Abstract: This narrative is about dissociation in the lives of women who have been exploited through prostitution. When we speak about prostitution, we do not speak often enough about the dissociation needed for women and girls to survive sexual exploitation. The author challenges the wisdom of governments such as Germany that legalize prostitution, treating it as a “job” and ignoring the violence and subsequent dissociation in women. The author describes her personal journey, explaining how women are traumatized even after the first commercial sex act, which is a sexual assault. They dissociate which makes their lives bearable, but they fail to see its negative effects that continue even after they leave prostitution. Finally, the author relates her personal breakthrough experience to end her dissociation while she was caring for horses. This realization allowed her to identify and connect to her own feelings and to be her authentic self.
This text was published in Dignity January 2020, a Journal of sexual exploitation and Violence: Loss of Self in Dissociation in Prostitution from the Speech hold in Washington at the Summit of the National Center Against Sexual Exploitation.