Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Effects of Prostitution

I was sharing with a friend of mine about the organization I visited in Cambodia once. And this friend of mine, a truly wonderfully kind person, said, "You have to understand - for these women in poor countries, prostitution is their only way to earn money. At least they have a way to get some income."

I've heard that from so many people.... And once upon a time, I echoed the same sentiments. "Well, at least they have a job. Otherwise they would starve."

I guess everything changed when I became a Christian and really understood what sex was meant for - a union that God meant between husbands and wives. And that the effects of sleeping with someone that you are not tied to, as a husband or a wife, were severe.

I am NOT shaking a wagging finger of, "You wicked man/ woman for having sex outside marriage" to any prostitute. I would not and never will, because I have met many of them. I have talked to them.

And maybe that's why, I feel such a deep pity for what they go through on the streets.

I wonder if my friends who tell me so seriously, "At least they have a way to get some income" know any prostitutes at all? Are there any of them who have friends amongst the 'Women of the Night', gigolos or transvestites?

Because prostitution is not the normal sexual activity between husband and wife.

I searched through the Net to see if I could find anything on the effects of prostitution on a woman. This is what I found (I've edited for brevity)...

"Health Effects of Prostitution, Janice G. Raymond

The health consequences to women from prostitution are the same injuries and infections suffered by women who are subjected to other forms of violence against women. The physical health consequences include: injury (bruises, broken bones, black eyes, concussions). A 1994 study conducted with 68 women in Minneapolis/St.Paul who had been prostituted for at least six months found that half the women had been physically assaulted by their purchasers, and a third of these experienced purchaser assaults at least several times a year. 23% of those assaulted were beaten severely enough to have suffered broken bones. Two experienced violence so vicious that they were beaten into a coma. Furthermore, 90% of the women in this study had experienced violence in their personal relationships resulting in miscarriage, stabbing, loss of consciousness, and head injuries (Parriott, Health Experiences of Twin Cities Women Used in Prostitution).

The sex of prostitution is physically harmful to women in prostitution. STDs (including HIV/AIDS, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, human papilloma virus, and syphilis) are alarmingly high among women in prostitution. Only 15 % of the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study had never contracted one of the STDs, not including AIDS, most injurious to health (chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrheal, herpes). General gynecological problems, but in particular chronic pelvic pain and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), plague women in prostitution.. The Minneapolis/St. Paul study reported that 31% of the women interviewed had experienced at least one episode of PID which accounts for most of the serious illness associated with STD infection. Among these women, there was also a high incidence of positive pap smears, several times greater than the Minnesota Department of Health’s cervical cancer screening program for low and middle income women. More STD episodes can increase the risk of cervical cancer.

Another physical effect of prostitution is unwanted pregnancy and miscarriage. Over two-thirds of the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study had an average of three pregnancies during their time in prostitution, which they attempted to bring to term. Other health effects include irritable bowel syndrome, as well as partial and permanent disability.

The emotional health consequences of prostitution include severe trauma, stress, depression, anxiety, self-medication through alcohol and drug abuse; and eating disorders. Almost all the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study categorized themselves as chemically-addicted. Crack cocaine and alcohol were used most frequently. Ultimately, women in prostitution are also at special risk for self-mutilation, suicide and homicide. 46% of the women in the Minneapolis/St. Paul study had attempted suicide, and 19% had tried to harm themselves physically in other ways.

More succinctly, women in prostitution suffer the same broken bones, concussions, STDs, chronic pelvic pain, and extreme stress and trauma that women who have been battered, raped and sexually abused endure. In fact, the case can be made that women in prostitution -- because they are subject to being battered, raped and sexually abused all at the same time over an extensive period of time -- suffer these health consequences more intensively and consistently. For example, in another survey of 55 victims/survivors of prostitution who used the services of the Council for Prostitution Alternative in Portland, Oregon, 78% were victims of rape by pimps and male buyers an average of 49 times a year; 84% were the victims of aggravated assault and were thus horribly beaten, often requiring emergency room attention and hospitalization; 53% were victims of sexual abuse and torture; and 27% were mutilated (Documentation available from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives)."

So, you tell me - prostitution is the only option for these women and therefore we should let the violence and degradation continue?


  1. i think they have a choice. some i blame it to education. they are not educated about this career.