Speech for Launch of Challenging Demand
Rebecca Mott is a prostitution survivor. Here is the speech she gave yesterday at the End Demand launch. End demand for sexual exploitation is a new campaign in UK to pass the Sex Buyer Law which is designed to decriminalise the sale of sex, criminalise the buying of sex, & provide support & exiting services.
« It is a huge honour to be part of this launch. I, like the majority of those who have exited from prostitution, have had the dream that we could live in a world with no aspect of the sex trade existing. I see the ending and the challenging of the demand for prostitution as a vital first step to abolition. I will speak from the personal, but only in order that it is used as an example of the harms of prostitution, only to explode some myths round prostitution, and only with the consciousness of how lucky I was to exit without being destroyed by the sex trade. I do not speak for pity or to shock – I speak as a witness to the daily genocide of the prostituted class. One the harms that I have – and far too many who have exited prostitution – is that we have extreme trauma, leaving us with fractured memories. This is the main reason that I cannot and will not speak just to my personal – for it was destroyed by the violence and hate that is named as the sex trade. I can speak to moments that I can remember – knowing those moments add up to my life between aged 14 to 27. I can speak to multiple rapes, I can speak to knowing physical/mental/sexual torture, I can speak to the prostituted disappearing round me. But I cannot know what age I was, how many men consumed me, where the rooms I was in were. All I know is I only did indoors prostitution, such as escorting, being girlfriend material and working in clubs – and never know safety, dignity or how to remember to be fully human. All I will state is that the mental damage done to the prostituted is the most horrific crime that I know of. To understand prostitution it is vital to see and understand how skilled that sex trade profiteers and punters are at breaking down the humanity of the prostituted. To be a prostitute is to made sub-human, is to be made into a living sex-toy. That is why we must keep our focus on the demand and supply of the prostituted – and not to go round in constant circles only viewing the individual stories of the prostituted. We must be honest about who are making this demand and providing the supply. Today, my focus is on the demand, on the punters. We must see with a clear that the vast majority of this demand comes from men, and that the vast majority of these punters are very ordinary and often likable men. This makes punters invisible – for punters refuse to fit into stereotypes, such as that they lonely, that they are disabled, that they cannot get a “real” relationship, or are in some ways strange or scary to others. Boy, don’t I wish that all punters had labels on their heads – then they may be shunned, or at the least easier to arrest. No, punters are made invisible – or should I say they are hidden in plain sight. Punters are everywhere – they are in your families, you may work alongside them, they may be the men that you choose to socialise with. Punters will wear the clothes of being ordinary, they can play at being sociable, they can be good with their family. They can wear these clothes with ease – for punters can and do separate the torturing of the prostituted from their “real” lives. The more we look at who and what punters are – the more we can see the prostituted are forced to become sub-human, and the clearer is becomes that tackling prostitution is a human rights issue. I do not think we can ever bring about an end to prostitution, until we turn a vicious light onto the punters. Always remember that punters never see any humanity in the prostituted. No, what they see is sexual goods that will obey him, will complete his porn dreams – and can then be thrown away. Punters do not think that they rape, they would even consider that they could be abusive, it cannot be torture, it never murder just accidental death – for the prostituted are not human so crime could ever be committed. Sexual violence is only allowed for the females that punters decide are good and “real”. I speak from being a sex-doll, I speak from the centre of that hell – a hell that my mind built up ways of closing it down, a hell that I somehow survived by making my emotions dead. We must see with a clear eye that punters want a constant supply of the prostituted, in order to do sexual acts that they would never do the females that they frame as good. Punters do what is called unspeakable acts. Nothing should be made unspeakable – to allow acts of hate and violence to become unspeakable is to rob the oppressed of language. That is unforgivable. The trick of the sex trade is to make all violence done to the prostituted made “unspeakable” – knowing that if a prostituted does try to speak out, that she will not be believed or be told it is too terrible to fathom. This is a highly effective silencing tool – for it makes the only language that is allowed is one that normalises the sex trade. We must speak to the unspeakable, and speak to the conditions of the prostituted class. We must frame our talk on prostitution as a human issue – not a labour issue or an issue of female empowerment. We choose our words with care and attention – such as torture, genocide, brainwashing, and sub-human – to describe the conditions and reality of prostitution. This is an emergency. As I speak, millions of the prostituted are being used as sexual goods. Most will not have the fortune to exit prostitution – a great many will be dead before they are 27. Those who are lucky enough to exit, will have a legacy of extreme trauma – such as deep grief, repressed fury, fractured memories, injuries/sexual illnesses, body memories, and a sense that you never whole. We must fight for real justice for all the prostituted. A good start is to challenge demand. »