But most importantly, what makes
prostitution possible, especially in the case of female prostitution
(but not only ...), is sexual abuse.
In fact, a large majority of women
prostitutes were sexually abused while they were small children or adolescents,
generally by a family member (incest), father, brother, uncle, ... or
by someone close (a friend of the family). Concerning this subject,
you can discover some very interesting life stories
in this section of the website (here,
in French only), this
in the column Questions, messages, answers or, another option,
the website of Isa (now unfortunately deleted),
a victim of incest and a long-time prostitute.
Even though it has rarely been described in specialized literature and
in reality, rarely studied (which doesn't cease to surprise me...),
this fact has nevertheless been observed for a long time by teams in
the field, such as Antigone in Nancy, the ALC-SPRS in Nice, etc.
It has been described by Caroline ALVAREZ-BROGONZOLI in her psychiatry
thesis on the subject (research done in Paris and in Nancy), it has
been confirmed by certain authors like Guy CORNEAU, (in N'y a-t-il
pas d'amour heureux ? Comment les liens parents-enfants conditionnent
nos amours ("Isn't there happy love? How parent-child links condition
our love"), Collec. J'ai Lu n° 7157, Ed. Robert Laffont,
Paris, 1997) which cites a social worker in Quebec who claims that up
to 80 % of prostitutes have been a victim of incest (Cf.
also Les Enfants de la Prostitution ("Children of Prostitution"),
Montreal, VLB editor, 1987).
The consequences of incest or of sexual abuse in children are numerous
and catastrophic. It is not our aim here to discuss this question in
depth but we can attempt to clarify the relationship which exists
between incest and prostitution.
The child (or adolescent) victim of incest will find him or herself
before the obligation of having to deal with the worst paradoxes that
exist and ... that a child cannot deal with without deeply altering
his or her psychic function.
echo of silence ...
From the silence or from the words of the
child victim of incest will depend either the future of his or her
ordeal, or the destruction of the family or the family network:
to be the cause of the destruction of one's family, to have all fault
and responsibility thrown on yourself and/or one of your family members,
is a responsibility that most children obviously cannot assume alone
and without assistance ... Their silence will then permit the
maintenance of the family cell and its stability at the
cost of undesired sexual relations, degrading, secret, prohibited
and extremely destructive for his or her psycho-emotional development,
his or her future sexual life and his or her self-esteem.
From the silence of the child victim of incest or sexual abuse, responds
the silence of the prostitute who never denounces the client, in any
situation (with the exception of: theft, aggression, etc.) like a strange
echo: his or her silence permits a certain social stability and,
even that of the family (the spouses are rarely advised of the
fact that their partner is a client of a prostitute...) at the price
of sexual relations with men not chosen.
filthy body ...
Men not chosen ... But what on earth can motivate a person to offer
their body and their intimacy for such a small sum of money (2)
to anyone (3)? Here is a question that many
women, for example, ask themselves ...
Incest and sexual abuse explain this "aptitude" well enough.
The premature discovery of sexuality, and especially of male sexuality,
at an age where the child (or the adolescent) is not capable of understanding
will engrave a very devaluing representation of this, of male
compulsions, of her own body. Because the sexual act is interpreted
as dirty, because rape and incest generate shame and guilt,
the body itself is felt to be something dirty and shameful,
the victim shuts themselves into a feeling of their own responsibility
Furthermore, as neither the child's will or her body is respected by
the very adult who is supposed to protect her, as it is this same body
which is responsible for her suffering (because it is the object
of the desire of the abuser), the body becomes a detested and worthless
object in the eyes of its owner who integrates little by little,
and parallel to, the idea that this same body is paradoxically the
only thing that makes her interesting in men's eyes...
It is thus possible, not to sell it, but to agree to use it for monetary
Listen to C.: "Since the moment when my dignity as a woman and
as a human being were stolen from me, I have observed I continually
and repeatedly live and relive the same relationships of emotional,
physical and sexual abuse, with a variety of men. (...) I began to follow
men to their homes, strangers I met in the street. I followed them,
let them use my body and then left. And each time, during the entire
encounter, I never said a single word, as if a part of me had accepted
the idea that I was worth nothing more than providing pleasure to a
man. Any man, could use my body as they saw fit. (...) I was responsible
for his erection and I had to help him relieve himself, at any price.
(...) I cannot describe the number of times that I allowed myself to
be used by men who I didn't like, who disgusted me ... but never to
the level that I disgusted myself."
to desires of the father...
All children have at least this one wish: to be what
their parents expected of them, boys being very sensitive to the
desires of their mother, girls to those of their father, as we know...
But when this desire is sexual in nature...?
A young girl that we followed had been raped during her entire childhood
and adolescence by her father, a fireman by trade. She became a prostitute
for several years at the Porte de la Chapelle in Paris and then sought
refuge in the suburbs to escape the world of drugs. Regularly, perhaps
once every three or four months, she returned to the Porte de la Chapelle
for one or two nights and upon returning home would destroy any money
she had left, dirty money, as she called it. We often discussed this
sort of "compulsion toward prostitution" with her that we
were trying to understand because, each time, these outings made her
physically sick and depressive.
One day, she admitted: "Why do I do that? Because I need to degrade
myself to please papa."
... but also rape
Excluding incest and sexual abuse that certain children
or adolescents were victims of, rape has, most often, very similar consequences
on adults and can, in certain cases, "foster" the passage
into prostitution in the same manner.
Certain networks of traffickers have understood this well: Nadia (not
her real name) was kidnapped in her home country (Eastern Europe). Locked
up for several weeks, she was raped several times every day by several
men before being put to work on the Parisian sidewalks ...
It is a common practice ...
Nadia was able to get away thanks to an association: she obtained territorial
asylum and has resumed her studies.
read that up to 80 % of prostitutes were victims of incest. If we add
to this figure sexual abuse (excluding incest) and rapes, we are nearer
to 100 % ... On the other hand, you have not read that all victims of
incest, sexual abuse or rape are prostitutes, were prostitutes, or will
like to respond to this page, to provide a testimonial?
1. By writing this, we are not looking
to deny the existence of male prostitution for which women are the clients
(gigolos); this form of prostitution does exist. But: 1) it represents
an extremely small activity compared to prostitution aimed at men; 2)
it generally only develops in wealthy environments; 3) the majority
of male prostitutes are prostitutes for male clients.
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2. To have an idea: typical prices (street prostitution):
20 € fellatio (blowjob), 50 € "penetration"
(fuck). Back to text
3. This is not completely true. Certain prostitutes
declare, for example, "not to do 'drunks', Arabs or Blacks"
... In reality, aside from an apparent xenophobia, prostitutes refuse
those clients who seem to be potentially dangerous. It's the rest that
we recommend to them ... (see
here). Fear is probably the most loyal friend of prostitutes. Back
4. In responding to victims of rape or incest by
email on this website, we often must write that the criminal is the
rapist (rape is a crime, do we need to remind you?) who make their bed
on the silence of the victims and the paradox is that it is the victim
who feels guilty... much too often, in any case.
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