Porn Week: Sex industry workers, the first in a tier of victims

Originally published April 10, 2006

Ok, on Friday I told everyone that I was going to get into the tiers of pornography and the harm it does, at every single level. 


Today, I wanted to start at the ‘bottom’ so to speak. I wanted to address the women who are actually the first level of harm. The ones who take the brunt of the pain foisted onto them. The women who are actually in
the sex industry. There are so many aspects to this that I doubt I will be able to get them all clearly and concisely but I’ll try nonetheless.

The sex industry destroys so many of the women in it, they are sacrificed with no thought, to the alter of the penis. Story after story comes out, and in each and every one of them we hear similar themes.

We have Linda Lovelace, who the porn-apologists still insist was lying about the porn industry, even though she passed numerous hours of lie detector tests. Clearly, for anyone willing to do the research, the sex industry is not what they want us to believe it is. As a woman who worked in the sex industry I can back up that most of the girls I worked with had stories of rape, abuse, and sexual assault that makes my gut clench to think about. For my part I can say that my own experiences mirror what radical feminists have been saying for years. The sex industry is damaging to women.

Now, there are always one or two people who want to step forward and tell us differently, who want us to believe that there may be one or two women out there who enjoy it. That may be true, certainly I will not claim to speak for every woman. What I WILL claim is that how many women does it take before someone gives a fuck?

The people that inevitably pop up to say that my experiences are wrong, are simultaneously saying that there MAY be a few women who enjoy the sex industry therefore all is well in Wonderland.

They’re wrong. Dead. Wrong.

All is not well in the Wonderland that people want to believe exists in the sex industry. Here are some gems, lifted from One Angry Girl.

In the early hours of July 11th, 1994, porn actress Shannon Wilsey, a.k.a Savannah, put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger.

Friends say she was upset about crashing her Corvette into a fence earlier that evening– she thought she’d broken her nose and would have to cancel an upcoming stripping appearance in New York. She was also worried about not getting paid for a recent strip show in Las Vegas. Then again, she was also high on heroin and cocaine when she shot herself, so it’s fair to say her judgment was a bit off.

Savannah was born in California, and was 23 when she killed herself.

Or this story

“I was having a hard time surviving, so when I met a guy on the streets who offered to pay me and feed me and buy me some clothes just for letting him take pictures of me, I really thought I had a good deal. After a few months I really thought everything was going to be great. I was sleeping with him, and I didn’t care that the cameras rolled and took pictures of us while we made love, because he was the first guy who really seemed to want me. After a while he told me that I was the best he’d ever seen, and he thought I could probably take two or three guys on whereas most girls couldn’t do that…I really didn’t want to…

“They began to film with several guys…Then came all the disgusting things; they would just put anything up me, stalks of celery…then it started with the coke bottles. It became a big deal, how I could get bigger bottles up me than anyone that had worked for them…By this time I had been with (name) for about 3 years.

He was still supporting me, but he was now beating me a lot, and was spending most of his time with other girls. I was getting completely broken and desperate. I started using drugs about 2 years into being with him, and now he is no longer asking me to do anything to make him proud. Now he would just withhold my drugs and tell me if I wanted them I’d have to do these things. I needed that dope just to get through the day. I was strung out pretty bad and I didn’t care what they put up me and I didn’t care how many of them took pictures of it. I really didn’t care about nothing…

The thing I guess that finally got me out of there is when he brought another woman he’d been with and told me I had to do it with her for the pictures…I don’t know why that was worse than bottles or celery or maybe it was just all of it combined but anyway, I had just had it. So I took off…I was just about 18.”

Or this story

“I was raped when I was nine,” she says. “You have to understand: My dad always called me his favorite son, y’know. He said he wanted to teach me to be tough. So he would drop me off in places like Sawtell, y’know, bad neighborhoods, and let me find my own way home.”

Andrea tells the story like she’s fine about it, like it is what it is.

