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.
This article, co-authored by a six-year survivor of the sex trade industry in Germany (Sandra Norak) and a psychologist and trauma therapist (Ingeborg Kraus), provides perspectives on the difficulty of withstanding the coercion of traffickers and the difficulties of exiting prostitution in a country in which prostitution has been legalized, normalized and made “a job like any other.” This normalization persuades survivors to believe their traffickers that it is a legitimate occupation and encourages them to endure the violence. Liberalization also has prevented the development of needed trauma services to those seeking to exit the sex trade industry.
Here is the link to the article published in Dignity: Never Again!
A text written by Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, published on “Trauma and Prostitution” in April 2018; in the following translated from German into English by „Abolition de l´industrie du sexe Canada“. Proofreading by Mary Veronica Clancy.
Shadow women are women whose husbands betray them by using prostituted women. Until now, there has been nearly no consideration paid to this “collateral damage” of prostitution, and there are virtually no reports about it.
The following interview, which I conducted with an affected woman, touched me deeply. One reason is that only then did I become fully aware of the dimension of injury suffered. In reality, an enormous amount of injury is caused if a woman’s partner goes to a prostituted woman. This kind of betrayal has devastating consequences for the whole family, and victims aren’t taken seriously and don’t receive effective help. Contradictorily, there is the danger that even therapists reverse the roles of culprit and victim, and that the betrayed spouse becomes brainwashed by them. In Germany there is virtually no specialist literature about sex addiction, and so there is no possibility of enlightening oneself about the issue nor understanding what is done to you. The other reason is that in my professional capacity as a therapist, I get to know a lot of women who are devaluated by their partners. Perhaps their partners don’t go to prostituted women, but every man has access to porn even if he doesn’t access it directly. Everywhere we are confronted with pornographic representations of women, even without wanting to see it. And in a country where prostitution is legalised, it remains a man’s right to go to prostituted women or to have the privilege of deciding against it. And if we take a closer look at the issue, ultimately, all women are shadow women in a country that legalizes the buy of sex and considers prostitution as sex work.
The following interview was conducted by Dr. Ingeborg Kraus on the 29th March 2018: Continue reading
A text by Sandra Norak and Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, published on 18th September 2018 on Trauma & Prostitution „Nie wieder Prostitution“; in the following translated from German into English by Abolition de l´industrie du sexe du Canada.
We got to know each other in our common participation as experts in the documentation “Brothel Germany – the billion-business with prostitution” which was nominated for “Prix Europa” 2018. Sandra Norak was a victim of lover-boys, a dropout from 6 years in prostitution who is now finishing her studies of law. Dr. Ingeborg Kraus is diploma psychologist and trauma therapist. In this common text we want to unite our experiences and perspectives.
Sometimes, for us the way appears very long, sometimes too long so that we think we won’t have enough power and won’t manage to go the way until the end. Exit from prostitution, a milieu which has mostly destroyed body and soul, is a very long and painful way which sometimes appears endless and on which you encounter apparently unbreachable obstacles.
Again and again we hear or read about dropouts who inside of themselves fight with the notion to go into prostitution again or finally really go back into it again, although they consider their experience in prostitution as traumatic and name prostitution a kind of violence. This behaviour isn’t understood by many outsiders.
With our text, we want to clarify about the difficulties of leaving prostitution and simultaneously encourage women in the process of leaving and after. Continue reading
Transcribed from the speech given by Dr. Ingeborg Kraus at the conference “Prostitution – the Uncensored Truth” in Munich on March 16, 2018.
Translation: Livia Belfiore – Reviewed by Dr. Melissa Farley and Firdes Ceylan – Picture: Hailin Wang, „Deep night“.
On my way to Munich today I read about the Third Reich in an alternative city guide. In it, I learned that Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler was a great admirer of Naturopathy. Not far from his personal herb garden at Dachau concentration camp, experiments with homeopathic remedies were conducted with prisoners with tuberculosis. Mere meters from there, cruel medical experiments in low-pressure chambers and causing hypothermia were carried out. Next to the crematorium was the concentration camp’s very own brothel, and close to that a rabbit breeding ground, which the SS guards cared for lovingly. After the war, around 80% of former officials were reinstated.
As I was reading, I suddenly became deeply aware of our history of compartmentalizing evil. This does not merely concern the individual level, where the same person who affectionately cares for rabbits will also be able to murder humans in gas chambers, but is also true on a collective level. Our people compartmentalized the devastating evil and, after the war, went on as if nothing had occurred.
The mechanism of collective dissociation is the same when it comes to prostitution. Herein however, it is of the utmost importance to analyze, educate and denounce the system in order to help women exit their precarious situation. Anything less legitimates the mental and physical destruction of the many women trapped in the system of Prostitution. Continue reading
After 3 years in prostitution, I almost jumped out a window – from the third floor. That was how prostitution made me feel, – that I had nothing to live for. I had been sexually violated so many times, that there was almost nothing left of me – neither inside, or outside. I was nothing. I was worth nothing. I felt completely useless. I was a machine for other people’s amusement, their sexual desires and their perverse exploitation.
I spent 9 years in therapy, to get where I am today. And even though I persist in telling about the violence experienced in prostitution I still live with the traumas and the re-traumatizing. But we, as survivors have to. We have to keep on telling about the violence, so no one will ever forget or be manipulated into thinking, that prostitution is even close to something you can define as sexwork.