Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Language Games

When it comes to prostitution, we wrap it up pretty. We use language to distance ourselves from the reality of the situation. The language of the sex industry, of those in favour of legalising prostitution, minimises the pain of being a prostitute, of selling your body. It facilitates. With the language of 'work', 'jobs', 'clients', we can look straight through the pain and suffering of the women and teenagers who are caught there.

A friend of mine had to debate whether prostitution should be legalised as part of her college course. She was the only one who argued against it. The rest of the group spoke of safety and choice and a woman's right to 'work'. They didn't look at it as a personal issue. Yet what is prostitution if not personal? As a prostitute, I tried to distance myself from what was happening to my body - I used a different name, and tried to numb out with alcohol and drugs and a conscious effort. It never works.

The truth is, in prostitution, men gave me money to use my body. They told me sometimes repulsive, sometimes frightening, things that they wanted to do to me. And that I'd like it. I was told he wanted to fuck my arse until it bled and then stick it up my cunt. That he wanted to tie me up all helpless and watch other men rape me and abuse me til he came.

The fact that he used my 'working' name didn't matter. He was looking at me when he said it, touching me when he said it, hurting me when he said it. My body, my vagina, my rectum, are not distant, abstract concepts. They are real, they are a part of me, a living breathing, feeling woman. When they tear, it hurts me. When they bruise, it hurts me. When I was fucked again and again, hard, to fulfil the fantasy of the punters, it was reality for me.

The language of the sex industry, so widely accepted and used in debates across the country by people who have never experienced prostitution, and are comfortable in knowing they likely never will, is a whitewash. No other 'job' leaves women traumatised, with PTSD, a suicide rate far above the average. (see Demand Change website for Home Office statistics). Using that language kills the debate and silences the reality of women's suffering.

Freedom of speech talk from the so-called liberals is BS. I've never 'worked' with a woman who was free to tell the truth. To live as a prostitute, to survive, you have to construct a careful network of lies, even to yourself. It's known as denial. How else can you pick yourself up in the morning still sore from the day before (joke: 'still walking like John Wayne') and get back out there?

It is the antithesis of glamour. The reality is bodily fluids and smells and KY jelly and femfresh wipes and sponges in your vagina to be able to 'work' during your period. And pain from lots of sex and sore nipples cos they're pretty rough with you, men trying to pull a fast one and stick it up your arse if you're not looking and take their condoms off. Offering more if you let them in sans condom.

It hurts me when people who know nothing of the reality of prostitution throw their support behind the sex industry driven call to legalise it. I wouldn't legalise prostitution for the same reason I wouldn't legalise heroin: it destroys a human being, physically, mentally and spiritually.


  1. Thank you for this post, Angel.
    I'm sorry that you have suffered so much, and am full of admiration for you speaking the truth.
    I hope others will learn from this blog, and stand in solidarity against prostitution.

    Best wishes,

  2. you write beautifully about the ugliest things. shits all over belle du jour any day of the week! x