“I wandered into some courtyard, a building with gates, y’know, and three – I think three – black guys basically passed me around. I know there were two more, Mexicans, standing watch by the gates. Then I think I blacked out. Anyway, I was more afraid of what my father would do to me when I got home. I had a broken nose and a bloody lip – I fought – so I knew he’d know something.”

Andrea says she’s not sure whether anything happened before that or whether her father ever sexually abused her. She describes a second rape, at fourteen: A guy pinned her against a Dumpster behind the cheesecake factory where Andrea worked. This time she spiked the guy in his eye with one of her high-heeled shoes then ran.

“That was an easy one for the cops, ‘cause they knew who they were looking for – someone holding his eye,” Andrea says, laughing…

Or Belladonna’s story

The director had told Michelle that Vidal liked her work, and when the pair saw each other they immediately fell into each other’s arms, kissing from one side of the house to the other.

“There’s nothing bad about you,” she told him admiringly as they prepared for the shoot. “You don’t know me very well” he replied with a grin.

But when the director finally got the pair to settle down to the business at hand – filming a sex scene – the tone changed. Without any prompting, Vidal got rough during the sex, slapping Michelle’s face violently from side to side, and choking her.

Afterward, she looked shaken, her face reddened and her eyes watery. But she insisted she was OK. “I look torn up – can you tell?,” she asked an ABCNEWS producer who was following her progress for Primetime . Laughing and wiping her eye, she turned away and said without conviction, “I took a beating today, and it was great.”

After the session, she was shattered. “I wasn’t ready for anal sex … It was painful. But I can hide it really well.” She had just turned 18, the legal age for participation in sexually explicit films.

Michelle went on more shoots over the next few months. Then her agent sent her on a job where she would have sex with male actors in prison outfits – 12 of them. Once again, she tried to back out, telling the director it was “sick,” but once again she was talked into it. She had sex – all kinds – with the 12 men. “It was really hard because I really felt like a piece of meat … in a lion’s cage, 12 lions … I had to do a lot of things I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do.” She was paid $4,000.

So, $4000.00 is apparently the going rate now to be able to allow every man on the face of the planet to degrade Belladonna until she’s naught but dust in a casket?

Or, this study.

In the second phase of her survey, Kelly found that:

100% of the women reported physical abuse in the club.

100% of the women reported sexual abuse in the club.

100% of the women reported verbal harassment in the club.

100% of the women reported being propositioned for prostitution in the club.

100% of women also witnessed these things happening to other strippers in the club

The women in the survey reported that customers have

1. spit on them

2. sprayed beer at them

3. flicked lit cigarettes at them

4. pelted them with ice, coins, trash, condoms, room keys, pornography, and golf balls

5. hit them with cans and bottles

6. pulled their hair

7. yanked them by the arm or ankle

8. ripped their costumes or tried to pull their costumes off.

9. bitten, licked, slapped, punched, and pinched them

All of which I had experienced when I was in the sex industry as well.

Even more these are the things they’re thinking about while they’re gyrating for you –

“I daydream about nothing in particular to pass the time of 12 minutes.”

“I’m thinking about how good I look in the mirrors and how good I feel in dance movements.”

“I tell myself to smile.”

“I think about getting high and that I am making money to get high.”

“I am giving these guys every chance to be decent, so that I don’t have to be afraid of them.”

“I am filled with disdain for the customers who do not tip, but sit and watch and direct you to do things for no money.”

“I think of how cheap these fuckers are, what bills I need to pay.”

And, when they’re doing that lapdance? Again, most of the things I have felt before myself when I was working in the sex industry –

Strippers engaged in private dances reported these reactions:

“I don’t want him to touch me, but I am afraid he will say something violent if I tell him ‘no’.”

“I was thinking about doing prostitution because that’s when customers would proposition me.”

“I could only think about how bad these guys smell and try to hold my breath.”

