Prostitution in Scotland - the brutal reality: part 3

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In the last of three devastating podcasts, Cassie tells of the effect prostitution has had on her life

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11th March 2016 by Graham Martin 2 Comments

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.”

11th March 2016 by Julie

Cassie wouldn't rule out returning to sex work nor would she tell her 17 year old self not to do it. Her advice would be not to make it your whole life.Decriminalise sex work.

15th March 2016 by Kate

Why do people refuse to believe that it is possible for a sex worker to want or enjoy the sex within their work? It baffles me. I watched an episode of the series 'Girls' today in which the main female character (a 25 year old woman) had sex with an older man (42) and I felt myself getting aroused. This was after I had entertained 2 clients by the way. I immediately got flash backs of some of my clients who were similar to the guy in the show, who was seriously hot by the way and I could have happily have taken a booking at that point feeling extremely horny (after having already seen 2 clients). Sorry if that upsets anyone, but I enjoy sex! I also enjoy paying my bills. With regards to Punternet. I used to use this site for a few years and I used the directory (which is all it is) and I got some very good reviews from the clients. Sure you get some on the forum that like to shock or surprise the other members on there and God help them with yet another 'price' thread, but this is not a site for trafficking and most of the clients are very respectable, polite and caring men who are on there to make sure they don't upset the sex workers they see and know how to behave. After all, this is not something you are born knowing what to do and the media is so misleading no wonder they don't know what to expect or how to behave when they do. Sex workers are individuals. We are humans, we have feelings, a pulse and are open to stimulation. We respond well to gentleness, compliments and respect. We like to talk, we like to laugh and we like to enjoy the company of our clients. It's not rocket science. It's time to treat us like human beings, like individuals and stop treating us like a collective. We are not the Borg and residence is not futile. Look at things not by the weakest but from the weakest to the strongest and decriminilisation allows us to look after ourselves without fear or retribution.