Search

Inside Outside

the sex industry in Scotland

Inside Outside – we have lift off!

The project has started….  Different services from the Encompass Network (https://www.facebook.com/Encompass-Network-1065509953531923/)  have been in touch saying that they have spoken with women and some are keen to take part in the Inside Outside project.  A lot of meetings and alot of coffee being consumed  up to now ( and no doubt much more to come!)

The next stage is to line up the 1-1 interviews with the women as well as planning the workshops. It will be a busy few months ahead but so exciting to meet the women, hear their stories and support them in telling these through photos.

Advertisements
Featured post

Outside Inside

We love it when people get inspired by the women’s words and works.  It is fascinating at times to see what it can lead to.

A woman who supported #Insideoutsideayrshire write this piece and agreed we could share it.

 

What do you see?

When you look what do you see?

Do you see me or what I’d like to be?

My life has taken a darker turn.

When men use me, my body burns.

 

All I wanted was a better life

A house, children and to become a wife.

Now my soul has been ripped to shreds.

Let me live the life I was born to live.

Help me! Set me free!

 

L.C.  April 2018

 

 

 

 

 

Now my soul

 

 

She wasn’t yours to take

I’ve yet to meet a parent who wishes their children have a worse childhood or less chances in life than they had.  Most people wish for more, for bigger and better for their kids.

I look at my kids and hope that they have all the opportunities to travel, to learn and connect with others.  I want to be there for their good times.  I want to be there for their bad. I remember someone telling me that my job as a parent was to prepare them for life when I wasn’t around.   They will make mistakes along the way, fall down but I hope there are caring others to help pick them up and put them back on their paths.

I was privileged very recently to meet with a mother of one of the women in Inside Outside.   I had heard about her and was really looking forward to seeing her.  She knew her daughter had been inside the sex industry but she didn’t know all that happened.  She came to the exhibition to support her daughter and see what she had been involved in though Inside Outside. We got to spend some time together with tears, some hugs and some laughs too.

It was intense.  It was emotional.  Of course it was. How could it be anything other.

She wrote this poem afterwards.  It is brave, honest and heartfelt.  This is a mum speaking through her pain.

20180421_144508.jpg

(Wendy’s mum’s mask – April 2018)

 

If I met you

Hello sir how may I help?

No I’m not from around here, it’s just for today

I was at an exhibition not too far away

It was full of little faces some colourful some white

In fact you may yourself have exhibited by day or by night

 

Oh no sir u don’t have to pay me

what happens here is free

For I have waited a long time for u to meet me

 

Can I tell you of a little girl perhaps you think you know

Although it may hav been some time ago

when she was really low

 

Oh sorry am I talking perhaps a tad too much

I’m just not feeling vulnerable or wanting you enough

I do have butter fingers, I’m sorry was that sore

And that was way too clumsy ramming your head against the door

 

Aw look at you, you’re ten feet tall squirming on that seat

But your just a little pervert, a tiny little creep

 

That little girl was Wendy of whom I’m really proud

You wouldn’t know her now sir she stands out from the crowd

 

Oops I think I’ve cut you

shall I retrieve it from the floor?

Although I don’t think that you’ll be needing it, not now not anymore

 

Because I’m her FUCKING MOTHER AND YOU’RE A  FUCKING SNAKE

That’s MY LITTLE GIRL YOU BASTARD

SHE WASNT YOURS TO TAKE!

 

So please do remember me as I take leave from your car

Recommend me to your friends I won’t be very FAR !

 

Wendy’s mum

 

 

 

 

Gagged

gagged by wendy(“Gagged”   photo by Wendy 2017)

“People are supposed to be able to deal with this kinda thing but they’re shuttin’ down and tryin’ to get you t’discuss other stuff that has no significance whatsoever to where you are. They don’t wanna know it. You see the look in their eyes, it just makes ‘em so uncomfortable, you can see that they think it’s dirty, it’s appalling, it’s disgraceful. It’s filthy and it’s wrong. That silencing is like a gag. ”    Quote from Wendy

Well…. hello there.

