Tuesday, 29 November 2011


I've felt a real sense of shame of late. But then I think, whose shame?

And I think about...

The endless sexual objectification of women all around. No escape, no getting away from it, in cinema, films, television, 'lads' mags, womens mags, porn mags, adverts, music videos, internet pop ups, spam, porn dvds even radio and books. Everywhere the submission of women celebrated, inequality defined as natural and celebrated, her goal and his. She wants to be used abused and sexualised just as much as he wants to use abuse and sexualise her.

The dominance of a few voices. Jenna Jameson, a porn 'success' who made some money here, the exception not the rule, one of a tiny but powerful minority of sex industry puppets, women whose voices are used to defend its operation, wholesale. They use women like Jenna to tell us how good porn is for us, even the women it uses. Want to be Jenna Jameson? Gang raped and left for dead as a teenager, and she won't watch her stuff back. We needed therapy and instead we got fucked over literally again and again for the profit and pleasure of others. Now we have trouble talking in therapy.

It's a feedback loop: I feel dirty and shameful so I accept being treated as dirty and shameful which makes me feel dirty and shameful. Trapped to the gain of the pimps and johns, for the pleasure of the purchaser of the record of my abuse, an 'adult' dvd or pictures.

Whose shame? The pimps' and the johns'. I used to think it was my shame. My shame? My arse. Literally.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Drowning Rabbit

And I feel the words slipping away, find my body not responding, feel my mouth clamping shut. My lips feel as if they're stuck together, like I'm gagged and mute and bound. I'm utterly helpless, frozen like a rabbit caught in headlights. My thoughts race or else empty: I either over-inhabit my head or I'm gone, carried away in a wave of nothingness. The thoughts there are slow, detached: those of an observer, mildly interested. At the other extreme, I experience myself as utterly trapped, chained to this body and disabled by it: I command it to move and it doesn't, shout in my head for my lips to move but they don't. I feel like I'm drowning and I can't shout for help. I can blink, but that's where it ends.

The cause of this extreme shutdown response? Anything that triggers the worst of my past. My head and body reel with re-living the trauma, I'm overwhelmed by it, engulfed by it. I pray for the detach response: the other stuck-ness is too painful, too lonely, to be borne. Encountering it in therapy the other day I experienced myself trapped in my past, torturous technicolour images of the abuse burning through my mind and body, incapacitated and alone there.

I don't want to go back there on my own any more.

Everything is connected. One thought, one memory triggers another and another and it's off, an ever-widening circle of horror replaying for my eyes only, for my mind only. I want to scream 'help me, please help me, be with me here, help bring me out of here', but no words come. My lips remain welded together, impervious to my commands to open.

It shouldn't surprise me that at times I struggle to open my mouth, whether to eat or to speak. My mouth was sorely misused when I was sold: I retched and gagged on cock after cock thrust down my throat, lungs burning, eyes streaming. Feeling unsafe now, my mouth refuses to cooperate.

As for words, for speaking, for asking for help, that shouldn't surprise me either. When I opened my mouth I risked his fist, so I stopped talking. And words failed me anyway, were inadequate anyway, fell away anyway. How do you convey the terror that is gang rape? How to convey the debasement that you experience every day of being beaten, being sold. Narrative becomes disjointed, the result of blackouts. Feelings? God, you have no idea what you feel. Fear beyond description, pain beyond words, the numbness of going beyond that, beyond.

Everything falls away in the end. You detach and observe yourself beaten, yourself raped, yourself near death. You have no power over it, no escape. It's a little like observing the world from under water, at a distance: sounds seem far off, actions seem slowed down. A slow motion car crash without the emotion.

Then the sickening fall back into your body, back into the feelings, back into looking with your eyes, hearing with your ears, feeling what they do. Back into the fear and the racing thoughts, the shaking and the being. Reunited with your body, the pain rushes back in and stifles you. Your chest constricts, your throat closes up.

My current experience, then, of PTSD, is an exact re-living of how I experienced the trauma of being prostituted at the time. The fluctuation between detachment and over-embodiment remain, though the external circumstances of my life differ. I am no longer subject physically to the abuse I suffered. But the mental scars remain, and have a physical effect. They incapacitate me as they did then, but no longer serve a purpose. At the time, it was what my mind and body did to survive. Now, it serves to isolate me.

