Saturday, 25 February 2012

From Active Addiction to Active Recovery

It’s my birthday soon. 5 years clean and serene. Or at least, 5 years clean and sober. I could never have imagined that when I couldn’t go even 5 minutes without drinking towards the end. Good beyond words to be off the treadmill of addiction, the constant obsession, your mental and physical energy directed purely into securing the next drink or the next drug. The gradual isolation as people drift away, seeing your problem.

Waking up at 4am like clockwork every morning (if you're lucky enough to sleep at all after coming round from blacking out), shaking and sweating, heart beat erratic, liver pains, stomach pains, kidney pains, knowing you’re killing yourself and making promises – if I make it through the night, I won’t drink or use tomorrow, I’ll stop tomorrow. The grey arrival of dawn and the inevitable scramble to find a bit of booze, a hidden bottle. The self-loathing and fear as you pour the first drink: the mixture of relief and brief respite followed by despair and hopelessness as the alcohol takes its effect. Sometimes in a moment of strength the night before pouring the drink away, or flushing the drugs down the toilet and thinking: thank God, a fresh start tomorrow. The cursing and disbelief the morning after: the why? What was I thinking?

The passing out, the throwing up, the dizziness, the blackouts where people tell you you didn’t seem drunk at all, seemed absolutely fine. The blackouts when they don’t and you struggle to put together some picture of what actually happened, your only guide the disgust and judgment in the faces of others as they turn away. Prescription drugs are no harder to let go of, the drinks vary and the drugs vary but the results in the end are the same: pain and chaos. That feeling of betrayal, the ultimate betrayal when the thing that helped you to start with, the thing that seemed to be your friend, the only thing you could trust, turns against you, becomes the problem rather than the solution.

I didn’t drink the way I drank, or use the way I used, because I was happy. Neither was I under the illusion that to do so would be without problem. But it helped, to start with. I couldn't foresee quite how problematic it was to become. It pulled me through when life was unbearable, when what was going on around me, what was happening to me, was too much. I always felt pain acutely, and finding something that helped take the edge off that was a real eureka moment. When I lost a parent, it helped. When the violence meted out by my partner and friends overwhelmed me, it helped. Numbed out through the alcohol, with drugs, it became easier to say it doesn’t matter, what they do to me doesn’t matter. I didn’t want to be present for it, didn’t want to remember it. And sometimes I was lucky and I didn’t.

But the solution becomes the problem. The inevitable overdoses, the constant illness, mental and physical. The hallucinations, the paranoia, the black tide of depression. The horrifying realisation that came for me quite close to the end that I actually couldn’t stop. Until then I’d told myself that I just chose not to. Knowing I couldn’t was a different proposition entirely, the stuff of nightmares.

I am incredibly, incredibly fortunate to be in recovery. The obsession to drink and use left me fairly early on, once I’d come off it. I have a programme of recovery which I work and good people around me, because recovery is not something I can do on my own. All the energy I put into my addiction I now put into my recovery, a necessity to stay clean and sober. The ability to talk, to articulate my feelings and emotions, even to identify them, has taken time. To put a narrative to my past. Fucking tough, feeling, re-living, seeing it unclouded by chemicals, processing. But now I have my words back, and I have the right people to help me build a life, rather than just scraping through, surviving. I have a chance. For that and each day sober, I am so grateful. I never want to go back to the hell of active addiction, and I don't have to.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Anonymous Woman Haters and Other Animals

I had another abusive comment left for me delightfully on my blog today. It's great to see that the opposition remain as unintelligent and inarticulate in their response to criticism of their 'right' to buy women's bodies and to vent their hatred as ever.

It's good to know that I'm touching some nerves out there. This protector of free speech, this defender of men called me a 'stupid fucking whore' and a 'man hater'. Again. Please see previous post for my response to his earlier abusive comments. I don't think that the many men out there who believe in equality, who don't treat women like a set of orifices, would thank him for his vitriolic defence of grand scale misogyny in their name.

