Sunday, 27 January 2008

Then and Now

There used to be a time when I did not know about pornography's harms, when I wasn't aware of how much pornography and prostitution harm women and children. It was then.

Then, I did not use to care much about other people's lives or, more exactly, I wasn't very much aware of what really happened in their lives, women's lives in particular.

Then, whatever happened in my life, however much male cruelty or male indifference I had to put up with, I thought these experiences were only parts of my life, not of someone else's. I mean that there was probably nothing in common between my life and other women's lives. Whenever I suffered male cruelty or indifference, whenever I was hurt by a man, I sometimes (during the times I was feeling the most depressed) thought that it was probably my fault, that I had done something wrong at some point, that I deserved it, plain and simple. Other times, when I was feeling a bit better, I thought that it was just probably men's fault, they were the bad people. They hated me because they hurt me.

Then, for a few years of my life when I was single, I thought that I might be a little more appreciated by men by looking sexy. I was hoping that they would at least like me a little more if I conformed to their male culture. I wore a lot of make-up; I dressed in short skirts, tight tops, stockings and I wore high heeled knee high black boots. And I went dancing. And I remember them saying to me: "You are very sexy" or "You're gorgeous", etc. And I liked it. I craved male approval of me because it was giving me a way of feeling a form of empowerment somehow, albeit illusory.

Then, I had also female friends. Women who were telling me that men were taking advantage of them sexually sometimes; women who were telling me that they sometimes were hurt by men too. But, somehow, I did not relate their stories to mine, I mean, not as much as I perhaps should have done. Something was probably irrelevant somewhere, or men were just mean, plain and simple. Or, simply, there were just bad people out there, and you just had to be careful who you hang out with. At that time, I often noticed the very popular social trend of females blaming other females. I often heard women say: "Oh, if this or that happened to her, that's her fault! She shouldn't have trusted that guy. If she's so stupid, that's her fault!" or something similar. When this kind of woman blaming wasn't aimed at me, it's sad for me to say but I usually agreed with it and shrugged. When this kind of woman blaming was aimed at me, I also agreed with it and hated myself on top of that. Woman blaming is one of the many vile poisons of patriarchy, but I did not know that at that time.

One day, I was online and I was introduced to an anti-pornography article which led me to radical feminism. I found out about the harms of pornography and prostitution. I then ordered and read books to instruct me on what was really going on around me and on the fact that I was living in patriarchy and had always been.

Since that day, nothing has ever been the same for me. Since that day, I became a feminist. I genuinely cared about women's lives and what was happening to them. Since that day, I became a lot more conscious about the world I was living in; I became a lot more aware of what was happening around me. Since that day, I never turned my back on women.

The way I viewed men also drastically changed between then and now.

Then, I either sometimes thought men were inherently bad or inherently cruel, or I sometimes thought that there were “good guys” and “bad guys”.

Now, on the one hand, I do know that many men are socialized or culturally trained to be the way they are, to become what they have become. On the other hand, there is not the sham of “good guys” and “bad guys” anymore. I don't believe in it anymore.

Now, I do know that most men have been culturally trained to seek power, domination and control over and against women.

Now, I do know that most men use pornography for those reasons: to get off on power, domination and control over and against women. They are the demand that feeds this ever-expanding woman-hating pornography industry, what keeps it alive, what makes it richer.

Now, I know that as long as the demand for pornography exists, as long as the pornography use increases, we, as women, will be kept in a subordinate status; we will sustain abuse in the hands of men; we will be asked endlessly to imitate pornographic scenarios in order to please men, whether we want it or not, no matter how degrading those scenarios are. Is this freedom? Obviously not.

Now, I know that I would definitely not condone woman blaming anymore. I know that I was socialized to do so. Whenever I hear somebody bring up the same usual woman blaming, I try my best to explain to that person that it is not a good thing to say and why. I also know that however much male cruelty or male indifference I had to put up with, in my life, it wasn't my fault.

Now, I also know that as long as the demand for pornography exists, women who are in pornography will suffer in the making of it and as long as the pornography use increases, more women will be hurt in order to make it. Despite all the pornography industry's and its defenders' propaganda, I do know that these women, who are in the porn industry, suffer. I've read enough about them to know that this is the truth, the truth hidden behind all the porn industry's public relations' image, perpetuated by the mainstream (i.e. “malestream”) media. The truth is that women in pornography suffer severe PTSD, abject bodily injuries (due to being forced to perform extreme sex acts), and an emotional pain which comes from an awful experience which has wounded them for a lifetime. These women are worth nothing in the eyes of the viewer who masturbates to their degradation. Many of them, after being used, are eventually discarded, due to the fact that they're “overexposed” and their brief shelf life is over. Is this freedom? Obviously not.

Now, I also know that men should stop using pornography. Because it hurts us. And they pretend not to see it, but, deep down, they know that there is nothing liberating about reducing another human being to a sexual object. They don't think about that when they use pornography though, of course, because there is that rush, that thing that makes it pleasurable for them, that thing that makes them addicted to porn. That sense of control, domination and power. In order to use pornography, so many men have to live in a society that does not (or not fully) recognize women as human beings, in the first place. Sometimes, when I go to college, when I go to work, I can hear them the boys, the men joking: “Oh, you scream like a girl”, “Oh, it's only women who watch/read that shit”, etc. In male culture, the terms “woman” or “girl” are used as derogatory terms. This is one of the many proofs that men do not see us as real human beings in the first place.

Now, I know that therefore, the pornography use makes perfect sense: “I'm not jerking off to the degradation of a human being; I'm jerking off to the degradation of a thing, an object that has no dignity whatsoever; she even says she likes it.” Us feminists, we know that she doesn't like it; we know that the pimps who run the industry, who write the script, who film, have trained her to say that she likes it, that she seeks that kind of treatment. We know the circumstances within which she made the “choice” to enter the 'sex' industry. We can see the pain in her eyes, the agony behind the mask, things that you, the porn users, refuse to see!

Now, I remember, once, not long after I had discovered the harms of pornography, a female friend of mine had told me, “Stop reading about pornography. It's depressing”. I can fully understand what she meant, but doing such a thing would mean that I would not be a feminist anymore, that I had decided to turn my back on women. And I refuse to turn my back on women. I refuse to turn my back on the screams and cries of rage and pain, all those screams and cries of women raped, beaten, abused, or prostituted, all those screams and cries that I now know that I can hear, but which are largely silenced in the name of so-called “freedom of speech”. Is this freedom? Obviously not.

Now, I'm absolutely not interested in “looking sexy” to men anymore. I have no more interest in conforming to their male culture. Fuck conformity! I gave up on the make-up, the short skirts, the tight tops, the stockings, the high heeled knee high black boots and the dancing. I gave up on illusory “empowerment”. It's all a big lie, given the fact that this culture conditions young girls and women to be sexually available for the pleasure of men.

Now, whenever I speak to a man during the course of the day, I have some sort of mixed feelings. On the one hand, I act as if I did not know anything that radical feminism has taught me, that is I do know that my college or my workplace are not places for starting political debates (most of the time), so I usually talk about whatever is relevant to my work or studies. On the other hand, inside, I perfectly know that whichever man I speak to, during the course of the day, probably masturbates to the degradation and torture of my own kind (the female) once a month? Twice a week? Once a day, perhaps? Such thoughts usually lead to me not speaking to men for too long, i.e. speaking to men whenever it is necessary for my work or studies, for the course of my day. Whenever a man tries to speak to me any longer I then bring up the fact that I am in a relationship to make him go away. But, more exactly, I make him go away because, in my heart, I know that there is a great probability that this guy masturbates to the degradation and torture of my own kind (the female) once a month? Twice a week? Once a day, perhaps? Gosh, I wish I lived in a world where I wouldn't have to think that way. And each time I hear a porn joke being laughed about by a group of men somewhere, fuck, I wanna scream!

Now, with all the things that I know about pornography, prostitution, gender socialization and sexual brainwashing, there is no way to turn back. I'm here to stay!

Now, you get that, porn users? I'm here to stay! I'm asking you seriously to put down the porn, to stop this atrocious and widespread crime against women! Do you really think it's freedom to reduce another human being to a sexual object to be degraded and hurt? It may feel like freedom to you because you experience power within the experience. But, deep down, if you only listened to your inner voice, you would know that it is not freedom to abuse other human beings. You would know that you are completely ignoring one of life's most beautiful experiences: the capacity to connect to another person (instead of rejecting her as “other”), the capacity to recognize that she is a human being (just as much as you are) and love her, genuinely love her, communicate with her and respect her. You should know: men and women are not that “different”; they have just merely been socialized differently.

Now, I'd like to let you know that instead of experiencing a sexuality which is based on humanity, connection and equality, you choose a plasticized, mindless, and disconnected form of sexuality which offers you the same scenarios over and over again (only crueler each time) and which is not fantasy because an industry which relies on the suffering of half the population in order to keep catering to its ever-expanding demand is not fantasy! And it is an industry which relies on your demand in order to survive and thus keep exploiting and hurting women (half the population of human beings). Is this freedom? Obviously not.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Musing on a new piece...

I am currently musing on a new piece I will write on the pornified culture, in order to release some of my anger and rage, 'cause I need to! I will post it on this blog when it's ready...

Ah, here is a great writer!

From Politics and Misogyny by Bob Herbert:

If there was ever a story that deserved more coverage by the news media, it’s the dark persistence of misogyny in America. Sexism in its myriad destructive forms permeates nearly every aspect of American life. For many men, it’s the true national pastime, much bigger than baseball or football.

Little attention is being paid to the toll that misogyny takes on society in general, and women and girls in particular.

Its forms are limitless. Hard-core pornography is a multibillion-dollar business, having spread far beyond the stereotyped raincoat crowd to anyone with a laptop and a password. Crowds of crazed photographers risk life and limb to get shots of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears without their underwear. At New York Jets home games, men regularly gather at Gate D to urge female fans to expose themselves.

In its grimmest aspects, misogyny manifests itself in hideous violence — from brutal beatings and rape to outright torture and murder. Fifteen months ago, a gunman invaded an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania, separated the girls from the boys, and then shot 10 of the girls, killing five.

