The War on Whores

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by Angela Oliver

Why is prostitution referred to as the oldest profession?  Is it because it thrives as a direct result of temptation, of lust; modern man’s definition of original sin?

There are many variations on lust, which is the reason this industry thrives today as it has for more than 2,000 years.  Most of the client bases for prostitutes are harmless men, married guys with a taste for some “strange”.  This is one of the reasons prostitution has been touted as a victimless crime across all the long years.  Societys standard of measure concerning this issue has always been that “no one got hurt,” and although that was never the truth, bigger problems plague the “world’s oldest profession”.

Prostitutes are being hired more and more often by sexual deviants intelligent enough to know that no woman with self-esteem would dream of engaging them, to satisfy dark fantasies more sickening than we would care to imagine.  These men can be extremely dangerous.

Why, then, do these women elect to remain in their chosen profession?  Are they thrill-seekers, enlivened by thoughts of living on the edge?  Are they nymphomaniacs, secretly fulfilling dark fantasies of their own?  Perhaps they are content with sleeping in alleyways and on sidewalks, being kicked awake and told to move on by every bored foot patrolman who happens by.  Putting it mildly, however, these scenarios are very unlikely,

The core reason for behavior which seems (and, indeed is) so bizarre to the rest of American society in this year of grace, 2009, is at once simple and terrifying.  Crack cocaine has become more prevalent in and dangerous to our society than an inner-city outbreak of the Ebola virus would be.  Additionally, Ebola has at least this to recommend it: it puts its victims down very quickly.  Crack cocaine addiction is a gift that keeps on giving.  It quiets hunger, it evaporates the user’s inhibitions, and it feels to them as though they are shooting themselves in the head with some sort of futuristic pleasure gun.  At least, it feels this way to them in the beginning.  Most street prostitutes believe they need it, that they must have it.  Here’s why:

Once a woman has been paid for her services, she must close the deal.  This most often takes place with a man the woman has never seen before, and will likely never see again.   More than 90% of these men make the stipulation that the sex will take place with no condom; with no protection of any kind.  Even supposing the man is gentle and nice, sex for money or drugs with a man you don’t know is still sex for money or drugs with a man you don’t know.  Sooner or later, the woman in question will have to look in the mirror again, and decide what to make of herself.  If she has been on the stroll for any length of time, such a woman has almost certainly been raped at least once, often (but not always) during the course of her routine business dealings.   “Beat-downs” are the rule on the street, not the exception.  These things and many others cause prostitutes to believe that it would be best to put off any self-examination–forever, if possible.  Crack cocaine enables the user to zone out so completely that self-examination becomes frankly impossible, and their pains floats away for a little while.  This is all-important to these women, because there there is nothing but pain in the world of prostitution.  They cannot stand against it.

Crack is the only sustenance these women receive.  They are the truly lost; women who have made dreams their protein.  These “drug dreams” feed and murder them at the same time, but crack so deadens them inside that even those who understand what is happening to them do not care.  And the high, no matter how brief (and it is so brief), is still more acceptable to them than the converse: consideration of whatever “x-factors” drive them forward and downward day after day like animals in a slaughtering chute–the real reasons why they are where they are today.

Of course, the most powerful high in the world will not last.  To remain inside her dream, to keep herself from being forced back into a waking world she is sure will drive her mad, the woman has to go back out there and do it all again.  There is no free ride involving crack cocaine.  There never has been, and there never will be.  This woman knows, therefore, that she must return to the stroll…or lose the only thing she thinks she has left.  By now, such a woman has come to believe she cannot survive outside the “protection” of the high.  Too many things have happened during the time she has spent on the stroll, and not all of them involve things she has done.  Often they involve things she has seen done to others, as well.

Addiction to crack cocaine is a cycle on par with the cycle of domestic violence.  The crack spurrs on the prostitution, and holds the women prisoner.  And like extreme domestic violence, crack cocaine will torment its victims endlessly before finally killing them.  These women believe that  there will be no end to this life, and it eventually seems to them that there was no beginning, either.  Thoughts of leaving “the life” no longer occur to them, and a passerby making this suggestion would be met with honest confusion on the part of the prostitute to whom his remark was directed.  What would they do if they were not prostitutes?  They do not know.  What would they do if they were not prostitutes?  They do not know.  What would happen to them if they left the crack cocaine behind?  This causes terror in these women they wouldn’t feel if someone were pointing a loaded gun at them.  However, there are those among them who would certainly welcome the gun scenario.  Finally, they would think, someone who will take this decision out of my hands…someone to free me from these chains.  But take away the high and expect them to go on, day in and day out?  Force them into facing the very private x-factors that they have been literally killing themsleves trying to forget?  Eating a gun looks pretty attractive to these women when things are placed in this perspective.

