Wednesday, June 25, 2014
WHO ARE WE?
There seems to be a lot of misunderstandings about what our group does and who our members are. Let me try and clarify. We do not believe that everyone who is in the sex industry now needs to join our group anymore than Alcoholics Anonymous goes out trying to tell everyone in the world to quit drinking. They do not try and bring back prohibition. They do not condemn people who do drink. They do not believe people who drink are “bad people” nor do they believe everyone in the world has the disease of alcoholism.
Sex work is not a disease. Nor is sex trafficking. Sex Workers Anonymous is not on a crusade to drag everyone who is in the sex industry out of it nor are they trying to shame anyone who is in the sex industry. They are not trying to shut down strip clubs or the porn industry. We are not a branch of law enforcement trying to get traffickers and pimps arrested. Nor are we trying to make everyone who used to be in the sex industry or a trafficking victim join our group.
If you are happy in the sex industry – right on. If you are happy after you have quit the sex industry or been rescued without our group – double right on. Then we are not for you. If your group is out there working to help others to escape sex trafficking we are no more against you than we are the brothels. I say that because one of the guidelines of a 12 step group like ours is that we “have no opinion on outside issues”. Therefore we don't have any opinion on anyone in or outside of the sex industry.
Any opinions that the founder, or any member of SWA, speaks in public is either their personal opinion or the personal opinion of many individual members – but not that of SWA as a whole.
SWA is for two types of people – those who have trouble quitting the sex industry for any length of time and for those who find they need recovery after having done so. What that means is that some people who have quit the sex industry find they are suffering from “post prostitution syndrome” much in how an alcoholic can be a “dry drunk” after stopping drinking.
What does “post prostitution syndrome” look like? Here are some cases of people we have tried to reach out to over the years repeatedly to offer our help with this issue that have refused to take us up on our offer:
This woman actually owned a legitimate retail clothing store in Los Angeles that was nationally distributed. She's owned a pet boarding establishment and currently own a laundromat. There is no pimp and no pressing financial need to be doing these things she's doing. In Pahrump, Nevada where she lives - $9000 would pay her living expenses for a year. Her parrots alone could be a booming business. When she was in Celebrity Rehab, we tried many times to get through to Dr. Drew and the staff there to suggest she be taken to an SWA meeting. Her problem is clearly not just drugs and/or alcohol. She was not using drugs when I met her when she had first started befriending Alex, the Beverly Hills Madam. She has continued to associate with people in the business such as Dennis Hof who have no idea how to support anyone's clean time and recovery than try to fly. The man is loaded half of the time I try to speak to him on the phone or by email. I have been trying to extend outreach to Heidi since she was first arrested to no avail. This is exactly the warning predictions I gave her about what would happen to her if she did not work a program of recovery because of what I've seen happens to “us” otherwise.
Kristin Davis is another woman I tried to extend outreach to also when her arrest first hit the news. She not only insisted she was “completely out” of the sex industrywhen I reached out to her – but that she was now working with sex trafficking victims. She had even set up a sex trafficking rescue charity. I had told Kristin that unless she dealt with her own recovery issues – she not only would not be able to help anyone else stay out long term – but that she was also at risk of relapsing not just in prostitution but also back into a criminal lifestyle. I'm not saying she sold these drugs – but she would not have been able to have been set up in such a manner unless she was around the wrong people. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/08/06/fbi-manhattan-madam-kristin-davis-charged-with-selling-prescription-painkillers/ One rarely gets arrested for such crimes if they are hanging around people who are clean, sober, and straight from sex work.
When I saw Jenna Jameson announce her retirement from doing porn at the AVN awards – the audience “boo'd” her. That's what I meant about how we do not receive support within the sex industry for our decision to quit. I was worried without that support that she might either relapse back into porn – or that she might damage her new marriage and new life because of “post-prostitution syndrome”. It makes keeping relationships very difficult. http://www.tmz.com/2013/04/07/jenna-jameson-arrested-battery/ PPS also tends to cause severe mood swings. Since Jenna quit – she's lost her marriage and her children, been arrested, and announced her return to the porn industry. Yet every letter and email we've tried to get through to Jenna to offer her help through the steps to find recovery from PPS have not been answered.
Males also suffer from “post-prostitution syndrome”. I spoke to Jason after his high-profile arrest as I do whenever I hear about one of “us” getting arrested. He insisted to me that he did “not have a drug problem” and that he was going to start being a “matchmaker” instead of a pimp. I warned him that this was like trying to be an addict who only drank beer on the weekends – that it would not work. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/nyregion/jason-itzler-self-described-king-pimp-drops-names-in-court.html?_r=1& This is what happened after he stopped speaking to me.
Is this just something that happens to those in porn and prostitution? I did a Jerry Springer show once with the Rev. Bishop Don Juan. He had opened a church doing outreach to pimps showing them that “God can heal anyone”. When appearing on this show, Bishop was wearing the typical pimp costume. I told him that this was very dangerous – that if one continued to “walk like a duck” eventually one might “quack like a duck”. He then pointed out two other men who belonged to his church in the audience who were also dressed like pimps. Bishop then told me that by dressing as a pimp it allowed the other pimps to “feel comfortable” talking to him so they could come to his church. I pointed out that he needed to show them the way to “a different life”.
