Top positive review
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a vital contribution to our understanding
on 24 May 2017
This is by far the best book ever written on the harsh realities of prostitution. It's a detailed, informative and comprehensive account and analysis on what prostitution means and involves in contemporary society. Written by someone who's survived prostitution, the author presents a narrative founded on personal experience. Yet the book provides much more than a subjective approach to the subject. Rather, the author - who, after her life as a prostitute, developed her education - draws on a much broader understanding of this phenomenon. And the result is truly enlightening. What we're offered is a clearly written, insightful and often deeply moving examination of the ways in which prostitution harms those women and girls involved. Having read much on the subject, I know of no other publication that comes close to this book in providing a systematic and accurate portrayal of prostitution. If you're looking for titillating or salacious storytelling, look elsewhere.
The author, Rachel Morgan, found herself desperate and homeless as teenager (in Dublin, Ireland). As her life spiralled downwards, she was introduced into street prostitution. And between the ages of 15 to 22 she experienced prostitution in a variety of forms (from inside brothels to operating as a 'call girl'). Those seven years, ordinarily so crucial to the fulfilment of youthful aspirations and the development of adulthood, were spent being debased and brutalised - as Morgan was turned into nothing more than a sex object to be used and abused by a seemingly never-ending succession of men. The ordeal has, not unsurprisingly, left its scars. Violated, humiliated and reduced to a sperm receptacle, alongside being treated with scorn and contempt, the lot of the prostitute amounts to very little.
Morgan doesn't simply tell her story. She explains prostitution more generally. And if her words mean anything, it's this: prostitution ought not to exist. It needs to be wiped from the face of the Earth. And, in this context, what's clear is that to be a prostitute is most definitely not to be a 'sex worker'. Prostitution isn't a form of work. Rather, it represents a form of rape. It is the degradation of women and children. It de-humanises all those involved. And it certainly isn't something anyone 'chooses' to do. The prostitute doesn't make a choice - no, she's faced with the lack of being able to choose. It's when no other real option exists that prostitution is entered into. It's forced upon these women.
The lack of help, support and care - by those whose duty and responsibility it is to ensure the well-being and welfare of human beings - is the ultimate cause of the desperation that leads people into prostitution. And such desperation is exactly the vulnerability that some men exploit to satisfy their sexual desires. And, as a reader of this book, I feel a terrible sense of sadness at the horrible way that these women and girls are obliged - through no fault of their own - to spend their daily lives. This book has seared into my consciousness in an unforgettable way the monstrous and destructive meaning of prostitution.
I am indebted to Rachel Morgan for writing this. I highly recommend it to others, as I am convinced it makes a vital contribution to knowledge.