For these reasons as well as many others, life on the stroll maintains its usual pace today–the miserable pace thatt all those with no form of refuge learn to endure.  Time has no meaning or reference there.  There are no words which can do justice to the “life” of an unhomed, unloved, drug-addicted prostitute.  Such lives defy description; deny it in letters a hundred feet high.  These women’s lives are a pure misery of alienation, lonleliness, and fear.  They would laugh without humor at an outsider trying to define something they can never, ever understand–something even they themselves do not really understand.  The only thing prostitutes are ever certain of, no matter what goes on out there, is that they deserve everything that is happening to them.

With the advent of crack cocaine, a new sub-society of capitalists was born.  Drug pushers are not new, but crack has now made themselves and their employers rich.  The potential for gain is so high (and inner-city police so disinterested) that dope bpoys will sell crack to literally anyone with the money to buy it–whether it’s a 65-year-old grandmoher or a 10-year-old child.  Most of the time, however, the pushers stick to hanging out on the strolls, and their job is an easy one.  These fols are already on dope; no need to hook ’em.  There’s also no need to hustle for clientele–they have all the prostitutes, as well as 90-95% of their clientele.

Viewing things from a perfectly capitalist standpoint, dope boys reason that it would be foolish to get a job earning $6.50 per hour when their current “job” nets them anywhere from $2,000.00 to $6,000.00 a night.  We as a society have shown them they have an accurate understanding of capitalism by allowing them to ply their trade–usually right in the open.  Most make so much money that they don’t even concern themselves with the basics.  Why should they go to school, or bother learning to read?  Someone will tell them the things they need to know.  The answer: many of them cannot read–not words, or maps, or anything else.  This makes them even more dangerous, as it’s been proven time and again that ignorant men are more violent and ruthless than their contemporaries.

Besides, what are the problems of a bunch of whores to these men?  The see what they are doing as purely a business venture, no different than any other, and turn a blind eye to the havoc their product is wreaking on these women.  A much of society tends to do, they tell themselves it isn’t their fault.  After all, no one forces prostitutes to buy crack (do they?).  However, violent drug dealers are not members of society as I was raised to understand the concept.  They are dealing death to these women, and they absolutely know that.

Crack cocaine is breaking our society down like a corrosive pollutant (which it is).  The blame game is not going to work here.  I once had a black man tell me that crack was invented by the white man to aid in the continual oppression of black people.  Well, there are plenty of white women walking a stroll.  In fact, prostitutes can be found in every color of the rainbow out there.  These are women who might return to the land of the living if we kicked this one particular crutch out from beneath them.  Crack isn’t killing faceless masses.  It is killing real women who might otherwise rejoin society, their families, and their friends.  The short-term memory loss, and the literal numbing of the brain which takes place when crack is smoked is what they must get free of.  How many of us have much that we would forget?  As much as some of us may have, these women have more.

Crack cocaine is making violent illiterates rich.  Their wealth is taken from the sweat of the brows of others, with nothing done by them to earn it.  Ignorance, and laziness and wealth combine thereby, creating that most fearsome of inner-city animals: the gansta.  The gangsta build ans builds on his reputation, often injuring or even killing others, and why?  Because they see themselves as kings, and the streets and strolls as their kingdoms.  They will do whatever is necessary (and often, what is unnecessary) to demonstrate their power to their “subject”, and they will do so again and again.

How long can we continue turning a blind eye to these procblems?  We must not go on permitting these things in our society, simply because we believe it would be easier on us if we ignored the whole thing.  This is not an obscure war being fought oceans awa.  This war is going on right here, right at this very moment, and those of us who venture into the cities pass by its casualties every day.

What would you do if that were your mother out there, or your daughter?  What about your sister, or even a cousin?  Crack cocaine is killing prostitutes, of that there can be no doubt, but they are also in plenty of peril for other reasons.

They live (if they are lucky) with the danger inherent in climbing into strange vehicles not just once or twice, but often as many as twenty times a day.

Gary Leon Ridgway, more commonly referred to the Green River Killer, has been convicted of killing 48 prostituttes in the Washingston State area.  Prosecutors credit him with 90+, however.  When questioned by police following his arrest, Ridgway told them that he had chsen prostitutes as victims because “no one would miss them”.  Fot more than 20 years, he was right.

