Nov 09, 2018
The bar of Dairy Milk glistens in all its purple glory from the cupboard and giving up chocolate for NOvember helps me reflect on how we all seek comfort. None of us is exempt from that and we all look for different ways of helping ourselves cope with life’s challenges. Some ways are beneficial to us and some have negative consequences. When you have experienced extreme and chronic trauma, it takes something powerful to give that comfort and relief from pain. When drugs and alcohol are available they can look like an easily accessed coping mechanism, or even like survival.
At Beyond the Streets we are celebrating the strength of the women who were murdered by ‘Jack the Ripper.’ Mary Ann Kelly, Catherine Eddowes and Annie Chapman were alcohol dependent and as we trace what is known of their lives, it’s clear they survived multiple traumatic life events: death of children, death of a spouse, marital breakdown, displacement and the vulnerability of existence as a single nineteenth century woman with limited access to the labour market. Alcohol would have been a brief numbing comfort.
According to Home Office research 95% of women involved in street-based prostitution use substances problematically. Now as then, intoxicating substances can be both a means of managing trauma and the cause of retraumatisation through selling sex to pay for them. It’s a vicious cycle of substance use and prostitution that is so hard to break out of.
The Door of Hope project meets women who sell sex today on the very streets that Mary Ann, Catherine and Annie would have known. We offer long-term, trauma informed support as they take the steps through pain and recovery and out to a sustained exit from prostitution and addiction.
Will you join us in remembering the past and help to change the future by contributing to the crowdfunder?
Stand in solidarity with women this month by taking part in the #NovemberCampaign Three ways you can support the campaign:
1 Contribute to our crowdfunder to raise £22,000 – we invite you to make a gift of £2.20, £22 or £220 to see our work supporting women thrive. Make a gift towards our crowdfunder here.
2 Say no to something you love to save money or raise sponsorship for our work saying no to Sexual Exploitation. You’ll find a step by step guide to taking part in the campaign here.
3 Show your support on social media. Click save on this image and share it on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook tagging us, using the hashtag – letting your followers know that you say no to sexual exploitation and violence of women past and present.
A blog by Miriam, who works for Beyond the Streets as the Clinical Lead for Beyond Support – our call back service for women involved in prostitution. She is passionate about people’s tough lives being transformed.