It’s been a while since we last blogged.   Ther are about 12 unfinished draft posts to be finished and shared reflecting on all the exhibitions #insideoutsideborders, #insideoutsideperth #insideoutsideedinburgh #insideoutsidebelfast, #insideoutsidelondon #insideoutsidepathfoot and of course #insideoutsideayrshire.

 

It has been a roller coaster of a journey over the autumn and winter with us travelling all over Scotland with either longer runs of the exhibition or pop up days.  A pretty incredible rollercoaster it has been and we haven’t had the time to catch our breath and keep in touch with you all.  Hopefully we can have the time to do that over the next few weeks.

We wanted to do Inside Outside to see if women who hadn’t had the chance to tell their stories wanted to do exactly that and if people would engage and listen.  A resounding yes to both questions.    The funding ran out a long time ago and we have been scraping together the funds to keep it going and develop it.

Every where we have went – new additions have been added and so many people have stepped forward to support the women and help us develop.  We cannot thank them all here but each one’s efforts are appreciated.  Local people adding their own skills and ideas to make each exhibition different and unique.

#insideoutsideayrshire has been a pretty special exhibition.  It is in Wendy’s home town and so we wanted to make sure she was proud of what we brought and shared.  A full post is needed for that but she is happy, very happy and so we are happy.  Many people congratulate us on what we have done but this is and always will be the women’s project.  They are the heart behind it and it is theirs.

We know there have been criticisms of what we have done – why are ‘sex workers’ not included, why did we not talk to women who already speak out, why did we not speak to women who love what they do in the sex industry,  why did we not link with lobbying groups to allow their women to be included.   There are long answers to each of those points and too long for this post.  The short answer is that we wanted to speak to women who didn’t have huge twitter followings, who don’t keep blogs about being involved, who don’t do media interviews, who aren’t activists, who aren’t linked with lobbying organisations.  Women who haven’t had a platform and who felt ignored were our priority.  We make no apology for that.

We stress to people that we did not cherry pick women and select only those with difficult stories.  We didn’t know what women were bringing to the table and digital recorder,  we didn’t censor them or only allow those who had negative experiences.  We asked women what were the good points , to tell us about the good punters, to tell us what they gained being inside the sex industry.   They chose what to tell and what to share.  If they struggled to think of the good, of the benefits and the positives, then that was because that was their experiences.  To suggest otherwise is to silence them.

One person took the women’s photos out of context and shared them on twitter without giving any background and worst of all with no credit to the women who actually took the images.  We often wonder why they did this and what they hoped to achieve?   Is it really so threatening to allow the women from insideoutside some space and time and have their voices, opinions and experiences heard?  This post most likely will also be taken out of context and shared.

I even had one person tell me that these women aren’t educated enough and haven’t read the academic research so really, what would they know.  I wont type how I felt and what I thought when I heard that.  Were they really suggesting that only those who are University  educated women are allowed a voice?  That only research immersed women should be allowed an opinion?  Surely they didn’t mean to be so judgemental and excluding?

I will end this post with something directly from Wendy  on what this project has been meant for her.

“Getting my story out has freed me in ways…..  you know it’s like somebody just cut the strings and my wings – now they can go….”

freedom

(photo by Wendy 2017)

 

A student view…

pathfootpathfoot3pathfoot4We currently have a number of students linked with us, at different stages of work and on different areas of the project.

Laurie has linked with us through her course and wrote this blog for the Art Collection Stirling blog.

We are really happy to share it here too.

Inside Outside exhibition

 

The thoughts, feelings and experiences of a lot of women in the sex industry are seldom heard in the media and academia. Through the Inside Outside exhibition, the voices and personal experiences of women involved in the sex industry in Scotland were amplified through chosen words and images by individual women themselves. These women had not been given that chance before and had remained as hidden voices. They are Natasha, Natalia, Levi, Katie, Wendy, Sarah Jane and Joanne.
Wendy one of the participants states :
“People are supposed to be able to deal with this kinda thing but they’re shuttin’ down and tryin’ to get you t’discuss other stuff that has no significance whatsoever to where you are. They don’t wanna know it. You see the look in their eyes, it just makes ‘em so uncomfortable, you can see that they think it’s dirty, it’s appalling, it’s disgraceful. It’s filthy and it’s wrong. That silencing is like a gag.”
Inside Outside was co-ordinated by Linda Thompson from the Women’s Support Project on behalf of and the Encompass Network . Inside Outside aims to challenge and question the misconceptions about the lives and experiences of women involved in the sex industry and what it means for them.  The project has been helpful in shattering the preconceived assumptions of what it means to be involved and each story and narrative is different and unique to each woman, giving them a safe space to share . The project has been helpful in shattering the preconceived assumptions of what it means to be involved and each story and narrative is different and unique to each woman, giving them a safe place to share the realities of their lives before, after and during their time in the industry
The women describe their paths which lead to their experiences of the sex industry and for some, the challenges they face(d) when they decide(d) to exit. Their stories do not only discuss their experiences of the sex industry but also their hopes, dreams, family life and career aspirations. http://www.insideoutsidescotland.info/

