Really Worth It? No, Prostitution Exploits Many Women's Deep Pain

By Myers-Powell, Brenda | Ebony, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Really Worth It? No, Prostitution Exploits Many Women's Deep Pain


Myers-Powell, Brenda, Ebony


I'm a survivor. And I can say with authority that NO, sex is not worth buying. In the process of selling my body, I was shot five times, stabbed more than 13 times, beaten unconscious several times, had my arm and nose broken, had two teeth knocked out, lost a child that I will never see again, was verbally abused, and spent countless days in jail.

Like other women who became prostitutes, I had no esteem and no self-worth, and as a child, I began to seek others who could fill my emotional emptiness. I got molested at a very young age. When I was 9 and saw the beautiful ladies in the shiny dresses working the corners, I decided that I wanted to be shiny too, because I sure didn't feel shiny inside.

I started prostituting at age 15 and wasn't able to escape the lifestyle until I was 40 years old. During that time, I lost my real name and became whatever the men wanted me to be. For many, I became "Breezy." I worked the West Side of Chicago. I started downtown on Rush Street, with all the rich men. I worked upscale prostitution for most of my career. I didn't always work the streets.

I was a "thick" young thing and men--especially older men--paid attention to my caramel skin and curvy thighs. I felt this gave me value, and I exploited my body and gave myself to any man who wanted a piece. It was a vicious lifestyle.

What these men don't know--or maybe what they DO know--is that many prostitutes or streetwalkers or "happy hookers" are women with a deep sense of pain. Most have been abused in unimaginable ways. And though many argue that it's the women who chose their own lifestyles and it is their choice if they want to sell their bodies, is that really true? Is it that young girl's choice to be put on display in a brothel like she's part of a herd of cattle? Is it her choice to be a young girl manipulated by "family" to sell her body for the promise of money, attention and a new pair of shoes or a warm coat?

Statistics show that 70 percent of the women who enter prostitution get into it by the age of 12. And despite what pimps and regular Joes say about the institution, it doesn't always sit well with them either. Consider that a study done by Prostitution Research and Education and the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, some of the men interviewed expressed feelings of guilt and shame after purchasing sex. Everybody talks about the women. This is the first time where they have addressed the man's side and the issues of why men buy sex. …

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Really Worth It? No, Prostitution Exploits Many Women's Deep Pain
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