Trust doesn't come easily to me, for good reason. But now I need it more than ever. I need to be honest and ask for help. And I need a lot of help. I doubt this job'll be a quick fix. Until I'm able to open my mouth, I thank God for the ability to write. Without that release valve, I'd be as I was then - absolutely fucked.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Destruction Calling: Come on Down

I get the strongest urge at times to utterly destroy myself, to hurt and hurt and hurt myself, to shred myself to bits. To punish myself. It's as if I've internalised what they said to me - you deserve it, you like it, you were meant for this - worthless! Bitch! Dirty girl! Slut! Whore... and on. There's a part of me that feels horribly dirty and damaged beyond repair, which makes any attempt at change seem utterly futile.

My therapist said to me, when you encounter evil of the type you have experienced, most people go with one of two options: destroy others, thus perpetuating the evil, or destroy themselves. I took the latter course. I believed the badness, the hatred and aggression, and the dirtiness, which belonged to the men who used me, to be mine. There were no boundaries: nothing was mine, nothing was sacred, there was nothing that couldn't be smashed and tainted. Their words circled in my head, their hands possessed my body, their body fluids in and on me, my pain their orgasm. They consumed me. Not surprising then that I was confused about what was their stuff and what was mine. Degradation after degradation, beating after beating, rape after rape. It was always my fault - my fault I got hit for not cooperating, for showing him up, for making him angry, my fault I got raped because I deserved it, liked it, was a slut anyway, had it coming to me.

They told me it was my fault, and I believed them. Their voices were louder, more persistent, more cruel, playing on my fears, on my insecurities than the small whisper in my head that said this isn't right, what they do and say isn't right. They told me I was dirty and it fit my experience: I felt dirty, a collection of holes to be fucked and cum on and in. They told me I was worthless: I felt worthless, disposable, when one man after another used me and then left me, a battered wreck, to clean myself up, to make myself decent for the next fucking. They told me I liked it, and I thought, no I don't, but I found myself saying I did, colluding, to try and stay safe, try and avoid any more violence.

I felt at times I simply can't take anymore - anymore shouting, anymore beatings, anymore punishments. Anything but that, I'll do anything. And I did. The shame stays with me, the self-blame stays with me.

To survive what was happening, I used to tell myself it doesn't really matter, I don't matter, this body isn't really me. Unable to remove myself from that situation, just to survive, I ended up internalising the attitude of my abusers, denying my own feelings and rights and humanity. Knowing I might die there, but powerless to change that, coming close, I detached from myself, and said to myself, so be it. So tired, so so tired of the fear and the pain and the daily horror of being sold.

It's a slow and painful process to say to myself that I do matter, that what was done to me does matter, and to really believe it. There remains a behaviour pattern in me that makes it much easier to say, particularly when I'm tired and struggling and hurting as I am right now, it doesn't matter: none of this matters and neither do I, and hurt myself again. To detach from this body, as I did then, to separate off, let the body take the punishment, and self harm. I get this overwhelming urge to purge myself of this evil, to be rid of it, to destroy every last bit of it, but this evil left its marks on me, on Angel, in the form of scars and body memories, association. To wipe out the past would be to wipe out the body, to wipe out me, to end myself.

I have come to understand, though it has taken time, and the urge to hurt myself, to punish myself remains strong, that this is misplaced emotion. I don't want to erase Angel, and I shan't. I just don't want to feel dirty anymore, feel shameful anymore, feel worthless anymore. I still feel powerless in the face of the sex industry. But I can see that this is not my shame to bear. I can see that the dirt and the guilt and the blame lie with the men who used and sold me. The feelings, though, oh the feelings! They take a little longer to catch up. As long as I keep doing the right actions - talking about this stuff, writing about this stuff - I don't have to act on it. I didn't get clean and sober to fuck myself up another way.

