Published on: Oct 17, 2014 @ 11:41
In case anyone is interested, and I don’t honestly see why anyone should be.
I was burned out a long way past breaking point when I saw that the Northern Ireland Research was finally out. I break down and I bounce back, everybody knows that, but not the effort of will it costs me, and certainly not the fact that each time I have found a way to bounce back I have had to sacrifice a little more of the energy I need to take care of my own life to do it, until, honestly, there was hardly anything left to function with 24 hours ago. When that happens I am paralysed and cannot get it together to do the simplest, most basic things.
If I bounce back this time there will be nothing left at all, not even enough to go on swallowing the abuse routinely dished out to me, and that is pointless, with an ever present risk of losing it and taking down everything I have been fighting for on personal grounds that I had to commit to disregarding to do anything at all.
I know perfectly well how many people would rather I had not bothered, or would even drop dead and not all those people are part of the officially designated enemy, but you might be unpleasantly surprised if you ever realized how much progress in this issue would have been cancelled if I were erased from the picture. What you see online is the tip of the iceberg. Behind the scenes I have been pulling every trick in the book and a few more I had to google to keep “Turn Off the Red Light” and affiliated abolitionists on the run, and make sure there was always somebody, somewhere challenging their lies and shouting them down.
You might also be surprised to know that I endorsed the Northern Ireland Report and recognised it as my passport out without reading beyond the intro. I didn’t have to. I met the young woman who did the donkey work and I am convinced that she only wanted to establish and address the facts, objectively and that ultimately, whoever tried to influence that, she is nobody’s fool.
I have only ever been interested in addressing the facts, honestly and objectively too and I cannot imagine that we would come up with widely different answers.
I have had a chance to read the most relevant parts of the report now and confirm that I was right to believe this.
If the report doesn’t do the trick it will prove that the only agenda on the table is the cold blooded persecution of sex workers as a propaganda tool that can be deployed for a wide range of loosely of associated purposes.
I would not rule that out, and if that is the case the only way to stop it would be subtle but serious threats and a huge amount of money to bribe people with.
The past two or three years have been a bloody nightmare for me. I am a real recluse, I have to be just to get through the day, you lot, you know, the actual *good guys*, are a completely bewildering alien species to me. I can’t read you on any personal level. I don’t know how to interact with you even enough to avoid pissing you off…or to know the difference between when I have and haven’t, let alone how to assert anything about me around all that. The stress of trying to work round that is phenomenal, and, ultimately, pointless, as the better I know someone, the harder and more complex it gets.
I can’t even tell if you like me. I just stick to all the sane, realistic rules and be whoever you want me to be for as long as it takes to make my excuses and leave. There is nothing else I can do that will not end badly. As I have learned the hard way.
What happens with groups of even perfectly ok, nice people around me is really scary, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop it except stay away from people, even when it is something of great personal interest, where I would love to stay around and learn things instead. That is my life.
(…and there is a whole new propaganda campaign for “Turn Off the Red Light”…we need to “end the demand” so people like me cannot survive anyway. God knows it makes as much sense and compassion as any of the other rubbish they have come out with to justify themselves at the expense of others. )
Being autistic and “intellectually gifted” (which one of my fellow sufferers, aged 15, defined very accurately as “having an intellectual disability on the other end of the scale”. It doesn’t mean I am better than you, or capable of more than you, just that my abilities and limits are often in very different areas, and I creep you out besides.) wasn’t a great start…
…the family from hell compounded that. I remember seeing the movie “Gaslight” when I was about 10 and wondering when they were going to get past the ordinary, mundane stuff and get to the action when “The End” appeared…and that isn’t even rhetoric. It literally went through my head just that way.
Of course, it does mean that I have grown up to be someone so inured to deceit, manipulation and abuse that I tend to see through it like plate glass, whether I want to or not. I never used to trust that, but over the years I have learned that my first instinct is not only likely to be ballpark right, it tends to be uncannily accurate.
Bluntly, I probably understand the bad guys and how they tick better than anyone else you will ever come across, and that is all I needed to understand to max out any impact I could have on this.
This was my first thought in 2011:
Two very different campaigns:
Turn off the Red Light
A group of people who get an awful lot of money from the public purse to sit around and decide among themselves who other people, trapped in prostitution, are and what they most need.
They would like you to support legislation that would prevent people in prostitution from being able to make any money to survive with.
Turn off the Blue Light
An equally worthy group of people who get an awful lot of money from other people who are Sex Workers for controlling whether they can, or cannot, get any sex work to be able to make money to survive with in the first place.
They would like you to fight any legislation that would interfere with their profits.
What these two organisations have in common (apart from eerily similar names and website designs) is that they claim to have only the best interests of people who sell sex for a living at heart.
It is also my final thought, now, before I avert my eyes for good so that I have room in my head for something other than the anger, pain, frustration and bitterness of looking at any aspect of this. Whichever way it goes now there is nothing I want to see. (The things that give me joy happen in the privacy of people’s homes and lives, not in the public arena, and as those people are total strangers, I will never be able to see them.)