“I spent the dance hyper-vigilant to avoiding their hands, mouths, and crotches.”

“I was glad we were allowed to place towels on the guys’ laps, so it wasn’t so bad.”

“I don’t remember because it was so embarrassing.”

Still think those women just love what they’re doing?

read on

Prostitutes in one study had this to say –

89% had been molested or raped as children (2/3 of the molesters were fathers, stepfathers, or foster fathers)

38% reported that they had been used in porn as children

97% of them had been raped as adults

70% reported that sexual abuse affected their decision to prostitute.

44% percent had attempted suicide

24% of those who’d been raped said that their rapist had specifically mentioned his use of pornography during the crime

22% of those who’d been molested as children said that their molester used pornography during the crime or mentioned its use during the crime

Or, check out what Shelly Lubben has to say about her time in the sex industry.

And you know what’s scary? There’s more, thousands more stories from the sex industry. I took this teeny, tiny sample from OAG’s website. I have an entire list of websites that are bookmarked that have hundreds more stories attached to them all of them different, all of them unique and all of them saying the same thing. They were abused and harmed while in the sex industry.

Then, there are the stories of suicide, the stories of murder. Prostitutes, porn stars, so many women in the sex industry who are dying in the industry. At some point you’d think that we’d be collectively screaming ENOUGH! But we don’t do we? Or rather, the men don’t. Because, as I’ve asserted before, men believe they have a right to the bodies of these women.

By and large the women in the sex industry are destroyed shells. Existing but not living. Drinking, doing drugs, self-medicating the pain while they are used and beaten and raped and their stories, their lives go unnoticed.

The numbers don’t lie and they’re also not hidden. The statistics and studies that have been done have shown conclusively that women in these jobs are hurt, raped, abused, and harassed at every level.

For $4000.00 you can film forever the degradation of one woman by 12 ‘men’. You can film it and you can make money off of it, off of her degradation and pain, for as long as technology allows it. Long after she’s dead in her grave that $4000.00 will continue to bring you money. Long after she dies penniless in a car accident (Linda Lovelace) you will be able to make money from her rape.

The numbers are out there, the stories are out there, but we’re screaming them into a wind of denial by men. So many left-leaning men are quick to research a company before they purchase something from them, unless and until it comes to prostitutes and porn stars. And then, when the information is put before them, they close their eyes and insist it doesn’t exist. Yeah, male privilege is nice that way.

The abuses continue as the men eat it up, the more painful and degrading the better. The girls are used and destroyed, committing suicide, dying of overdoses, or melting into oblivion penniless and forever bearing the mark of the sex industry. And despite what they want you to believe it is NOT just “a rare occurrence”, it infects the industry. Yet, industry defenders are quick to point to the women who have ‘made it’. The Jenna Jameson’s of the world, and even they are not immune. Ms. Jameson herself has experienced rapes and abuses that would crush any man I’ve ever met. How exactly is she not a victim again?

When you masturbate to the image of a porn star it is more likely than not that you are benefiting from rape. When you hire a prostitute you are more likely than not benefiting from her rape. You are benefiting from the fear, the worry, the low self-esteem inflicted onto her from men just like you. If you believe yourself a ‘good man’ then how can you use these women? These broken women who have a long history of abuse, rape, molestation?

Why? Because they are not human. Very often even women direct their anger to the bottom tier of the sex industry. They grow angry with the ‘tarts’, the ‘whores’ the ‘bimbos’ and the rage falls squarely onto the shoulders of these young girls who are simply following through with the training that men have given them. These women are victims…no, strike that, these women are survivors that have more courage, willpower and desire to live than any man I have ever met.

They have the ability to weather the storms of rape, violence, and molestation and they continue to live…broken as they are. They defy the violence that has been wreaked upon them and exist despite it, and perhaps that is yet another reason that men hate them. They exist despite how you have tried to break them.

