‘I portrayed it as more glamorous, exciting and innocently free-spirited than it was’

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

Some of my childhood is a blur of painful memories from emotional neglect if not abuse but from the outside by many standards I was born blessed and privileged. Still, I had run away from home briefly several times between 11 and 15 years old and was living with a 23 year old man and his roommate and working as a stripper before I turned 18 and had succumbed to drugs alcohol and prostitution by 21 years old.

My thoughts and intentions were to be rebellious against my parents, against my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, against the patriarchy in society. My hope was that if males were allowed to express their sexual desires and act on them freely, then my choosing to be an exotic dancer would be empowering and liberating.

It was… a little, and it was not… a lot, but I portrayed it all as more glamorous, exciting and innocently free spirited than it was.

It was actually several years after exiting the adult entertainment industry, after traumatic experiences with a boyfriend who died, after my frontal lobe finished developing around 25 years old, and after I had been relatively sober for a while that something I did not believe was possible happened to me.

Nightmares woke me up one night as they often do. But this night a vivid and real event that had happened to me flooded my memory as if a dam had burst, unlocking supressed pieces from my past. I remembered having agreed to have sex for money with one man but another had come out of a closet and put the barrel of a 9mm gun in my mouth then his dick and they both raped me multiple times.

Another time I was passed out and came in and out of consciousness as the john was fucking me but his shirt kept changing colours and then I realized that there were two of them and they were twins and they were laughing how they had tricked me to pay for only one of them and then drugged me.

I recalled being brutally ganged raped at a hotel where I was supposed to be doing a bachelor’s party dance with a bodyguard chaperone who ceased to be standing by the door as a sea of dicks enveloped me and I came to in a hospital with a broken collar bone.

I had judged victims I had seen on TV who talked about supressed memories resurfacing and speculated they could be lying. I wrongly assumed the brain would certainly remember such events, not understanding it to be a protective function in the mind. Until it happened to me. I sat up in my bed out of sleep and then sank into a foetal position crying uncontrollably and marvelling at how neatly those memories had been filtered and closed off… until they reappeared…

Anyway, it’s amazing to me that all these many years later and somehow the legalisation of prostitution sounded like an okay idea until I read this site and it has hit me profoundly why my lingering shame and pain are not at all the issue. It’s not that other women who made similar choices to mine just had a better go at it or succeeded in surviving it all better than me – or the minimising like it all wasn’t that bad and was in some small ways liberating when I had the illusion of being in control and desired…

I’m glad I found this website and will be adjusting my political actions accordingly so thank you.

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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