The cable news channels revel in stories about women (almost always young and attractive) who come to a gruesome end at the hands of violent men. The stories seldom, if ever, raise the issue of misogyny, which permeates not just the crimes themselves, but the coverage as well. [...]

It just so happens that the Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning this week in the misogyny capital of America: Nevada. It’s a perfect place to bring up the way women are viewed and treated in this society, but don’t hold your breath. Presidential wannabes are hardly in the habit of insulting the locals.

Prostitution is legal in much of Nevada and heavily promoted even where it’s not. In Las Vegas, where prostitution is illegal but flourishes nevertheless, Mayor Oscar Goodman has said that creating a series of legal, “magnificent” brothels would be a great development tool for his city.

The fundamental problem in all of this is that women and girls are dehumanized, opening the floodgates to every kind of mistreatment. “Once you dehumanize somebody, everything else is possible,” said Taina Bien-AimĂ©, executive director of the women’s advocacy group Equality Now.

A grotesque exercise in the dehumanization of women is carried out routinely at Sheri’s Ranch, a legal brothel about an hour’s ride outside of Vegas. There the women have to respond like Pavlov’s dog to an electronic bell that might ring at any hour of the day or night. At the sound of the bell, the prostitutes have five minutes to get to an assembly area where they line up, virtually naked, and submit to a humiliating inspection by any prospective customer who has happened to drop by. [...]

To what extent are the candidates of either party concerned about these matters? Do they have any sense of how extensive and debilitating the mistreatment of women and girls really is?

We’ve become so used to the disrespectful, degrading, contemptuous and even violent treatment of women that we hardly notice it. Staggering amounts of violence are unleashed against women and girls every day. Fashionable ads in mainstream publications play off of that violence, exploiting themes of death and dismemberment, female submissiveness and child pornography.

If we’ve opened the door to the issue of sexism in the presidential campaign, then let’s have at it.

It’s a big and important issue that deserves much more than lip service.

I am so glad to notice that there is someone who works for a major newspaper (such as the New York Times) who understands what's really going on and who genuinely cares about important feminist issues!

Oh, this makes me angry!

Mobile porn to hit $3.5bn by 2010

Revenues from mobile 'adult services' are set to approach $3.5bn by 2010, according to a new report. [...]

A significant proportion of new revenues are expected to come from the relatively underdeveloped North American markets, despite restrictions on on-portal content.

"While operators in the US and Canada are still very reluctant to introduce age-verification systems and offer adult content, it is a completely different story off-portal," said report author Dr Windsor Holden.


"A number of service providers are now offering direct-to-consumer content and services aimed at those markets. As mobile subscribers become more comfortable and familiar with the off-portal environment, traffic to these sites will mushroom." [...]

"The most popular genre with consumers is graphic amateur content. If operators wish to maximise revenues from adult content, they should provide a mix of genres in which white-label content is given equal prominence to that of major brands."

Juniper predicts that western Europe will remain the largest regional market for mobile adult services throughout the period covered by the report, with revenues rising from $775m in 2007 to $1.5bn by 2012. ...

The demand for this woman-hating propaganda is increasing! And Now, Cell phone pornography is becoming increasingly more popular!

Nothing much to say on that apart from the fact that it makes me feel angry. Men want to see and masturbate to the degradation of women, and they want those cruel images to be on their cell phones, more and more!

The pornography industry keeps getting richer. Those scumbags we call pornographers keep filling their pockets because most men keep creating the demand for pornography.

A recent study found that men still substantially outpace women in porn consumption. 86.1% of the male respondents said they had viewed porn in the past year, versus 31.0% of the women. Among the men, 21.3% said they viewed porn every day or almost every day, versus just 1.0% of the women. Participants in the study were aged 18-26. So please don't give me the "women like it as much as men" propaganda.

I perfectly know it's men, for the most part, who use pornography. Men should stop creating the demand for this sexist material!

As researcher, Diana E.H. Russell wrote in her book Making Violence Sexy:
"Women and children will continue to be abused, pressured into unwanted sex acts, beaten, raped, tortured, and killed in the making of pornography, and as a consequence of men viewing it. Pornography will continue to fuel hate crimes against women until men are willing to face the consequences of their desire for this vicious hate propaganda, and voluntarily forgo it."

And now cell-phone porn is expanding at alarming rates! It also means that more women will be hurt...

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Well, that's a start!

Hi,

I've finally decided to start my own blog which is now linked to my web site Against Pornography which was created in 2007. I've already made 7 posts on this new Blogger weblog so far (including this one).

I'm pretty much new to the radical feminist blogosphere, so I don't know how things will go. I've never run a blog before.

What I know is I'm gonna try to keep up with any relevant news, and maybe also write a little bit more about how I feel as a rad fem looking at this patriarchal world, and maybe also about a few other subjects which seem interesting to me.

I hope that I'll get some encouragements, comments, and linkings from other rad fems out there...

Assault at kink.com, torture porn production company

***Warning: may be triggering***

As reported on the Prostitution Research & Education Traffick Jamming blog:

"kink.com is a torture pornography production company. In January 2007 kink.com purchased a large building in San Francisco, in the Mission District, a community that is in need of affordable housing, that has many at-risk youth, and that for many years has been identified as the Latino heart of San Francisco. In February 2007, the Mission Armory Community Collective demonstrated against kink.com's use of a large and valuable piece of San Francisco real estate - for torture pornography production. Instead of using the block-long building for torture pornography, the Mission Armory Community Collective has proposed that we use of the Mission Armory for affordable housing, a community center, and a space for community nonprofits.

Torture and humiliation are commonplace in pornography. Kink.com is where women and some men are filmed for pornography named Men in Pain, Wired Pussy, Hogtied, Water Bondage, Ultimate Surrender, Fucking Machines, Sex and Submission, and Whipped Ass. Pornography like that on kink.com is real action taken against real women. Observing the making of torture pornography at kink.com, author Stephen Elliott commented: " This is not fake. Satine and Donna are truly in role. Satine is feeling submissive and Donna is definitely on top. Donna is hurting Satine; Satine is being hurt."http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/02/07/kink/

kink.com advertises filmed prostitution. Prostitution is advertised online on sites like kink.com where it is indistinguishable from pornography. Pornography is a specific type of prostitution, in which prostitution occurs and, among other things, is documented. The women whose prostitution appears in pornography are prostituted women. The Internet is one way that women are trafficked into prostitution.

Another reader of Elliott's Salon.com article said the site was reminiscent of African women's genital mutilation. Why is there such a great silence regarding the torture of women in prostitution during the making of pornography? Here in San Francisco some embrace torture pornography as hip, sexy, liberal. Lots of folks are afraid to criticize pornography for fear of being labelled fundamentalist, antisex, or homophobic. "Yet when we criticize McDonald's for its unhealthy food, environmentally destructive business practices, and targeting of children through manipulative advertising, does anyone ask whether we are "anti-food"? Of course not, because no one conflates McDonald's with food; we recognize that there are many ways to prepare food, and it's appropriate to critique the more toxic varieties. The same holds for pornography; pursuing a healthy sexuality does not mean we have to support toxic pornography." Bob Jensen and Gail Dines http://www.alternet.org/story/47677

The existence of state-sponsored torture is decried by social critics on the Left, yet the identical treatment of women in prostitution is ignored by those same analysts. Many view torture by the United States of prisoners at Abu Ghraib with shock and horror, yet at the same time consider the identical acts perpetrated (and photographed) against prostituted women to be sexual entertainment. Condemning the Bush administration’s tolerance for torture in the war on terror, one journalist noted the “gleeful sadism” of guards at Abu Ghraib. Yet political pundits maintain silence regarding the same gleeful sadism of men toward women and gay men like that seen at kink.com.
Specific acts commonly perpetrated against women in prostitution and pornography are the same as the acts defining what torture is according to international conventions: verbal sexual harassment, unwanted sex acts, sexual mocking, physical sexual harassment such as groping."


Here is Melissa Farley's complete report of the of assault at kink.com, which was posted on January 16, 2008:


"A post about a woman who'd been brutally assaulted as part of a production at kink.com in San Francisco appeared on Luke Ford's blog www.lukeisback.com on January 10, 2008. There were 18 responses, including my own. After 5 days, the thread was removed from his site. I have reason to believe that this account is substantially true. What is really going on at kink.com? What can we do about it?Melissa Farley
January 10, 2008, 4:59 PMKink.com Runs Another Girl From The Business (from lukeisback.com)


Director Ricky D. writes:

I usually don’t post this kind of stuff, but I really don’t like to see talent get taken advantage of.

A close friend of mine worked for Kink for her third time recently, and had the most traumatizing experience of her life. (No, she didn’t do the Training of O everyone is always talking about) Her injuries after the shoot include numerous lumps in both breasts (from being slapped, whipped with a bamboo cane), bruises and rope burns from head to toe, bleeding from both her vagina and butt, and soreness everywhere from being constantly shocked when she made it known she didn’t want to do it. On top of that, it was shot in a room with running water flowing through the room that was so cold that during the shoot you can see the talent’s breath. On top of that, she can’t sleep because of the pain and flashbacks from the scene in her dreams. She officially quit the business right after the shoot. I’m sure she’s not the only one they’ve driven to leave. It seems as though once they get you in that building, they torment you as much as they can get away with until the talent won’t work for them, or at all, anymore.

People in this industry know the hush money they pay talent to shut the fuck up. I know quite a few girls that they’ve taken advantage of and felt the need to give them extra money after the fact. I’ve talked to producers, directors, and talent - the only people saying positive stuff about them are the ones making money off them.

I know what people will say, this girl is looking for attention: if she was looking for attention she’d post here herself. And no she’s not a drug addict; she had some medical issues as a child that would kill her if she takes almost any recreational drug.

This is just a warning to any girls looking to work for them and people looking to push traffic to them. I just hope you’re okay with promoting sites like there’s with people like that."

