Posts Tagged ‘sexualassault

12
Nov
17

The R word, The N Word and the V word: Verbal Ammunition hurts people, people don’t hurt people! Hurt People Hurt People!

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…The thing that has stood out to me most, the thing that I was also guilty of was that self determined sex workers HATE being called victims, unless it is them doing the victim name calling on their own situations.  It is really hard to think straight when you are recovering from trauma.  In fact, I know that PTSD is rearing its ugly head out of my wounds when my memory freezes in the same way my body does.  My sense of direction is worse than usual (which is normally not the best) and sometimes I find it hard to find the words and names of familiar places, I find it hard to find my keys or even the keyhole which the key fits in the door of my apartment.  This usually goes on for a few days after the incident and I thank my body for being the harbinger of consciousness around sexual violence in my life again and again so that my brain catches up to what my body knows as the truth.  

What I mean by the first statement is that once we are clear that sex work in and of itself is not a victimizing situation then we can explore the further depths of the trauma that occurs when one is doing work that is criminalized, stigmatized and often residing at many of the darker alleys of the sexual activities of the majority of men and women who participate in it.  Once you are not using the rescuing paradigm then we can talk about the lack of rights that people in the sex industry are afforded in both the legal and illegal sectors.  But it gets more complicated than that IF YOU ALLOW YOURSELF (and are ready) TO GO THERE.  It is easier to go with simple sound bites and hashtags and mantras such as “It’s not your fault” “theft of services equals rape” “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and my personal non favorite “MEN ARE TRASH” and so on that on the surface seem to be the solution, but the solution has a long trajectory.  The sex worker movement, like any other oppressed identity movement also has its own sound bites which I knew very well having been in the forefront of it on a global level for multiple years.  Soundbites and PR crafted responses are designed to take the emotion out of the incident,  but as Uma Thurman expressed so eloquently regarding the recent Harvey Weinstein allegations,”I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you…because… when I have spoken out of anger, I usually regret the way I express myself, so I’ve been waiting to feel less angry, and when I am ready, I will say what I have to say.”  

The whore revolutionary (the old me) often and fearless spoke out of anger and rage against the machine and rage against my perpetrators that I knew that I probably wouldn’t press charges against because there was no institutionalized structure in place to support such allegations.  We can witness how hard it is for established wealthy celebrity females to go up against a more established male counterpart in an industry as mainstream and accepted as Hollywood.  I used this blog as my bullhorn and way to heal and process out loud during and immediately after I’d faced sexual violence.  The more years that were removed from traumatic incidents and the way that I did my work allowed me to see that in sex work, when there is violence or non consensual sexual activity (such as stealthing removal of a condom or theft of services) it is always violence but whether or not it is RAPE is something I often did not take the time to ask myself.  And when my body is screaming the answer, when I am dropping my change clumsily on the floor at the cashier counter, I KNOW THE FUCKING ANSWER! Or…I know one answer, the one answer that helps me feel safe and soothed in my times of seemingly death defying moments of anxiety and anguish.

When the brain is settled, one’s decision to use the word RAPE has the same verbal ammunition potential as using the word N**GER in many situations so we must assess its use carefully.  I started to use the word sexual violence instead.  “I have experienced a continuum of sexual violence both in, out and before sex work.”  (my sound bite which has been consciously crafted to deliberately not sound like “I was raped continuously when I was doing prostitution.’ for various reasons mostly political but also encompassing my desire to NOT CHOOSE personally disempowering language.  And the DIFFERENT choices that I have made since then are what I want my current writings to focus on.  Does our verbal ammunition do more damage than was done in the original incident in question?  Are we or can we even be conscious of the effects our words have?  I thought calling any theft of service a RAPE was my path to empowerment, but personally it was my path to insanity and an endless cycle of violence mostly to myself; and unsurprisingly because Aileen Wuornos was indeed the mother of prostitute insanity and violence who died without ever getting any of her needs met.  

21
Jan
10

Teaching You a Lesson or Sexually Assaulting You?

I just wrote my first entry on the Yes mean Yes blog site! I am a voice in a chapter on sex workers in this amazing radical anthology called Yes Means Yes.

reposted in part below:

Taking off a condom in the middle of a sex act…it happened to me a couple of times.  One of the most notable ones was one of the last of 4 sexual assaults in my early 20s which culminated in me realizng that I had survived a series of different sexual assaults between the ages of 17 and 22.  This was just the last of 4 that I would allow to just roll over me like a big crashing wave that nearly drowns me and pushes me down, spitting sand and salt but told to just recover and keep surfing. I was urinating blood in the toilet.  I thought it was an STD.  I went to Planned Parenthood and one of their routine questions traumatized me.  “Could you be at risk of being pregnant or having an STD?”  The last guy I slept with that took the condom off in the middle of our sex came to mind.  I had to say,”Yes.” and take the pregnancy test.  It was traumatic at the time, what has become more routine for me now.  Watching Jerry Springer in the clinic lobby bitterly thinking that for sure I felt violated that I had to endure pain and uncertainty because of his irresponsibility. This one was definitely his fault because he took action to violate an unspoken trust agreement between two people using a condom that that condom should stay on during the entirity of the sex act.  It turned out I had kidney stones and that was why I was bleeding internally but the blood in the toilet was so traumatic that it forced me into a path of rape trauma healing of all my assaults, deal with boundary violations, go to counseling and understand PTSD.  I FELT that the guy who took off the condom violated me, and I experienced it physically (through the kidney stones) and emotionally as such and so to me, it was an assault.  Would the police classify it as such?  Of course not.  Does this guy think he sexually assaulted me?  Of course not.

Fast forward eleven years, 3 of the last of those I’ve worked as an escort in LA and beyond.  I have practiced boundary negotiations with hundreds of clients, customers, dates, boyfriends, and whoevers.  Things still happen.  Violations are part of the occupational hazards of this job.  I work with the herpes virus using barriers to protect my clients and reduction of unprotected oral, when possible.  Recently, the client knew that there wasn’t a condom on and continued to have sex with me.  We had used a condom earlier, but the second time he put it in I didn’t realize there wasn’t a condom until about 15 minutes into it.  I stopped to ask and he replied, “there isn’t one.”  I was pissed.  “That’s it.” I said. “We’re done.” I started packing my work bag and headed for the shower.  With more body language I let him know that I was not happy.  While I was in the shower, I wanted to resolve the issue so that somehow I could make it out of there on good terms.  This guy had just gotten out of prison, did drugs and clearly didn’t think that not using a condom sometimes was an issue.  I should be worried.  I told him that.  “when IS the last time you got tested?” I asked.  “They test you when you go to prison.” he says.  He claims that prisoner rape isn’t as common as the movies make it seem and that he never shared a needle. But you and so many too many men I’ve been with think not using a condom on every contact, every time is excusable for the sake of pleasure, or horniness. But, in this case, I believe it is also my responsibility to realize that a condom is not on, even though the penis holder is clearly in an position of power.  I’ll take some responsibility for [you fucking me without a condom].  Just so I don’t have to process what you did like another sexual assault.  He tipped me very well.  I’m not sure if it was because he felt guilty or not.  I must have made him feel bad.  He gave me his phone numbers and said I could call him for anything.  In the end, because I didn’t leave angry, I was able to not feel so violated.  It doesn’t always resolve itself like this.  Unsafe sex is an automatic ejection from the game.  I think though, you should always be aware of whether or not a condom is in use.  And if you are calling yourself a pro you should always be on top of that, literally.

I did feel initially violated but felt like instead of getting angry and calling him a rapist, I would try to gain an understanding about what HIS thinking, if any was….CONTINUE




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