‘Can I tell you something I have never told anyone before’?
The phone is an odd place to be intimate with someone. Yet every week we take calls where women ask us at Beyond Support whether they can tell us something they have never told anyone else before.
Maybe it’s the power of being able to put the phone down at any time. Maybe it’s that you can say something you would never say face to face. Or maybe you feel that someone won’t judge you if they cant see you.
So what is disclosed? Often it is abuse by someone they trusted, maybe a crime they were involved in and were frozen into inaction by, something they did as a child that was unforgivable. Sometimes it’s a really tricky safeguarding issue (We communicate our confidentiality and need to break it i.e. significant harm to yourself or others or safeguarding at the beginning of our series of calls and on our website.)
The key theme is that they blame themselves. Its often so palpable:
‘It’s my fault I shouldn’t have said yes’
‘to what’? I ask
‘to getting in that car with that man’
‘How old were you?’
‘So, you were still a child then?’
‘Yes I suppose so…but still…I should have known better..’
‘Possibly. But did you know what he was going to do? What he did to get you there?
‘No. I never imagined he would make me sleep with other men, give me drugs.’
‘So, maybe the fault was with him; that he mislead you and hurt you…?’
‘….yeah….maybe…I want to believe that..’
At Beyond the Streets we believe that women can’t consent to their own abuse. Often the journey from the negative to the positive is a long, spiralled journey. Our job is to reflect back the constraints we see; her strength in fighting them and her bravery in keeping going in tough situations. We don’t take for granted the intimacy that it takes to trust someone with something you have carried for a long while.
So if you are looking for change or just some support, or you want to tell us something that you haven’t been able to tell anyone else you are in a safe place with us. We don’t have the all answers but we know that you will.
Our Beyond Support service offers free, confidential support for women in the sex industry. Visit our website to find out how to get in touch with us. If you want to talk we are just a phone call or email away.