sexual abuse

Views of a John

Translated from German
Original published on magazin-forum.de on 07 February 2014

He is married with children, says his marriage is a happy one. Nevertheless, Achim buys sex, from whores [sic] on the street. He doesn’t have a guilty conscience. He considers prostitution a service.

Achim, are you a bad person?
Why?

Because you go to whores [sic] who prostitute themselves on the street.
Well, there’s nothing to it and it’s not prohibited. On the contrary, prostitution is explicitly permitted in Germany.

What appeals to you about street prostitution? You could go to a brothel too, after all.

I do that too, depending on what I feel like, but sometimes there’s little money. The curb is just cheaper.

Because the women there are being exploited. No woman sells herself on the street voluntarily.
How do you know that? My experience is different. I have gotten to know many women there a bit better by now. As with everything in life, there are these kinds of people and those.

What have your experiences been specifically?
I have used street prostitution for quite a few years now and that means I also repeatedly meet women who have worked there for years. Many prostitutes are addicted to drugs, need the money for their next fix.  There are also a lot of hobby whores who have a regular job during the day and who earn something extra at night. Some are unemployed too, topping up their benefits. Exploitation, as you say, is nowhere to be seen.

What about the prostitutes from Bulgaria and Romania who are on the streets of Saarbrücken?
Yeah, there are a lot of pretty ones among them. I am a frequent customer there and if you ask me, this is a very good development in the city. There is considerably more supply than there used to be.

I was asking you about the exploitation of Romanians and Bulgarians, though.

I don’t know much about that. After all, many of them hardly speak any German and if they do, they don’t say anything. But I do think that there are pimps behind that. Sometimes you see them too.

And yet you go there?
There have always been pimps and there will always be. There are even really famous ones: Bert Wollersheim, for instance, has a big whorehouse in Düsseldorf. There was even a TV series about it. Did anyone get offended about that? No, on the contrary. It’s only the foreign pimps everyone gets outraged about.

You don’t?
Well, it’s better not to have anything to do with them and I don’t book a woman who is being publicly molested by one of them. I don’t want to support that.

But you are kind of doing that. Prostitution exists because there is demand for it; pimping is a consequence of that.
We often discuss this question in our internet forum. I can’t change the world. It is how it is. How about you, then? Do you go to McDonald’s, do you buy at KiK and Schlecker [stores known for worker exploitation]? They also have bad working conditions.

Well, comparing McDonald’s and Schlecker with the brutality of pimping is pretty gutsy. 
I don’t do that. But when I read that the sewers in Bangladesh sew the stuff for KiK, I feel sick. I am a great friend of women and want everyone to be all right. Again, I am against pimping. But I won’t be able to abolish it. I’d rather go to a whore who doesn’t have a pimp. Generally I prefer German prostitutes.

Why?
Because German women do prostitution more respectably; the service is better. Women from the Eastern Bloc like to pull a fast one on us johns.

What does that mean?
Often the girls are just not good. Promise something they don’t keep or want to end it after a really short time already.

You will have to explain that to us.
I wouldn’t like to do that; it’s too intimate.

Too intimate for the whorehouse, isn’t that a contradiction?
Okay, I will give you an example. Intercourse with a girl in the car costs 30 euros. But often it doesn’t actually take place; the girls are just pretending.

What do you mean, pretending?
Okay, that I am not going to tell you. They call it “Falle schieben” [‘pushing trap’]. How exactly that works is something you can read online.

You don’t think that’s okay?
Of course not. I pay what is asked of me, and I want to get what was promised in return.

 “I love my wife a lot; we are a good couple”

You don’t want to be recognizable in this interview. Why not, if all this is so normal?
For me and my friends it’s normal; we’re men. But I don’t want to be recognized by everyone once the interview has been published.

Do you have a wife, by the way?
That question is always asked;  of course, I have a wife and two children. And since you are about to ask me that anyway: yes, I also have a job; I’m not unemployed. I’m a composition floor layer for a large company in the Palatinate.

What does your wife have to say about you curb-crawling?
We don’t talk about it; everyone should have their secrets in a marriage.

Aren’t you cheating on your wife if you are deceiving her like that?
I would never do that.  I love my wife; we are a good couple.

Also in bed?

How is that with you, are you satisfied? The question is indiscreet but I will answer it anyway. Yes, we have good sex, but I simply love variation.

So how often do you buy sex?

Any time I feel like it. It differs; sometimes once a week, twice. Sometimes not at all. Sometimes spontaneously, too. Sometimes I notice I girl that I think is attractive; then I stop.

And then what?
I don’t understand the question.

Well, how does it continue from there?
How do you think it goes, I approach the woman, then it’s discussed what things she does and when we agree on the price, she comes with me.

In the car?
Yes, usually.

A little uncomfortable, don’t you think?
My car is large, comfortable and has good upholstery. Besides, I can fold down the back bench, then there’s enough space.

Sex in a parking lot, basically in public: is that where the kick lies?
None of this is public. We aren’t standing around in any well-lit parking lots either, but in a dark corner where nobody sees you. And the lights in the car stay off too.

And you like things like that?
Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. And besides, again, it’s not prohibited.

What do you think about prostitutes?

That something went wrong in their life, or else they wouldn’t be standing there. But I’m not responsible for that and I won’t be able to change it either. Buying sex is a service to me; similar to how I lay composition floors for other people, women go to bed with me for money.

Many whores [sic] offer the whole nine yards, not using condoms and things like that.
That’s for them to decide; I don’t have a death wish. I have my regular program that I always get. But I don’t want to talk about that here.