A few pro-pornography and pro-prostitution folks came up on this PRE comments thread to ruthlessly defend those vicious woman-hating industries. This is what I replied to those defenses of the sex industry, on January 18, 2008 (please excuse my few typos, I was in such a hurry to reply to those cruel comments defending such an exploitive trade in women):


"prostitution is a completely valid profession. It has existed in some form or another throughout the world, throughout history and pretty much comes with being human. Don’t tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body." [quote from a pro-pornstitution guy]

Blah, blah, blah...

Prostitution is NOT the world's oldest profession. The first recorded forms of prostitution occur after humans invented slavery! (Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy;1987).

We do know that many women choose enter the sex industry, but under which conditions do they choose? The sex industry has done a great job in focusing the debate on "women's choices", while the focus of any discussion on the subject should be on the consumers who CHOOSE to use pornography, and, in the case of prostitution, on the johns who CHOOSE to buy women for sex.

Most prostituted and pornographized women are survivors of child sexual abuse. Some studies estimate that, in the U.S.A., the percentage of women in prostitution, who are survivors of child sexual abuse, is closer to 85%.

Other social factors such as poverty, unemployement, or homelessness can make some women enter the sex industry.

On top of that, some women who seek "careers" in the pornography industry because this whole pornified culture promotes the "porn star" job as a glamorous job. From hit movies to music videos, the images of the stripper and "the happy hooker" are shown as "liberating" and "empowering" for women. Some young girls unfortunately get to believe the pernicious ideologies that the media industries (whose owners, managers, producers and broadcasters are predominantly men) want them to believe. This culture obviously trains women and girls to be sexually available for the pleasure of men. However, even those women and girls -- who "choose" to enter the stripping or porn industry after having had a harmful pornifed cultural and social training -- do not choose the conditions in which they will "work".

Also, sex trafficking occurs either domestically and internationally. Selling human beings' (especially women's and girls') bodies is one of the world's most important sources for trafficking, besides the trafficking in guns and drugs. There is no need to try to differentiate prostitution from trafficking. Trafficking is merely prostitution on a globalized scale.

There are methods of control pimps use to break down their victims' emotional, psychological and physical resistance and to season them into prostitution and, sometimes, the making of pornography. These techniques of control and domination involve beating, raping and torturing women and girls into submission. They also involve showing women pornography to instruct them on how to "perform" in prostitution. Through the great amount of research that has been made on prostitution, there is a good reason to believe that pornographers probably have the same techniques of control. It becomes so obvious when you read about it. Once, she has been seasoned by a pimp, a prostituted woman or girl is expected to do anything the john wants. She has to endure all kinds of bodily violations and invasions and must service many anonymous men every day, while pretending that she enjoys these violations. Whatever are the circumstances in which she entered the sex industry, a woman or girl often endures pimps' techniques of control.
No matter how a woman who is in pornography has entered the industry, she will have to face the highly likely:

-- psychological harms, such as PTSD, or "dissociation", which means that she has to mentally "split" to be able to put up with what she does and survive the brutal uses of her body. Fragmenting the mind into parts as well as separating mind from body are essential. That's all part of the dissociation process. Of the 854 prostituted respondents interviewed by researchers, 68% met the criteria for PTSD;

-- bodily harms: considering the fact that pornography producers always have to make increasingly more violent and degrading materials due to the increasingly desensitized users' demand to push the envelope, the unbelievable amount of bodily harms these women suffer is abject. Taking a close look at pornography in a non-sexual way makes obvious that these women suffer daily: choked until they cry, forced to perform extreme sexual practices, beaten, slapped, tortured and bruised, these women must horribly suffer inside of that industry. Tears in the body and throat must be awfully painful. Sometimes, during the scenes, the women forget to act: they do not even attempt to fake moans of pleasure anymore, they are in pain and focused on being able to survive through the scene;

-- emotional pain: Women in pornography and prostitution cannot always mentally dissociate properly and they often undergo serious depressions and nervous breakdowns due to the emotional pain of being sexually degraded and having their bodies being awfully used and abused. Many prostituted and pornographized women suffer various mood disorders;
-- health risks: The use of condoms in the American porn industry is below 20%. As a former porn performer once put it: "We get tested monthly but we know testing isn’t prevention. Besides worrying about catching diseases from porn sex, there are other harmful activities we engage in that are also very dangerous. Some of us have had physical tearing and damage to internal body parts..."; and

-- drug addiction: Just like in any other form of prostitution, pornography actresses use drugs (both illegal ones and prescription ones) in great amount to be able to numb themselves to the continual objectifying intimate use of their bodies and the pain of being used and abused.

A former porn performer once said: "What I saw were women just like myself who were desperate, addicted to drugs, homeless, and I'm sure probably at least 80 percent of them suffered from sexual abuse as children. I saw them re-living their childhood experiences by getting into that industry. They were looking for attention, pleasing men, and being abused. And that's all they know. They think it's great. They think it's wonderful. I could've looked you in the eye ten years ago and told you that I loved being in pornography, was proud of what I was doing and that I was having a great time. But now I can tell you that it's so far from the truth. I was very convincing. I could convince you. I mean, I could walk up to a porn star today and she could tell me the same story and I can remember being in that place."

The idea that women in porn make a lot of money is itself a distortion, fueled by intense media focus on the few Jenna Jamesons of the world. Most women in porn do not get rich, particularly since they have a very brief "shelf life" -- so even if they initially command a high rate per scene or per movie, their market value as "fresh meat" declines rapidly.

For more information, please check out these pages:

https://www.againstpornography.org/takeacloserlook.html

https://www.againstpornography.org/womeninsexindustry.html

Prostitution is far away from being about sexual freedom! Prostitution and pornography are inherently forms of sexual exploitation and violence against women (inside and outside of the industry)!

80% to 95% of all prostitution is pimp-controlled.

The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years or 14 years.

Of 100 prostituted women interviewed in Vancouver (Canada), 90% had been physically assaulted in prostitution; 78% had been raped; 75% had suffered bodily injuries; and 67% had pornography made of them.

Legalization does not stop the exploitation. A Critical Examination of Responses to Prostitution in Four Countries (Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sweden) concluded the legalization in Australia and the Netherlands led to a dramatic increase in all facets of the sex industry, a dramatic increase in the involvement of organized crime in the sex industry, a dramatic increase in child prostitution, an explosion in the number of foreign women and girls trafficked into the region, and indications of an increase in violence against women.

What happens on Kink is beyond horrible!

This is "Gynocide" (i.e. as Dworkin explained: gynocide is the mass-raping, crippling, or killing of women by men.) That's what pornography is: Gynocide! Looks like times haven't really changed. Looks like the slaughter of nine million women as witches or any other major crimes against women weren't enough to satisfy HIS hunger for female pain and suffering. The patriarchist always wants more!

In a patriarchal society, 'choice' or 'consent' depends mostly on who is really in power! It is so easy for the sex industry to focus the debate on women and girl's choice. While, in fact, a more fair conversation whould take into account the fact that men CHOOSE to use pornography, they CHOOSE to buy women for sex! What about them, the users, huh? How about turning the conversation toward them, instead of focusing it on so many women who have been so harmed, so muted, so silenced by mass-sexual abuse.

It is easy for some people to speak of Kink as just being some bad, terrible, sadistic porn (i.e. "not the kind of porn they would watch"). However, a recent study, "Mapping the Pornographic Text: Content Analysis of Popular Pornography" (2007), by Robert Wosnitzer, Ana Bridges and Michelle Chang, concluded that 90% of contemporary mainstream pornography contained scenes of aggression.

Pornography is the "graphic depiction of women as being the lowest type of whores" (according to the history and etymology of the word "pornography"), by the way. Thus, rejecting pornography's cruelty and misogyny does not mean being against sex! The pornographic sex is all about the disconnection from truly meaningful feelings and the objectification, humiliation and degradation of women. Sex can be much better than this narrow definition of sexuality as "domination/subordination". Sex can be about humanity, connection, tenderness, love and respect for the other.

And besides, research has shown that prolonged exposure to pornography resulted in:
-- a loss of compassion toward women as rape victims and toward women in general;
-- a desensitization to violent, hardcore pornography;
-- an increasing acceptance of rape myths; and
-- a need for more explicit, rougher, and more degrading images to get the same "highs" and "sexual turn-ons."

If only men learned how to be real human beings with genuine respect and love for others, they would stop using pornography, they would stop buying women, they would stop this atrocious and widespread crime against women!!!

'Lie Dead' by Rebecca Mott

Rebecca Mott is British. She is a survivor of child sexual and mental abuse. When she was 14, she was a prostitute working in a club. The men that used her were into extreme sexual violence. These experiences made her a radical feminist. For she feels that feminism is working toward a future without sexual violence. She is a a (amazingly courageous) writer, in both performances of poetry and prose, and does some visual art. She recently emailed me this piece to publish:

***Warning: may be triggering***

Lie Dead
by Rebecca Mott

Introduction

I feel that I have come to a stage in my life where I am able to write. This is hard, because I can only remember in bits. Much of my life is full of gaps. Rape can be blanked out, in order to lead a “normal” life. Sometimes I remember events, without any feelings. Sometimes I remember feelings without understanding where they come from. This piece of writing is an exploration of my life between six and twenty-seven. I will write as clear as I can, but there will be gaps and silences.

***

I am drunk at a party. Round me, people are chatting about sex. I am calm, being sarcastic. I am laughing. A voice says, “that hole so small - just like a six-year-old." I freeze. Whatever you do, don’t show that you are scared. I try laughing, but my throat jams. Suddenly it appears that everyone is talking about child-sex. From nowhere I am shouting, “shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Around me the child freezes. She doesn’t cry or speak. She just acts dead. Act dead and nothing matters.

I go to bed, but can’t sleep. Flashbacks of a six-year-old go round and round. I am crying. This isn’t true. It isn’t me, it’s just my imagination.

