One of my fellow exited women has raised an interesting point on her blog (secretdiaryofadubincallgirl) when she mentioned the ‘cruelty and callousness’ of non-prostituted women who advocate prostitution as suitable and agreeable ‘work’ for other women.
This view is expressed with great vigour by some women who are not prostituted, never were prostituted, and never will be. To hear commercialised sexual abuse sanctioned as acceptable is a painful, insulting slap in the face to prostitution survivors, but to hear it sanctioned by women who know NOTHING of prostitution from personal experience is worse than painful and insulting – it is the deepest stab in the back a non-prostituted woman can give to a woman with a history like mine. There is no question that the position these women have taken is rooted in their own ignorance.
Ignorance is just a natural consequence of never having experienced a situation, but it is not ignorance alone here that causes emotional and practical suffering. It is, in this case, ignorance paired with baseless convictions. This is what I call ‘toxic ignorance’.
But why do people convince themselves that they understand the shape of an experience better than the vast majority who’ve ever lived it? Where does it come from, this great arrogance?
I believe it is fanned into flame, in part, because of that unsavoury human proclivity to be a know-it-all. There are non-prostituted pro-prostitution women who I have come across online who readily state they have zero experience of prostitution – yet we survivors of prostitution are expected to listen as they tell us that a world without prostitution is an unattainable, unachievable, even undesirable thing! The kindest thing I can say about these women is that, by way of their ignorance, the arrogance of their position is beyond their comprehension also.
Why does any woman assume, because she has followed her comfortable and privileged middle-class trajectory into college (as was her lucky non-prostituted birthright) that her education somehow equips her to decode and deconstruct the prostitution experience better than the women who earned their understanding with their legs open on a brothels bed?
They feel they are better equipped to explain to us the nature of what happened to us because of a depth of arrogance so staggering as to be beyond reason. To these women, I have this to say:
“YOU HAVE NO RIGHT to speak for us, or to formulate the shape of our experience, or to attempt to educate the world about something you know nothing about. When you warp and distort the reality of our lived experiences you abuse us as thoroughly as the punters ever did. Yours is the purest expression of the mindless cruelty of ignorance – belligerent, arrogant, and potent in its toxicity. I am ashamed your brand of ‘feminism’ even exists, and I am ashamed of that part of my heart that wants to see you eat your words in a brothels bedroom, because I would not wish that hell on any woman – not even you.”