good god

There are also more positive accounts from women in prostitution about the buyers, but some are mixed with contradictory statements. For those women who give their buyers a passing grade, it is qualified by their dependence on the men for money, food, and drugs.

From a woman in Hong Kong who spoke about one “really nice” and “caring” man:

"He…gave me several thousand dollars as pocket money…He would go to the supermarket with me to do the shopping and carry all the stuff we bought to my apartment…He was the only client who was indeed concerned about me…I once misinterpreted his care as love, and found myself in love with him. I stepped back…I always think at most I can only accept the clients as good fiends, but they can never be my partners." (Suen Yi, Hong Kong, age 30s)

A self-described “Ivy League Callgirl,” now a university lecturer, wrote a book about her positive experiences in prostitution but ended with a complex epilogue:

"I am aware…that many women are not in this profession because they hold doctorates and want to pay off their student loans. Many women are in fact forced, raped, lied to, torn from their homes and lives and given nothing in return…treated as morally inferior beings because they have been used to satisfy both the sex and monetary appetites of supposedly morally superior beings…Many women experience what I describe briefly in this book: the slavery of drugs that was imposed on them deliberately so that they in turn could serve as slaves in a business that regards their lives as cheap."

It is all the more puzzling that she ends her book with a call to legalize prostitution, asserting “regulation means safety.” But even this prescription is qualified with ambivalence:

"I have a positive story to tell. I’m not sure that my experience is that of the majority of the women involved in this business."

Likewise, the same incongruity is expressed by Brigitte, a woman who testified for legalizing brothels in Brussels and services a handful of buyers yet believes prostitution should not exist:

"[Prostitution] kills you…I am not a woman who can say I hate men. It’s not hate. But I cannot have respect anymore for a man…I know a lot of women suffering in that business…For me, even though I’m making good money, it should not exist."

Women in prostitution develop protective mechanisms, sometimes built on denial, that allow them to separate themselves from the humiliation, violence, and degradation experienced. It is not until most women leave prostitution that they admit the damage that has been done to them:

"You tell the lie - ‘I like it’ - so much that you believe it yourself. You make it O.K by saying, ‘I haven’t been beat up today…’ Women have to justify it: they can’t tell themselves or anyone else the reality of it or else they’d die."

Another woman added, “You can’t be mentally present in this business or you’ll go crazy.”

Elena, a young Moldovan woman living in Paris, spoke to Hubert Dubois who interviewed her for his film ‘The Client’. When Dubois told her that no women he interviewed up to that point admitted to being forced into prostitution, Elena responded:

"I too would have given you the same answers if you asked me back then when I was a prostitute. I would have told you, ‘Yes, I do this voluntarily.’ I would have been incapable of telling you otherwise. I had resigned myself to my fate. And furthermore, I would have never been able to say to the man that each of his acts was in fact a rape."

Survivors’ accounts show how statements made when “in the life” are quite different than the realizations that come after they have left prostitution.

In acknowledging that “choice” is a factor for some women in prostitution, Marie, a survivor of prostitution in Ireland, defined the “choice” as a choice for the money, not the prostitution:

"These women are not happy with what they are doing but happy with the money they get…The problem…is that they discover only in later years how degraded and broken they have become."

It is not surprising that women in prostitution articulate different opinions than the men who buy them. Women in general have a more critical attitude about prostitution than men in general. For example, a Finnish researcher who has studied sexuality in his country found that most Finnish men approve of prostitution in contrast to a minority of women who approve. These varied findings about Finnish society have remained constant over a long period of time. Also leading up to the passage of the law criminalizing the purchase of sexual activities in Iceland, a study showed that 70 percent of the population was in favor of the law. 82 percent of Icelandic women were in favor compared with 57 percent of Icelandic men.

— Raymond, G. Janice. “Not A Choice, Not A Job: Exposing the Myths About Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade.” Potomac Books, (p. 49 - 51)

(Source: exgynocraticgrrl, via concepthuman)