Like everyone else, I’ve been deeply shocked and upset by the recent murders of the prostitutes in Ipswich. (No, I don’t want to get into an argument on the rights and wrongs of identifying these victims as ‘prostitutes’ rather than merely ‘women’.) It sometimes frightens me to live in a society where you (a) find yourself in so desperate a situation that you feel forced to sell your body and (b) come face to face with your murderer, likely as a result of this. But I find this sort of thinking very unhelpful.
So, what came first: the abuse of drugs or alcohol and then selling sex to pay for the addiction? Or prostitution followed by a taste for drink and drugs to erase the boredom, degradation, and memories of the (sometimes violent) punters? The answer is neither. What initially drives many women onto the streets is a series of events that build on the bedrock of belief received in childhood that they are unloved or unlovable; sometimes both.
Ironically, then, a magnet that will pull them back to the “game” is the pursuit of love. Often, it comes in the false promise of affection that pimps often give (making easy money in the process). Once the promise is broken, a young woman’s own lack of a sense of self-worth keeps her selling her body.
What? Huh? What is it with people like wotshernamehere and their need to over-intellectualise everything? I like to theorise about things as much as the next person (particularly down the pub of an evening), but there comes a time when we have to think more realistically. None of the women I’ve come into contact with in my world (friends and ‘subjects’ alike) have found their way into prostitution because they were sometimes neglected by their parents and family; all of the prostitutes I’ve come into contact with (just subjects in this case) have suffered from severe drug problems. The fact that they may have had an unhappy childhood is a coincidental and secondary issue; and trying to argue that the focus should be placed on that instead of the urgent problems, such as drug addiction, in these women’s lives means that we as a society will take even longer to offer them the protection and help they need.
I never realised how strongly I feel about this issue until recently.
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I’m off to Bristol now. I could do with a few more hours drinking coffee and playing on the Interbets, truthfully.