One participant describes:
“I think the idea of getting women to tell their stories in such an individual way and using our minds to create something so beautiful that is going to reach so many people is amazing and shows why we shouldn’t be ashamed of our stories – they are our stories. They have made us who we are.”

The exhibition of the women’s stories and photos has travelled across Scotland. It has helped educate and challenge Scottish society’s assumptions of the sex industry and the women involved. Additionally, the manner in which the project has been presented is an attribute to the empowering nature of the project as a whole, as well as the exhibition. As the exhibition was created by these women it is theirs. It is their voices, their ideas and their hearts. Each element of Inside Outside was produced for and by women, driven by women. Inside Outside opens up the conversation for the women involved in the sex industry to empower themselves and as a space they can discuss their involvement and experiences in a productive positive way with complete control over their voice.
The exhibition is on display at the University of Stirling, in the Pathfoot Building until the end of May 2018.

L. Furie

 

https://artcollectionstirling.wordpress.com/2018/03/21/inside-outside-exhibition/

 

 

Freedom to create

Some of the masks decorated by women in Corton Vale as part of the Inside Outside: Freedom to Create partnership project.

 

Happy holidays

We are finishing up for the festive season today to recharge batteries and get ready for what looks like another busy and productive year.

Happy holidays to Natasha, Natalia, Wendy, Katy, Katie, Cassy, Stephanie, Sarah Jane, Levi and Joanne.   You have given so much to so many people this year and we hope you have a peaceful holiday.

Many thanks to everyone who has supported us in any way throughout the year – there are far to many to mention but it has all been appreciated and we hope to continue working alongside each other in 2018.

 

Have a great holiday!

 

 

What’s inside?

20171213_154200

We are just back from a trip down to Ayr.    I have a soft spot for there and it is always bypassed on my journey to and fro my homeland.   I love the little lanes and wynds, corners to be explored, unexpected delights in hidden places.

Over the summer, we had #insideoutsideayr all planned.  We had found what I thought was to be the perfect venue. Sketches, floor plans, sample layouts – we had it all done but  sadly due to circumstances beyond us, that venue was no longer a possibility and it was back to the drawing board.

Hopefully today we have agreed a new venue.   I am so excited by the potential of it and the planning team’s brain’s were fizzing with ideas.   Holly, a student who may be supporting the work down there kept looking at each other wide eyed as similar thoughts struck us round the same time.   Laura, Joan and Geraldine all were chipping in to say – “we could do this…  we could try that.. hows about……………………………………………”

This is one of th emany things I love about this project – how it has the room and scope to evolve and change, to adapt and grow as new people and areas come on board.

I cant say too much at this stage about plans and venue but I know#insideoutsideayr will not be like any other show we have had so far.  I’m excited.  Are you?

Justice and love

heart

A lovely blog from J who recently came to see the exhibition.

 

“I went to the Inside Outside exhibition recently. I am a professional woman, I work with many vulnerable people, and I knew I would spend the evening with like minded folk , who devote their working lives to trying to make ‘things better’.

Finding the words to describe my reaction and feelings to the exhibition is not simple. It may be expressed in a clunky, awkward fashion, but here goes.

I came away with a feeling of anger and conflict. I could not stop thinking of all the complexities of sex and life, and how we, as a society, try to separate sex work, from sex, from love, from crime.

The initial feeling engendered within me was one of love. As I let the words and images settle into me, love became mixed with justice.

