Recovery from Sex Industry?

(71 Posts)
aliasforthis2 Tue 15-Nov-11 22:04:47

Hello smile

I was advised by a couple of people on a thread I had in Relationships section a while back to perhaps come on here, so here I am!

I have always had some sort of (rudimentary) feminist principles - I remember even when I was a child family members would comment on it! I have read Living Dolls, the Beauty Myth, and Female Chauvinist Pigs, although I do have mixed up not-quite-formed opinions. I have looked at Object, UKFeminista and also read A LOT of varied literature on the sex industry because I was a prostitute for 4 years and exited last year in 2010.

I have a job now in the "real world" and am a single parent to my 2 children, but I'm still trying to recover from my experiences and view of the world from the sex industry. I sometimes feel ashamed, can't look people in the eye, fear bumping into a previous punter, have nightmares and flashbacks as a result of violence which happened to me regularly - even in the indoor side of the industry - the violence only got a chance to actually properly injure me when I worked alone inside (the first half of my 'time') but still punters would regularly try violence even when there was security on the premises (the second half of my 'time'). I feel much more 'alive' now, however sometimes I feel detached and totally dissociated especially in large crowds. I have a skewed view of males which I am really trying hard to overcome (the idea of the thread in relationships) and have had one short-lived relationship with a man since I left the industry - he was not perfect, but certainly showed no big red flags (I'm well trained to spot them as I had to before for my survival). The relationship was marred by me having extreme 'freezing' and flashbacks and numbness during any kind of intimacy or sex, and extreme outbursts of anger from me afterwards. He was very understanding, but I feel I still need more time to rediscover my own sexuality.

A few things which I have found myself becoming interested in since are -

Objectification and sexualization of women and even children

Obviously the sex industry itself, particularly the elements of control which I know to be true in the industry (ie the men who buy sex are MOSTLY ALWAYS better off economically in the first place than the women whose bodies they buy and the vast majority enjoy the control and choice that permits - I know it, seen it first hand). Also, I know for a fact that the industry is changing and it is now very hard to get clients to agree to a condom for oral sex. 95% of workers - my educated estimate- now do Oral Without a Condom. And 'services' like come in mouth etc are becoming more and more 'expected' too. A large number of these punters have an unknowing partner whom they may very well pass on these infections to. I used to be so angry that I was expected to risk my own health in a big way so someone else could get maximum pleasure. Haggling over the price of a woman's body, rape, assault and requests for young teenagers were sadly quite common.

Porn, and it's effects on people's sexuality in general.

Employment rights - Although i had some support in finding a job it was EXTREMELY hard for me to find employment to fit around my responsibilities for the children, and took me a long time of applying for everything going. Women simply do not get the same opportunities as men because they are deemed to be responsible for not half of, but ALL of childcare and often housework too. I can only work 9-5 so that limits jobs I can take and advancements I could make, career-wise. I could live frugally on minimum wage full time work (I am very very NMW is in existence!) if I had no children, but if I had no other financial help like tax credits and CB I would not be able to feed my children.

Beauty and Cosmetic Surgery Industries - Whilst I do actually wear make up as I am self-concious of my eyes and acne scarring, and I actually prefer dresses and comfy wedge heels because it's easier dressing and also I am 5ft and like to reach things grin, I really feel my heart sink when a colleague goes to get botox in our lunch hour, takes me along with her to wait, and the staff offer me botox and fillers there and then (I'm 24!!!!) and also a tummy tuck when I mention I have kids! There are posters on the wall reading "Who wants to look their age?" showing a worried looking woman clutching her face shock and numerous newspaper and magazine clippings of 'success' stories.

Anyway, that was an extremely long introduction! >sorry!<

Basically I'm just looking to maybe (tentatively) join in, and if anyone has any other tips or resources on healing from the sex industry I'd welcome them.

