Posted by charliegrrl on February 5, 2007
Rebecca is a good friend of mine, not to mention a fellow Northwest Feminist and ReSister.
This is her story…
My Experiences in Sex Work
I write this for I wish to connect the reason I became a radical feminist to my experiences in sex work.
I was brought up in an atmosphere where porn and sexual abuse was my day-to-day experience. Therefore, getting involved with paid sex was just an extensive of my abuse.
I can see this now.
In the past, I thought I was dirty and bad. I believed the thought-patterns of patriarchy. To blame myself, was easier than thinking my body was a war-zone for men hatred of women.
In my youth, I felt I had “chosen” to do sex work. Now, I see I was brain-washed by my stepdad’s abuse. He made me feel that I was an object. My stepdad was obsessed with hard-core porn, which I saw as a child. I learnt that sex was associated with pain and fear. I was taught that I was just an object to be used and tossed away. I taught myself not to care.
Therefore, for me, entering sex work was a natural act. The sex work that I did was sadistic sex, but I made myself not care. I could not let myself feel the pain of my abuse.
I was used as a rubbish tip for men to pour out all their hatred of women. I had become real-life porn.
This begun when I was 14. At that time, I was dead inside. This meant that when I was abused violently, I could not feel the pain. I did not cry or scream. I did not even move.
This was very dangerous. On occasions, I almost killed. On many occasions, I was badly injured. Only, I could allow myself to care.
Now I can look back, and I can allow myself to grieve. I have transformed my life. But, I want to remember where I come from. I want to celebrate my strength to stay alive at that time.
I wish to campaign against the sex industry. I find this hard, because my emotions are so vulnerable on this issue. But, I want to stop the suffering of women in the sex industry.
Often I find this hard, especially when I hear other women trivialising the conditions of sex work. I feel that there is an atmosphere that consider that sex work is chosen freely and could be empowering. Although, there may be some sex workers that have chosen their work, I feel that they are in the minority. Many sex workers have to be cut off from their emotions,and are often very defensive of their situation. It could be easier to say that you enjoy doing sex work, than to consider why you enter that world.
Many sex worker find difficult to trust, for they have betrayed for much of their lives.
I wish to work against the sex industry, But it very emotionally draining. I wish to be truthful, but this is hard. I fear that it will seen as individual pain,and therefore unimportant.
I know that story is common. That is why I became a feminist.