Inside Outside

the sex industry in Scotland

Inside Outside – we have lift off!

The project has started….  Different services from the Encompass Network (  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.

Featured post

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.

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



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?


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


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.

Silencing and sharing



It’s never easy to stand up and talk in front of a group of people.

Questions run through your mind -who are they?  what do they already know?  why do they want to hear you speak?  how will they deal with what you say? what will they think?

Despite being well familiar with the ins and outs of power point and having stood in front of many different audiences, it never gets easy.  The butterflies are there and the old tip to bite the end of my tongue rings loud in the final seconds before standing up and speaking out.  My last presentation on Wednesday 23rd November was one of the toughest I have delivered.

We were invited to take Inside Outside to Belfast for the 23rd Regional sexual health conference.  Plans had been underway for a while and Katie was due to speak, to get up on that platform and bravely share her story of Inside Outside – what it had done for her, what she had learned and gained form the whole journey.  We talked about preparing for this and was she sure she wanted to stand up?  She was sure and this was a big step for her.

Sadly,  when we started to post and mention #insideoutsidebelfast on social media, a few ripples started.  Murmurs that some people were not happy for us to be there, that we were not welcome, that Belfast was “done” with us, that we would be stopped. A lot went on in the background (the telling of that would require a mammoth post) and we had to take the difficult decision to not put Katie on the stage.  We couldn’t guarantee it would be safe for her and that her identity could be protected.  If there were people “unhappy” at Inside Outside being there, how could we put Katie in an awkward position?  How could we ask her put herself in a vulnerable position with little control, no choice on what people posted on social media and not in a position to consent to her image possibly being used.

She wasn’t to get her 10 minutes in the spotlight, her place at the top table and space on the panel.

I was gutted for her.  How unfair.   To come to a decision to bravely stand up and share her story and then for that choice to be taken from her because of others “unhappiness” that Inside Outside had the audacity to think that people in Northern Ireland might want to hear from them.  Those rumbles, grumbles and threats only served to silence a woman who has not spoken in public before.  A stark reminder of how hard it is for women inside and outside the sex industry to have a voice.  How easily they have been and can continue be silenced.

To make sure she had a voice and presence – we worked together on an input that I would read and share on her behalf.   It felt strange to be up there speaking and sharing Katie’s own thoughts and reflections when it should have been her.



Here are her words.

“Hi, I am Katie

I am in my early twenties.

I was inside the sex industry in Scotland for 4 years. I started in indoors prostitution through brothels and saunas. I recently exited the sex industry and have no desire to go back.


Life isn’t always as it seems.

My journey has not been one of a posh silver spooned girl. I have been hurt & broken to a point I couldn’t recognise the person looking back at me. I’ve been through physical and mental abuse from those I trusted, trusted with my life. I’ve been used and abused.

People now look at me like I can’t handle myself, how wrong they’d be.

I may not be proud of the things I have done and the paths I have walked. There have definitely been detours or scenic routes in my life. Many scenes I do not want to see again but recently I have learnt to look at my story in a whole new light!

As I continue to move forward in my journey, there is continuous changing factors. People coming, people going, moving on, falling backwards. Making memories and reminiscing. I’ve learnt it doesn’t matter if a person has been in your life for 5 years or 5 minutes, the most real ones are those that show loyalty when it counts.  They’re the people I need in my life, they’re the ones that push me to better my life. Not those who are sitting waiting for me to fall back into my old ways.

It’s true if anyone had told me the reality of this lifestyle, I would have searched every other option. But would I have really believed them?

When I was inside the sex industry – It was basically like living two lives.

You have your work life and your family, friends, partners think you do something else. You have to keep up this fake act.

Something could have happened at work and they would have no idea why you were so upset. They wouldn’t understand and you can’t come out and tell them. No. You just wouldn’t.

There was times that you want to like, just scream and tell them and then they maybe they would understand why you are, like, you are. But then at the same time, it’s not worth it. It’s hard to keep them separate but you must. 

My support worker told me about Inside Outside.

I thought it sounded different and quite interesting, something I would like to be involved in. I wanted to take part as I always like to try new things and learn new skills along the way. I thought it would be an interesting project to be part of. I can say now I underestimated how powerful it would actually be. 

I worked with Linda for my interview. It was a bit of a weird one for me as mentally and emotionally i was in a very fragile place around that time. I had been so close to pulling out and cancelling the whole thing. I’m so happy i carried on with it.

It was pretty scary telling my story. It makes it more real when you hear yourself say it out loud. Having the digital recorder there it made me think more about what I was saying and how I was saying it. I’m not all that sure how I decided what to tell. I guess I told the stuff in a slightly more PG version. I don’t think I would take back anything that I said, No.