I feel so angry that prostitution (especially stripping and 'high-end escorting', and porn) are being billed as "harmless" "empowering" and "fun". When every single woman I knew in the sex industry who remained longer than a few weeks (bar none, and I knew a LOT) had a history of either substance abuse, big childhood family issues coming from a very painful upbringing (me) , child sex abuse, or a mixture of all 3! I swear, every single one. I know that's just anecdotal evidence, but I did know a lot of sex workers personally. I cannot believe it is taking me so long to recover, I feel like I should be "over it" and living life to the full by now, but I'm not. I'm left with nightmares, panic attacks, feelings of worthlessness etc 18 months on, and the guilt that I feel I sort of 'brought it on myself' because I became entrenched stayed far longer after the initial extreme financial dire straits and debts which made me start were cleared.

Anyhow, must be longest thread in history x better go now x

janeid10 Fri 08-Feb-13 17:42:00

Looks like that horrible website ukpunting has got its nemesis.

anonnews.org/forum/post/10814

Please contact crimestoppers to help these women.

www.crimestoppers-uk.org/

MrsClown Mon 21-Nov-11 14:13:04

Alias, welcome. Thank you so much for your posts. You have no idea how good your timing is. I am doing a talk in the not too distant future to a young women's centre re the normalisation of the sex trade. You have given me some brilliant additions.

PlumpDogPillionaire Sun 20-Nov-11 18:20:49

Just dropped back in for a quick mo... but a thread blitz sounds like a good idea to me. wink

FoodUnit Sun 20-Nov-11 18:08:16

Sorry about the double post... Smartphone nonsense

FoodUnit Sun 20-Nov-11 15:37:14

re- visiting these misogynist 'review' sites. I think its best for women to not visit them. Even though I haven't worked in the sex industry, I find it triggering too. Imo it is a job for the 'pro-feminist men' who have difficulty finding a way to help the women's movement without getting in the way, hogging the limelight, ordering women around or taking women's opportunities. Then again they might start seeing themselves as rescuing women and playing the hero which isn't helpful either.
Maybe it is something women should only do together in small groups to support one-another?

aliasforthis2 Sun 20-Nov-11 15:33:27

Nursenic - Yay! I will look into it x

nursenic Sun 20-Nov-11 13:38:56

Even with pre payment meters you are entitled to have money knocked off your debt if you qualify under the criteria. That is what my dear friend did and she is on pre payment.
Good luck.

FoodUnit Sun 20-Nov-11 13:22:36

re- visiting these misogynist 'review' sites. I think its best for women to not visit them. Even though I haven't worked in the sex industry, I find it triggering too. Imo it is a job for the 'pro-feminist men' who have difficulty finding a way to help the women's movement without getting in the way, hogging the limelight, ordering women around or taking women's opportunities. Then again they might start seeing themselves as rescuing women and playing the hero which isn't helpful either.
Maybe it is something women should only do together in small groups to support one-another?

thunderboltsandlightning Sun 20-Nov-11 12:32:40

"Maybe what is needed is for people who oppose the sex industry, particularly those who have lived it, to lobby for the legal side to change and to show the general public, who have been fed belle du jour fantasies, the grim reality."

I'd agree with this. I don't see the point of going to other forums from here to attack apart from attempting to start a forum war, which takes the focus off what is important, which is marginalising, criminalising and stigmatising the men who use women in prostitution.

aliasforthis2 Sat 19-Nov-11 23:23:15

NurseNic - That is a good suggestion, but I ran up considerable debts on my quarterly bills with Scottish Power when I exited as I had little money. So they fitted pre-payment meters under some warrant order and now legally I have to stay with them until the debts on each are under £200. I'm paying out about £10 a week in debts so that will be quite a while! I was happy to read in the papers the other day though that the gas/elec suppliers are going to be forced to do something for those on low incomes. Although only read the headlines, not the full stories! x

aliasforthis2 Sat 19-Nov-11 23:15:28

My friend who still escorts joined up a while ago to defend herself after a hideous 'review' and got dealt a barrage of abuse. It wasn't pretty. They generally just ban people who disagree with their general consensus/agenda anyway.

