• Mon, Apr 22 2013

Harlotry: Rape Is No Different For A Sex Worker, Recovery Is Victory For All

Christopher Saunders, White Noise no. 7

Christopher Saunders, White Noise no. 7

Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she is currently employed as a pro-domme but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry. She usually shares her stories each Monday in Harlotry–however, for the next five weeks, she’ll be writing specifically about her experience with domestic abuse and sexual assault. Here is part onepart two, and part three.

After Stanley raped me, I can’t honestly say I was okay, but I was certainly doing better than I would have expected, considering. People I know who’ve been raped dealt with the experience by holing up in their rooms, not eating, cutting off all but the most necessary social interactions, and generally withdrawing into a pattern of self-destruction. I did none of that. I got things done, I behaved normally in social situations, I even went on dates, mostly with very disappointing men who bought me dinners and tried to get me drunk in hopes that I would go home with them, something I never did. They were good practice for being social, I guess, but that was all they were: practice. Frankly I was disgusted at the very notion of sex and fearful of where a sexual relationship might lead. Rationally, I knew my fears were likely unfounded, but I didn’t feel like testing it. Other than that, though, I was mostly fine. Sure, I had some unresolved anger, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. If I went the rest of my life being functionally asexual, I didn’t think that would be a huge tragedy.

I believe a lot of what helped me deal with not only the rape itself, but also the abuse, was my background in sex work. Rape is, of course, no less horrible for a whore than it is for a civilian woman. Abuse is, of course, no less horrible for a sex worker than it is for a civilian woman. Violation is violation is violation and an invasion of something so deeply personal as one’s body or mind is, I think, the worst violation one can experience, but I was no stranger to having sex with people I would normally have had no interest in fucking. The difference here was that this time I’d been forced. I wasn’t being paid, I wasn’t gaining anything, and I had made my unwillingness very clear. I hadn’t said “yes” and meant “if you have to,” I’d said “no” and meant “no.” But just as I had been able to put my work sex into a box in my brain that separated it from my pleasure sex, I was able to put this act of sexual violation into a box and move on with the business of living my life. The experience was horrible, and I can’t think of anything I’ve experienced that’s worse, but it wasn’t life-endingly horrible. My life has, for the most part, been very happy; it isn’t difficult to give me the worst experience I’ve ever encountered.

Despite the fact that I was functioning fairly normally, I knew I had to deal with what had happened. I took more time off of work and tried to get my head together, but ended up drinking a lot, finding I could only really dissect what Stanley had done to me when I wasn’t completely sober. It was easier to go over everything in my head when my thoughts were wrapped in warm whiskey blankets and the memory of the violation and betrayal was dulled. It took me a long time to finally call a spade a spade and say he had raped me; it took me even longer to actually confront him about it.

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  • Robs

    I absolutely love your column, and I loved this entry best, as of now. I wish you well on your winning road to recovery.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.valdivia Karen Valdivia

    I agree with you that recovery is a victory. After all i’ve read, I feel that you are a friend of mine who is telling me her story and I felt so happy when I read you said “i trust you” to Daniel and meant it. It’s wonderful that you have found a great guy that has helped you recover and get your trust and confidence back. Rape is a horrible thing, and you are in a process of putting yourself together again after it. Big kuddos for you :)

  • Jacqueline J.

    I love all of this, your story means so much