You know what needs destroying? The sex industry with all its lies and abuses. I fully intend to do everything in my power to aid that process.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Porn Again

As I was driving the other day I caught a programme on the radio about HIV. It made me think about the practice of safe sex and pornography. Punters want to see skin to skin contact, unsheathed penises, and cum - plenty of it. 'Bare-backing' (sex sans johnnies, in whatever way) is the norm.

Unprotected sex is not without risk. But the sex acts in pornography all serve to increase that risk: anal sex, sex with multiple partners, rough sex (including rough oral sex), ass-to-mouth, anal-vaginal, bukkake (on the up)... Anything that may cause tearing increases the risk for HIV and hepatitis. Because of the aggressiveness of so much porn, and the prolonged penetration, including with objects or fists, the chances of tearing are much increased. Old injuries, from the last fucking, may re-open again as she is used again - oh so painful! (been there) and unsafe.

Supposed 'health checks' imposed in some quarters of the industry (largely to appease the public conscience) are beyond laughable. Women in porn are routinely prescribed painkillers to 'help' them work, and many more use drink and drugs to numb the pain. The result of this is that even when the woman is physically damaged in the making of porn, she is less likely to feel the full extent of it at the time and therefore less likely to stop and so prevent further damage. Which also assumes that she is in a position to stop what is happening to her - which is often not the case. Even when a woman isn't overtly pimped, there are many other means of trapping her into sexual acts she does not wish to engage in. Drink and drugs affect inhibitions and consciousness, leaving the woman more open than ever to abuse. She can be told that the contract she's signed requires her to do certain things, or be pressured by her agent to perform more extreme sex acts for the camera (it makes him more money). It's hard to imagine a woman in a gang bang scene, surrounded by men, and likely with a penis thrust down her throat, being in a position to say 'stop it, you're hurting me'. Indeed the fear and pain visible on the faces of porn 'actresses' in many dvds clearly attests that this is not the case. She may be desperate for money and so vulnerable to being pressed into doing more unpleasant stuff for more cash. Or she may be so mentally scarred she can see no other option for herself, no way out.

Porn uses the most vulnerable women and it heaps upon them damage after damage, mental and physical. Retching on cocks, covered in the cum of man after man inside and out, bruised, swollen and bleeding between her legs, throat raw, jaw aching, and feeling like her insides are going to fall out, the glamourous pornstar, the 'actress'. Her anus, her vagina, her mouth, her breasts and her body are offered up for the camera, to be used and abused without compunction. And we name this thing that is done to her for the gratification of men she has never met empowering, liberating, harmless fun! The statistics regarding drink, drugs, suicide and histories of abuse tell a somewhat different story - not that you'd know it: the industry, with the collusion of a society which does not wish to know, manages to keep those figures out of the debate. Instead we fall back to babbling without meaning about 'choice' and 'glamour'.

And so porn normalises the practice of unsafe sex, in every meaning of the word. The john can enjoy looking at the photo, watching the movie, a million miles removed from the smell of cum, of filth, without the pain and the fear and the danger. He laughs when she gets cum in her eyes - guess it won't be him queued up with an eye infection tomorrow. He gets a thrill watching ass-to-mouth: safely at the other end of the lens he doesn't have to worry about STDs; he imagines the humiliation, it turns him on, but he doesn't know what it really feels like.

While she limps home to scrub and scrub and scrub herself clean in the shower, to check if she's bleeding, to assess the damage, to get wasted and try to forget, he folds the magazine away, ejects the dvd and mentally flips channel, content in the knowledge that his behaviour is 'normal', that it's socially acceptable - no harm done.

There is nothing safe for the women in porn, or for those who are pushed by their partners to emulate the painful and unsafe practices porn promotes. Porn treats women as disposable -literally, it fucks them over, and then moves onto 'fresh pussy'. Porn is also everywhere - it is now mainstream. How can we be so blind as to miss the glaring contradiction between promoting safe sex practices and glorifying porn? The two are totally incompatible.