There are posts on there instructing others on how to 'cum' in a prostitute's mouth when she clearly does not offer that 'service' , and pretend it is accidental! There are also whole threads dedicated to tearing apart some poor women - using the most disgusting language. They also seem to hate mothers with a passion and go on about how their vaginas are 'unsatisfactory' and 'disappointing'. Apparently mothers who are prostitutes should have their ovaries removed angry

It is probably really not good for the mental health to even go on there at all. For anyone. Although I occasionally do for some reason unbenownst to myself - I think it's because I know it's there iyswim? And I'm always wondering if I can pick up something which actually is bad enough to warrant it being shut down - but the site owner usually deletes the really bad/criminal stuff before he can get in trouble. (surely something like condoning seeing trafficked women or admitting something criminal would be enough for someone somewhere - the 'internet police' to take action?)

I don't think it's a good idea to thread bomb tempting as it is - they will just delete everything and anyone they believe doesn't fit in with their 'ethos'.

I have to remind myself every day that the majority of people do not think things that they think. I mean, around 70% of punters I met in person actually did exhibit these traits of hating women (no lie) and were generally thoroughly unpleasant, the other 30% who were not unpleasant or pushy etc were misguided by the media I think and 'trying it out' never to return again. But I need to keep reminding myself that there must must must be a huge percentage of the population (and a significant percentage of men) who DO NOT think prostitution/porn is ok. That was the point of my other thread - trying to hammer that into my head that I [i]can[/i] trust in the decency and humanity of people. Probably I should never look on sites like that again as they are triggers for me. But it's hard to know whether to ignore it for the sake of my own sanity or to fight it. Maybe what is needed is for people who oppose the sex industry, particularly those who have lived it, to lobby for the legal side to change and to show the general public, who have been fed belle du jour fantasies, the grim reality. Perhaps that would be a better idea, as hopefully it would eventually deprive these 'punters' of their entitlement to buy women's bodies who are in a position of relying on their 'buying power' and therefore subjected to an awful lot mentally and physically. And their smugness that their 'hobby' entitlement is in fact currently legal (for them) and anonymous.

FoodUnit Sat 19-Nov-11 22:22:18

Ha ha.. I know the feeling - but believe me there are some battered misogynists on the net after I've royally twatted them.. but you know what? It makes your arms ache ;)

The problem is that there are huge numbers of deeply misogynist, porn-addicted, socially disadvantaged computer geeks with way too much time on their hands. The one way you really piss them off, is by threatening to take away their porn.
Although there are loads of women (& men I hope) who are of our thinking, they are generally too busy living and fighting the status quo to engage in these circular battles for 'freedom of (hate)speech' to which it inevitably ends up on a good day.
They seem to have endless time with one window open on misogynist porn, and the other with a thread where they vent their hatred towards women/feminists... that's how they get off.... and I don't want to get slimed by the f*cked-up freaks!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

xNinja Sat 19-Nov-11 21:52:23

Tomorrow night 6pm, get registering now! Bring your knuckle dusters

xNinja Sat 19-Nov-11 21:51:49

Come on who's up for a u.k.p.u.n.t.i.n.g com mash up.?

xNinja Sat 19-Nov-11 21:50:44

I'm of the mind that there is no 'safe space' in life. I follow the lets all go and fucking twat'em mode of operating. I'll take anyone on after a shandy.

smile

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

nursenic Sat 19-Nov-11 21:44:01

I do see where you are coming from, Foodunit, but it's so tempting to thread bomb them.

I respect the need for this safe space. I just wanted to pose the suggestion?

nursenic Sat 19-Nov-11 21:42:19

Alias-

If you have utilities with Npower or wish to swap and are on benefits, and/or have a young child or a disability or are elderly they have a scheme whereby you get at least £100 off of gas and off of electricity. I think it might be even more money than that now as those amounts apply to couple of yrs ago.

You need to ask about these schemes- other companies offer them too.

Would it not be possible for all of us posters here to deluge those horrid sites with evaluative posts regarding the size of their dicks, brains and consciences?

I'm being serious. Let's thread-bomb them.