However, the ability to engage in any honest or meaningful way about the realities of prostitution or pornography has never been one of the strong points of the johns. It would mean taking responsibility, see, looking at their fantasies and behaviours, would mean acknowledging that the prostitute is there not for her pleasure and because she's a dirty slut looking for a good fucking, but because of him. It would mean taking responsibility for his own sick fantasies and twisted actions, which is evidently not too appealing.

So, that old recourse to name calling. I was called a good deal of things as a prostituted woman. After a while these things lack originality, a reflection of the johns and their limited, porn fuelled imaginations. The monotony of mindless aggression. Stupid whore? I think not. Prostituted women, battered women, are not stupid. We learn fast, just to survive. Survive I have.

And one of the things I have learned in recovery is to use negatives and turn them to positives. I'm glad to know that I'm reaching a wider audience, that my voice is reaching some of the people out there who don't appreciate a woman who's not on mute with a cock in her mouth or speaking his words that she wants it and loves it and deserves it. The johns won't like what I'm saying because it shows them as they are and so makes them look just a smidgeon bad.

It makes me smile, really. As a woman who has been sold I've been beaten and raped and close to death frequently. I would say I've got to this anonymous name caller more than he's got to me. After all, I'm used to being called shit and abused. The johns are more accustomed to having their egos massaged than hearing the truth about themselves.

Sometimes, the truth hurts. It can be silenced by violence, by threats of violence, for a while. But it will out, in the end. The truth will out.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

On PTSD, Survival and the Inadequacy of Language

I get bursts of creative energy. Sometimes, with a clear head, I can write for hours. At other times, the language fades. Words become insignificant, meaningless in the face of so much pain. Any energy I have is directed to surviving, just getting through, a day at a time, an hour at a time, a minute at a time. The pain is so raw, the re-living of the abuse through PTSD so real, so vivid, that I feel as if I'm losing my grasp on sanity.

I feel as if I'm falling off the edge.

I lock down. I'm absolutely alone here, returned to my past, a ghost in my present. Different feelings, different phases: terror; muteness; the futility of actions or words; and when all the energy's gone, a hard cold empty feeling of detachment that nothing really matters including me, that they can't really touch me. They can do what they want to this body, they may laugh and taunt and threaten, call names and shout and shake and beat and fuck the body, but I've gone. I'm floating on a sea of nothingness.

Some things my mind blanked out, though in recovery, and over time, some of these blanks have filled in. I couldn't always detach myself, and even when I did, I can still have memories, just one step removed. It's like watching myself on video, I am a voyeur in my own life. The images remain, technicolour, replaying when I sleep or sometimes anyway. Something triggers me and I'm gone, magically transported back there, no tardis required.

I sleep with the light on, and barely even then. Scared of dreaming, but scared of my thoughts lying awake hour after hour. The night looms, interminable, the fragile grip on sanity of the day stretched to a mere thread, at breaking point. The body, that is to say my body - the splitting I did to survive what they did to me continues - doesn't help. Muscles tense and tire, old injuries ache, and now the exhaustion from night after night of broken sleep has taken it to the point of fainting, of collapse. Both body and mind work against me, telling me I am in danger now, making me re-experience what happened then now.

Words like 'horrific' or 'nightmarish' seem inadequate. Vocabulary offers only some approximation for what I am experiencing. Without the drink and drugs I see and feel things more clearly than I did when they were happening. Beginning to talk about the pimping, the constant violence and abuse is terrifying, even if I know it's the right thing to do, which I do. Hearing my voice saying this stuff aloud, naming stuff, and hearing it spoken back, someone else's reaction, is painful beyond measure.