Justice and love- what lofty feelings- but hard on the heels came anger. Of course, where there is darkness, there must be light and where there is light , there must be darkness. Love and justice are bedfellows with hate and injustice. That is the order of the Universe. ( Love should win by the way, even if only by a whisker).

We are all sexual beings, we wish for the intimacy and creativity of erotic and mystical love. We search for deep companionship and connections, we want to see the best version of ourselves reflected by desire in a lover’s eyes. We can find pleasure in this embrace, affirmation of life in sexual intimacy and release. We can heal here, and invigorate our souls.

The experience of the women who opened their hearts to talk for Inside Outside have not had that experience in prostitution. I cringe even writing the word. To me, it no longer has an ability or currency to describe the transaction of selling sex to a buyer of sex. That is what I thought part of prostitution was.  Because, in the midst of this transaction has entered  the interloper of exploitation, of commercialism, objectification. The unexpected by product being a loss of self, unimagined, un-named loss. No lexicology to convey it.

As hearts are long hardened within the exploiters and customers, cruelty winds around the sum of their parts to bind their shattered persons in venal and venomous behaviour. They lose everything, they cannot see humans anymore. They are blinded.

I felt angry for my newly discovered friends. I am a helper, I am a runner towards ‘trouble’. But this shit is really scary. I wanted them back, away from all of this. Back to their children, back to their mums. Back to where the light is , away from the darkness . I want them to laugh, and enjoy and be free and self directed. I want them to know that life breaks everybody really , but many of us are stronger at the broken places. I want them to be ‘kintsokuroi’- the broken pottery of Japanese tradition that is mended with gold. Thus the light can come in, and can be reflected, and its beauty is obvious and to be cherished. I know- back to fine and lofty. I really can’t help it.

It will take me a while to assimilate my feelings towards the men who ignore, perpetuate, use, accept, and judge the industry of commercial sex and the inevitable human  exploitation that follows as  something that society needs in order to protect women from rape, or because a red blooded male has an entitlement to sexual exploration. But I will. And it will translate into something of action and mending.

Thank you Inside Outside.

Please keep telling your story.”

 

 

 

Joanne’s story

In honour of Joanne and her story being nominated for a Write to End Violence award – here it is for your perusal.

I am in my early thirties.

I was inside the sex industry in Scotland for around seven years.

I first became involved in street prostitution when I was 18.

I exited the sex industry over two and a half years ago and I have no plans to return.

I am really enjoying spending more time with my daughter, I have a new home and enjoy spending time chilling there.

I love reading and researching new information and I am now at college. When I finish I want to have a career supporting other women affected by the sex industry.


When I was wee I wanted to be a vet but I think loads of wee girls want to be that! I loved animals. I still do.

When I was about 18 my heroin habit was really bad, and by that time I had been kicked out the house.

My family weren’t talking to me, so I’d actually been going into the city centre to score drugs. When I was in there, I’d seen different girls involved in prostitution, they had money and that’s really how I get involved. It’s very hard to put myself back in that place. I feel sad for that time…

It’s a very lonely place, street prostitution, very lonely and very isolated. I mean you feel kinda on the outside of society because people obviously are seeing you on the street and people know what you’re there for. It’s just not nice… not very nice.

I was out there probably on and off for about seven years at different times. It was so hard to actually break away from it because it’s a means to an end and you just have to do it to get that money for drugs. That’s the only way you know how to get money.

It wasnae easy to be involved in it. You have to disconnect yourself really from reality to be able to do it. You just have to kind of put your mind into a different place and obviously that goes on to affect you later on. You don’t have a lot of self-worth in yourself. You don’t value yourself. You don’t value your opinion. You don’t respect yourself. You think very low of yourself. It takes an awful lot away from you as a person to do it.

It’s like kinda groundhog day. It’s the same thing day in and day out, just doing the same thing. Every time you go and do that it’s taking a bit of you away… every single time you’re doing it.

You kinda pull back and you don’t really want to be about people cos you’re so ashamed. You’re ashamed of what you’re doing. I think it’s just very hard to go through it.

