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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.

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Happiness

s nd g

I got this lovely update today from Natasha after telling her about how the exhibition has been going an how people have been reacting.

 

“You have to tell people who see the exhibition that Natasha is no longer Natasha , she’s now the mother of a baby dog and a cat S and G ! 

My life is so happy these days because i could settle down, to have my own house where i could get a permanent “family” which i always wished for. I attached here a photo with my “baby’s ” who changed my life forever. 

Maybe for regular people, they mean nothing but for a working girl who wished to have a regular life, that life starts with these pets. 

When I was escorting, i could never get this as i was always in a run..

After i got my new pet’s, i realized how much i had wished for this.

I’m feeling so so happy i could take the decision to come out. My pet’s helped me now to keep me leaving escorts services, they forced me to see the life the way i wanted to be.

I’ve been in difficult times since i left escorting, but was nothing comparing on how i was when i was a working girl.

I feel so strong and beautiful looking myself in the mirror , knowing i’m a regular women with a decent life.  I am not the stupid liar who couldn’t watch my family in the eyes knowing how much I lie to them.

 

 I feel released and this way i will stay from today’s on.

Hopefully the girl’s who sees my project and photos, they will think about theirs future and do what they feel inside the heart, and no listening to the wallet.

Happiness is when you feel beautiful inside and out.

Happiness is when you belive in you.

Happiness is starting with you. Money aren’t everything but our happiness is.” 

 

 

Full Credit

lone mask

 

We recently typed up all the comments left in comment books at #insideoutsideborders.

It was quite emotional to read them all and realise the power of the women’s words and works to connect with others.

“Congratulations on such an excellent much needed exhibition.  For every hard hitting story there is also optimism and hope.  Congratulations to all involved – especially the brave women themselves.”

“I went to the exhibition in Gala on Saturday during my lunch break.  I didn’t have enough time to do it justice, so came back tonight.  I was in tears both times.  Thank you for bringing this to our attention and thank you to all of the women for being so brave enough to make their voices heard.  We’re listening. x”

“A journey that is hard for the viewer but REALLY important to go through.  We all need to know about this subject and also honour these women’s strength.”

“What courage and strength.  Respect to my sisters.”

 

I of course shared all comments with the women.  Wendy sent this message –

“Its amazing reading all the feed back from people who have been to the exhibition. I am so glad it is being received as well as it is. Full credit to everyone involved who have given woman like me a voice after years of silence.”

I think full credit is due to yourself Wendy and Katie, Levi, Natasha, Sarah Jane, Natalia and Joanne.

 

 

The mask

Screenshot_20170605-122308photo Wendy 2017

A honest and brave blog from Wendy.

“As I cleanse the make up from my face,the relief from the weight of the mask is refreshing. It had taken all my strength to paint the mask on this morning but I knew I could not face the world without it. It’s become an identity, a persona and a shield. Without it I am vulnerable and I am raw. This is a side of me only very few get to see.

I look up to the mirror with hesitant eyes, my reflection is a haunting portrait of the woman that is now  me. I fear my own eyes because they carry nightmares and secrets buried so deep they twist into my sole. My skin shows scars left from the brutal hands of men. But this is MY skin, my TRUE skin no makeup and no mask.

As I’ve come through recovery I’ve grown to love my skin, I’ve accepted it’s flaws it scars and it’s changing. I become unafraid of the things that have changed it.

Tomorrow I will find the strength to paint my mask again, because unfortunately no matter how much I learn to accept and love myself I can never go out without the mask. I would be weak,I would be vunerable and I would be able to feel the hate. I was watching Shek with my son the other day and I heard Princess Fiona say she had a curse upon her which meant she was one way by day and by night another. I thought how much this curse had similarities to my own life.

Today I live by day one way and by night another. I wear my mask to get me through the day but long for night to come so I can feel relief from it’s weight.

When I was working the streets I lived my life by day one way and by night another. Only the mask was worn for long nights on cold streets where you really didn’t know if the next car ride  would be the last you ever took. It was worn to make me believe that no matter what happened I could handle it. Of course I couldn’t because underneath that mask was a very vulnerable scared fragile broken girl.

In the end I guess it’s all just makeup and false smiles but that mask can never slip.”

 

People do care

A post from Andrea – one of the organisers and agents for change #insideoutsideborders

 

The planning was the easy bit, the set up was fun, but I doubt any of us were prepared for the emotional response to Inside Outside Borders…………what it told me is that people care, people are enraged, people are sad, people are frustrated and people felt powerless…..interesting!

But we ensured that every one of the 100 or so people that came to the Exhibition knew that by coming they had taken action, that they could take some power back and that the women in Inside Outside Scotland would be able to see that they cared?

For the women who spoke the truth about their experiences, please believe me when I say “people do care”, “people want to hear your voices” and we hope that there are 100 people in Scottish Borders right now who can’t say “we never knew”……

If, Buts & shoulda coulda woulda’s

Katie has been at the blogging.

