Monday, October 16, 2006

Bad Date

I'm not going to try to defend or explain or justify prostitution. It's not a victimless crime- by living outside the law, prostitutes become victims, prey to the stronger and more vicious. It's also not victimless when you see the world their children are raised in. It's not like "Pretty Woman" and I have yet to meet the "whore with a heart of gold."

It's also not just a lifestyle choice that happens because of economic concerns or poverty is just a piece of a very self-destructive montage of abuse and addiction and many subtle or not so subtle attempts at various types of suicide, some physical, some emotional, some social.

It is a hard life. I have pictures of meth prostitutes (first big fact, my friend: there are meth whores and crack whores and heroin whores and even alcohol whores but you will search this great nation from coast to coast and never find a prostitute who doesn't use drugs. This has been a running challenge, an informal contest with cops from coast to coast for decades.) ... where was I yeah? Pictures. Meth prostitutes. Anyway, the same woman early in her career and five years later. She looks like her own grandmother- toothless, wrinkled, with shrunken, hollow eyes.

It's a dangerous life. Rapes, beatings, robbery. Some have nowhere to go for help or support, others turn to a pimp who must be worse than her other predators and she just has to hope he won't be worse to her.

Knowledge is power, and in certain section of Portland (including the health clinic at the jail and some of the female cell blocks) you will find slips of paper, usually in colorful pastels, headed "Portland Bad Date Line!"

It is a warning newsletter from prostitutes, by prostitutes and for prostitutes. A list of events and horror stories:

"ON BICYCLE "GENE" - Downtown, W Male 29 or 30 y.o., bright blue eyes, goatee, tatoos on face, hands, and left leg, 5'6", scars from broken back, skinny. Knocked out, bit, restrained, cut, sedated, raped/sodomized, ejaculated on. Wrkr released 32 hours later"

"BURGUNDY VAN- NE MLK & Shaver. Male, African or Cuban with thick accent, 6'3", dark complexion, clean shaven. Offered $40 for BJ, pulled out big butcher knife and cut worker. She got away."

There are warnings about known predatory sex offenders in the area, requests for information in cases of severely beaten women, a request from a police officer who is working one of the cases- a "W Male big, thick glasses, beats w/ pipe, rapes" who has attacked five times.

This is a monthly newsletter put together by women who want to save themselves, want to have some power in their lives. In such a little space are hints of stories that would horrify Hollywood, acts of savage survival (heroism?) reduced to a few words: "kicked him in the face and got away".

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