This is my perspective as an exited prostitute.
When it comes to whether that supernatural being is listening, we are not heard. Instead, the prayers, pleas, and tears of the prostituted turn to stone and the prostituted suffer endless mental, physical, and sexual torture. Every generation of the prostituted know that Hell is all around, for every prostitute carries the evil of man under their skins.
My parents divorced when I was around 5, and my families were split on religion. My father and step mum were Church of England, but never pushed anyone to go church, so for most of my life, I rarely attended. My mother and stepfather were atheists. I attended the Church of England school, but only because it was a good school, not because it was religious.
In my life, faith and religion have very little meaning for me – so to be honest, I do not miss it. I look within myself for strength and courage, and the older I get, the more amazed I am at how much inner strength humans have.
Like all humans (especially atheists), I have thought deeply about why I cannot or will not believe that there is a god / goddess / spirit outside of my own self. I have explored many faiths, but always come home to atheism.
When I was a child, I kneeled next to my bed with hands folded on my bed – copying the Victorian pictures I faintly remembered – and I prayed. I prayed for my stepfather not to have sex with me, I prayed for my mother to care about me, I prayed to live with my father, I prayed for the pain to end. I prayed until all I heard were the echoes of my own desperation and the feeling that I was praying to nothing – or if there was some kind of supernatural spirit, it did not care or was refusing to listen.
I was about 6 or 7 when I told god to sod off.
I decided that if there were any gods or goddesses, they must be like the Greeks and Romans – a universe full of gods and goddesses who had no heart, played cruel games with humans, and created pain, natural disasters, wars, illnesses, and rapes – just because they were bored or restless.
I saw the power of being fully human is stand up against all gods and goddesses – or that is unjust and an abuse of power. For even as a child, I saw that gods and goddesses were invented by humans as scapegoats for our negative emotions and actions. I saw clearly that humans can control whether they choose good or turn to evil – it is just is harder to be good.
The less faith I had or have, the more I see with clarity that male violence is chosen and usually pre-planned. It is no act of the devil nor is it a turning away from faith – it is a conscious choice to have power over another human.
Let me take a quick detour here and explain another major reason I cannot or will not believe in goddesses. My opinion is based on my understanding of the history of prostitution, and my sense that there is very little solid proof that goddesses are not made for the benefit of males.
Many ancient goddesses were fertility symbols, so in modern terms, they were the typical women who were controlled by men who kept them pregnant. Some goddesses were symbols and carriers of all that was negative in man – such as war-loving, a fury that could and was made into madness, a carrier of all that was wrong with humans.
In addition, many goddesses are just sex symbols – goddesses of love, goddesses that spread the male seed, goddesses who are wives and queens but under male dominance.
Let me make it clear why I have a deep aversion to the concept of goddesses: As an exited women, I have lived inside an environment where goddesses were portrayed everywhere as porn, as so-called female empowerment, and as the founding-stone of the myth of the Happy Hooker.
Let me be frank. Punters (men who choose to buy the prostitute) loved the concept of the whore-goddess. I learned about goddesses from “intellectual” punters who told me that I should proud of being a whore, that I had some unique spiritual karmic connection with the source of sexuality.
But why was the whore-goddess invented? Well, it is simple: So men can rape and torture the prostituted class and make it into a non-event.
This practice probably began when the first brothels were invented and were later re-framed as homes of sex goddesses, vestal virgins, and other supernatural beings that men could use for endless sex and violence. These so-called goddesses were mostly slaves, prisoners-of- war, women, and girls with no rights and no voice.
These women and girls were raped on an industrial scale – but it was re-framed that the rapes were okay, because they were goddesses who had no human connection to pain. Painted as goddesses, it became truth that the prostituted were sex-crazed, did not know human pain, and of course were never unavailable to men.
The concept of the whore-goddess is the most damaging concept I know. Because of this, it has been determined that the prostituted can never be fully human, and so cannot be raped or even abused. Being non-human, the prostituted are not allowed to speak to their grief, know and speak out their pain, or have fury.
Instead, the prostituted are expected to be happy – or be gagged and prevented from speaking their truths.
Yes, faiths have grown and changed since the Greeks and Romans, but it still very rare that faiths make any room for the authentic voices of the prostituted. Instead, most faiths will control and take ownership of how and when the prostituted can speak. Most faiths will keep the prostituted in very specific roles – the role of carrying the evils of men; the role of the victim who must be pitied; the role of the rebel; and the role of being consumed in secret.
All of these roles are just porn-dreams of men of many faiths, roles that many women of faith (unfortunately) hold tightly to.
There are no human aspects to these roles, there no strength to these roles, there is only a deep silence.
Where is the fury that is inside the prostituted? Where is the silent screaming that each and every prostitute knows? Where is the justice, where are human rights for the prostituted? Where is the empathy from those of faith? Where is the connection of down-trodden and the prostituted class spoken about by those of faith? Where is the rage that is the foundation of abolition?
To abolish the sex trade, it is vitally important that we listen and truly hear the multiple voices of the prostituted.
Remember, all of the history of prostitution is false for it was written primarily by men who consumed and profiteered from the sex trade. The voices of the prostituted has been stripped from history, and replaced by the story of the Happy Hooker and the Victim-Whore.
Here in this moment, we may be in a time of a revolution, a time where the authentic voices of the prostituted are being heard, mainly through many courageous exited women (all cultures, ages, and backgrounds) from many realms of the sex trade.
This is a very vulnerable and dangerous time for the prostituted, for the more we are respected and heard, the more the sex trade lobby will want to destroy our voices and truths.
The sex trade lobby does not believe that prostitutes should have a life outside of the sex trade. It has invested a great deal in making the prostituted as sub-human goods—and has a deep fury that there are not only prostitutes who have exited, but now speak the powerful truth about the conditions of the prostituted.
We should be dead… Or so mentally ill we cannot speak out.
An exited prostitute – one who remembers what it was to be sub-human – is to be feared, for her voice will roar until all prostituted sisters and brothers are free.
Abolition is a very hard and long journey.
But listen…. Hear the power of the prostituted, and it will push you forward.
-Rebecca Mott, a selection from the upcoming Girl God Anthology, Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak.
|Celeste Gurevich, Whatever Works Contributor|
Available late March - pre-order here.
Rebecca Mott is an exited prostitute, activist abolitionist and writer. She was prostituted when she was 14 and the severe mental, physical, and sexual torture continued until she was 27. After leaving, she blocked out her experiences for around ten years, and only remembered when she had a severe mental breakdown. Rebecca suffers from severe PTSD, but credits her memories for making her a passionate abolitionist. She blogs at http://rebeccamott.net.