I want to tell this story because it involves people who are, for the most part invisible. They stand around posing and encouraging men to buy their wares, but in doing so they are an embarrassment to the average person, men included.
So, we turn our heads away, or otherwise avert our eyes. But these are people who mostly find themselves in dire straits and they do what they do to survive. They find nothing whatsoever enjoyable about their profession, and they absolutely despise the men who use them, while at the same time they are grateful for the support.
My experience with prostitutes is most unusual, and is a story, I think, well worth telling because it does provide a certain insight that is rare.
While away from home I began taking my evening meals at a pub that was located in a certain commercial centre. To get there I passed through a roundabout that was used by a group of ladies of the night. From where they stood they could see where I parked my car.
The first couple of nights of my passing brought much friendly greetings, but on the third night, just as I was finishing my meal, another one of the regulars came in and said that my friends were waiting for me at the car, and they seemed to be upset. Of course I was mystified, and on investigating we found that most of the girls had been battered and bloodied. Apparently a group of men had posed as customers and when they had gone off in the bush they beat and robbed the girls.
Now they were calling on the one person who they thought would be helpful. “Please mister, all we want to do is go home. Please, can you drive us home?” A voice in my head said you need to walk away from this, but I agreed to help as it seemed to be the decent thing to do.
By this time a small crowd had gathered and some of the women patrons took the girls who were in the worst way to the washroom and tidied them up. One of the girls had suffered a direct blow to the eye that was swollen into a ball, and others were bleeding from swollen and cut lips.
They all piled into my seven-seater and away we went. It was while I was underway that it occurred to me that here I was with a car full of prostitutes. What policeman would believe that I was not their pimp. This might have truly been an example of “no good deed going unpunished.”
We arrived at their destination without incident and they all said thank you and retreated into an apartment building, except my front seat passenger. She said her name was Bunny, and she had not been beaten. I suppose she concluded that so it shouldn’t be a complete loss she would try to drum up some business with me.
I told her, Thanks, but no thanks! However, she pressed me. “Why you don’t stop for us? Why you don’t give us some business, you nice man, we like to do business with you!”
I replied that it was just not my thing. “Oh! You gay man?” “No, I’m not gay.” I explained that I was distressed to see the girls who had made it all the way to Spain being engaged in the same activity that so many left behind in their own country. “You have come here for a better life and you are here on the street selling your humanity in this way, and it really does get to me. Under no circumstances could I enjoy a sexual encounter with someone who does that sort of thing against their will.”
“But why should you care? You are not responsible for me. My problems are my own!”
“ I care because you are a human being with the right to dignity and self esteem. I care because prostitutes are women and people too, and I have my own conscience to contend with. I just could not bring myself to take advantage of you in that way. I have too much respect for you.”
Bunny began to cry and it grew into a deep, agony filled, free-flow, rocking backwards and forwards wail. In between her sobs she blurted that I was the very first person in her entire life who saw her as a human being, and that included her own family who sent her out on to the streets when she was a mere twelve years old to bring some money home.