‘The pain inside me was like fire burning me’

Brendan sent this piece in through our Share Your Story page, which provides a space for people to tell of their experiences of the sex trade anonymously and in their own words.

I was first groomed, sexually abused and raped by teachers at school from 13 to 15 years old. I wasn’t very bright and was always told I would never achieve anything in life but I had hope that one day I might.

A few years later I decided to do modelling part time as well as my self-employed job which meant my working hours were flexible. So one day I went down to the south coast to stay at a photographer’s house for a few days, There were four other girls staying there too but I didn’t see much of them as we were kept separate and isolated in our bedrooms.

They took me to a bedroom where they convinced me to pose naked which I felt a bit nervous about, but the photographer said he knew best so I did it. The next afternoon I was asked to go into the garage for photographs, so I did. What happened next: I was gang raped. But that wasn’t the worst of it. The pain inside me was like fire burning me with the voice of the pimp constantly talking in my ear saying, “Listen to my voice and the pain will go away”. I think I passed out from the pain two or three times.

After about eight hours of this I completely broke and started listening to my pimp. He told me he has a nice brothel for me to work in Germany or Holland and will look after me. Once I started to accept everything, the pain did go away. By this point I was mesmerized by him and in a trance and would willingly do anything he asked but the terrifying screams from the other girls who had more courage than me still haunt me. It was like I had been changed into someone new. That’s why people who are trafficked into the sex industry don’t leave because after that, they don’t even consider leaving.

The police raided the building just before dawn in a big police operation where they had surveillance and arrested all the men very quickly. The police pulled the men off me and the girls.

The police said you’re safe now as we have just saved you from the grooming ring and we have all the photographs.

Afterwards, I couldn’t help myself from searching out men or women – it didn’t make any difference who they were – just to turn tricks in bars and clubs. I used to dream of working in a brothel but I didn’t know where they were, so I just carried on doing what I’m doing in between my normal job.

I analysed and researched the most likely bars and clubs where I would be almost guaranteed to turn tricks but I did get barred from one pub. The extra money was good – I bought a Gucci watch, gold jewellery and went to lunch in restaurants and hotels every day.

I got a girlfriend, and she asked me to start visiting a woman once a week. I was a bit nervous the first time I visited a stranger’s house, but I went there every week. Over time I completely lost all my sexual inhibitions and would do anything I was asked to give her sexual pleasure – until one day she gave me some sort of drug in my drink that paralysed me for eight hours where she had sex with me while laughing and making fun of me.

I told my girlfriend what she had done and she wasn’t very happy with her. This was the time I started getting sex dissociation. I did get white tongue for quite a few years where it was cracking and very painful and made me feel sick everyday, but the whiteness has gone away now.

My next girlfriend was an alcoholic and smack heroin addict and a prostitute. She was very overprotective of me and didn’t want her friends near me, controlling me. She sent me out to perform tricks in pubs or bars but then she went to prison for knifing someone to protect me.

While she was in prison she asked her other friends to come around to visit me for sex. When she came out, she was tagged at my house. The police had tapped the telephone line and were watching the house. The police kept telling me to kick her out as she is ruining your life so eventually I did.

I tried to live a normal life and met a girl and got married after one week, A few months later she got suspicious and kept asking questions on who used to live here and how many people I’d slept with. She kept insisting I tell her the truth and after a while I gave a rough guess on how many different people I’d slept with and she cried for two days and left me the following day. So I went back to my old ways as that’s all I knew. 

A few years later I phoned up a friend who was a working girl and she drove 40 miles to see me. She asked me to come down on her, so I did. She said you can’t do that! I said that’s what you asked me to do.

She jumps up, tells me to sit down, shut up and listen to her. She laid into me telling me off and telling me about safe sex and making me promise to stop doing this, don’t you know the diseases you can catch. She listed all the diseases in great detail. She told me what to do and what not do and to always wear protection with people. She said you have to do this. Then she said you’re not listening to me so I’m telling you to now stop having sex with people. So I promised her and haven’t had sex with anyone or performed tricks since as I don’t like to break a promise.

I try and shut myself away from the world as much as I can. I just go out to work or visit tourist attractions or Pilates or shopping and I never open my curtains and haven’t gone out drinking in years now as that is not good for me.

People say prostitution is a choice. But is it really? You have to think whether it is a conscious choice as I think it’s really often an unconscious choice. For me it was anyway, because of the traffickers’ brainwashing. It’s like a drug that you have to resist. I know I’ll never recover or be a normal person again but I can pretend to be normal after 16 years, even though I don’t feel normal living and working in the same area.

I’m determined to live a new life now.

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.

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