On the way out of this talk show, he and I had to share a cab. While in the cab I heard him yelling quite abusively to a woman he identified as “one of his baby mama's”. Evidently he was behind in his child support. I then told Bishop that often those of us suffering from PPS would get themselves into financial “jams” so they could “justify” returning to the sex industry. He just kept assuring me that I had no idea what I was talking about and that he would never return to being a pimp again. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/pimp-to-pastor/Content?oid=886285 This is a clipping about that church from 1994.
The Rev. has returned to being a pimp again and even served as the “pimp minister” at Ice T's wedding. If this is his choice – I have no opinion. But I do wonder what happened to the men who used to go to his church that he was leading out of being pimps. Pimp do more damage than just one prostitute if you think about it because they're usually pimping anywhere from one to five women at a time and do so throughout their lives until they die.
at the hard time the most infamous pimp of all had when he wanted to “retire” and “go straight” as outlined in the documentary Ice T did on Iceberg Slim. While he wrote quite beautifully about life on the streets – grasping life after the streets was very difficult for him to do.
The reason why I do not join the bandwagon that “women enter prostitution because of being forced by poverty” is that this is just not the case across the board. Yes women who are in poverty will prostitute. But does that mean that all women only prostitute because of poverty and that solving the poverty issue will eliminate prostitution?
Look at the case of Suzy Favor Hamilton. http://www.thesmokinggun.com/documents/suzy-favor-hamilton-136952 This woman is married, has a business, is healthy, and was famous and receiving millions of dollars per year in endorsements. Yet she risked all of it to fly to Vegas not to even work in a legal brothel but for an escort service that was illegal for $600 an hour. Do not tell me that poverty is the reason why women prostitute. Nor can you convince me it's “all rape” when someone leaves their husband to fly to Vegas to do it.
I am not bashing these people. I am not violating anyone's “anonymity” because it's no secret what I'm speaking about nor are they members of SWA for me to break any confidence. These are the cases of people who have refused any attempt of ours to offer them help with their post-prostitution syndrome that is not solved or healed simply by time, money, a job, marriage, or even living in a “safe house”.
These people do not need a “safe house” in order to find recovery either. This issue is much more complex than this. Which is why I'm still trying to invite the above people, and anyone else who may be wanting to quit, or suffering from post prostitution syndrome to reach out to us for help. I don't mean “me” - I mean “us”. SWA is a worldwide group with 1,000's of members. I only answer the phone and do the outreach.
Which is why when I stand by and watch huge amounts of attention being diverted by “fake” survivors like Mam Samoly who are on the fund raising trail for “safe houses” I say they are diverting the attention off the real issues and what's needed for real solutions.
While everyone is listening to these “fake” victims they aren't listening to our members. Our members who are saying they can't move on with their lives because a simple background check is revealing their past in prostitution to prospective employers. Now while I applaud Polaris for bringing about laws that will seal up the records of minors – I say what about the adults?
Why am I not being allowed on the same legislature floor as them while they are speaking about the child victims to ask “what about the adults”? What about the adults who can't find work because of their records?
What about the men and women trying to leave porn who can't because their photos are all over the internet and they can't get them down because of a model's release they signed when they were most of the time under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, and they did not have the prior advice of an attorney or someone like myself who would warn them how these pictures will come back to haunt them.
If you have not eaten in three days and someone offers you $100 to take your picture – you are not thinking about your job hunting ten years down the road. Those releases were obtained most of the time when the model was either under the influence, or undue stress was upon them. While everyone is trying to pass these trafficking laws to throw the pimps into jail for a longer time than the law that is already in place allows for – what about the fact we need to change the laws about these model releases so that these men and women can move on with their lives after having done these photos?
If you can't get a job and you have kids to feed guess what most wind up doing? If we want to help these men and women to leave sex work – then we need to help them make the road easier for them to do this without hitting road blocks.
If we were to take ½ of the attention that's been drawn off this subject by people holding fund raisers where no one knows where the money is going – maybe the real true life survivors who are trying to tell us what they need for them to move on with their lives now can be heard. But people are so busy blocking me out of their groups because they “don't like me” that they aren't listening to who I'm speaking for. These people can't speak for themselves. I'm already out there – and can. Just because you don't “like me” or “agree with me” doesn't mean you shouldn't be listening to what I'm trying to say.
When I first came out here speaking about trafficking being real no one wanted to hear that either. If I had let people chase me into silence – this whole movement I highly doubt would even be here when I look back at the history and development of this movement. There's not one person in this movement that can't trace it back to first Andrea speaking out about trafficking still existing, and then Linda Lovelace speaking out about trafficking existing in American porn, and then myself speaking out to say trafficking existed in all areas of the sex industry domestically back in the 1980's. Andrea, Linda and myself had huge numbers of people trying to silence us back then.
We need to be heard and we need more than “safe houses”. I should know as I also run the first and largest hotline for adult victims that's answered by a survivor and not connected with law enforcement that's answered over 500,000 calls to date – five times more than Polaris has answered.
If you don't want to listen to me – then you aren't listening to “us”. Www.sexworkersanonymous.net