For two weeks, she keeps coming back. Always the same feelings. Same events. She says - look at me. I won’t go away. I am you. You are me. Look. See the dark. See you/me lying in the bed, we are safe. We are sleeping. Everything is quiet. We are safe. Remember being safe - so long ago. You/me hear the door open. It is our stepdad. We are not scared. We say goodnight. We want to like him. He loves our mum, we must love him. Goodnight. He’s just being friendly. My real dad doesn’t pull down my blankets. He doesn’t rub his hands on my chest. He doesn’t breathe like my stepdad. It is so strange. He rubs over my nightie. I feel sick. I don’t look at him. I hear him smiling, “I love you so much.” I think his hand is touching my skin. Nothing is happening. “I won’t hurt you - just lie still.” The hand moves to my bum. I stop hearing. Only a weird breathing. He is over me, blocking out the hall light. His hand is inside. It does hurt. I think I’m crying. Suddenly, he is not in the room. It is silent again. Maybe, I wasn’t awake. I was dreaming. But, the bed is wet. I am crying, then. My mum will kill me, coz I wet the bed. I drag the sheets off the bed, crumble them up. I kick at them, and hide them under the bed.

The flashback comes over and over. I know it is true. For each time, I would have an outrageous pain in my vagina. I was raped when I was six. I have no proof, only nightmares. And a pain that comes every time that I write, talk or just think about my six- year-old. I do believe her. Why would I make up such horror, with such detail? When I see her, I rediscover the anger that hid out of fear. I see how small she was. How she didn’t know danger. How she wanted to love her stepdad. How she wanted him to love her. For the first time, I don’t feel guilty. There was no reason for him to violate her. She did nothing. For the first time, I feel pure hate. For the first time, I don’t care what his reasons were. For the first time, he is unimportant. I look at my six-year-old and allow myself to feel compassion. I want to hold her, tell her that she is safe. I want to say it will get better. But I can’t lie to her. We both know it will get worse. All I can do is cry. I had stopped crying when I was six. I didn’t cry, because it made no difference. Now, all I cry is small tears. Thinking maybe we can learn to love each other.

***

I made this event invisible. I lived a normal family life. I went to school. I fought with my sister. I watch children’s TV, followed my football team. I was normal. I would be happy. But always following me was another girl. She was never happy. She didn’t care about anything. She felt nothing. She just dreamed of dying. Sometimes she would freeze. She was scared of breathing. Her stepdad could hear her every breath. Until I was twelve, I could imagine that I fitted in. Even though nothing made sense, I pretended that I understood. I disappeared into life outside of my home - into school and playing out on the streets. I never admitted to myself that I didn’t want to go home. No. I was happy. I had friends. I had many presents. I was fed. I was loved. I was happy. There was no reason not to be.

But, always she came. She was scared. She made plans to die. She would trash everything. When I wanted to play, she was clumsy. She didn’t talk to my stepdad. She was angry. She was never nice. She was ruining my life. She should be happy. She should give me a break. Looking back, I know nothing was normal. I know that I lived in fear. It was not a normal family.

Looking back, I see a child left on London streets at all hours. I was fed, but I stole food, after missing meals. I got presents, after my stepdad had been in my bed. Nothing was normal. Nothing was safe. I just wanted to fit in.

Pictures come back. Pictures of an unhappy child Picture this. A nine-year-old sitting by a window, staring down. She is measuring how she could fall head first, seeing if she would die. She is calm. She doesn’t want to live with him forever. She knows he will never leave her alone. It will never stop hurting. She doesn’t fall. It would be just her luck to injure herself, and not to die. Picture this. A seven-year-old with meningitis. She has a fever. “I hate him. I want him dead.” This is not true, of course. She lies in hospital, she is safe. When her mum visits, she is shaking, she stops speaking. Only to the nurse - “I don’t want to go home.” This is the fever talking. Picture this. A nine-year-old standing outside her stepdad’s office in Soho. Her mum is inside. She is alone. “I won’t be long,” her mum says. She doesn’t speak. Just stares out with hate. She hates all adults. Inside, she whispers, “Bastards, bastards, bastards.” But she knows she is safe. No one will hurt her.

I could not stay happy. I lost my temper easily. I had fights with friends, I wanted to hurt them bad. I hurt my dad’s son. I wanted to kill him. I hated him because he was happy. When he smiled, I wanted him to cry. I tried to make my dad hate by hitting his son. I was becoming ill. I blame myself. My mum sent me to therapy. For I was violent for no reason.

In therapy, my stepdad was never mentioned. My mum spoke for me. She said I had brain damage, which made me aggressive. That I made no effort to like her new husband. It was because I was dyslexic. I had my brain scanned. Questions asked - Do you love your dad? - Yes. Do you love your mum? - Yes. What do you think of your stepdad? - I hate him. It was replayed. She is jealous of your new marriage. She says she is scared of her stepdad. She has a strong imagination. I remember that I said that he hurt me. No one listened. They looked into my head. They did not see my bum was burning. Yes, your child is ill. Give her time, she will adjust.

***

The years between six and twelve were my desert years. I cannot see that child as me. I cannot see how she stayed alive. She was a scavenger. She loved being on the streets. She wandered round King’s Cross and Soho. She cannot see anything. All she knew was that she was not at home.

I take two buses from school. I change at King’s Cross. I enjoy walking here. When cars slow down, I stare out. “Bastard.” Women yell. “Get out of here, kid.” I am no kid. I am strong. I can kill. I am safe. I am just going through King’s Cross, home to Barnsbury. I am not lost. I walk in a straight line. Nothing gets in my way. I bomb everything out my way.

Looking back, I see a damaged child walking the streets. She was so unsafe, she had lost awareness. She would cross roads, never looking out for cars. Once, she was knocked down. She didn’t care, coz nothing mattered. She thought she was street-wise. But she was never safe. Always she was avoiding going home. She couldn’t remember why she didn’t go home. For on the streets, she was blank. That was good.

In Soho, I stand outside my stepdad’s office. I am still. I make wisecracks to men in cars. I know what they want. I pretend that I don’t care. I don’t want their pity. They don’t see my face - only my bum. I don’t care, they won’t touch me. I don’t see why their eyes remind me of my stepdad. Once a car stopped. “Do you want to make some money?” I know what he means. “You’re get a room. Food. Why not?” I was tempted. I wanted to be away from home. I will do sex, and get paid. It wouldn’t matter. No - “I love you.” As they hurt me. I am tempted. But, I say, “fuck off - pervert.”

Sometimes on the news, I see murders of streetwise kids. I yell at the TV. “They didn’t know anything.” I thought I knew everything. Thought I was protected from all danger. I thought that if I acted hard, I would be safe. I was so wrong. Looking back, I see I was just lucky. I was felt up on buses. But, I wasn’t raped, wasn’t murdered, I wasn’t hurt. I just all feelings. But I was safe.

***

I was getting more and more separate from my family. They were not my family. I ignored the silence of my mum. I forgot my sister and brother. I had no family. Maybe I was an alien that had landed in this house. Or my mum was given the wrong baby. I never thought why I felt this. I just did.

I didn’t think of how every time my stepdad looked at me, I felt sick. Maybe I was getting sick. Maybe I had brain damage.

I spent more and more time on my own. I pretended that I had friends, or I would run away to America. I didn’t want reality. I would be dead soon. Or someone would realise that I didn’t belong with this family, and return me to my real family.

Sometimes in bed, I realised that everything was wrong. I knew I was being hurt. Picture this. Mum reading me bedtime stories. “I don’t like them.” Pages turn. Stories of rapes,children dying. I don’t understand the words.Manson - de Sade - Moors Murders.The light goes off. Leaving images of cut up bodies round and round my head. Until I’m blind. Picture this. People round for dinner talking of sex. What’s wrong with sex with children? We should be free. I am pinned to my chair. I am waiting -waiting. Only, no one does anything. Picture this. At nine, I begin to cut myself. I start to miss meals. I hid in a cupboard, eating nuts. But, nothing was wrong. Only I was out of control.

Looking back, I see I was a feral child. I stole from my mother, so I could save in order to run away. I didn’t eat during meals. I had arguments so I would be sent to my room. There I didn’t have to look at my stepdad. I did not have to put up with him playing footsie. Whilst he appeared to be a normal caring father. I learnt to be on my own. I learnt to survive without parents. I was just a child, I had no power. My stepdad and mum showed me that I had no control. They took me away from London - away from my sister, my real dad, school and my friends. I was taken to the depths of Norfolk. Once in Norfolk, I lost hope.

***

Norfolk was always my stepdad’s territory. He had bought the cottage, he had planted the plants. It was the middle of nowhere. There was no cinema, no youth club and no police station. No roads lead to London - only to another bloody field.

Constantly, I tried to walk to London, I wanted to get home. I would just keep walking. In my dreams, the country roads go on and on. Everything always looks the same. Same fields, same grey buildings - but no buses, no trains - no escape. I could hitchhike - but there were no cars. I would just walk.
When I think of Norfolk, I feel terror. I don’t remember my stepdad being sexual with me there. But, there was a constant drip of mental abuse. I was always cold in Norfolk. I always thought of death. I would cut myself with mouldy sticks. I would dig holes to bury myself in. I would cover myself with leaves and dirt. Only then he would not find me. I would be safe.

Looking out of my bedroom window, I can see a graveyard. I have been told tales of how half the village died during the Black Plague. He is in my room. I lie frozen in my bed, pulling the blankets up to my chin. He can’t see my body. But, I know that he see every part of me. He talks in a dull monotone. “You know, children disappear all the time. Some run away - and no one finds them. Children just vanish. See, it would be so easy to kill a child. No one would miss them. Children die, just like that, see.” He laughs. “Of course, I’m just joking.”

When I think of Norfolk, I just see places where I could be made to disappear. I could have been buried in a field, or in the graveyard. I could have been thrown away in a hedge, where no one would pass by. I would just disappear. It would be sad. But then, I was always running away. I was always disturbed. I was always trouble. See, I was mentally ill.

In Norfolk, I learnt about terror. There I discovered that I was not strong. In Norfolk, I learnt to be invisible. There I felt my stepdad was in every part of me. I was just his toy. Now, I realise that he decided not to kill me. He wanted me always there. So he could pick me up, or leave me alone. In Norfolk, I lost all hope. I just kept myself alive, I didn’t know what else to do.

