My story started when I met my first proper boyfriend. The one to whom I lost my virginity. He had very odd sexual fantasies that I complied with because I had never really known love. I was raised in a house fueled by alcoholism and violence. I needed to be loved and he said he did. He forced me to have sex with his uncle. From that moment something in me changed and now I was more easily able to be used.
My second serious boyfriend realised this, and as well as being physically abusive, he was also sexually abusive. He signed me up to an escorting website and forced me to have sex with men for money, money that he would keep. If I said no, I got beaten. Eventually, he signed me up to a brothel. Where I would have sex with over 20 men in a night and he would pocket every single penny I made!
I was, at this point, only 21. With three children, living a life I had no control over so I turned to alcohol. My only friend. If I was drunk enough, it would take away the misery of my existence, the pain inflicted on to my soul every time I had to have sex with some horrible, misogynistic man.
Sex never meant anything to me anymore. The desire to be loved had gone. How could anyone love me when I hated myself? I used to pray and ask God, “Why did you put me on this earth just to have this horrible life full of pain?” I didn’t understand my purpose.
Eventually, after years of beatings and having sex with thousands of men for money, I found the courage to leave the abusive relationship, with the man.
The abusive relationship with sex work continued. I had an alcohol addiction, three children and no money. I had to continue the sex work because it was all I knew. I had been being exploited since I was 17! During this time, I was assaulted by men, they attempted to have unprotected sex with me and demanded money back when I objected.
I felt lost and useless. I lost my children to Foster Care and everyone knew what “I had been doing”. I put that last bit in quotation marks because this was not something I wanted to do, this had been done to me. But nobody wants to acknowledge that girls and women are forced into a lifestyle they want no part of.
Nobody knows how I begged for my life to end, too scared to actually end it myself. Not wanting to live, but not wanting to die. Just wanting to change the life I had! I was damaged goods. I used sex to have people close to me. Eventually, the money stopped and I was just sleeping around trying to end the pain with yet more pain. I needed to do something.
I got sober, and stopped sleeping around. I put my energy into carving a new life for myself. Out of the misery, I made happiness. I went to college and got into university. I met a man and had a baby, who I now raise alone and raise well. My child doesn’t see random men coming into his home, I don’t allow men to use me. I have a good job and pay for everything in our world. I’m fighting for my eldest children to come home and I’m on course to graduate from law school soon.
I’m determined to give legal help to women who have been criminalised due to being exploited. It is not OK to give women a criminal record for something that is harming them emotionally. We do not want to be sex workers. It’s not fun and it’s so damaging!
Share your story
If you’ve been in the sex trade, or have been affected by it in other less direct ways, and would like to share your story anonymously, please see our Share Your Story page.