Am I glad not to be on my own with all of this? Hell, yes! It's taken more than four and a half years in recovery to find the right person to talk to, someone I can trust. Knowing it's the right thing does help - to a degree. Alone with the knowledge of my past, with the PTSD and constant replays, coping alone has been an incarceration of the worst kind. Isolated with the wreckage of my past, the scars, the humiliations, the beatings, the rapes have eaten away at me like a cancer. I have always known that this was something I needed to sit down and talk about face to face with someone just to have some shot at survival, should that chance ever arise. The writing helps too. I am freer in my writing than in my speaking with this stuff, though I knew it could never be instead of talking with someone.

Now I am beginning to talk and it's scary and confusing. So many emotions! So many voices tangling in my head, messages tangling in my head. Say it, don't say it, I'll kill you if you ever tell anyone, no one'll believe you, they'll hate you, they'll think you're disgusting, they'll judge me, they'll think I deserved it, you did deserve it and they'll know it, what if they say the wrong thing and belittle it, you could get crushed, trust no one they'll always let you down in the end, this stuff'll kill you if you don't talk... on and on. The thoughts are endless. They circle and confuse, round and round they chase in this tired head, while this tired body hurts and aches, vomits and shakes.

It's hard to get much clarity of thought when both body and mind are trapped in a nightmare. But I have one major thing going for me, for which I thank God. I am a Survivor. I know what I need to do to stay clean and sober, to survive, and I am bloody minded about my recovery. Nothing and nobody will de-rail me from that. So I may get abusive comments on my blog; I may live in a society saturated with porn and churning out pro-sex industry shit 24/7; I may be struggling to sleep and function right now. But I shall continue to survive and to do what is right for me even when that is difficult and I feel lost and like I'm going backwards. I shall continue to challenge the sex industry's lies in whatever small way I can by giving voice to the reality of being prostituted, being sold. I have faith in myself although at times I doubt even that. Because what you gonna do? Give up, shut up and fuck yourself up as the men who abused me would wish? I don't think so. I'm beginning to build a life and find a voice because they may have taken everything they could from me but they couldn't take that. I'm still here, battered and fragmented and exhausted, but still here.

Monday, 13 February 2012

On Societal Blindspots: Porn and Prostitution, Women For Sale

Violence against women has become so prevalent, so generally accepted, as to be largely invisible. Pornography and prostitution are a part of that blindspot. The language used by the majority in any discussion about such abuse ensures that it remains that way. It has been carefully sanitised to the point of abstract vacuousness. It is the language of unreality.

Supporters of the sex industry speak of 'sex work', 'clients', 'female empowerment', 'sexual liberation', 'easy money', 'choice', and being 'respecters of women' - 'we don't see them as victims, we support their own agency'. They call pornography, stripping and lapdancing 'harmless fun', say 'boys will be boys', and tend to say stuff like 'I wouldn't do it myself but I would never judge a woman for expressing her sexuality that way'. How very generous.

Women who are in the sex industry have to go along with these notions because when you are being bought (or sold, if you have a pimp), you are not free to say any different. You are not a free person at all but goods for sale. You are there to get him off, your buyer, the john, whatever that takes. It's not acceptable, nor safe, to tell it as it is. It is all about him and what he wants but you are made to say it is all about you - you choose to be here, you like what he does to you no matter how extreme. This notion that if a woman in porn is smiling, if a prostitute smiles, it proves she's happy and enjoying it, is a lie. You see, you thought it was about her, that she's smiling by choice.

This is not about her.

It's always, always, about him. The man off camera. The audience it's going to be aimed at and sold to. Her pimp or her agent or her madam, and how much money they want to make. The more extreme sex acts make more money, see, cos they hurt and they get the buyer off. He wants to see her 'taking it all like the dirty slut she is', and she's been told to smile to revert responsibility for the abuse she's experiencing back onto her. A woman who's smiling but clearly in pain, or a woman saying stuff like 'fuck me harder' when her expression says otherwise should ring alarm bells, not set our consciences at rest.