Out on the street, you’re out there yourself. I mean some girls do interact with each other but most don’t. You’re there do your own thing and then go away. There wasnae any support from anybody at all. I was literally on my own. I never had my own tenancy or anything like that so I was just going with somebody for somewhere to stay. I came into contact with this service that was providing free condoms, you could see a doctor or a nurse, get something to eat. You could get support as well but you had to be willing to take the support for yourself first. There was people who used to go in the street and give you sandwiches and things like that and a hot drink. That was it.

I had a boyfriend. He was using drugs as well. I would go out and he would be with me and he would stand and wait at a bus stop. Every time I came back from a punter, I would go and give him the money. It wasnae like a so-called pimp really but now when I look back… really in a way I was using him for somewhere to live but as well he was using me for his drug habit to be fed.

I was mainly out on the street. I have got experience of working indoors and it was a man who was driving about and he was telling me “You could go and work in a brothel.” I’d actually went to the brothel but I didn’t like it because you had to spend more time with whoever the punter was whereas out in the street it was very fast. In the brothel it was more intimate so I just… I didnae want to do that. I didnae like it.

I knew it was illegal to be out there but at the time you don’t really care, you’re thinking about drugs. I was convicted of soliciting on a number of occasions. The money I got to pay the fine was from prostitution, I would be back on the streets that day. Straight after court.

A fine’s not gonna stop you from doing it. That was my only income: prostitution. I had to do it. At the time it didn’t really mean anything to me, but obviously the repercussions of it now is affecting me, because I’m trying to move on with my life. If I want to get a job in the future, anything, it will be there.

I used to see the police when I was out on the streets. You were aware of them driving by, walking on foot, you would see them. I would really deliberately try and avoid them. I would turn the other way, walk around the building, and just really try to avoid them as much as possible. They didn’t treat you bad, you know what I mean? But it was very business-like… you were just going to jail. There wasn’t any getting to know you, talking to you, it was just – you were just going to jail and that was it. You wouldn’t tell then something’s happened to you, when you were soliciting yourself in the first place. You didn’t want to be jailed.

I saw lots crimes being committed on other girls that was out on the street. It was quite a regular thing really. There’s quite a lot of violence: girls being beaten up, girls being robbed, girls that had just been raped. I mean it really was a regular occurrence.

A few things did happen to me, but there was one…

I was out, and a young boy approached me, he was maybe 19, 20. He never had a car, so we went to a place that he had picked. This place, you wouldn’t have known it was there, you would just walk by it. We went in and he was acting very nervous. I was feeling that he was wasting my time. As I went to leave, he offered me money for my bra. Now I know that might seem quite strange but it’s not an uncommon thing to happen. I gave him my bra, and he gave me the money. From that second he just turned on me, putting the bra around my neck and really viciously beating me and strangling me.

I was fighting for my life with him. I really was fighting for my life. This was actually during the day, at lunchtime during the day in a residential area. There was a young couple walking by with a pram, they had obviously heard the commotion in the bushes and came to see. I managed to get away from him, I got up and ran away from him. I had the bra tight around my neck.  It was so tight I couldn’t actually remove it. I had to cut it off my neck when I managed to get home.

I reported it to the police, I phoned 101 and just remained anonymous. I wasn’t reporting it for myself. I actually reported it because I was scared for other woman. I felt that he knew what he was doing, and he was very, very violent. The young couple that seen what happened, seen me fleeing the scene, and were very, very concerned. They called 999. The police found me. They came out to see me and they were very nice about it, very understanding about it.

I had other attacks too. There’s quite a lot of violence, because I think men think they’re buying your silence. The way prostitution is in society, men know that the women are not going to go to the police, so they can turn very violent very easily on you. There was a time that I was raped and I was beaten pretty badly and I literally went and washed my face and went back to work again because I never had enough money to leave for my drugs.

There’s no really a typical punter, you know what I mean? It spans from young boys right up to old men. It doesnae matter if you’re poor, working class or rich. It’s from all spectrums from everywhere. It’s your father to your brother to your husband.

Your average money would be about £20-25, usually for oral sex. They would pick you up, you would go somewhere that you were probably familiar with and where you wouldnae get caught by the police.

Not that you felt safe! You just didn’t get caught by the police.

