, surrounded by noises of women and girl’s desperation, by noises of men wanting to buy me – the child is cheap and ignorant.
The child can be molded into being a sub-human, and it will be no big deal.
The world of my seven-year-old – where she is stood still in Soho, acting tough, acting beyond her age.
She is street-wise, but knows nothing.
She is walking prey.
The world of my nine-year-old – who begun to make death her best friend, and knew suicide was some answer.
I don’t want to know how much my childhood was stolen even before I was 14 and enter the sex trade.
Now, I see the age 14, and see how bloody young that is – but then I thought I was all grown, that I could be hurt or know pain more than I did then.
I like so many survivors of prostitution, was used to abuse but still a child who naive of what torture was and how bad it could get.
Thank god, we were naive for how would still be alive if we had known what we were entering.
For we were entering hell, but like all hells on earth, it was hidden in plain sight.
I cannot write to prostitution without stating that all that I speak to is just common practice in all aspects of prostitution.
I must state that the vast majority of violence done to the prostituted is done in legal, semi-legal setting.
There is no such thing as underground prostitution, for all prostitution is easy for punters to find and consume.
Prostitution is never about sex and relationship – it always about money, power and male entitlement.
So it never hidden to men – those who do not see the violence and hate that is prostitution, have made a conscious decision to turn away
I will see my prostitution, knowing I connect to all the prostituted class. Now I can rise up and find I was never alone, only completely isolated.
So I speak to my prostituted self – speak words of comfort, words of revolution, words letting her know at last she is someone who can be respected.
Speaking to my prostituted self – I hope is part of building a world where all prostitution has vanished.
A world where all the prostituted class can stand tall.
But to build a future, we must grieve and know our pasts.
I will speak to the heart of my prostituted self – to my silent screaming, to that place where body memories come from,
I try by writing over and over and over, to ease my prostituted self – but without full justice, and a sense that the prostituted are respected – her pain seems endless.
I write to my reality of indoors prostitution, a world with no Julia Roberts, no Richard Geres – just desperation, pain and wanting to forget.
I write to each room with a bed where I was raped, tortured and put myself on the ceiling.
I write to not knowing pain – but seeing blood, seeing bruises, and being unable to walk or eat.
I write to not knowing the men – not looking at their faces, not hearing when they spoke, not breathing in their clothes or alcohol breathe.
I write to being in the of being gang-raped – with that sense of having skin, of my guts being pulled out, of hounds of men panting all over me – but finding not only was I still alive, but being gang-raped was quite common.
No wonder I don’t want to know my own truths.
But to understand and to end prostitution, we must know what is done to the prostituted, and name it as torture, as a human rights emergency.
We must allow all those exited folks strong enough to speak to that reality to be published, to be leaders at all speaking events about abolition, and to listen to your exited friends without asking them to censor their truths.
Abolition is a revolution – so don’t dilute it by censoring the truths of survivors of the sex trade.