Women lucky enough to get out of the sex industry in enough of one piece to find a voice still have a problem speaking out, being heard, because the language we use - the language of reality - is deemed too extreme. People don't want to hear it. We speak of violence, of johns not clients, of fear and pain and the smells and body fluids of men we never wanted to touch us on and in our bodies. Prostitution, being in porn isn't just a 'job'. In what other job do you learn to split off from yourself, to dissociate just to survive? We say it wasn't empowering, being verbally and physically abused wasn't empowering. We speak of rape and lack of choice, of mental health problems and histories of abuse, we speak of addictions and vulnerability all exploited in the worst possible way. Of poverty and being trapped and used - others profiting from the use of our bodies, not us. Any cash we might have had goes straight into drugs or booze, anything to block out the reality of what's happening to us day after day.

But people don't want to hear it. Interfering, as it threatens to, with their own enjoyment of porn, with their quick and easy orgasm, they call us liars. And worse. They refuse to see the truth because then they'd have to look at themselves and what they do. Instead they say we are not part of the problem because there is no problem.

And then they abuse you for speaking the truth, for having a voice. You know, this idea that it can't have been that bad, that women essentially want a good fucking and so porn or prostitution's a dream come true cos they not only get fucked but they get paid for it, is pretty hard to shake. An ex-partner of mine in recovery said to me with some disbelief, but you must have enjoyed some of it. And this after he'd seen the scars all over my body made by my pimp! He'd been so indoctrinated by porn culture that he was actually unable to get his head around the fact that being a prostitute, being abused on film and for the camera could not have been pleasurable.

We are no longer together.

In truth, in my experience there is nothing remotely sexy about being a prostitute, or about being used in porn. There's no turn on. It's all about what it looks like or what it feels like for the man fucking you or buying the dvd of you being fucked, not about what it feels like for you. So penetration's the order of the day, with whatever - cocks or toys or objects or fists, the bigger the better as far as the buyer is concerned - but with absolutely no regard for what it feels like for you. Sucking cocks isn't exactly foreplay and won't make the fucking any less painful. Neither is it pleasurable - it's all a performance, your body always contorted in whatever way necessary for best visibility of your orifices and breasts. You are focussed on breathing through the pain, on getting through, surviving. Orgasmic? Hardly. Just let me get through it, let me get through it. You split from the body as much as you can - hardly an aid to an orgasm, just what the mind does to survive the body being so abused, over an over. You hope they'll use lube, the lubrication of spitting, copied from a thousand other pornos, is never enough. It's painful enough even if they do use lube.

Imagine someone poking their finger in your mouth, jabbing it about, maybe making your gums bleed. Multiply that pain a good many times. Then add to that the mental pain, the humiliation of knowing that these are your most intimate body parts being opened up and used for entertainment to strangers, your vagina and your anus. Then maybe you have some idea of how unsexy and painful being poked and prodded and fucked for money is. Naked and used by man after man, stranger after stranger, telling you you're a dirty bitch, touching you everywhere (and not gently), looking at your body with a look so filthy you want to shower for a month just to feel clean. Doing stuff to your body for their pleasure not because it feels good for you, often doing stuff deliberately to hurt you, then pushing their cock inside you, with or without a condom, leaving you covered in their body fluids. There is no intimacy, no illusion of intimacy. You are simply a set of holes they will mechanically grope and pound away at, an outlet for their anger.

It's not personal.

Not for them anyway - the punter, the pimp, the pornographer - but it is for you. It doesn't get more personal than this. When you have to flee your own body mentally because of what they do to it, it feels personal. When you're trapped there through violence and addiction and lack of choices, it feels personal. When you pick yourself up when they're done with you, limp to the shower and scrub yourself raw to try to purge your body of their touch and their sneers and their taunts and their body fluids, it feels personal. The abuse lives on in the videotape, your pain and degradation continues to entertain. You are absolutely alone: no one sees you properly, no one hears you. They look through your suffering, turn a blind eye to the reality and reach for their orgasm, or else sometimes see the suffering and get off on it anyway.