You also got men who are coming out of pubs and whatnot and you would go to alleys or the river, places like that. A lot of them when you get in the car they’ll no want to discuss it there but discuss it when you’re away from the city centre. They’d usually take you to industrial estates late on at night, that was the most popular. Quite isolated roads, empty car parks… that was the most common places you would go. You would go there, do what you had to do and then hopefully you would get a run back.

You’ve no got transport to go back so you have to kinda accept whatever money they’re actually gonna give you. Once you accept that money you’re really theirs to do whatever they like with you. You’re kind of caught because you can’t just leave. Even though you’ve done it, you still have to please them to actually get back to where they picked you up from. Sometimes you wouldnae get a run back and they would ask you to leave or start trying to fight with you. Then you had to walk back.

I never had any regulars because I couldnae put my whole soul into it. I couldnae do it.

The punters, they don’t see the women as people. I think if you were kinda cut off from your waist I don’t think it wouldnae really make a different. You’re a thing. You’re no a human being.

It’s so sad because with girls out on the street, the younger you look the better… it is so sad but that is what men are wanting. They’re wanting younger girls and because of drugs and what’s being fed to them, the punters have got it on a plate. I think they’re abusers. Narcissistic… I just don’t really think too highly of them at all.

I think you go into it quite naive and you soon learn not to let your guard down and to expect the unexpected. I don’t think there’s really a time that you feel 100% safe.

Never 100% safe with somebody that you don’t know. It’s through different things that happen you kinda get that resilience in you, to expect the unexpected. You really have to build up a front to be able to show you can handle yourself, even if you cannae. You still have to show that you can and if that doesnae really go with your makeup, you’ll be targeted. There’s people out there who prey on you. You can never trust anybody in that situation, just can’t trust anybody.

I mean it wasnae unusual to be somewhere and you see a girl that’s getting out a car that’s just been raped or beaten, robbed. Out on the street you see that happening as well. It was quite a regular thing that happened. When I look back it is a terrible situation but it’s something you just canny get involved in, because you’re bringing yourself in to be a target as well. You kinda lost your human compassion for people, you just have to kind of cut yourself off and protect yourself really.

People used to stop in cars shouting things, throw things at you. They used to think it was funny. You wish that the ground could open up and swallow you. You don’t want to but you become quite hardened to it, always ready to jump into something, ready to fight, ready to argue.

You’re always just waiting for something to kick off or something to happen. If you’re going somewhere, you kid on you’re on a mobile phone to somebody else. Wave to somebody that you don’t even know when you’re in a car or when you’re leaving, shout a male name so that they think there’s a male waiting for you.

Quite a lot of the time I did take a knife with me, or a biro pen, that was good as well. I was very very skinny, very emaciated. I couldnae stand up to a man so I used to carry a pen with me. I ended up getting the pen took off me by a punter and he stabbed me. You soon quickly learn that you’ve no really got any means of protection.

You have to just take the abuse. That’s the only way to deal with it, is just to take the abuse.

A number of times I’ve been attacked by men and also sexual attacks as well. I just never ever reported them. I just felt that, for starters I wouldn’t be believed, because I was soliciting myself and also because I was a drug addict. Reporting it is not something that really comes into your mind, you just want to forget about it and you can’t be dwelling on anything… you don’t want to spend any more time on it, because you have to put it behind you and forget about it. You just have to get on with things but know in future it’s going to come back to haunt you.

Girls aren’t out there because they like sex. They’re not out there because they’re nymphomaniacs. They’re out there because they’re in a situation they have to be there, nobody’s there by choice. I’ve never met a girl that’s there by choice, who really wants to be there, really wants to be doing that. There’s usually a lot behind why that person’s there. This person hasnae came from a brilliant house, has loads of money and decides to come down there and stand to sell theirself. I mean you’re selling your body to somebody to do what they like with it.

It’s situations that have taken people there. It’s not a choice. It’s just drastic. It’s such a horrible, horrible thing to be involved in. It brings you down so, so much. It’s horrendous. There’s no any good parts to it at all. There’s really no. There’s nothing positive about it at all. There’s so much negative and no positive. It’s degrading. There’s nothing that you can gain from it. There’s so much you can lose and nothing you can gain.

It’s no a job like any other. The girls out there are victims and they’re usually victims of a lot of stuff that you don’t know about. You have to look behind that to see what’s behind that. There’s so much that goes with it.