FoodUnit Sat 19-Nov-11 20:55:12

Oh no! Please don't! I've fought too much with their hateful BS. This MN thread is a place of refuge from their harassment and abuse. If you want to fight - please follow where they go, but hang with us here in peace.

I believe a lot more good can be done by giving Alias a safe space - well giving all of us as safe space- to work through our feelings and decide where we want to focus our energies, rather than letting them set the agenda by putting us on the defensive. Since that is why they do it.

xNinja Sat 19-Nov-11 20:44:58

Sadly I don't think a forum like that can be shut down by legal means :-(
I had not read Dittany saying about scrambling the URL's but I have to say I don't agree. Let them come. They are like child sex offenders or drug addicts in so far as while they are all together in a group like that they fool themselves into thinking that their beliefs and attitudes are normal and they start to think that the majority of men are actually like them.

I find them repulsive, soul-less and abnormal. I'd doing everything possible to avoid coming into contact with one of those people offline and I'd be devastated if one of my sons even showed the slightest inclination of sharing those views. Not that he ever would.

aliasforthis2 Sat 19-Nov-11 20:21:18

NurseNic - ahh, I see now! What great ideas! I don't have a car anymore so can't carry bulk-buy stuff, have a basic bank account and also extortionate pre-pay meters for utilities. I will ask around some equally skint friends to see if we can buy some things in bulk and share them x

FoodUnit Yes, that is so true. I remember people on a thread somewhere who were maintaining that prostitution/porn is just like any other manual labour/service industry job. Even some men (not male sex workers) were chirping in and agreeing with that theory. Then someone said "but in other jobs you don't need specialized support on par with a 12-step program to help you leave the job, do you?" That was such an eye-opener.

xNinja That's the site I was talking about earlier and the one I'd like to see shut down. Makes me cry too, and if not illegal to condone some of the things they condone and some of it reads like gender hate-crime against women, then it should be! Unfortunately the attitudes on there are quite common amongst those who buy sex, although most don't have the time to dedicate as much to it as they do on there. It's disgusting, enough to make any sane/nice person's stomach turn and question humanity. By the way, I think Dittany said on another thread not to write the actual name of those sites, jumble the words up it up a bit or something or use a nickname because they google themselves then come on here to spread bile.

FoodUnit Sat 19-Nov-11 20:13:58

Sorry - I completely forgot to say blush - is that the whole point of point 2) criminalising the purchase of sex, is to criminalise the demand.

Basically, the problem if you completely decriminalise prostitution (including purchasing) whilst offering exit services, is that there will be as many new women, children and men being duped, trafficked, coerced, pimped and manipulated into prostitution as you are able to support to exit, because the punters and pimps will always need new women, children and men to meet that demand that has not been tackled.

Even worse than that, is that complete decriminalisation/legalisation where it has occured serves as a green light to pimps, traffickers and punters, who see that area as a soft touch, and demand actually increases sad

xNinja Sat 19-Nov-11 19:56:11

Hello Alias, I am so sorry for what you have been through. I have been googling around these 'review sites' today and I wish I hadn't. Came across a site called ukpunting dot com I cried reading it. What sort of world are we bringing our children into? There are some really really awful men out there.

Be gentle with yourself.

FoodUnit Sat 19-Nov-11 19:50:26

Re Sweden. I'm relying on memory here. Re exit services they did a good job, but feel they could do better - they haven't been allocated enough money (this info maybe out of date now?) With the awareness raising campaign they had massive success, with the majority of people prior to it thinking that prostitution is not harmful to the overwhelming majority now believing that it is. I remember hearing they did an ad campaign where they photographs of 'punters' (actors/models) coupled with information that the law had changed.

Also, it is imperative to have point 2 - criminalising punters - otherwise how can you have exit services? (if there's nothing wrong in buying sex - why would anyone need to exit?) And how can you have awareness raising about the harms, but still allowing it to go ahead?

As for total decriminalisation (including purchasing)- that is just giving a green light to all the exploiters out there... You can't even get any stats that way.. for example in NZ the police have only vague info, because they have no reason to monitor or gather information.

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