Let's stop buying into the sex industry's language and tell it as it is. Porn and prostitution are not abstract, sanitised, safe, empowering or even jobs in any recognisable use of the language. In porn and prostitution, the only free speech is that of the pimps and pornographers and the lies that they sell. The women are not free and are only permitted to speak the words of the pornographer to aid your orgasm. As Dworkin wrote, when did a vagina or anus have a voice? Let's cut the bullshit and for one moment just allow ourselves to see and hear the reality. We can't afford to be blind to the fact that women are being sold and abused all around us, every day, in whatever town or city you live in. We're starting to feel some of the logical consequences of that, which the tabloids always respond to in shocked outrage. But unless we address the real issue, unless we turn and face this blind spot, women for sale, any shock or outrage will be pure hypocrisy. Time to join up the dots.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Opposition: The Sex Industry's Supporters Uncovered

An anonymous person recently left me a lovely comment on 'The Invisible Man' calling me (and I quote) a 'man hating twat' and saying 'I hope you die' . Another anonymous person commented that prostitutes are cunts and as such I should shut up complaining.

So I give you, ladies and gentlemen, what survivors of the sex industry are up against.

It's important to me to give voice to the reality of the extreme violence meted out against women from the sex industry. When I was pimped that was physical. Now it is verbal, but painful nonetheless.

He doesn't even know you but he hates you and he wants you to die. Too familiar to me, a scenario acted out daily with brutality against the prostituted. The fact that you continue to survive, that you continue to have some spirit, is a personal insult to these people. It enrages them.

Articulate? No. Well informed judgment? Maybe not. Verbal abuse and aggression to the extreme.

And me? Should I be silenced by such abuse, slink off in shame at who I am and what I've gone through, give them what they want and shut up and die? What these people wrote confirms everything I know to be true about supporters of the sex industry. They have a vested interest in you not telling it as it is: it shows them for what they are. I survived the physical torture, I was mute for long enough. It's hard to have a voice when there's a cock rammed down your throat. I'm still here and so I'll continue to do what I do: put the truth out there and hope it makes some small difference.

If you ever thought that survivors of the sex industry exaggerate the levels of hatred and violence though, maybe my making public these comments will mitigate a little against that imagining. If I ever needed proof that the johns want to hurt the women they use, I guess this is it. Straight from the horse's mouth.

Thanks for that, anonymous.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Good John Bad John?

The johns want their egos massaged, not just their cocks. If they fantasise about power and force and humiliation, they want to see the fear and shame in you eyes. If they fantasise about being good with women, they want you to say you love being with them, talking with them. If they fantasise about being a great lover, well ...Yeah baby, I love it when you do that... mmm, that feels sooo good... you are amazing... ooh, you've made me cum again...

Maybe not. It used to amaze me that any of the johns I met could have been so stupid as to have thought that what they were doing to me would actually give anyone an orgasm. Hello! Perhaps time to turn off the porn and throw out the notion that fucking any orifice with any thing will make me ecstatic. Plus maybe did you ever think about washing down there before you shove it in my face? Just a thought.

Sometimes they want to be the good guy, in the face of all the evidence. They want to differentiate themselves from your average john, they don't want to be bracketed with the sexual inadequates, women haters and weirdos. I'm not like that! The girls love me cos I understand them, cos I talk to them. The girls love me cos I'm a good lover.


You kind of think, what d'you want, a fucking medal because you've chosen not to be an out and out sadist today? So you didn't shout at me and beat me up. Hardly a qualification for sainthood. Perhaps you asked me how I am or why I'm here, in a pretence of care (you don't actually want to know), to make yourself feel better. It demonstrates either stupidity or a wilful ignorance of the obvious, that anything I say in this context will be lies for your benefit, to appease your conscience, such as it is. Disobedience and backchat is potentially deadly as a prostitute so I have to say what you want to hear. So I'll tell you I'm here cos I love sex, and I love talking to you and I love being here, love your company and your cock, and pretend I'm not here for the money for the addiction and because of the mental hell caused by the abuse I suffered in my past. And you'll ignore the self harm scars and the smell of alcohol, and go away thinking you might have actually improved my day! Gee, you didn't beat the crap out of me - thanks for that.