An honest and heartfelt post from a pretty incredible woman –

 

If, Buts & shoulda coulda woulda’s

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.. If only we knew what we know now back then.

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 about those who have left us.

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.

When family is only getting in touch when something goes wrong, when someones dying… when  you don’t get that time to make your peace. That’s when you really think of the shoulda coulda woulda.

Time……….. what if we were in different places at different times?

Would things still end up the same way?

Could we have changed our outcomes or is it just set the way it’s set?

 

Look at everything we’ve been through… my environment doesn’t define me, but how do I transcend it? I have a platform where people listen to me, now what do I do with that? How do I make it work for me?

Can I leave it all behind so I can get some peace of mind..

 

Katie x

 

 

and breathe…..

This is a short post.

The main #insideoutsideborders has finished with the last event tomorrow night and a long, very very long post will be need to capture it all.    I have about 30 pages worth running through my mind, maybe more.  I will get a chance to put it all on paper but head of that – I wanted to share a couple of messages we have received –

  • “I didn’t really know what to expect.  I knew it was about sex workers but I never expected what I saw and heard.  It was so moving and humbling to hear from the women, I think they are so brave.  Could you please make sure to tell them that I thank them for giving me this chance to challenge myself”

 

  • “I am so niave.  I didn’t think this kind of thing happened anymore but to hear what these women have lived with is shocking.  I hope they are all doing ok.   Please let them know that I haven’t stopped thinking about them all weekend.”

 

Why let your voice be tamed?

A message and request from Wendy

 “I often express myself through music so there’s a song I would like you listen to when you have a spare second.

The song sums up what I feel about the whole Inside Outside project including my own involvement and I feel it suits the other women who, like myself, have shared their story.

I hope you enjoy it and can see why it fits the project for me. ”

Read All About It by Emili Sande.

You’ve got the words to change a nation
But you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence
Afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?
So come on, come on
Come on, come on
You’ve got a heart as loud as lightning
So why let your voice be tamed?
Maybe we’re a little different
There’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows
So stop hiding it away
Come on, come on
I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh
At night we’re waking up the neighbors
While we sing away the blues
Making sure that we’re remembered, yeah
‘Cause we all matter too
If the truth has been forbidden
Then we’re breaking all the rules
So come on, come on
Come on, come on,
Let’s get the TV and the radio
To play our tune again
It’s ’bout time we got some airplay of our version of events
There’s no need to be afraid
I will sing with you my friend
Come on, come on
I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh
Yeah, we’re all wonderful, wonderful people
So when did we all get so fearful?
Now we’re finally finding our voices
So take a chance, come help me sing this
Yeah, we’re all wonderful, wonderful people
So when did we all get so fearful?
And now we’re finally finding our voices
Just take a chance, come help me sing this
I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh
I wanna sing, I wanna shout
I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
So put it in all of the papers,
I’m not afraid
They can read all about it
Read all about it, oh
Songwriters: Ben Kohn / Iain James / Peter Kelleher / Tom Barnes

 

 

 

Connections and committments

I was going through folders of photos today and found this beauty.

I love it.  With all the activity happening across the country to bring the women’s words and works out there – this seemed apt.

People’s energy, generosity and support for Inside Outside never fails to touch and amaze us.   It is not taken for granted but much appreciated so huge thanks for all you are doing for #insideoutsideborders to ….

Kerry, Andrea, Sarah, Viv, Karen, Joanne, Jenny, Kenny, Susi, Emma, Lisa, Susan, Amy, Wendy, Maired, Hazel, Jane, Natalie, Rebecca and many more!

wendy doll hands

(photo – Kathryn Rattray 2017)

Spreading the word …

A quick update from Kerry who is working away in the Borders to bring the women’s voices down there……

Thanks to her and all others who are developing ideas and supporting Inside Outside – we all appreciate it.

#insideoutsideborders

 

 

” Hi!

Just back from a long day at work…but ended on a high  getting 2 more displays ticked off!

First..Hawick library where I had a very warm  welcome from the librarian! He was quite intrigued and  queried whether ‘this’ goes on down here in the  sleepy Borders…so let’s say he learned something  tonight!

Next was an empty shop door in Galashiels..thanks to Helen for the keys!

The doorway was quite dusty and full of cobwebs so the  cleaning wipes and glass cleaner came out! Cleaning the  space felt important.

As I hung the masks I felt a real sense of responsibility towards  the women who are sharing their stories. People passed by as  I hung the eery faces in the dusk light…some visably  shocked ..not sure what they were seeing..lets hope they  explore the next time they pass…maybe by scanning the QR  codes to read the stories behind the masks of Katy,Levi, or  maybe Natalia?

 

I am now home..eating my husband’s home made bread and drinking a  warm cuppa!

2 more displays for me to do –  in my home town of Selkirk and then Kelso.

Then I am passing on the bunting and posters to  some friends who will spread the word in Innerleithen and  Eyemouth..

 

…..the countdown is on…lets do these brave women proud in the  ‘sleepy Borders’!”

 

 

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