…because sitting here watching the morning light melt the spring snow I realize I have never been given the right to life, or any of the same human rights as the other people around me.
- Because I was a sex worker
- Because I was born Autistic
- But most of all because I am the whole alien combination of concepts that add up to “me”.
Yesterday I survived a terrifying crash against all odds. Let me tell you exactly what I was thinking in the passenger seat before the car swerved and rolled:
Last week I sent this email out to all the sex worker rights orgs that are supposed to be on the same side as me. I followed it up later in the week with this email to all 5 TDs in this local constituency. I did so for a reason. Because between Stormont and Turn Off the Red Light my life and everything that matters to me has been deliberately placed in very real danger and jeopardy for many months. There is no ambiguity about this, if I could afford a solicitor I would be entitled to an injunction to protect me and some very serious compensation, but I cannot afford a solicitor even to seek the protection the law affords me as a right, let alone compensation. This leaves my life in danger, but however loud I scream those who are paid to protect my rights just ignore me, and I have nowhere else to turn.
I was thinking, on the road that I needed to make sure the details of these ignored communications were online before something happened to me, or the constant stress and distress finally drove me to enough of a breakdown to suicide (it has driven me to several breakdowns that were not enough already). I was thinking that I needed to find a way to draw these people’s attention to how bad they would look when that happened to have the slightest chance of avoiding it. I am autistic, even I will not get much warning of that final breaking point, let alone anyone else. It’s not such a big deal for me now. I am closer to 60 than 50. But it would damage one or two of their precious careers if the negligence came out as they were wringing their hands and whining about how much they could have helped if only I had come to them…
…and the car swerved into the road, overcorrected to avoid a collision, hit the bank and the world went haywire…
There is a little more to this. Everybody talks about PTSD.
I WILL SHOW YOU PTSD, and I am throwing back whiskey in the morning just to get this out.
In late 1992/early 1993 organized crime was starting to move in, just as they are now, to take advantage of the recriminalisation of street work (the only independent sex work at the time). I was a primary target because I had been made a remarkably generous offer and given it the finger.
I knew it wouldn’t be possible for me to work much longer. The attacks from organized crime were escalating, and I would never be able to function under the thumb of the gardai or the law. I estimated I had no realistic way to stay alive beyond July 1993. I knew someone who had the power to protect me, but that power was not given to him for personal use.
The last time I saw him was about February 8 1993. I had to make sure he didn’t realize what was wrong, challenging, he saw through me like plate glass on a regular basis. I didn’t want him to even realize I had seen it coming and he had missed that. I had to make sure he would not come back again until it was over too, because I couldn’t be that brave twice. (A clone of this man, who may very well be some kind of second cousin and is most definitely a member of a political party with much to gain from “end demand” legislation, took a serious shot at turning my emotions inside out in 2013 when there was a serious risk of me pleading for some sanity successfully with some party members. I leave the impact of that to your imagination.).
He wasn’t the only person I had to deal with. Somebody helped me out with a great deal of money I would never be able to repay. I had a plan he did not know about. I took out a life insurance policy that named him as beneficiary. All I had to do was make it look like an accident. There were a few possibilities, but the best option was to swing the wheel hard right at the top of the Poulaphuca Dam which I drove over every night to get home. The drop is more than 100feet to the right, as long as the car (a 1983 BMW 320i – a very powerful, heavy car) hit the bridge (aging and weakened in 1993, repaired and reinforced a few years later after being hit by a truck) hard enough to breach the walls it was a done deal. I just had to find the courage to do it when the time came.
So every night I drove over the bridge I would try to brace and anaesthetize myself. It wasn’t hard to find motivation. Organized crime wanted me dead, and had turned as many of the women as they could against me too, and with their lives on the line, as tribes do, they had turned savage. The state certainly did not want to give me a realistic way to stay alive or a right to life.
It didn’t turn out that way – until 3pm March 1 2015 when, in an echo of the same corrupt and hostile world the same person I had been trying to repay was driving…
…imagine everything that rushed through my head as that car flipped over too fast to dent the roof.
THAT is PTSD
I was sure I was going to die and because of the manner of it all those hypocritical, self serving bastards were rid of me and off the hook in one.
This isn’t a cute allegory, it is a literal account of what was going through my head. Not so unlikely when you realize this is hardly ever far from my thoughts, how could it be? I do not have family or community supports, so whatever the crisis, whenever it occurs, these same people who either deliberately placed my life in danger, or ignore my right to survive it, are the only place I have to turn*. That proven reality stalks every minute of my life now. I could not find words to tell you how hurt and angry it makes me if I wanted to. It also makes me jealous…of all the other people who get the rights I am denied…
…the rights I have always been denied…
My life has always been left in a terrifying freefall however loudly I screamed. That is why:
- I cannot earn a living in any normal way
- I cannot bear to be around people
- I cannot develop or sustain a significant relationship
- I cannot have friends and aquaintances in any normal way
- I had to sell sex for 6 years just to stay alive
- I broke my physical health THREE TIMES trying to do other things I could handle to stay alive
- I live every moment of my life terrified of the next crisis I will be left alone to negotiate as I have all the crises before
I have been surviving and existing against all odds for years, pointlessly and without hope. I don’t think I have ever, truly, been allowed to be alive.
You have to be someone else, not me, to have a right to life, let alone any help or sympathy.**
When the day comes that I bow to that ongoing concensus, this may still be online, and if it is, I hope it raises some very awkward questions indeed.
*I was planning on sending an email out to all the Autism Orgs that claim funding for supposedly “protecting” the rights of people like me. But I already know how bad they are. One of them already took a hard shot at endangering me of their own within the past few years based on exploiting the fact that I could not afford the same legal representation to protect myself that they could to attack me, because I challenged them on human rights. I am too angry and distressed already without a reminder of that and the PTSD to go with it too.
**This ( Moral Panic: A Licence to Abuse ) does not describe any form of help or sympathy, just several kinds of exploitation and abuse.