Is it a stereotype? Sure it is, but you know what? When the numbers back you up it ceases to be a stereotype and becomes fact. Stereotypes are unfounded, malicious rumors that exist merely to create fear and loathing of a person. FACT however, is when the statistics and the studies and the numbers stand in your favor. The fact of the matter is that sex-industry workers are in big trouble. The facts are that the majority of them suffer through abuse regularly. The fact is that most of them have been raped, abused and more. Those are FACTS.

The fact is that if you give the sex industry your money you are fueling the drive for degradation, for harder and more damaging abuses. You are fueling a culture filled to teeming with broken women and the results are so much more far reaching than you ever thought. (A fact I will get into in later posts) You don’t want to benefit from the rape of women? Then stop doing it. Stop giving your money and intimate support to an industry that benefits from the rape of women.

You don’t like the mafia? You don’t like benefiting from the pain of women? Then stop it. Stop the excuses, stop the dumb act, stop the rhetoric. The stories are out there, they’re solid, and they’re real. The numbers are out there and they are equally real. The truth is, that if you don’t like an industry that destroys women then you have the power to make it stop, just stop putting your dick over the needs of women. It’s simple.

They’re hurting, and if you boycott Wal-Mart and Nike and other businesses but you don’t boycott and fight against the sex industry then you are a hypocrite of the worst order.

The sex industry is promoting and causing rape, so much work and study has been done on the topic that Donnerstein states that the “Correlation between porn and rape is greater than the correlation between smoking and lung cancer”.

These women are just as deserving of your sympathy as the workers at Wal-Mart. They’re just as deserving of being fought for as any child in China but unlike these other causes there are very few of us standing in support of them. The rank and file of people standing shoulder to shoulder to fight the oppressor that is the sex industry is abysmally small.

If you hate war, then wake up and see the war that is being waged daily on women. If you hate men abusing women then stop taking your part in the abuse. These are human beings and all of the stories above are coupled with more stories, thousands of them. More than I could ever quote, a blog could never contain all the stories, all the numbers all the statistics. I could write and not stop writing for years if I tried to chronicle the stories that come out of the sex industry. Every day there are MORE stories, more tales, more destruction.

Do the research, see what there is to see. The women in the sex industry are on the front lines of the sexism that flows like water through our society. You don’t think I know what men think? You’re only fooling yourself. As a woman who interacts with men sexually I know EXACTLY what most of them are thinking. The fact is that the most violent pornography is the stuff that sells the best.

Even pro-pornography sites recognize this. As I was hunting for more information this morning I stumbled upon a porn site (WARNING- DO NOT click on that link. It is a link to a porn site). I wasn’t going to mention it but the irony went too deep. It’s an article that discusses the degradation inherent in pornography; it accepts it and acknowledges it. It’s a good article, that recognizes the harm in porn and while their ideas clearly do not mesh with my own, even the pro-porn crowd admits that not only is degradation rampant but it is also the highest selling stuff on the market.

That link and the story therein, is a good read if you can stomach the porn site and the links to even harsher sites. The point is that even ardently pro-porn people still contend that abuse is there and that men LIKE to see it, that they crave it, that they want more of it.

If you don’t support abuse then stop supporting it. Women are being made to do the most disgusting things and if you, as a human being, think that taking someone who is already broken and breaking her further is wrong then stand up and try to stop it. But don’t, for all that is holy, contend that it’s not happening.

How many women must be sacrificed before we get that they are the victims? How many stories need to come out before we finally fix this broken record? How many? What’s your number? Before you start to care? How many Belladonna’s have to be hurt before you believe the statistics? Before you STOP yourself from participating in the gang-degradation that you have come to love?

~BB

P.S.
For more stories, numbers, studies and examples see the sidebar. Diana Russell is a great source, as is Nikki Craft and Hustling the Left. Browse through the stuff on the sidebar and you’ll get a peek at some of the research I’ve been keeping for years.

Published in: on August 4, 2008 at 8:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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