Nothing unusual about it. whatever the rights, or wrong of any situation the people who seize control of both sides are always remarkably similar, with remarkably similar moral bias and motivation. Power and politics happen in a shark tank, where the law of the jungle rules and the only way to survive is to make like a shark. Very few people inside can limit and compartmentalize that to the extent of being anything better than a shark underneath. That places both sides firmly in my only area of social expertise – ruthless predators.
You lot, the good guys, are far too busy living full lives and doing healthy things like nurturing yourselves and your families to get involved at all, even if you have the stomach and there was no sitgma, but this is sex work, to speak out at all is to brand yourself, and your children, for life.
I am not a shark, but I am a bloody good actress, with great shark taming skills, in an emergency. It takes too much out of me, mentally, emotionally and morally for every day use, and besides, what the feck would be the point? Right wrong and not hurting the good guys (that’s you) much less the vulnerable guys (I hope that isn’t you, but you never know) is something I am apt to get too OCD about for everyday life. At least in the shark tank there is very little risk of that, however disgusting it might be otherwise.
That is why I am always ready to lay down my life if I have to, for full decriminalization, full self determination and full personal autonomy…because it offers the maximum opportunity to stand up as a fully fledged independent adult in adversity without placing your life at the mercy of pious predators.
For once in my life there was no way I could walk away and hide under the bedclothes until it was all forgotten.
Years ago in a vile Dickensian place called Enderleigh I made a vow in my heart to the ordinary, decent girls who were incarcerated there with nothing but relentless abuse and injustice from the very services that affected to protect and care for them. (It would be decades before I was to learn that, vile as it was, Enderleigh was a 5 star hotel compared to the concurrent Irish Laundries and industrial schools.) I vowed to bring them into the light, to at least a little safety and justice, whatever it took.
I got pregnant at 16 and could not keep that vow, because it meant challenging Social Services, who, then, as now, were not above using your own child as a weapon of control given half a chance, and the simple act of being 16 gave them more than half a chance.
My commitment was not limited by age any more than it was limited by social class. The fight for justice against institutional abuse is too big and, in most places, far too corrupt and convoluted for me to involve myself in to any good effect.
The fight against abolitionism is simple and clear cut, and a perfect fit for my personal commitment.
I knew that the coalition of Ruhama and the Women’s Health Project from which “Turn Off the Red Light” sprang were abusive, exploitative, ruthless and gearing up to sell out the same women who’s trust they were courting almost on first sight. The part that discovery played in destroying every last chance of me, personally, learning to trust other people in any way, or heal enough to have some kind of life cannot be overstated. I have long standing PTSD (with all the trimmings that has made dealing with them through this the next best thing to impossible for me) just from dealing with them in the 90s. But I was 100% right about them. The only thing I was wrong about was how ruthless they could be and how low they were prepared to stoop.
If you read the research from Northern Ireland, you will see that every word “Turn Off the Red Light” promote at the state’s expense is a lie about sex work, but a lot of the false claims they make about fictional traffickers and pimps are more a projection of their own attitudes and behaviours than imagination.
They really are that disgusting, and so are the politicians who have not left it at rubberstamping them and have gone so far as to lie in support of them.
The hardest part is dealing with the good and genuine people who have been told so many lies about me, and conditioned to default to treating me with contempt. I cannot do the social things that contest that, nor dedicate my days to self defence. I can tell you the bad things I know about the opposition as a counter…but if I tell you the bad things I know about the allies it will defeat the whole object. So I have to let it go. Truth is that I wasn’t going to be hanging around, staying in touch when it is all over anyway, so I have to fix my focus and sense of proportion on that.
From that you could argue that I only use people and I suppose that is true, but at least I use them for others and ruthlessly refuse to use them for anything that will benefit me.
Sex work is not about sex…adult sex is nobody’s business but the participants. It is about survival, income, families, paying bills and the last honest parachute out of social services that have yet to manage to be extensively, let alone universally, fit for purpose.
For me it has been like wading through ordure, day in day out, in an environment where the only possible allies were as sick twisted and abusive as the enemy. It was a horrible experience 24/7. I don’t know how I stuck it out, but I cannot stick another minute, with nothing more to be achieved.
The wasn’t much in life for me before this, but dealing with seemingly endless ruthlessness and corruption, day after day, has changed me, in ways that cannot be repaired. I do not even know where I can find a will to live knowing that those holding the reins of my environment are really this dangerous and despicable, and most of those who appear to oppose them are just as bad, and striving to become the new dominant paradigm in their place, in different terms that are equally ruthless and morally bankrupt.
It leaves me in a deep despair that, with no way to ever have a real life or tribe of my own as a buffer there is unlikely to be a way out of.
I knew this would be the only end result for me. What I need you to know is that the ordinary, decent people I fought for are worth that and more.
I didn’t have a cat’s chance in hell since the day I was born anyway.
At least now I have some idea of what I might have been capable of given a chance. I was never sure before. Whichever way it goes, I have no taste for sticking around and watching the sharks divvy up the spoils between them, as they always do.
Last time Ruhama and the roots of “Turn Off the Red Light” were supposed to be on the same side as me fighting criminalization in 1993…take a WILD GUESS who the next enemy will probably be now. :o)
Try to stay with the good guys…you know you want to.