Often killers who target prostitutes are never apprehended.  These tend to be straightforward executions, and why did they choose prostitutes?  Their reasoning isn’t hard to divine.  They believe, as do many others, that whores deserve whatever they get.  Still others hold with the simpler views of Gary Ridgway.

At a busy TA truck stop in Nashville, Tennessee, prostitutes were being murdered routinely, their bodies stuffed in to garbage cans located in a poorly lit section at the rear of the lot.  Though the investigation dragged on for more than a year, the killer was never found.  This is due at least in part to the apathy of law enforcement agencies involved.  “They’re just a bunch of whores” is what they tell themselves, and each other.  Yet whatever else these women are, they are still someone’s mother, someone’s daughter–and because they care, they should not be buried in bins of garbage or roadside drainage culverts.  Because they are human beings, they deserve more.

My 16-year-old son recently expressed his frustrations to me concerning his girlfriend’s parents.  He was upset because he thinks that they are too strict with her, and because he is rarely allowed an opportunity to be alone with her.  I had to tell him that I approve wholeheartedly of the young lady’s parents and the watchful eye they keep on their daughter.  My son is not a ghoul or a rapisr, of course; her parents are simply being vigilant.  I applaud this, because I believe that nearly everyone walking a stroll in this country today grew up with no one to watch out for them, and no one to guide their steps.  As a result, we have turned these women into lifelong victims, with a twist.  We say, “Well”, they’re doing it to themselves,” and that pretty much covers it as far as we are concerned.  This rationalization is simultaneously true and untrue–and very dangerous, as well.

Sadly, there is more to the story.

Those who believe that all addictions are uniform, and that their symptoms behave or can be treated in the same manner are terribly (sometimes fatally) mistaken.  Though I possess no advanced degrees, I will go to the mat with any addictionologist on this point.  My knowledge of these issues is personal, and the facts as I have presented them are accurate.  I did not read about these things.  Fortunately for me, I lived through them.

Crack cocaine is a drug like no other.  The thinhgs addicts will do in order to get and keep it were unheard of prior to its introduction into our society.  Crack is a noose tightening around the necks of Americans, even those who have never used it, nor felt its effects.  If we don’t do domething soon, lost, dead-eyed prostitues will not be the last prisoners thye drug claims.  The crisis is spreading and distributors and pushers purchase homes in the suburbs.  It will be coming–possible to your very front door–and it will be coming soon.

I once heard a man observe that “in the end, we all swing”.  While this is undeniably true, do we really want to swing this way, for such foul reasons?  Because we will.  We will.

Where do we go from here, and how far should we take it?  Do we coat all the buildings and streets of the inner cities and perform purification by fire?  An attractive idea.  A powerful idea, to be sure.  Alas, we have laws in place which prevent such action.

We must open up the trapdoors of these nocturnal prisons and let the light shine in.  Let the light shine in and just keep pouring it on, until the nasty things thriving down there in the darkness flee, or wither and die.

We must flood our inner cities with police officers who take seriously their oaths of protection and service, and who will pursue criminals with all due diligence.

Our court officers should deny bond for any cocaine sales charge, no matter how small the amount may be.  This may leave upstart crack dealers with no one to “run the store”, causing their new ventures to collapse while they wait for tria.

Women charged with prostitution should also be denied bond until their cases come to trial.  This will give them a chance to rest and detox, and an opoortunity to receive needed medical care.  There they may also receive comfort from the clergy, as well as any therapists employed by the jail.  The drug dreams will collapse, and give them a chance to see what life could hold for them away from the self-destruction.

In the highest crime areas, businesses and government housing projects should be closed down, and their doors and windows boarded over.  There is precedent for such action, and I passed through a section of Atlanta where this was being done only a week ago.  America is not a banana republic filled with little tinpot dictators, but it could become one if drastic measures aren’t taken, and taken quickly.

We have to reclaim our streets, and our women.  These women are badly broken, and unlikely to remember how to function in day-to-day life.  This means that we are going to have to help them.  If we take away the crutch crack cocaine provides, we will have to help them find something else to hold on to.  This doesn’t only help them; it saves our society.  If we love only those who love us, what reward is there in that?  We must treat them like the human beings they indeed are, without regard to our personal feelings about the things they have done.  How can we know what it’s been like for them?  We don’t, and we can’t.

Bring on that light.  Leave these diseases nowhere to hide.

“This is the way the world ends,

this is the way the world ends,

this is the way the world ends-

Not with a bang but a whimper.”

T.S. Eliot

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