Norfolk is full of gaps. I cannot remember any physical abuse. I just know I was in constant fear. When I was eleven, I was there for two school terms. From aged seven to seventeen, I was there most weekends and some holidays. Norfolk is a huge muddle. In my nightmares, I am always cold, always wanting to die. In my nightmares, I never know what my age is. Sometimes, I see Norfolk on the TV, and I begin to shake. Often I just go blank. I don’t, I can’t see Norfolk.
Picture this. A child smashing a dead a rabbit with a cricket bat. She doesn’t cry, only screams, “Die - bastard - die.” She knows that she is mad. Picture this. She is lying on a bed - frozen, listening for every footstep. She can tell whose is whose. Relaxing, she hears her brother or sister. Frozen, she hears her stepdad. He stops by her bedroom window, stares down into her bed. She pretends to be dead, as then nothing will matter. But all she can feel is his eyes staring down into her. Always, her breathing betrays her. Picture this. A child staring blankly at magazines. They are showing bodies lying dead, with objects struck into them. They must be dead - coz no one could bear that much pain. She can see dead children. She doesn’t think - only she knows - that they are her.

In Norfolk, my mind was twisted by images of torture. I thought that my stepdad was going to kill me. He was just waiting for the right moment. Looking back, I can see how evil he was. He showed me that death was the result of sex. So, when he did sexually abuse me, he could do what he liked, as I felt nothing. It meant nothing, for I was already dead.

***

When I was twelve, I moved to Cambridge. Once again, I was with a family. Only this time, I was a zombie. I lived with my family until I was nineteen, but I had no existence. Nothing affected me. I tried to appear ordinary. All I could do was to just keep breathing. I was really dead. For when dead, no pain reached me. No violent words reached me. I would not be lonely. I did not need to hide away. I would be normal. I would be happy. I would not go mad.

But always, she was hurting, crying, screaming inside. She just wanted to die. She could not stop seeing. Seeing her mother’s blankness as she enters a room. Seeing the wetness on her bed - sometimes yellow, sometimes red. The wet was too real, she had to tidy it away. And, seeing his eyes piercing into her. Whether he was near her or not, she felt his eyes going up and down her body - stopping at her bum. She could not stop feeling. Feeling pain in her bed, as he leaves the room. Feeling headaches, until she thought she had a brain tumour. She felt too much too often. She could not stop tasting. Tasting sick as she remembered his penis in her mouth, jamming semen down her throat. Tasting the dryness of that throat, even after drinking water and orange juice. The dryness only stopped when drinking alcohol. She could not stop smelling. Smelling piss in her knickers, when he played footsie, smiling as he was eating. Smelling sweat, when the room was cold. And she couldn’t stop hearing. Hearing his footsteps in her room. How they stopped. Hearing him looking round - not going to her, just waiting, Waiting, Hearing - “I won’t ever hurt you. I love you.” “It only hurts if you move.” No, she couldn’t be dead, not with all her senses exploding. Why couldn’t she just be a robot?

***

When I was in Cambridge, my stepdad gradually became more and more sexual towards me. He did it cleverly, he would be “gentle”, while he increased the abuse. This made me confused, as I had so much violent images of porn. I just felt that everything was unreal. I think that is why I don’t remember much, because I felt like it was not happening. After all, it was just affection.

But it was not real, when he rubbed my legs during dinner. It was an accident, when his hand went into my knickers, as his fingers made circles in my cunt. It was not happening. It was not real, when he kissed me, his tongue suffocating me. He was smiling, especially as he kissed me in front of other people. It was not real, that I always felt naked in front of my stepdad. I felt that my clothes just showed him where to touch me. I always felt that I was his toy. This was not real. It cannot be real.

Between the ages of twelve and fourteen, I cannot remember much of home. I think I was still in shock after Norfolk. I was constantly thinking something terrible was going to happen to me. I knew I would disappear soon. In those years, I tried to be good, so there would be no reason to murder me. But, I didn’t understand the rules of being good. Nothing I did pleased my mum and stepdad. I was always wrong. I knew it was my fault that I was hurting. It was my fault because I didn’t say no. “If you don’t say no, you must really want it.”

In those years, I would lie in my bedroom. I would line up my toy soldiers with their guns pointing at the door. They would protect me. They would kill him. But always, he would kick them away. “You’re such a funny girl. Playing with boys’ toys.” Their grenades did nothing, as he reached for my tits, rubbing his hand over my cunt. They did nothing- only watched. After he went, I bit their heads off, melted them with matches, threw them out the window. They were useless, useless, useless.

At twelve, my stepdad started to have baths with me. It became a routine. Each Friday, at about six, we would have a bath. I would become a robot. It was the beginning of the end, and I was accepting it. It was all that I deserved.

On Fridays, I was always sick. I was sick from Wednesdays, as I waited for Friday. Many Fridays, I would run away. I would stay out all night. I would wander round the streets. I could not see or hear. Friday did not exist.

I learnt to avoid home, to avoid school. I would spend more and more time on my own. I would go to clubs, looking for danger. I chose to be with violent men. Maybe they would kill me. I no longer cared about my safety. For I did not matter.

If I was at home on Fridays, I would perform the ritual. After watching children’s TV, he would run the bath. I would get undressed as he watched. I would sit in the bath - waiting. He would get in. He would wash me inside. His fingers cleaning out my cunt. His eyes would look at the wall. He would put his penis in my hand. “Wash it.” I would rub it feebly, not allowing myself to think, just rubbing. It would harden. I would refuse to listen to his juddering breathing. No, this is not happening. It means nothing. Suddenly, he would get out the bath. He would go to the toilet.

After the bath, life went on as normal. We had our family supper. We would be a happy family. I sat, eating flesh. I couldn’t speak, only eat. I would sit up straight, not moving. I tried to look normal. I would be happy. There was no past, only this moment, with my family.

As I eat, the food becomes impossible to swallow. In each mouthful, I taste his sperm. As I eat, I breathe through my ears, else I will choke. As I eat, I can feel ice growing from my feet. I try to move to place food into my mouth. I must look normal. I will not show that anything is wrong.

***

Life was becoming hellish. I find this time of my life difficult to see. I had turned myself into a machine, and because of that I find hard to remember my emotions. All I know is that as I write of that time, I feel sicker and sicker. I can feel some outrage about that time, but most of it is in hindsight. Back then, I had shut away my feelings. At that time, I could not show my fear, pain, anger and confusion, I just had to stay alive. If I had felt the feelings, I would have given up, I may have died. I put away into a box the violence that was done to me. Now, the feelings are coming back to me. Now, I can face my teenager, and try to show her that I love her. I can listen and believe her story.

I spent less and less time at home, especially at the weekends. As Friday came, I would stay out. I stay out with friends who didn’t want to go home. We never asked each other why we stayed out. I would go out later and later. I would get drunk. I would act hard. Outside, I always felt safe. I knew that whatever happened to me, it was my fault. When I was fourteen, I started to go to clubs. I went looking for danger.

The owners of the clubs never worried about my age, as long as I had money. Young flesh brought more customers.

Those clubs had bad reputations. I went looking for violent men. They would not say, “I love you.” They did not speak to me. They would just hit me - they may even kill me. So as they pushed me into the bed, screwing me. I thought, kill me, please, kill me. Give me what I want. I went to those men for some escape. I went because I was bad. I deserved pain. I was a whore.

I could not allow myself to see what was happening to me. As I lay in men’s beds, as they hit, poked and squeezed me. I would be a corpse.

***

I still went to school. I could not take anything in. At school, I was teased for four years. School became the same as home. I had no rest. This was because I had become a bad person. Why else would everyone hate me so much?When I went to secondary school, I was tired of life. I didn’t want to be nice any more. I wanted to be invisible.

When I was in a class, I felt too visible. They all hated me. I was hated because I was from London, I was a snob. I was hated because I was dyslexic, I was stupid. I was hated because I stammered. I was hated because I liked English and History. I could not be invisible. When not in the class, I was waited for. Girls waited for me in corridors. They hid behind coats. They would pinch and push me. “Your mum’s a slut.” “You’re mental.” Words went over and over me. Words copying my home life. I knew I was mental, it was why these awful things were happening to me. I tried to find a safe place. The only place was my bedroom, for a short time. I would sit in my bedroom, cutting my arm. This was private. I watched the blood, knowing no one could hurt me as much as I hurt myself.

In the years until I was seventeen, life seemed pointless. I acted the delinquent, but I did not understand the role. For me, being bad was to be with violent men. Not caring if I lived or died. They would rape me without speaking. They would not look at my face. Sometimes, the pain went through my freezing. I would think - I deserve this. I am bad. Being bad meant not going to school. I would get registered and walk out. I would wander round the streets, not knowing where I was. I just walked until I was tired. I would go to pubs. There I did not taste the drink. I was just waiting for men to pick me up. For I was bad. Sometimes, I found myself standing on railway bridges. Waiting for a train to cut me in half. Sometimes, I would sit in alleyways, cutting at my wrists. Sometimes, I got drunk and would overdose. After I would walk, so I would not faint. I could not die. I was too bad to die.

I could not do my homework, for he would lean over me. Reaching down, he would grab my tits. Saying, “I don’t why you bother. You’re stupid.” Sometimes, he would rip up my books and homework. If he didn’t, I would tear it up. It was pointless working.

When I went to school, I was asked for my homework. I would run out of school. I could not say why I had no homework. So I appeared stupid and bad. I could not show my panic when homework was mentioned. Once a teacher caught me. “How come, when you are at school, you’re clever. Whilst your homework so awful.” If I told you - would you listen? How when I do my homework, I am sick in every cell. So I rip it up. I do not want a future. How I hate being clever, for it does not stop the hurting. Anyhow, I am not clever enough to kill myself.

I learnt to hide everything. I hide all emotions. I tried to be cold. I did not want anyone to know me. Always, my stepdad’s voice went, “I know you better than you know yourself.” I needed something that just belonged to me. I chose cutting. I would watch the blood. This is mine. I would hear his footsteps on the stairs. I hid under the bed. I would hide in the attic. I shut off the lights. I would not move. I was scared. Only I was dead. Always. Always, he would find me, he would laugh. “You’re crap at hiding.”

