Have you ever been physically abused

The truth about prostitution

The now 38-year-old journalist Rachel Moran prostituted herself for seven years: on the street, in a brothel, as an escort girl. She survived. But only now, many years later, did she write down the bitter truth. The book finally does away with the myth of “voluntary, self-determined prostitution”. She speaks of the abuse of the perpetrators as well as the shame of the victims. What makes the book so special and its reading so indispensable is the abyss of what has been experienced while at the same time being highly reflective. As an author and blogger, Moran today fights against the trivialization and legalization of prostitution. As an activist, the Irishwoman is the European coordinator of SPACE (Survivors of Prostitution - Abuse Calling for Enlightenment). On March 17th, she presented her book in Munich's Kofra (Baaderstr. 30). Here is an excerpt from the chapter "Shame".

One evening, a few years ago, one of my sisters asked me in a slightly intoxicated state, “Have you ever been raped or abused or anything like that? You know that you can talk to me about such things ”.

Let's assume that the prostitute is gagged (and I know for a fact that it is). When I have the image of a gagged woman in front of my eyes, I see society hold one end of the gag while the prostitute holds the other end - and they work together to tighten the knot. Although I had turned my back for several years at the time of prostitution, the knot on my gag was still tight that night my sister asked me if I had ever been raped. That's why I couldn't freely express the first thought that went through my head. It read: "Every day!".


We women told each other our experiences over and over again in the language of abuse victims. When we talked about the sexual acts that were being forced upon our bodies, we used expressions such as "derogatory", "loathsome", "nauseating", "repulsive" and "disgusting".

When referring to particularly cruel customers, we usually used expressions such as "bastard", "bastard", "bastard" and "filthy animal". I have heard these words from countless women. But in all of that vivid vocabulary I have seldom heard one expression, and that is: abuse. And I also know why. We had no “professional” right to speak of abuse.

Basically, when you prostitute yourself the following happens: you consent and accept payment for the sexual abuse of your own body. You experience all of the negative feelings that come with sexual abuse, but because you consented, you practically gagged yourself. You have literally forfeited your right to express your own point of view.


In my early days in prostitution, in my early teenage years - before I learned to stifle emotions when I was with a client - I met men who literally indulged in the obvious disgust. Wasn't that abuse? And later, when I learned not to show my dislikes openly, but simply to present myself as unnaturally callous and cold, as if I were a mannequin, did her abuse turn into something else?

I once spoke to a non-prostitute friend who had been a victim of sexual violence as a child. I told her that when I was 15, when I was 15, I'd always tell the men who used me my real age because I'd found it aroused them badly. Because of that they came faster and because of that I could get away faster. To which my friend said, “Don't you realize that it was sexual violence? These men knew how old you were, but instead of being horrified, it turned them on, and they took advantage of your youth and poverty to exploit your body. "


The humiliation that happens on a sexual level is not limited to the sexual sphere. It seeps into a person's entire life, especially when it is repeated and ritualized. Drug and alcohol addiction, destroyed trust, shattered self-esteem, physical harm to yourself, thoughts of suicide - all of these things are widely recognized as the "fruits" of sexual abuse. And I've seen all of this in abundance in prostitution.

If a person has to exercise and perfect a state of mental blockage (as prostitutes routinely do) in order to survive the sexual acts they endure, it is clear to me that that person is being abused. Some prostitutes won't like to hear that, I have no doubt about that. I know because I wouldn't have liked to hear it myself when I was still in prostitution.

Rachel Moran: What's Left of Humans. The Truth About Prostitution (Tectum, 17.95 €).