How I Became A Prostitute
by anonymous survivor
I was sexually abused as a child. He said I was a whore, and it made sense to me - only whores are treated the way he treats me, so I must be one. There was a funny twist to it - he also said that, since I'm a whore at the core, I should accept this truth about myself and act accordingly. I shouldn't pretend to be innocent and dignified, shouldn't lie to myself and to others. I should have enough decency to not pretend to be someone I'm not. That's what he said. And I believed him. I was a child, he was my dad.
I was gang-raped as a teenager by a group of strangers I never met before. Oddly, I wasn't surprised. It seemed this was all I was born for, to be abused over and over, and the fact that it was complete strangers made me even more sure there must be something inherently wrong with me and clearly visible to outsiders, if they picked me out of all the girls who passed by that street that day. They must have seen my secret in my eyes, what other explanation could there be to this?
When I started working, dad robbed me continuously (he was an alcoholic), so I never learned money management skills - he repeatedly took all I had and then some, so I gave up on making or saving any amount. When I lost my job and couldn't find a new one for several months, I was living off my partner and was deeply unhappy about this situation - because it's only whores who live off other people - so once again I'm being a whore and acting like I'm not. Might as well make it official. Most of all, I was angry about the continuous and unlimited abuse. I thought that's because I'm dishonest like a whore, so I get screwed over. If I come out of the closet, to self and others, legalize my nature by getting a label, - abuse will be limited, per hour, not more, and nobody will call me dishonest. So I called a local brothel.
I think I was blocking out some thoughts and feelings about it all, but sex stuff wasn't too bad - it was disgusting at times, but, well, that's a given. It was frustrating and sometimes scary when clients wouldn't listen to my "no" and physically force me into doing unsafe things, such as unprotected sex, suffocation, sharp objects, etc - it's traumatic when you know you're getting hurt, but can't do anything about it. I still have flashbacks of some of these incidents. Overall I was lucky though - no pregnancies, no STD's, no drugs. I was raped twice, and beat up a few times too, but that comes with the job, and could have been a lot worse. My worst problem was I think sleep deprivation, hunger, and hangovers - because clients wanted to keep me drunk all the time, and because I never had enough time between clients to sleep or eat. I was eagerly anticipating the days of my period - I ate, slept, called family during those.
I did make a lot of money (though certainly less than I expected), but I developed other needs and expenses that most of this money went on. For example, I needed work shoes - they had to be high-heeled and clearly styled for the purpose, yet comfortable, as I wore them for many hours a day. I obviously had no use for them outside of this, but I couldn't work in sneakers either, you know. Those shoes are expensive. I also needed good quality sexual wellness products, as constantly using cheap ones resulted in rashes that put me out of business. Last, but not least - two thirds of money went on pimps, guards, gas, rent, etc. - also something I didn't anticipate. Living that lifestyle 24/7, my prior needs became irrelevant and I wasn't motivated to spend money on things I used to want, such as schooling. And saving for future didn't seem feasible. I spent what I made, and didn't feel richer than I used to be - at the end of the day I still was hungry (no time to eat), sleep-deprived, and deeply unhappy. The only good way to spend money was to buy something for friends or family - but that involved lying to explain where did I get such large amounts of money from, as not many of my loved ones would have been comfortable accepting gifts I prostituted myself for.
I stopped 8 months later, moved far away. I was 18. I deeply regret this, I wish I could undo, but unfortunately I can't. What he told me was a lie, I understand it now. I wasn't a whore until I became one. Getting the official label didn't make me feel any better of course. It made me feel a lot worse - now when he said I were a whore I had to blush and look away because this time around he was right. I cannot undo what I did, but I have to and can live with it. I will always have this secret dragging behind me, affecting my relationships, my life, my self-esteem - but I'm much more than an ex-prostitute, this secret doesn't define me.
If you are a prostitute, I wanted you to know you aren't alone. If you are not - I wanted you to understand what it's like. You are lucky you aren't in my shoes.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
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