***

My stepdad still worked in London as an advertiser. He only came home at weekends. But his presence infected my every day. I felt that I was never out of his mind. I felt I had to be careful all the time, or he would punish me. I felt that if I acted hard, he would be disgusted by me. I just wanted him to leave me alone, but I did not know how to stop him. Looking back, I see how desperate I was. I could not understand the rules. I did not see how the rules were always changed. One thing stayed the same - whatever I did, it did not stop him. Always he abused me. This was because I was bad, I was his little whore. I was abused for being good, when I was his little princess.

My stepdad grew tired of just having baths. He would take me on walks, where he molested me in a light-hearted way. It meant nothing. He could do what he liked. I belonged to him. He became tired of just seeing me in Cambridge. He wanted me in London. When I was seventeen, I began to go. I would go by train. As the train moved, I became a corpse.

Between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one, I would go to London. There he would always abuse me. But always, I went with hope. He would lie to me, saying he would help me to get on with my mum. I always thought that he would not abuse me. I thought we would talk, I thought we would be normal. Always, I would come back knowing that I was stupid. But always I thought he would change.

I would get off the underground to Soho. In a dream, I would walk to his office. I was his captive. I would drink coffee and read magazines. I would wait. He would watch me. He would say how proud he was of his stepdaughter, joking, “Isn’t she sexy. I could sleep with her myself." I was silent. The others would laugh. He was their boss. We would go. We would talk about school and family. It would be all right this time. This time, we would just chat. I was given comics and presents. I would watch TV. We would go to an Italian restaurant. He would joke. “Do you like my young mistress?” The waiters laughed. He would pour me more wine. I got more and more drunk. He had stopped drinking. He would place his hand on my leg. It was always the same. Always the same. Back at his flat, I would go dead. I would get into the bath. He would wash me. I would go to his bed, naked. I would watch TV, as he had a bath. He would get into the bed. With my back turned to him, I would watch TV. I would lie still. His hand went slowly over my skin. The TV keeps disappearing. I do not say that I am going blind. I do not say that I am scared, when his hand reaches into me. He keeps calling out other women’s names. Never my name. As he finger-fucks me, he is thinking of others. I am nothing to him. He would turn me onto my back, and do oral sex. His beard would scrape me. I would say nothing. I do not get angry. I do not cry. I do not feel. I am a robot. He does not let me touch him. He does not let me move. He just makes me come. “See, that’s what you wanted, isn’t it.” He would push me off the bed. “Look what you made me do. Whore.”

Looking back, I can see how he brainwashed me. I know that I would do anything that he told me to do. I couldn’t think of the danger and pain. I had lost my self-respect. I had learnt self-hatred. As I went to London, I went blind into danger. I just went over and over.Sometimes, I thought that I wanted it. Why else would I be going? But, always, there was another part of me that was crying. Even as a robot, I could feel grief. I tried not to think. Tried not to remember. Tried not to see or hear the bad. I tried not to breathe.

I was becoming more and more split. For I had no life outside my stepdad, he was my existence. At nineteen, I left home, but I still went to him if he asked. He was in my head. When he wasn’t there, I didn’t exist. I would go with violent men. I would get drunk. I knew that I existed if I was hurting. I gave my body no rest. I would try not to sleep. I would only eat trash food, I would try not to eat. I would walk and walk. I just knew I could not stop. For if I was still, I would die.

***

I was becoming more and more alienated. But, somewhere inside I had a strong life-force. I knew there must be more than pain, humiliation and thinking of suicide. I knew what was happening was wrong. I just didn’t know how to stop it.

I went into voluntary work. At work, I felt good. There, people liked me. There, I was not used. There, I found I was good at listening. There, I could be an advocate for others. I could enjoy being in at atmosphere of crisis, for I was in a place where people were doing something about it. I was working at Women’s Aid. I found the work enjoyable, but I didn’t know why. It came naturally to me. I was scared for I felt so at home there.

Whilst working at Women’s Aid, I learnt how to stop my stepdad. This was slow. It came though a drip effect, when listening to other women’s stories. Their words reminded me of his words. Over and over I heard his lies. “I will always own you.” “I only do this coz I love you.” “It’s coz you’re mad. You deserve it.” Slowly, I saw that my stepdad was a criminal.Slowly, I stopped blaming myself.I was beginning to break down. I was seeing how he would always plan before abusing me. How he was always calm.

I can remember his control. How he would rub me slowly. How he would watch my eyes. He was always calm. Once, he had lain on top of me. I had thought he was going out of control. I thought that he would penetrate me. I thought - rape me, you bastard. Then I’ve got you. Then I can call the police. Rape me, and I’ll kill you. He was on top of me. His penis was rubbing my clitoris and cervix. Then he just stopped. He was calm. He pushed me away. “Look, bitch, you made me lose control.”

When I worked at Women’s Aid, I was leading a double life. At work, I was good. Outside work, I lived in madness. I spent my time with men that treated me like dirt. I know that I wanted it to stop. But all I could do was to keep going round and round in pain. I was just a machine for men to poke.

I did not have the strength to leave my stepdad. But, the more I saw him, the more I hated him. He wanted me to go London, I said - no. He just laughed. This time, he had pushed me over the limit. I wrote to him. “You are a criminal. I will not go to London, just to be your sex toy. If you touch me again, I will call the police. I have had enough. So you had better leave me alone.” I thought that the letter would work. It just backfired, as he read it to my mum. He told her that he abused me, occasionally. This was only since I had been seventeen. He said that he could not help himself, it was because he was depressed. He said that he had nearly penetrated me. At the time, he had been drunk. Only, my stepdad very rarely drunk. He said that I had forced myself onto him. My mum phoned. “Slut. Are you trying to wreck my marriage?” “Can’t you see that he is ill? Don’t you care?” My mum did not talk to me for three years.

Although this was devastating, I felt that I was free from my stepdad. I would not see him. I would not let him near me. I just stared at him with hate. He was getting scared of me. He saw that he could not use me any more. His toy had become out of control, it had become unpredictable. I could see that he was scared. He could not tell whether I might be violent to him. He could not understand what was happening. I loved to see him scared. This was nothing compared to what he had put me through.

One Christmas, he thought that I was still his toy. All day he tried to get me alone. I avoided him. I did not talk to him. I could not see my mum’s anger. I was doing the washing up. I was alone. I was afraid, I was alone in his house. I could not be strong. Again, I found that I was listening to every noise in the house. I was listening for his footsteps. I can hear him coming up behind me. I can hear his breathing. I am beginning to freeze. I am furious. I just keep washing up. His breath is on my neck. “I have missed you so much.” His hand is going down my shirt. He is grabbing at my tits. He places his leg between my legs. Suddenly, I feel a cold anger. There no way I would let him inside me again. He is nothing now. I reach into the water, and find a carving knife. I turn around and hold it to his throat. “Just leave me alone,” I say calmly. I see him shaking. He is wide-eyed with fear. He has frozen. I just laugh at him. My sister comes in, and can see his fear. “Everything all right?” I say, “yes, everything is fine.”

***

When I left, I was in a zombie-state. For six years, I continued to be abused by men. But, I had left my stepdad. There were slow changes happening in me. I could see that the violence was not normal. I wanted to escape. But, I was in a trap. I thought that maybe I had chosen to be a victim. Maybe pain was all that I deserved. The more I tried to get away, the worse the violence got.

I do not know how I stayed alive in Cambridge. I would spend my time, getting drunk, trying not to eat, trying not to sleep. I would throw myself into voluntary work. I would not break down. Instead, I surrounded myself with violence. I grew to expect nothing, only hate. I did not care what was done to me, so long as I did not have to think. But sometimes, the violence was so bad. It scared even me. Picture this. Me going to pubs. Going to meet an old man. I am drinking spirits. I know that I will go home with him. I know that whisky does not stop the pain. He will push me against the wall. Slams my face up into the wall. He puts my legs together. As he forces his penis up my anus. I just keep fainting. Picture this. I am drunk at a friend’s party. I know that I am angry, but I blank it out with drink. I get more and more silly. A man invites me back to his house. He is my friend. There I drink some more. I smoke some grass. He is my friend, I can trust him. I say that I want to go home. He wants to walk me home. I can be safe with him. We get home at three. I want him to go. Only then, his eyes change. He is not my friend. He just stares at me coldly. He shuts the bedroom door saying, “You know why I’m here.” At first, I think that he is joking. I tell him to go. Then, he hits me in my stomach. I am flying across the room, hitting my head on the wall. He says. “Get undressed. Get on the bed.” I say no, he just hits me. I get undressed, trying not to cry. I get onto the bed. He gets on top of me. He is asking me what I don’t like, and then he does it. If I don’t speak, he talks to me as if I am a child. He is talking of how my stepdad was gentle to me, so he will be violent. See it as alternative therapy. He will give me someone else to think about. He is tying me up. He scratches and bites inside my vagina. He puts his penis into my mouth, anus and an ear. I will not let him penetrate me. From somewhere, I have the strength to stop him from doing that. This makes him furious. But there is no way he can do that. He will not make me pregnant. So he rubs his sperm all over my body. At one point, he puts a pillow over my head, puts his penis in my mouth, puts his fist up my anus. The pain was horrific. I was not breathing. I was dead. Only then, the pain went. I could be happy. Everything would be over. But, but he brought me back to life. “Don’t die on me, bitch. I want to remember everything that I do to you.” Somehow, I got the strength to get off the bed. I got dressed. I told him to leave. He just laughed. I said I would get the police. He just laughed, saying why you have taken drugs, why you are drunk. I said I would call his girlfriend. He just laughed - explain what he was doing in my room. I know that nothing would scare him. So I left. After I was gone for two hours, I went home. He was still there. This time I did not struggle. I was blank. I no longer cared. For I was nothing. When it was eight, my alarm went off, and he left.

Gradually, the violence was getting too much. Slowly, I was beginning to care about myself. I knew that I did not deserve all this violence. I needed a way out. I needed to fight the brainwashing. I knew I was not a slut. I knew I was not a piece of shit. I knew that if I was going to live, I had to leave Cambridge.

