The studies have shown just exactly what the problems with prostitution are. In some of the older books I read, historians were interested mainly in discussing the attitudes toward prostitution but in more recent work the focus has been on prostitutes themselves including their range of alternatives, their conditions of work, their health and life spans, their careers-and interaction between prostitutes and others, such as reformers, clients, or bosses. Studies about men and women, boys, and girls who have been involved in prostitution and/or pornography have revealed a lot. They are the hardest patients to treat.
They say they want help, but nothing thats done to help them out works. They run back. They just dont seem to want to change. Women who have been subjected to continuous abuse and victimization over which they have no control or understanding have developed a sense of psychological paralysis that prohibits their ability to do anything positive about further victimization. They believe they are unable to change their destructive behavior. They become entrapped in helplessness and hopelessness.
They feel themselves to be out of control of their lives. Essentially, they have developed a chronic disorder as a result of their victimization and an inability to separate themselves from the sexual exploitation in order to make a better life for themselves. In a recent study based on an analysis of 200 women street prostitutes, 78% reported starting prostitution as juveniles; and 68% were 16 or younger when they started prostitution. A majority of the juvenile prostitutes described family structures with the outward appearances of stability. Over three-fourths reported having a religious upbringing. Forty percent were raised by both mother and father.
The younger the prostitute, the more educated the family. Yet, despite the religious, financial, and other appearances of success, the study revealed a number of problems occurring within the family. More than half the prostitutes had parents involved in excessive drinking. In over half the families the child saw the father hit the mother violently and 62% of the subjects were themselves beaten while growing up. Only in a few cases was the beating related to something the subject did. The most damaging psychologically are those cases in which the victims could not figure out why they were being beaten or those in which they were being beaten for no special reason.
Only 19% of the subjects reported having any kind of positive relationship with their parents while growing up. Sixty-one percent of the women in this study were sexually abused as juveniles by an average of two people each. Victims ranged from 3 to 16 with the average being 10 years. Two-thirds of the victims were sexually assaulted by father figures. Seventy percent of the women reported that the sexual abuse affected their decision to become a prostitute. Here is one girls story: I was only 11 when it happened.
I felt sick and disgusted. . . I wanted to die; I thought everyone could tell what he did to me by looking at me.
. . I thought my mother would think I was crazy if I told her or maybe she wouldnt even have cared; shes like that. She doesnt want to lay her trip on me.
. . He didnt even love me: he just wanted to try something new. After I ran away, I tried to get a straight job, but who would hire a 12-year old dropout who was nuts?. .
. At first when they tried to talk me into prostituting I said no. Finally, I was scared and hungry and lonely. I figured I was already ruined. I couldnt ever go back home after what happened, so what did I have to lose? The emotional impact from abuse is extremely negative.
It affects the way women feel about men, about sex, and about themselves. Almost half of the victims blamed themselves for the abuse, despite the fact that in almost every case either physical or emotional force was used on them. The horror of the incidence of sexual abuse is compounded by the fact that in .