So much emotional stuff, so much abuse.

There’s nothing enjoyable, nothing you would get out of it that you would get out of a job… satisfaction… There’s nothing like that out there. Most women that are raped once in their life it’s a tragedy but girls out on the street, they can be raped a number of times.

I mean it’s really soul destroying. There’s so much that it takes away from you and it changes you, your personality, and your looks, your everything. You’re opening yourself up to be victims. They might put a front on but they’re victims. I put that mask on, I felt that I had to do it. You go into survival mode and you do what you have to do to survive.

When I was about 21, I still looked very young and one man took me out and he says “You’re far too young” and actually drove me back. That was the only ever bit of kindness I was ever shown out on the streets. That was it. Nothing else ever happened that was nice or anything like that.

I would make it against the law right across the board because as I say there’s no good in it. Everything is a negative. I would eradicate it.

There has been a lot of changes, years ago punters never used to get stopped by the police, it was always the girls. The punters have been getting stopped and their cars looked at. I think that is a really good thing. I know everybody wouldn’t agree but if the men weren’t there looking the women wouldn’t be there. If you stop a man who’s got a job, who’s got a family, they’re going to get into a lot more trouble than what the girl is gonnae. I think that’s the way to target it, target it through the men.

I think those Punter John Schools would be a really good thing, a mandatory thing if you get caught. I saw a programme on it – you’d see it from their arrest right through to the end and their attitude’s actually changed.

They have speakers, women who have been involved in prostitution. I think really seeing a human being instead of a sexual object and learning about the women. I think that’s really the biggest benefit to it. When you take that away from the punters, they have to see the girl as a person… what she’s really doing and I think it makes a big difference.

I met one police officer. She had me in the car, taking me to jail. She was different. I just feel that she treated me like a human. She spoke to me, asked me “why are you doing this? What do you think could help you?” She told me about a diversion programme running. She was going to put my name forward for it, I wasn’t aware of anything like that. It was just you get jailed and you were fined before that.

So the diversion program really, really turned my life around. It was great support for that.

What I would say to the police officer that I spoke to, I would say thank you to her. Just for taking that wee bit of time to talk to me as an individual. To take a wee bit of interest in me. She actually said to me that she had faith in me, that I could overcome this. At that time it never really meant much to me, but now looking back, just they few wee kind words made such a big difference. It’s made such a big difference to me.

I think the police here have a big role to play for women in prostitution. Sometimes they could be the only people you’ve spoke to except for punters that whole day. They need to treat the person as a human being, to see them as a victim, and not as just committing a crime. I don’t think they should go in with such a hard approach, I think it has to be a more gentle approach, a more human approach. I think there’d be great benefits from that. I think the girl would be a lot more relaxed, be able to approach the police a lot more, have more faith in the police, trust. It would make you look at the police differently.

I mean you could more trust in them, be able to report things, feel more comfortable round about them and you’re not running away from them. I think that you would catch a lot more criminals.

I think it’s important for women to be able to report crimes, because there’s people out there committing crimes and they’re not being punished for it. The woman has to realise that she shouldn’t be treated in that way. She should be treated as a human being, not treated as piece of meat. I feel that’s the way a lot of girls are treated. Inhuman.

I think you have to remember that when you’re out on the street and that you’ve not got anybody, if there is somebody he’s usually looking for something off you. It’s very hard to learn to trust people.

In the diversion program it was really getting to know your worker as well, I mean, that can take a wee bit of time. I think it made such a big difference in helping me to get out of prostitution, and helping me with my drug addiction. They’re such a big, important part of what you need at that time. The program helped me so much. It gave me so much more confidence in myself… the support was really good as well. It just gave me so much confidence, positivity.

I’ve been out of prostitution for a couple of years now.

Well, really I feel the last year and a half I’ve just started my life. My life changed dramatically. It’s so different, I feel so much more confident. Positive things have been happening to me. I’m looking forward to the future, getting to know myself – that’s been a journey, getting to know what I like.

I want to stay on with my education and then hopefully have a career, working with women at the end of it. Something that actually I could get enjoyment and take things out of. I want my own house, to have my daughter back and really just to know myself and to be settled in my life.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