I was slowly dying in Cambridge. My body had given up. I had worse and worse headaches and stomach pains. I was so weak. Worse of all, I was becoming blank, I couldn’t feel the pain. Once, after being anally raped, I went straight to a party. I just ignored the pain. I just walked from one end of Cambridge to the other. I ignored that my bum was hurting. The pain went down my left side, into my legs. I just keep walking. The pain is not there. I will just walk through it. I am at the party. I am drinking. I am dancing. But, the pain will not go. I need to sit down. The pain shoots though me. It is hitting my heart. I am shaking. I want to get up, but my legs collapse. Somehow, I am being driven to hospital. There, I am blank again. The nurse briskly examines me. Seeing my anus, saying, “You got what you deserve.” I get a taxi, and go home. I am in my bedroom. I have collapsed. The next day, I cannot get up - I cannot move. I am paralysed. All I can move is my eyes. For three days, I cannot move. I cannot read, watch TV, or listen to the radio. I know that I can choose whether I live or die. I could let my body close down. I could will my own death. I had to change so I could live. I know that I have to leave Cambridge. I had to find a new life. I needed to discover hope.

So, I chose to live. I forced myself out of that bed. I was extremely sick. I did not understand why I wanted to live. I just ran away to Manchester. I did not know if I had a future. All I knew was that I had to keep breathing.

My first three years in Manchester were a nightmare. The sexual violence continued. I lived in hostels and B and Bs. But, I had stopped being scared. I would not go back to my past life. I had a new life. But still, I did not understand why I had chosen to live. All I knew was that I was getting more and more angry at the sexual violence. I could not take it any more. I was so angry, I would kill someone who abused me. I knew I needed help. I just didn’t know how to ask for it.

I could feel that the sexual violence was coming to an end. But, I couldn’t recover from the mental abuse. It was so deep. When the physical violence had stopped, I still got body memories. I could not stop the nightmares or flashbacks. I thought I was going mad. But, I had stopped the sexual violence.I was listened to for the first time. I was believed. I found that once I hadbeen raped, and it was noticed. This time, the police were called. He was not prosecuted, but I was sent to counselling.

There, I was not talking of that one rape. Rather, I spoke of my childhood. I just talked and talked - for three years. I found that I wanted to live. I found that someone cared. I found that I wanted to tell my story.

Conclusion

It took about a year for the sexual violence to stop. But, I had changed I know that I did not deserve the violence. I was beginning to believe that I had a future. I was beginning to believe that I was capable of being good. As I write this, I know that I am a long way from recovering. Only now, I can see my life clearer, I do not hide from the past. For me, the hardest part is knowing there can be no justice. My stepdad can never feel my pain and desperation. He will always believe that he did nothing wrong. He will die believing nothing much happened. This is very hard to live with. But now, I have no connection with him. So it does not matter if he stays the same. I feel that this piece of writing is a reward to my child and teenager. I am rewarding their life force, that was there even when they were desperate to die. I am rewarding their bravery, which was there even when they wanted to run away and hide. I write so they can cry. Then we can feel compassion for so much pain. I write so that the guilt can go. I write in order to show who is to blame. I write to show that my stepdad did not destroy my mind. I write because he did not make me go mad.


Another article by Rebecca Mott, Always Remember can be found here.

Australian Article on the Harms of Internet Porn

The following article, which comes from Australia's mainstram media publication The Age, aims at raising the awareness on the harms of Internet Pornography and the degradation of women, which porn undeniably entails. Although much of the content of this article will seem very familiar to radical feminists, it is nevertheless a great reading, and hopefully will seem at least slightly eye-opening to average readers around the world:

The Internet and the Rise of Porn

by Maree Crabbe and David Corlett
January 3, 2008

ON THE Thursday before Christmas, a judge sentenced a Melbourne man convicted of raping a woman to 11 years' jail. The judge, Damian Murphy, said the perpetrator, Andrew Bowen, 20, had used the internet to access hardcore pornography and to learn how to avoid leaving evidence at a rape scene. Judge Murphy said Bowen had "sought to depict a (sexual) fantasy" seen in downloaded material from the internet.

Bowen stalked his victim before he broke into her house, tied her hands together and repeatedly raped her.

The case highlights the link between pornography and violent attitudes and behaviour towards women.

Pornography is not new, but the development of the internet has contributed to a marked shift towards more extreme and more violent sexual imagery. Materials that would not pass Australia's film and television classification system are freely available — to young and old — on the internet.

Images of rape, coercion and abuse are commonplace. Even when the acts portrayed are not so abusive, the images are degrading and humiliating. The vast majority of portrayals are of men doing things to women for men's indulgence.

These are more than just pictures on a screen. They are images that are ripe with meanings about men and women, what they like and about how they ought to treat each other. They are images that impact on the perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of those viewing them.

Research suggests a clear link between exposure to or consumption of pornography and male sexual aggression against women. This connection is strongest when the imagery is violent. But it is also relevant to non-violent pornography, particularly for frequent users. Exposure to sexually violent material increases male viewers' tolerance of sexual violence and reduces their empathy for victims of violence, including rape.

The exposure of young people to pornography, including violent pornography, is particularly disturbing. Adolescence is a time in which young people are working out who they are and how they will interact with the world around them. It is a critical stage in the development of personal and sexual identity.

Young people are turning to internet pornography at the same time as they undertake this important developmental task. According to a 2003 Australia Institute study of 16 and 17-year-olds, 38% of boys (and 2% of girls) accessed internet sex sites deliberately. Twenty-two per cent of boys used internet sex sites at least every two or three months. These young men risk being captured by the intoxicating mixture of sexual and violent images and the physical rush that often accompanies it. Inequality and violence are eroticised.

Nor is it only those young people who intentionally seek out sexually explicit websites that consume internet pornography. The Australia Institute study found that 84% of boys and 60% of girls had been exposed accidentally to sex sites on the internet. This reflects the aggressive marketing of internet pornography, including through the use of involuntary and persistent "pop-ups" and games that become increasingly sexually explicit as young players progress through levels.

Pornography is now mainstream. Advertising and the media hard-sell on soft porn, regularly portraying women as sex objects to be looked at and used. Pornography takes this further: women are mere bodies for men's sexual gratification. The internet has provided a vehicle for easy, anonymous access to a vast array of sexually explicit material. It is material that is produced from all over the globe and that depicts all kinds of sexual activities. In the real world, according to child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg, young women are performing sex acts on and for young men that are common only on internet porn sites.

The attitudes and behaviours that pornography — whether it be hard or soft — promotes and normalises are reflected in the attitudes and behaviours of many young men and women. This is alarming in view of rates of sexual assault in our community. Australian research suggests that nearly 20% of women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15. Young men are disproportionately more likely than other sections of the community to be the perpetrators of sexual assault.

Even if our children do not become the victims or, like Andrew Bowen, perpetrators of sexual assault, there is reason to be concerned about the pornofication of our culture. While the use of pornography is common, it does not have to be passively accepted. Young people — and young men in particular — need to be equipped with the conceptual frameworks and skills to reject a sexuality that eroticises degradation and violence. To fail to do so is to sell our young people short. It is to accept a situation where they are having images planted into their heads and attitudes into their hearts that undermine healthy and fulfilling intimate relationships.

Maree Crabbe works at Brophy Family and Youth Services in Warrnambool. David Corlett is a writer and academic.

The Sex Industry in Nevada

I found this interesting article about prostitution in Nevada, which was written by Suki Falconberg, "an ex-prostitute who fights against the sexual enslavement of women," on January 17, 2008.

Within this article, the author bring up many important points and facts:

". . . I would see nothing wrong with Las Vegas as a sexual playground if it did not involve exploitation. Unfortunately, this harsher aspect is a big part of the $6 billion dollar industry of sex in Nevada. This exploitation side makes me object to the name of the gentleman´s club, newly opened, at the Luxor. It is called Cathouse.

What really happens inside Nevada´s legal ´cathouses´ is not glamourous. Psychologist Melissa Farley´s recent book, Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connection, the result of a two-year research project sponsored by the U.S. State Department, uncovers some of the less savory side of the Nevada sex industry.

"No one really enjoys being sold," a woman in a Nevada legal brothel told Farley. "It´s like you sign a contract to be raped." From interviews and first-hand observation, Farley says that "many of the women in the legal brothels are under intense emotional stress; many of them have symptoms of chronic institutionalization and trauma." Farley found mentally ill women in the brothels, ones who had been beaten, and ones who has been trafficked in by pimps, who took the majority of the money they earned. She found ´debt bondage conditions´ in some brothels: girls being charged enormous amounts for food and cigarettes and even the condoms they needed—these latter items are supposed to be supplied, free, by the brothel in a legal establishment.

Prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas or Reno: the brothels are in adjacent rural counties. To get to the ones outside Las Vegas, in the area surrounding the small town of Pahrump, is quite a trip--they are way, way out in the desert—and, once there, it is very difficult to get to talk to the girls. Why, I wonder, if is legal, is there something to hide? Are these girls ´inmates´ in a prison?

Legal prostitution is only a part of the picture. Farley reports that the links between illegal and legal prostitution and between trafficking and prostitution are the same as one finds every place where legalizing it has been tried. The Netherlands, Germany, Australia—in all these countries trafficking skyrocketed after prostitution was legalized. It made it much easier for the exploiters to operate, for the ´johns´ to get at the enslaved, and it did nothing for the girls themselves, the victims of the exploitation. Only a tiny handful of Dutch, German, and Australian prostitutes might benefit from the health and pension systems that legalizing brings. The majority of prostituted beings in these countries are sex slaves with no access to benefits, or any rights whatsoever. Even the few ´independent´ German/Dutch/Australian prostitutes often report pimps taking their money, so I even wonder if they are ´free´ to prostitute themselves or whether this ´trade´ involves a universal form of coercion visited on all the women in it.

Maybe Farley´s most shocking find is that "Las Vegas is the epicenter of North American trafficking and prostitution. Women are trafficked into this city from all over the world, including Korea, China, Mexico, Russia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ukraine, Czech Republic and others."