The words 'safe' and 'pornography' don't even belong in the same sentence. Porn damages - body, mind and spirit. Fact. I'm still working on unknotting the damage it's done me.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Day in the Life


Waking at 4am, shaking, sweating as the alcohol and drugs leave your system, and just not knowing what to pray for. You're terrified there on your own in the night ill and alone but when morning comes it'll be the same old merry-go-round, the same old stuff, being fucked by men and you don't want to be touched but you need the money for the drink and drugs cos you can't get off them, can't do it without them, they go hand in hand the addiction and the prostitution, the self abuse and the abuse. Your heart's racing out of sync, your liver's throbbing, stomach burning, sore between your legs from the men who fucked you today. You feel terribly terribly stuck and you hate yourself and you find yourself around people who hate you, play back that image to you.

You thought you were worthless, your ex told you you were worthless, and the johns treat you like you are, tell you that you are, that you like how they abuse you, they whisper sordid, sick fantasies into your ear before they act them out on you and they say 'and you'd like that, wouldn't you?' and you hear the sound of your own voice, though far off and disconnected like it's not really you saying, 'oh yeah, baby, that makes me cum'. You feel that knife twisting in your side, you're selling yourself out, any shred of self respect you might have had dies as those words exit your lips.

Your body's not your own, your words aren't your own, even your pain's not your own: sometimes they want to know you don't like it, what they do to you, they demand to see your tears, see your pain. You will the tears from your eyes but they won't come, they don't come, you're not connected, can't reach this body of yours. You know in a distant way that it will be safer for you to cry, to get it over with, so they'll finish, climaxing to your suffering, your humiliation, so they'll stop. No tears come. They keep doing what they're doing, or something more sadistic, til you either pass out or beg for mercy, their orgasm your final destruction. Or else you find the tears streaming down your cheeks, powerless to hold them back, feel the warm glow of shame and pain, and feel utterly betrayed by this body of yours, by yourself. You have nothing to hold onto, nothing is yours anymore: their hands touching you all over, inside and out, your mouth used for their pleasure, every bit of you used for their pleasure, their gratification, the open target of their body fluids, their sick and twisted fantasies, your pain their thrill. Consumed by them.

The drink helps, the drugs help, they numb you out, help take you away from what they do to you, from yourself, but also serve to keep you there, the need for funds keeps you there, locked in this cycle of abuse and self abuse, you know that you're killing yourself, know you may be killed, but how to get away from that? It seems impossible.


So crushed that to dare to even hope for something more, for anything more, seems frightening: you'll get hurt, it won't work out, best to endure, best to forget, best to keep your head down and survive. Normality is just a word to you, an unknown quantity, but surely something other, something better, than this.


Getting out, and you're one of the lucky ones, not everyone makes it, one of the lonely ones, the chasm between you and others around you, without your past, is unbridgeable. Every day you thank God for being clean and sober, every day you deal with the aftermath of what happened to you, what it is to be prostituted, to prostitute yourself. You lack the language, can't articulate, what happened, even to yourself, your past's a series of disjointed technicolour images, scents and sounds with blackouts inbetween, the result of the drink and the drugs and the head injuries, a jumbled non-narrative of horror, burned into your skull. When you sleep you get nightmares, when you wake they continue: panic attacks, re-living, triggered off by the everpresent background hum of the sex industry. Every film has sex in it, every ad has semi clad women in it, every newsagents has porn in it, women for sale everywhere, inequality sold as equality. You just can't get away.


You begin to piece together what happened, put words to what happened, inadequate as they are, words like 'pimp', 'rape', 'gang rape'. You start to realise that when even the most mild forms of abuse you suffered seem unspeakable, unacceptable, that your truth separates you, is too much for most people to hear. When being gang raped was just another day for you, just another day surviving, enduring as best you could, the only way you know how. Treated like an animal you became an animal to survive, and the shame burns you, the guilt burns you, the sickness of what was done to you, what you did to get by eats away at you. You live knowing that there are images of you out there, images of the abuse, men wanking over them, making money from them, your pain their thrill, their profit.

You realise you are one of too few who know that prostitution and porn and lapdancing are all the same, selling women is all the same, there are no boundaries, no distinctions. Your ex made you perform for them, made you dance for them, made you strip for them, made you entertain them whatever that required, and made money from your abuse. The johns photographed you, the dealer videoed you... No distinctions, no boundaries left to break though, every last piece of your humanity trampled down for power and for profit.