After the interview I got the transcript. Oh that transcript… Wow how odd reading every word the ums & ehhs. And so so long. I read through it and decided what I wanted to share / not share. I didn’t want anything in it that would identify me or mean that people could recognise me.

My photo ideas came quite naturally to me. They were forever changing though. I got quite into the project from then on. I started taking pictures in my everyday life and surroundings that represent parts of my story and editing them to my liking.It was hard to narrow down to the ones I was actually going to use in the project.I really enjoyed it. Expressing myself and telling a story through pictures.


The project was launched in Holyrood.

Going there to it was so incredibly nerve racking and terrifying but amazing. I ran to the parliament all stressed that I was going to be late to see my own photos, in we go through all the security.  We walked down the long glass corridor to a huge smile and cuddle from Linda.

Seeing all the ladies photo’s and hearing their individual stories had me holding back tears (we all were) relating to parts of them all. That is such a memorable and important day for me.

I got my copy of the book that day – it is beautiful! My story takes up A LOT of pages! I am so proud of it and to be in it.

When the exhibition opened in Dundee – I went to the launch night. It was so emotional! I remember listening to Linda speak, it was very moving and and at a few moments during it I could feel myself tearing up! hoping no one would notice. So moving! Quite surreal actually, no one there knowing who I am and that my pictures are on that wall. My story is in that book you’re going to read. 

Seeing my work on tour… hmmm I don’t know if that’s actually hit home yet!

Following it all on social media is crazy. I don’t know what other way to describe it. . I had no idea how many people would read it and be touched by it. It’s still surreal but amazing to see how many people have been following and all so interested in the project and where it is going. Getting feedback on my pictures that someone else actually liked them was amazing. I am so proud and humbled to see it all.

I’ve kept writing blogs because I really enjoy it, it’s a release for me, a place to escape. For people following the project and those supporting it to see we’re real, we don’t just disappear after you read our stories. Our stories are still playing out.

I felt the idea of the women telling their stories could be very eye opening to both those inside and outside of the sex industry as everyone story is different. 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. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our stories- they’re our stories.  They have made us who we are. What we are involved may not be others reality but it is ours and millions of other women and men around the world.

There is so much more to my story than what is there in that interview and in my chapter in the book. Example – What swings and roundabouts my life had been through to get me to the point that that was my only option. About the ups and downs of really working, the amazing people I met, how in a weird warped way I’m thankful that I’ve been through it all cause realistically if I hadn’t Ii wouldn’t be the person I am now or where I am now. 

 I have learnt quite a lot about myself throughout the course of this project so far which I didn’t expect to.

I learnt I actually like taking pictures and editing, that I’m arty. That I’m stronger than I thought I was, after going over my story realising how much I have dealt with and overcome and to the fact I’m still here I’m still standing still doing something positive.

I truly believe if it was not for the project I would not be where I am today I got a new beginning, a positive future and a new outlook from the project and I cannot be more thankful.

I would like to see more projects like this reaching more women and for them not to be scared of getting involved, that you never know it may open doors for their exit out of the industry if that is what they want for themselves. For more women to know that Inside Outside is a safe place with so much support that they can tell their stories.

For them to know not everyone judges.”

Thank you Katie.



From the kind feedback we have received from those who attended- it seems that Belfast wasn’t done with us after all, many were very happy to see and hear from Inside Outside, we were very welcome and have already been invited back.     A heartening response to remind us that those who shout loudest don’t always have the ears of all they think they do.  Sometimes when those with the least power get the chance to speak, people do sit up and listen.

Yet again – thanks to Katie for her speech and to Natasha, Levi, Natalia, Wendy, Joanne and  Sarah Jane for their photos and words.







Well done Joanne

Delighted.   We are delighted to find out that Joanne and her blog as been nominated for one of these awards.

Fantastic for her and great for Inside Outside.





The amazing women



A short post but a lovely one.

Following our input last week at the sexual health conference in Belfast, a person who attended messaged us with this feedback.  Given that some people really did not want us to take the words and works from the women in Inside Outside to this event ( and apparently Belfast as a whole!) this meant so much to us.


“I attended the conference today and I just want to say thank you to Inside Outside for such an inspirational and passionate presentation.
As a health professional I am sadly not usually moved to feel the need to thank people for presentations. However, after I heard all about the project and the stories and pictures I honestlytly couldn’t really speak to my colleagues through fear of turning into a blubbering idiot 😂😂 I was moved so much by your passion and the stories of the women I really did have to fight back the tears.
Looking through all the notes I wrote at the conference today I realized I wrote nothing but the title of your project! I was just so gripped on what you were saying and the photos i must not have felt the need to write.

Thank you again and thank you to the amazing women also.xx”

Blog at

Up ↑