In the last of three devastating podcasts, Cassie tells of the effect prostitution has had on her life
An Edinburgh prostitute has lifted the lid on the devastating impact sex work has had on her life.
In the third and final instalment of a series of hard-hitting podcasts, (see here and here for parts one and two), Cassie talks about her experience of escorting, and how involvement in prostitution led to drug use.
Unscathed was produced by the End Prostitution Now campaign, with support from the Glasgow-based social firm Media Co-op, with the aim of giving a voice to people involved in prostitution who are so often not heard.
In the episode (see below), Cassie describes how she prepared herself mentally to meet a client.
She said: “When a client phones, like you've got your work phone and you've got this ring tone on it that just, every time the phone rings your stomach just drops.
“If I was doing drugs at the time I had to do some drugs before I went… If I had drugs I'd do more drugs in the toilet, pretend I was just freshening up.
“And that’s how you prepare yourself really. Once you're in that room and you're with them you just click into this mode. You're there, you become this character. Everything's make believe, nothing’s real, nothing’s actually genuine about myself. You just get yourself into the routine, you don't even think about it. It works for me having those two characters it really does. You need it to be able to cut off.”
Cassie speaks about how involvement in the sex industry has changed her: “I think how it's changed me is - I'd say that sexually, I am quite frigid in the fact that I begrudge giving sex free”
And she speaks about how it has negatively affected her view of men in general: “I guess it gives you a different view on men… I see all men as pervs. Which is really bad because they're not all pervs but I see them all as pervs because I've just been exposed to so much. Like men with wives, men with, you know … when you just think it could be the next guy that I date. “
Linda Thompson from the Women’s Support Project interviewed Cassie. She said: “It was hard to hear about Cassie’s experiences with violent punters and her fear that no-one really cares if women in prostitution go missing.
“Cassie talked about how she coped, including drug use, ‘cutting off’ and the need to constantly reassure herself that she was fine. She also said that if she was still alive at the end of the day she’d think ‘ oh well, that’s been a good day’ and I was aware that living with that level of stress and fear is so damaging to a person’s physical and mental health.”
A spokesperson for the End Prostitution Now campaign said: “Cassie’s account of the need to ‘cut off’ or dissociate in order to deal with the sex in prostitution is quite typical of what we hear from prostitution support services.
“Although people in prostitution are agreeing to sexual contact in exchange for something (such as money, food or shelter), it isn’t the same as actively wanting to have sex. You could say that it sits between consensual sex, where both parties are freely choosing to have sex, and non-consensual sex, which would constitute rape or sexual assault. This is why we refer to the sex in prostitution as ‘unwanted sex’. Some women survivors of prostitution prefer to call if ‘paid rape’.”
In previous instalments, Cassie has talked about her experiences in working in saunas and in flats. She also spoke about the vile Punternet website, which acts as a front for sex traffickers and perverts seeking under-age girls.
The spokesperson added: “The public response to our podcasts has been positive. Cassie is currently taking a break from prostitution, although she has not ruled out the possibility of returning. We appreciate her speaking with us and wish her the very best for the future.
“The End Prostitution Now campaign will continue to call for increased resources for supporting people involved in prostitution; services to support exiting; new approaches to help prevent the harm caused in prostitution; and effective action against those who profit from the prostitution of others.”