You live knowing first hand just what people are capable of, hearing people all around you defending porn, defending men like your abusers, calling people like Maxx Hardcore 'groundbreaking' and 'inspired', hearing ill informed arguments denouncing women like you who speak a truth no one wants to hear. You know that just because she's smiling doesn't mean she likes it, just because she's saying 'fuck me harder' doesn't mean she wants to be there, is free to choose to be there.

Harmless fun?
Sexual liberation?



To be a prostituted woman is to be in hell. To be a woman who has exited prostitution is to live in that knowledge, knowing where you've been, living with trauma, and being dismissed as an abberation - or a fruitcake. The mental health problems you now suffer as a result of the abuse are used against you. Even those who believe you dismiss you as exceptionally unlucky - 'it's not like that for most women in porn'! And you're afraid to speak out anyhow, mistrustful anyhow, scared of being alone with your head but scared to let others in in case you're hurt again, fucked over again.

You feel overwhelmed, invalidated. You feel scared and alone, scarred and broken, and lost. Painfully lost.

Imagine that and you have some insight into what it is to be me, to be a prostituted woman, a survivor. Take that knowledge and take action, to help a little, change something a little, maybe not laugh along when someone jokes about porn, maybe not join in the consensus when people say about the sex industry 'well, lads will be lads'. Maybe stand alongside me, alongside us, make it a little less lonely.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Joys of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I could sit here and write in a million different ways why prostitution and pornography are so deeply damaging, and as such are grave evils to be overcome. But in truth, right now, I am just too shattered to do anything requiring such mental effort and articulation.

I am beyond tired.

Bone weary

The cause? My PTSD has gone into overdrive again. I'm simply overwhelmed by re-experiencing the trauma of the past. It's like I've been submerged in it and now there's no getting my head above the water.

So many images all chasing through my head! My body tenses and shakes, vomits and aches: headache, stomach ache, muscle ache, even old injuries ache. When I sleep, I have nightmares, and when I wake, I fight up from sleep into a panic attack. My heart beats faster, I find it hard to open my mouth to eat.

I've just begun to make inroads into talking through some of the worst of what happened to me in therapy, which I know to be necessary: this stuff eats away at me like a cancer and stands between me and a happy life at best. At worst, it risks me fucking myself up majorly over it: at times it's so unbearable to live with that it seems to me it might be better if I weren't here.

I get that old urge to self harm. When I'm detached, sometimes I feel as though I've got stuck outside of my body and I can't get back inside, which scares me. Everything seems unreal, starting with me. At those times, the thought of self harming suggests itself as a means to get back inside myself: I am real, I can feel pain, I bleed. At other times when the mental pain reaches such a pitch that I feel I just can't take it anymore, not another second, self harming suggests itself to me as a means to detach: feel the tension drain away with the blood in the sink, feel the calmness, the distance, flood in.

I'm either too detached or too in-body. I get scared of myself, of being alone with my head, and scared of other people because I don't want to be hurt anymore. I trust no one.

I need to talk to people, to tell them what's going on in my head, specifically. I'm a great one for generalising: 'I don't feel great', 'bit of a headfuck', 'past stuff'... All words meaning something and nothing. I guess I'm back at that jumping off place once again of daring to say what exactly I'm remembering and reliving. That feels like a lot of power to give to someone, even someone I trust. In the past my very survival has depended upon pleasing other people, not rocking the boat, keeping stumm about the abuse. Talking about what's in my head isn't going to be easy listening, and any negative reaction, or potential negative reaction, perceived or real, by the person I talk to triggers off massive fear, which I feel mentally and physically. I don't like the idea of sketching out the images in my head that fill me with shame and make me feel sick about myself into someone else's head in all their glorious technicolour.

So I am exhausted. I'm reliving some of the most horrific times of my life. My therapist said, you've been tortured. Have been, but I feel like I'm still being tortured and I guess realistically that's not going to pass quickly. We're only just beginning to tentatively look at this stuff. I guess I need to keep on keeping on. The tiredness and the sadness are part and parcel of moving on. But the pain? How those things make me feel? It defies description.

