Why do over 90% of women stay in an industry where they are sexually exploited when they report wanting out?
— Melissa Farley

In order to fully address this question we need to look at the experiences of the majority of our women. And address issues that make it difficult for them to leave.

When you meet a woman or teen working in the sex industry she will not necessarily present as someone who wants out.  But to fully explore this question we must look at what led up to her getting in the industry and services needed to get out.

Clients typically experience one or more of the following:

  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Rape
  • Lack of Education
  • Under employed / Unemployed
  • Addiction
  • Criminal Background
  • Parental abandonment
  • Trafficking or pimping by family member or close friend
  • Mental Health Issues
  • PTSD
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Self-harm
  • Lack of Coping Mechanisms

Common Trauma Reactions

Below are some of the reactions that are natural and expected with survivors of trauma and loss.  There is no complete listing of trauma reactions but some are known to be common among survivors.

  • Nightmares

  • Night fright

  • Crying, crying uncontrollably

  • Unable to cry

  • Physical and or mental agitation

  • Exaggerated startle response

  • Pacing nervously or aimlessly

  • Hunkering down or curling up

  • Self-medicating

  • Extreme caution

  • Impulsiveness

  • Obsessing over details

  • Sense of loss of control over one's life

  • Flashbacks

  • Intrusive thoughts

  • Second-guessing and questioning of oneself

  • A sense of unreality-feeling as if one is in a fog or a cloud

  • The urgency to fix something

  • The sensation of one's skin crawling or tingling

Emotional Impact

  • Anger or rage
  • High anxiety

  • Numbness

  • Guilt and or shame feelings

  • Feeling sad and or lethargic

  • Shock and disbelief

  • Vengeful feelings and thoughts

  • Irritability, snapping at others

Physical Impact

  • Stomach distress

  • Headaches

  • Muscle tension in specific parts of body

  • Feeling immobilized and or being immobilized

  • Loss of appetite

  • Sleep disorders-can't sleep, can't get to sleep, interruption of sleep, waking early, oversleeping

  • Isolating oneself

Relational and Social Impact

  • Distrust of those around you

  • Loss of intimacy and feeling detached from others and or from oneself

  • Wanting to not leave home or other safe place

  • Fear of being alone and fear of too many people