I am not a victim.

Hello my lovelies.  May I be serious for a moment?

I know we have fun.  We joke and tease and gripe about little foibles and idiosyncrasies in this community.  I know I’ve had a rant or six about this or that, and I am so glad that I have a readership that loves me anyway.

Recently I had a most disturbing conversation with someone.  I’ve known this person tangentially for a few years through mutual friends, and I would consider them fairly intelligent, sex positive, and open minded.  Apparently, there is a limit to everything, and there are some issues that transcend political leanings or even sexual or cultural orientation.

I won’t try to list the conversation verbatim, as it was long and drawn out and honestly I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.  It will suffice to say that this was a conversation about sexual assault victims, coercion, and misogyny.  I’ll bet you can guess where the conversation went.

This person spent the better part of an hour describing why I am a victim of patriarchy by actively allowing men to sexually assault me.  I am somehow being forced into this profession because of dire circumstance or desperation.  All I need do is walk into any battered women’s shelter and beg for help, and they could set me up with project housing and a minimum wage job so I could “leave this filth behind”.  I was speechless, and for those of you who know me, that’s kind of a big deal.

I am not denying that there are women, men, and children out in the world right this second who are forced into sex work.  Some are manipulated into it by a “boyfriend”.  Some are addicted to drugs and this is how they get their fix.  Some are literally chained up and abused like animals in cages.  Guess what?  I am none of those things.  Equating what I do with the horrors of trafficking and slavery is offensive, as it draws attention away from the real victims.

Sex work, when entered into freely, performed happily, and having the ability to leave it behind, is not something people need saving from.  My work is a calling, if you want to know the truth of it.  I do good.  I create bonds and heal soul and heart wounds.  I give a good time and a sense of freedom and youth.  This person didn’t even seem to hear me when I tried to defend what I did, and began berating these “so-called clients” as abusers, rapists, cheaters and dogs hungry for meat.  How could a man treat a sex worker like a real woman, they argued, if they are literally buying her body?  Of course, we know that you never -buy- a body.  You are renting intimacy by the hour.  Buying implies ownership, and no one will ever own me.    Buying implies possession, as one would possess a chair or model plane.  If I own this chair, it is within my rights to re-paint it, or saw off one leg, or even break it up for fire wood.  I am not a possession, and one does not possess me.

Let me be clear, lest I receive a bunch of tut-tutting.  I am only speaking from my personal experience, as a “privileged” sex worker.  I come from a solid home, attended college, and choose this work out of desire instead of desperation.  I speak of those like ME, not the drug-addicted street walker, (though it’s not like every street walker is addicted to drugs), nor the underage girl being passed back and forth like a rag doll.  No one deserves treatment this person assumes happens to us all, but they were blind to the idea that maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t a black or white issue.  We live in shades of gray, and this is no different.

This person and I had heated words, and I’m not going to lie, I really was itching to introduce my fist to their smug face.  I am used to being belittled and scorned for my profession, from men and women alike.  But this was the first time that I honestly felt angry.  Pushing victimhood onto someone such as myself is not only ignorant, but it’s absolutely no help to anyone.  Worse, this person denigrates the men who seek out women such as myself as ravening hounds, slavering at the idea of a woman who can’t say “no”.  Penalties should be higher for men caught in the act, and even castration was lobbied about for repeat offenders.  I wasn’t even sure if this person was even acknowledging my presence at this point.  As insane as this person’s rant was, it was a sad thing to know that there are others who feel this way.

This blog was started to tell a story: The Happy Hooker with a Heart of Gold.  I wanted to show that this profession can be satisfying, even amazing.  I wanted to show that this was 100% MY choice, MY decision, and MY ass on the line if anything were to go awry.  I wanted to show how fulfilling this calling has been for me, how I’ve seen hearts mended and self-esteems boosted with my help.  I am now going to start writing this blog with the idea that I will spit in the eye of this person who tosses the baby out with the bathwater, just because they can’t see that there is a huge difference between what I do, and what sex traffickers do.  I am with them on one point: We do not need any more victims of the sex trade OR human trafficking.  I encourage everyone who reads this to support one or more of the local and national organizations who’s goal it is to end human trafficking.  I donate to NW SWOP, the Sex Worker Outreach Program whenever I can.  Their mission is to educate, protect, and support sex workers and former sex workers, while also trying to influence policies that would make sex work safer for women and men.

I know this won’t be the last time some well-meaning person will tell me that I don’t have to do this work, or that I’m hurting myself and my future.  It won’t be the last time I patiently explain the differences between victims and myself, and try to get them to understand that in my case I am as free as I can be.  I will have to prove that I am not being beaten, drugged, coerced, or otherwise forced into doing this.  Sometimes it’s not enough.  Sometimes they don’t even want to hear it, as it messes up their thinking.  But I will continue to write my stories, I will continue to love what I do, and I will continue to fight the good fight against ALL human trafficking.

4 thoughts on “I am not a victim.

  1. Excellent post as always, if only the many closed minds could be more open to people making choices that cross what they “know”. It seems that that is the problem, if the world does not match the image they have created, it causes confusion, better to lie to themselves than see any unsettling truths. I recall a quote from the book “Sex at Dawn” I paraphrase here but it was to the effect of “one does not have to be threatened with death to act within their nature” If the current “normal” (meeting one person, making a life long bond with that person of the opposite sex and never having sex with anyone else before or after making that bond) is “natural” why all the work to discredit and stamp out all other sexual expressions (that are more “normal” they some want to admit!)

  2. Mag – I can’t imagine how someone who has spent more than a moment chatting with you could honestly think you are a “victim”!

    “Pushing victimhood onto someone such as myself is not only ignorant, but it’s absolutely no help to anyone.” – spot on! Expanding the definition of “victim” to the point where everyone is a victim reduces our ability to see *real* problems and react to them accordingly, and serves no legitimate purpose. I’ve spent decades helping *actual* victims of violence and oppression, and there’s a world of difference between the horrors I’ve seen, and the honorable profession you’ve chosen to follow.

  3. Those people you have helped had a wonderful advocate in their corner, Basil. It is one of my goals with this blog to dispel the awful myth that every sex worker is a victim.

  4. You answered your own question! For millennia the concept of “other” has terrified those in power and those with the majority opinion. When something challenges a person’s world view, a quite natural reaction is disbelief, fear, and the desire to delete that person/idea. We’ve been trained from birth to hold certain things sacred and to hold certain “truths” self-evident. Sadly, “truths” like sex is some hyper-special magical thing, or that monogamy is the natural way of things have been proven false again and again, but the naysayers are louder and much better connected, so we get selling sex is immoral and damaging 100% of the time and desiring sex outside of a paired relationship is deviant and destructive.

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