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Logic of Illogicality

We live in a system full of tensions and downright illogic. We live in a country in which rape is illegal but pornography showing increasingly aggressive and painful acts against women is becoming ever more mainstream, in which no means yes and even where a woman doesn't initially know she wants sex, she learns to like it and orgasm through it when she is fucked. We live in a society in which battery is illegal but where pornography depicting women being slapped, spit on, being forcibly held down to 'deep throat' male porn actors to the point of crying and retching, is commonplace.

So violence in porn is permissable, coercion in porn is permissable - remember it's only fantasy, except that this fantasy is meted out on the bodies of the women used in porn. Being penetrated and cum over isn't fantasy for these women - it's the reality. I know this - I've been there. This stuff is painfully real to me. When the john, the punter, has got his rocks off, turns the dvd off, closes the magazine, performs a mental channel change, can she do the same, can the woman in the pictures do the same? The camera stops rolling and she picks herself up, cleans herself up, the cum on her face and body, inside her, checks for tears to her anus, her vagina, her throat. She's at high risk now for STDs, Hep B, HIV. She limps to the shower, swollen and bruised, and then goes back to her homelife, such as it is, knowing that images of her being hurt, being fucked, being laughed at, are now going to help make the man who sold her a very wealthy man, that those images will be wanked over, laughed about, that she will continue to be consumed by man after man even when the initial assault is over. Drinking helps, drugs help: they make it all a little more distant, make the pain a little less real. They help in trying to pretend that what happens doesn't matter, that she doesn't matter, that nothing really matters just the next drink or drug.

She begins to feel like her body isn't hers. Unable to remove herself physically from the abuse, retreating into her body, into her head, is not enough. The men follow her inside. She splits off from it, watching it yet living it, there but not there. This body isn't mine. Don't show you're hurting don't show you're hurting (or they'll hurt you more - they get off on it) becomes a numb I don't feel it anyway, nothing touches me, nothing moves me. You can beat me and fuck me and laugh at me but I'm not here anymore, you're just touching a body, shouting at a body, laughing at a body. I feel no connection. It oscillates: fear and numbness, extreme pain and total detachment, in body out of body. The name they're aiming this abuse at used to feel like my name, used to be mine, to be me, but it's not now. It refers to the shell, to the body. They don't know I've gone. They can't hurt me, don't know my real name, my real being, my real essence.

Getting back into the body, my body, piecing back the broken fragments, is slow, so slow, and painful beyond measure. The illogicality of a society which approves porn as 'normal' but claims to have justice for rape victims, victims of domestic violence, acts seen mirrored all the time in porn which are treated as not simply permissible but harmless and even fun, makes the process almost impossible. How do I live in this society? How can I possibly belong there, be validated there, be affirmed and supported, listened to and respected, with my past, my present? The images of the abuse continue to be out there, to be wanked over and laughed about. And I am told by people with absolutely no first hand experience of what it means to be sold, to be raped on camera, sometimes by one man and sometimes by many, for entertainment, that maybe it wasn't so bad. Porn isn't so bad.

You misunderstood, Angel. Porn's harmless fun, women choose to empower themselves and celebrate their sexuality and bodies by being in it, they get paid and laid and everyone's a winner.

Wrong wrong wrong. Everyone's a loser in porn. When I was sold, I lost everything: my body was used in ways that hurt me to the point of passing out and throwing up by the men around me, the images of that abuse continue to be used now by men who don't know me, although they think they do. Have you ever read the commentary in porno mags and on dvd labels? 'This little slut had it coming and couldn't wait to get all her hot holes filled'... 'This cunt took on more than she bargained for in her first gang bang, including taking her first DP and she loved it'... The experience was debasing, the images are debasing and the final insult is that it's described as being exactly what she wanted and deserved.

With how mainstreamed porn has become, and how increasingly aggressive, little wonder that public perception is often that rape victims are to blame. We are teaching the next generation that women want to be treated as sex objects, we demand it, that no doesn't really mean no and we had it coming to us. Follow that thought process through to its logical conclusion and it becomes clear that we are living in a rape culture. To deny that would be illogical.