If you were really concerned for my welfare, you wouldn't be here, wouldn't be a john. A bit of pseudo-kindness can't hide that.

You're still paying for my body, still demanding a performance, still violating my space, still funding the system that's destroying me one lie at a time. Whether they consciously desire your pain or whether they're after affirmation of their sexual technique, johns are johns are the guys with the money, the guys calling the shots, the ones with the power. They're still there to fuck you, to use you, to degrade you. They still demand you respond in whatever way gets their rocks off, be that abject terror as they hurt you or the little sweet girl playing along with this oh what fun! They don't want you to be you - that's why they're paying rather than with a girlfriend. Even the 'girlfriend experience' is about acquiescing to their every whim. They are paying you in short to be less than human, to have no needs or wants of your own, to be used as they wish, to react as they wish, to say what they wish, your body the blank canvas for their fantasies, however extreme, the words in your mouth their words not yours. If someone talks to you before they fuck you, it doesn't lessen the violation.

The omni-presence of porn of course legitimates the johns' thinking. It teaches them that women want to be fucked in every which way possible, however extreme or painful it might seem. She'll love it in the end, used and abused and covered in cum, smiling for the camera.

You hate them, and they use you, whether that be more or less roughly, with more or less hardcore talk and moves. A lose lose situation, a web of lies designed to massage their ego, make them cum. I can say honestly it didn't do anything for me. Less than that, in fact. Just left a fuck load of emotional scars that are healing much slower than the physical ones. And a burning desire to set the record straight with the johns. They need to get honest with themselves. There's no such thing as a good john.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Invisible Man

The missing part of all discourse centering around the sex industry is the men who drive it: the johns. The sex trade is all about supply and demand. Focussed purely on the 'rights' of women to prostitute themselves (or do 'sex work' - the word 'prostitute' is generally not used by the so-called 'sex-positive' feminists fighting so bravely for a woman's right to be abused - too seedy, too negative, too real), the men who fuel the demand are hidden from view.

Without johns there would be no prostitutes. Obvious perhaps but largely unstated. She's not there for her selfish pleasure, she's there for him, and his pleasure. Women's bodies are sold and abused only because there is someone who is willing to pay to abuse them. Take away the demand and you remove the problem.

Why then are the men who buy women not spoken about? How is it that they manage to remain in the shadows, the moral judgment cast instead on the woman being prostituted, being abused?

The johns are given this privilege, this privacy, because they have the money. The customer is always right! What he wants, he gets. The johns are consumers, and what they want is access to women's bodies, to be used as they see fit, without repercussion. They want a consequence-free, conscience-free fuck. Or wank, in the case of porn. And boy, do we give them that! Society gives them its blessing.

The sex industry, the takers of the johns' money, the makers of their fantasies, re-labels and re-packages what it does to make it more customer-friendly, more feel good. Instead of speaking about women's bodies for sale, the financial imperative, they speak of sexual liberation, of a carefree, consequence free, damage free experience for the woman being sold. Spotlight on her. A win-win situation, these women just want a good fucking and the men do them a favour by obliging. These women enjoy it, and the exchange of money far from being a negative thing with power connotations is seen as the icing on the cake - she not only gets laid all day, as much cock as she could wish for in every hole, but she gets paid for it!