Maybe the whores [sic] have to do that because they are being forced?
No idea. I don’t force anyone and certainly not a woman. That’s very important to me.

(Editor: Name was changed on interviewee’s request)
Interview: Martin Busche

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Dr. Ingeborg Kraus: “Prostitution and Choice”

Translated from German. 

Original by Dr. Ingeborg Kraus published at karlsuherappell.com on 06 January 2014 via Emma Magazin, 2013.

Prostitution and Choice

Prostitution is often portrayed as a completely normal thing, something that has always existed. This usually involves very little thought of the women in prostitution. If it does, the argument of ‘choice’ is very quickly brought up. Who wants to take on the role of a person who sanctions or judges?

But how does a woman end up in so-called ‘voluntary’ prostitution anyway, and what does it mean for her (and for her children)? Prostitution has become a perfectly normal source of income: the question whether it is a job like any other has been seriously discussed by politicians and unionists in the past years.

In my many years of experience as a psychotherapist, I have supported many prostitutes and become familiar with the backgrounds that led them into prostitution. It became clear in all cases that prostitution was a continuation of experiences of violence in their lives. Either the women themselves were exposed to sexualized violence or they grew up in an environment in which women are systematically degraded. I want to illustrate this using three typical case examples:

A patient of mine, who also referred to herself as a ‘voluntary’ prostitute, grew up with an image of women that was entirely shaped by violence. Her mother was beaten by her father and subsequently raped again and again. Sexuality was tied to violence in her self-image. These scenes repeated themselves over and over. The mother took her desperation out on her daughter by calling her “whore” when she began developing an interest in boys. When she later prostituted herself, she told her mother: “See? I became exactly what you wanted me to become.”

Another prostitute told me that she didn’t feel uncomfortable when she entered a brothel at the age of 19. On the contrary, she said, at least now she was getting paid for “it.” Her life story, too, was shaped by sexual violence in her childhood.

For another client of mine, entry into prostitution had coincided with a combination of other, pre-existing disorders: anorexia and anxiety. She managed to exit prostitution after one year and declared 20 years later that prostitution had been a part of her self-destructive behavior.

To continue to speak of prostitution as ‘normal’ with this knowledge means to acknowledge violence against women as an entirely normal and legitimate thing. These women did not choose prostitution as a ‘job like any other’. They are often women who were put through very painful experiences in their past.

Studies in trauma treatment have found that the traumatized person may feel a compulsion to control the traumatizing events to which they were helplessly exposed. A form of control is repetition: so-called trauma re-enactment. In prostitution, the trauma is placed into a framework in which the prostitute gains a feeling of control over the events.

Women who have experienced physical and sexual violence and/or were raised in an environment in which women are socially degraded often develop feelings of guilt. Unlike men, women are hardly able to repress feelings of guilt, which turn into feelings of self-hate. Women mostly direct the aggression this results in against themselves. In light of this, prostitution appears as an act of self-hate and self-harm. Depth psychologists speak of masochistic reversal: “Now I am exactly what you wanted me to be.” Trauma therapists speak of perpetrator introjects. There are two types of introject, aspects of perpetrator identification and perpetrator loyalty.

Perpetrator identification is often a male introject (80 to 90 percent of physical and sexualized violence is perpetrated by men). Perpetrator loyal introjects, often termed female introjects, are incorporated into the victim’s personality if they were exposed to the (adult) perpetrator for long enough. These are thoughts that the perpetrator has about us, sentences he says about us or orders that he gives us. In one form or another, everyone has something like this. In a situation in which we are entirely at the perpetrator’s mercy, we ‘merge’ with him. We adopt the opinion he has of us and begin to think about ourselves the way he does. These are dysfunctional attempts at self-protection: “If I torture myself and beat myself up, then the ‘bad people’ won’t have to do it so much.” Or, “If I do exactly as they say, maybe they will leave me be.” The identification with the perpetrator’s gaze that this causes has a life of its own, changes are perceived as threatening, everything has to stay the way the ‘tormentor’ would have it. A typical example is psychological dependence on a pimp.

Working with perpetrator introjects is an everyday thing in my profession. The history of how my clients came to believe these negative things about themselves is usually not something they themselves are aware of. In addition to a superficially unremarkable and well-adjusted “everyday self”, they may be haunted by unconscious perpetrator-loyal aspects.

Many of my clients suffer from low self-esteem and are very hard on themselves, frequently saying things such as, “I am not enough,” “I can’t do it” or “I am unlovable.” This can go as far as self-hate, hate of their own bodies, of their own vitality – and their own sexuality. Behind the self-assured façade of some prostitutes there are certainly a lot of negative things that are continuing to have an effect internally. One patient phrased it as follows: “I’m not worth anything else, after all.”

In light of this, the concept of ‘choice’ in prostitution and its portrayal as a ‘normal job’ must be questioned. Johns must be educated and made to take responsibility. A society that continues to degrade women to non-human objects, in which sexual exploitation takes place, which stages domination of women in eroticized form, is deeply misogynistic. It perpetuates male supremacy and contains perpetrator structures.

Dr. Ingeborg Kraus, psychological psychotherapist

Further reading: Margarete Mitscherlich: Die friedfertige Frau (S. Fischer), Michaela Huber: Wege der Traumabehandlung. Teil 2 (Junfermann) und Der Feind im Innern (Jungfermann), Ingrid Olbricht: Wege aus der Gewalt gegen Frauen (C.H. Beck)

This article was published in the last issue of Emma 2013.