According to the U.S. State Department, prostitution and trafficking are heavily linked. Whether you call the girl ´trafficked´ or not, prostitution is inherently harmful. To quote a pamphlet from the State Department: "Few activities are as brutal and damaging to people as prostitution…victims meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder in the same range as victims of state-organized torture. Shocking abuse of the body, a myriad of serious and fatal diseases, such as AIDS, higher rates of cervical cancer….Prostitution leaves women and children physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually devastated. Recovery takes years, even decades—often, the damage can never be undone."

I have written two articles on the sex industry in Nevada. I think they can add to Farley´s insights as to what goes on in this lucrative business. The first, "In the Las Vegas Sex Industry, the Rapists Go Free," you can read on this American Chronicle site. It was written in May 2007 and details a police raid on a brothel where girls were imprisoned in deplorable conditions and asks why the customers who were raping the girls were let go.

When the case surfaced in the Las Vegas news again last month, I wrote this second piece in response to the coverage of it--

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal´s latest article (Dec. 11, 2007) on Operation Doll House, a brothel sting that rounded up a number of Asian girls, it appears that the rapists/exploiters are going free. One man indicted has received a suspended prison sentence and 5 years probation. That's all—for his role in the rape of these women´s bodies. The article also reports that this was not a case of ´trafficking´ and that the girls were not coerced. The RJ´s previous coverage of the event, a number of months ago, described the rooms where the girls were found: gallons of lube, hundreds of condoms, filthy mattresses on the floor, the rooms reeking of feces and urine. It described drunk men urinating and vomiting outside before they went in to use the girls. Yet, according to the current RJ article, the FBI investigators found no evidence that the women were being ´forced.´

Now, would a woman ´choose´ to have intercourse with men who have just vomited in the street? Would any woman choose to be penetrated multiple times a night by men she doesn´t know on a dirty mattress on the floor-- in an apartment reeking of urine and feces? No forcing???? Who would ever choose to work under these conditions?

Which male universe do these FBI agents come from? Do they think that their own wives and daughters would ever invite sex with drunk strangers, night after night, on filthy mattresses? If not, then how can they possibly assume any other woman would want to be treated to a nightly dose of serial rape in an atmosphere of filth and misery? In what way is the situation of these girls not ´coercion´ and force? And rape—of the most terrible kind.

It took the authorities two years to investigate this situation. Their attitude is well illustrated by what they labeled it: Operation Doll House—what a degradation to imply these raped girls are ´toys´! Why did it take them two years to get the girls out of the brothels? Two years while their poor bodies were being raped thousands of times. And then when they get them out—the people who put them there are let go, on ´probation,´ and the customers (the real rapists) are not even punished at all? The girls have no ´probation´ from the permanent hell that will be their life after years of being gang raped every day. As a rape/prostitution survivor, I can tell you that the prostitute never heals. I never healed. I never will. I am always in that rape prison.

Were the women held in debt bondage? Are any of these Asian women in brothels not being held in debt bondage? This is not just a form of coercion—it is enslavement.

The FBI agent called it a "straightforward" case. How so? What is "straightforward" about women being treated this way--except that it's rape but that word did not surface in the article. Who makes up the definition of ´force´ that the FBI and the courts use? I think I must look at reality very differently from the way the courts and the FBI do. I look at reality from the perspective of a body that has been raped thousands of times—the way these women have been.
The RJ article could have covered this so differently. It could have recounted the extent of the girls´ physical injuries. Serial rape, night after night, leaves tremendous damage. The article could have found out what the girls said—that is, if they were able to speak. Ordinarily, due to shame and deep trauma, prostituted women are only capable of saying what they think they have to in order to not be hurt anymore.

The article reports the girls are being sent back to their countries. What it does not mention is that there it is likely they will be re-trafficked: they will probably end up back in prostitution not just because of this but because they will be seen as unfit, as whores, to go back into their society. Also, their self-worth will be so low, due to the thousands of rapes, that they will probably not see a way out of prostitution. I know that when I was in it, I thought I would die in it. I could not picture a life after or beyond it. Who can ever be ´normal´ after thousands of rapes? Who can get a job at Sears or Starbucks after thousands of rapes?

I can't see a whole lot of difference between forced prostitution/prostitution/trafficking. Is this Las Vegas case another example of the TIP (Trafficking in Person´s Act) not working because the women are too terrified to speak? Their abusers are free to still hurt them if they testify. Is what is happening in this trial an example of women too frightened and damaged to testify? Too fearful of future reprisals? Why didn´t the RJ cover this aspect of the case?

I also know that speaking out for these women may be impossible. If faced with the men who hurt me, now, in my current life, there is no way I could ever testify against them. If I were in the same room with them, I would vomit and then run away as far as I could and hide in the nearest closet for safety. There is no police force that will protect me from them, and no court, not anywhere in America on any place else on this Rape Planet that I can go to. The legal system is designed to discredit the ´mass-rape´ victim that we label ´prostitute.´
I really don´t understand why rape/forced prostitution/trafficking are the only crimes where the victims are blamed for what happens to them.

That´s the end of my second article. It indicates what we are up against in terms of tackling prostitution—in Nevada or across the planet. Attitudes and systems that keep girls enslaved and that do little to punish those who inflict extremes of torture on other human beings. ´John´ = ´Rapist´ and ´Pimp/Owner´ = Rapist Murderer of Women´s Bodies.

Farley has interviewed hundreds of prostitutes all over the world and she concludes that most are desperate to get out. A Las Vegas investigative reporter I spoke to has interviewed about a hundred prostituted girls and come to the conclusion that almost all of them are exploited and damaged. A former prostitute in Las Vegas who runs a ´john´s´ program—designed to educate the customers about the harm they inflict, comes to the same conclusion—that these are highly damaged women. And she should know. Being one of the damaged ones.

Farley presented a panel on prostitution shortly after her book came out, and a number of former prostitutes spoke. One said that Las Vegas is greatly lacking in services to help prostituted women, girls, and children. (The city has a thriving business based on the sale of young girls, ages 13-17.) She said that local charities would not help the prostituted. Once they discover you worked as one, they throw you out.

I know that the Salvation Army, nation-wide, is now getting involved in helping the trafficked. They are receiving federal funding to do so. Will they help the prostituted, or do they see a distinction between the two? (For me, the trafficked and the prostituted are the same tortured being.)

At the panel, one prostitute came up with a startling fact: that very few women, girls, or children actually make it out of prostitution, and, of the few who do, life expectancy is short. Most are dead two or three years later. From insanity, suicide, disease?

Her remarks made me stop breathing for a few seconds. I now realize that I was incredibly lucky to actually survive the three-year stint I spent in prostitution and that the odds of my being alive now are amazing. When I was in it, I saw no way out. Esteem so low and a body and mind and emotions so battered that I could not see past the next hour or so. I felt as if I was in a ten-foot pit and could not see the rim. I smiled all the time, as if everything was okay. But I simply assumed I would die in prostitution. I gave up. What life is there after being raped thousands of times by men you don´t know?

There is none. I have no courage, no self-worth—all these must come from inside and there is only empty cold space inside me. I am afraid to leave the house. I am terrified of everything. I am not a rape/prostitution survivor. I didn´t survive. I have no ´support network´ since I have never spoken to another prostitute. I am always afraid I will see the same sadness in her eyes that I see in my own. The only way I know what other prostitutes think is through people like Melissa Farley, who has talked to so many all over the world. With surprise, I found many similarities—whether it´s Bangkok or Bombay or London or Las Vegas, the raped body feels the same. Through Farley´s interviews, I have also found ones who are ´true´ survivors. Hope and peace and safety they have found. That´s not me. No hope, no peace, and certainly no safety—since I am terrified to go outside the door. This is a big deal for me since you can´t do much of anything else if you can´t cross the threshold, into the outside world.

I pretty much live in spite of this. The beautiful things in the world--I know they are there--but I can´t reach them for comfort. I am still ten feet down, in that pit. I love sparrows. So small and cute and sweet and fragile, yet also so cheeky and spirited. I wish I could appreciate the beauty of a sparrow again.

Hope. Sweden seems to be doing something that works! They have decriminalized it for the women and made it a felony for the men who buy the girls. Their attitude is simple: Prostitution exploits women—all women. The ´demand´ side, the way men ´must´ be allowed to purchase bodies, is the result of male dominance and exploitation of the female. Prostitution hurts women. Period. Sweden has reduced trafficking to almost nil and they provide many services for women who are either in prostitution, or who want out, or who have gotten out and are struggling to survive. No blame on the woman in Sweden. Finally, a paradise on earth that really includes women? I have to blink to believe it. And sit inside a warm blanket, safe, in a small space away from how cold and huge the outside world is—to believe it. I hope it´s true.

When Sweden´s new laws started really working, traffickers shifted more business into Norway. Norway has passed laws similar to Sweden´s. Now, Denmark is currently working on going the way of the ´Swedish model.´ The latest news I have is that the women of Denmark are pressuring the men who do not buy prostitutes to vote for legislation similar to that in Sweden. All Western European countries, except for Sweden, and now Norway, are major destinations for impoverished girls who are imported from third world countries and from Russia and the Ukraine for sex.

Could the United States follow the Swedish model? It would entail a sweeping change of attitude within our borders—that the prostitute is not a depraved immoral sex fiend addict and a threat to all decent pure women everywhere but that she is a terrible victim of rape and male dominance. Following the Swedish model also involves ´tracking´ men who buy sex in other countries. Sweden is working on this side of the problem: it is tackling the Swedish men who go as sex tourists to Thailand and also the sexual behavior of its military abroad. During the World Cup in Germany, Sweden was the only country that ´policed´ its players and tourists to make sure they did not buy any of the 40,000 enslaved bodies that Germany made available for rape ´fun and games.´ I will be interested to see if Sweden can do similar policing of its own men at the Beijing Olympics where massive numbers of trafficked Chinese girls will be on sale.

The ´policing´ of men will only work in the long run if we change men´s hearts. They have to realize that to buy us destroys us. It harms the men as well since it reduces women to slaves."


-- Suki Falconberg.