Society has just lapped that story right up. We bent over backwards for them. Problem is, if you bend over too far backwards you're likely to get fucked in the arse, which is exactly what's happened here. We've been done over by the sex industry. Or at least, we are complicit. As a society, we choose not to notice or to question because it suits us, we live with what we have become by splitting things off, by wilfully dismissing logical coherent thought. Wondered why people are so touchy if you question the helpfulness of porn? It has very little if anything to do with whether or not porn is helpful. It has everything to do with them. Wouldn't want a conscience to dim the pleasure! And maybe on some level they realise that there are problems with the thin excuses they use. It looks as if responsibility might fall on them, as if they might have to do something other than sit gazing at the tv or magazine, pleasuring themselves. Quick! Turn the attention back onto the women in porn! She loves it, she's paid for its, she chooses it, and I respect her for it. Phew - attention back on her, no need to look at myself or change my behaviour. 'Users' of pornography defend their right to buy women under the guise of loving women, respecting women. The irony! Hence immediate recourse to name calling for those who question if porn's really so harmless - frigid, anti-sex, jealous, prude! - I'll make you the bad guy to cast attention away from what I do.

Women are bought to be used for sexual gratification, whatever that takes. Not that you'd hear it couched like that, nothing so unsavoury. We lack coherence as a society in our logic. A couple of examples of our lack of joined up thinking? Child pornography is (rightly) illegal. But as soon as she turns 18? She'll be snapped up for 'Barely Legal' or some such shit, all thought for her welfare magically evaporating at the turn of a number. Rape is illegal, battery is illegal. But mainstream porn is increasingly aggressive, with spitting, name calling, hair pulling, women gagging on cocks and retching, women's bodies distended and their damage glorified and laughed about - 'Goddess of Gape!' et al. How can we punish one abuse but defend the other? How could we be so stupid as to think there would be no cross-over, no change in mentality towards women in general, affecting interactions with women in everyday life, caused by consuming hardcore porn? How naive! Or wilfully ignorant. We want to be able to buy women to wank over, so we'll ignore any consequences beyond reaching for the tissues.

And so that great magical feat, the vanishing of the johns, the absolving of the men who abuse women from any guilt or responsibility. Abracadabra! I will vanish the john and give you instead the prostitute. Her fault, her choice, her right (!) to be there. Let us look at her instead of him, add insult to injury. She's fucked anyway, literally - surely a little additional blame laying and putting words in her mouth won't hurt. After all, her mouth has so many uses.

Let us forget him, mumbling something about men naturally needing a constant sexual outlet and visual stimulation, about boys being boys, about harmless fantasy and a bit of fun. These wonderful women who call themselves 'sex positive feminists' instead start spouting bullshit about women's rights to 'empower' themselves as 'sex workers' and 'use their sexuality'. As if they knew anything about what they were fighting for! Don't fight for my 'right' to be abused, sister. They've bought into the sanitised language, maybe tuned into the highly publicised 'face' of the sex industry - a very few women saying that they love it and there's nothing wrong with it and how liberating it is to be fucked so much. 'I just enjoy sex, I'm really filthy, and I'm proud of my body'. It's all about them again, the woman again - no mention of the audience they're performing for, the men behind the camera, the power dynamics, just re-affirmation that they want to be fucked.

They forget, these people, these 'sex positive' feminists, that women who are still in the industry aren't free to tell the truth. And that in fact, the women who do act as the PR face of the sex-lobby are paid handsomely for so doing. You can't be pro-sex and pro-prostitution and porn in any case. Making it a commercial transaction eradicates the possibility of good sex because it brings power into the equation and so eliminates freedom and truth.

These so-called feminists look right through the ranks of the destroyed, of the sold, of the hopeless, of the women who constitute 98% of prostitutes. In fact, they don't just ignore us - they slander us, saying we exaggerate, that most women enjoy it, they point to the smiles on the faces of women in porn as if that meant anything. They fail to connect with the reality of what it is to be prostituted. They can't look us in the eye but they judge us to be wrong and dishonest about our experiences anyway. They invalidate us without thought. You are wrong! You liked it!

Funny really, they say the same things as the johns. In fact rather than the label 'sex positive feminist' we should perhaps use 'pimp and john friendly woman hater'. Or 'BS Artiste', as I wrote in an earlier entry.

What they have totally ignored, and what society at large ignores in its daily bleatings along pro-sex industry lines is that out there quietly going about their business without question, going about the buying and using of women, all around us, are the johns. We are looking at things from the wrong perspective. Ask a woman who is constrained by finances, addiction, mental health or violence why she prostitutes herself and she will tell you a lie, not because she is a bad person but because she has to, to survive. It is her self-protection. She'll tell you what you want to hear. So if you want to hear that prostitutes, and pornstars (same thing, really) enjoy what they do, we'll tell you that. And reassure you with a smile - all part of the job.

If you really want to know why she's there, ask the johns. They are the reason. The things that she does, the sex acts she performs, are for them, not for her. Thing is, the johns have a bit of a problem with honesty. And openness. They wish to remain faceless. The woman in porn has no such luxury, splayed open for your delectation and delight, frozen smile in place to aid your orgasm. But he hides in the shadow of a thousand excuses offered up on his behalf for his behaviour. Keep the focus on her, and you protect her abusers, the johns. And they are abusers - there's no such thing as a good john. Time we stopped defending the wrong people, excusing the inexcusable, and shifted the spotlight onto the johns. I can't think of a better way to kill the demand. His disgusting, perverted fantasises shown to be his, not framed in her mouth as something she wants and then wanked over. Until then, we have something of an invisible man situation.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Being Pimped? Bloody Hell

Hell can become mundane. The daily battle for survival. Small victories taken here and there. Perspective becomes warped. The unacceptable is happening all the time - get over it. It'll be bad, but the question is, how bad? Fear is a constant. You know at any time you might die here, be killed here, but there's no escape. The mind adapts. The body adapts. Both work to distance you as far as possible. There's the booze too, and the drugs, when you can get them.

You're grateful when they don't hurt you too badly. Thank God! Pathetic gratitude for them not being more sadistic than they are. Goodness and kindness and compassion are so entirely lacking that being abused, but less severely, feels like a gift. You loathe yourself in your powerlessness.

Normality? Tuned to survival, you forget. You live like an animal, just to get by. Scavenging food. Crawling when you can't walk, on your knees when they make you. You're caught, caged, trapped. You stop speaking. Can't trust these people! Will his hand stroke you or hit you? Will his words soothe you or cut you? If he offers something nice, you're waiting for the catch. He'll take it back, laughing maybe, taunt you for showing your desperation, or maybe let you have it. And then get angry later. Or maybe not.

Nothing can be held onto as solid, nothing can be trusted except for the certainty that today you will be hurt. You are only alive because your body is useful to them. It has value, not because it's good or intrinsically of worth. It has value financially, and that value lies in its use as a fuck toy.

You are owned. This body's not yours anymore: you have no say over what happens. You want to detach yourself fully, you get to hate this body for what they do to it, covered in their fluids, their scents, weak and hurting, frozen and incapable, but you can't, because to let go wholly would be to die, and you don't want that either. Well, sometimes perhaps but you're scared because you know you're bad, they tell you you're bad, and you're scared of the devil.

Scared of everything: being alone with your head; being with people, because of what they do to you. Scared of dying here like this; scared of going on like this. Scared of the dark and what hides there, but scared of the light, of seeing what you've become.

Lonely lonely lonely. With no place to run.

Here in recovery, that past hell hasn't simply lifted. You can be out of the hell that was then but still in hell, mentally. The experience of being tortured, physically and mentally, isn't something you can shake off or snap out of. I was young when it started, so I don't have any other frame of reference. I struggle with PTSD, nightmares, dissociating, splitting... a mountain to climb. Slow, slow progress, integrating, processing, feeling, accepting, coming to terms with. So frustrating!

I learned to survive, but now I'm trying to learn to live. And that's a different thing entirely.