What images come to mind when you think of someone in the sex industry? For as long as I can remember, our culture has portrayed sex workers (prostitutes, porn stars, strippers, etc) as women with no moral compass, who enjoy turning tricks or exotic dancing. Even now, most people carry this mindset, and the media doesn’t help.

Founder and Director of Knoxville based Hosea’s Heart, Angie Duncan, paints a very different story of what it was like for her when she was trapped in that world in an excerpt from her memoir:

“An excerpt from my memoir, Chapter Two, about my first night working in a Memphis club:

I have never been able to forget the first “lap dance” I experienced as a new dancer in Memphis. It was a moment I believed was the beginning of the rest of my life. A division of a time where I thought I had escaped sexual abuse but rather found it had entrapped me. I can’t tell you the gentleman’s name or what he looked like, but he was an older man. We went upstairs into one of the very dark private dance rooms which had tall booths all throughout. There was always a bouncer present but many of the booths faced away from him and most bouncers, I later learned, were okay with whatever the girls were okay with. There’s not supposed to be any touching and definitely not any “services” other than a lap dance with the patrons keeping their hands to the side but that’s more the exception than the rule. Bouncers were often paid or tipped extra to allow sexual services to take place in the private rooms. At any rate, I didn’t know all that at this point and I was just ready to get the “dance” over with quickly and get the heck out of there. I thought I was prepared for and understood what was going to take place but immediately and aggressively the patron pulled me on top of himself, and groping and grinding me on his lap, he did his business quickly and not even a minute later he was done with me. I was paid $40 of which I had to give completely to the club as a fee for my first dance.

Now I don’t know exactly how to explain what all I experienced in the time it took for that one song to end. I also can’t exactly explain why I didn’t just yell out or resist. Nothing was ever explained to me well as far as the “work” and coming from a lifetime of sexual abuse, I just sank back into that familiar place of numb submission and dissociation with the patrons. During that first “dance”, I had flashbacks of an older relative that molested me as a young child in the very same manner and a neighbor’s father who also molested me the very same way, even at the breakfast table while his kids ate and wife cooked. I felt like a young, helpless child all over again just waiting for it to stop so I could walk away.

That first “dance” served to validate a huge lie in my life: that the only thing giving my life any value was the sexual pleasure others could gain from my body and that there was no escaping it. Just as in my childhood, just as with the loss of my virginity, just as with every date rape, sexual battery and boyfriend I ever had, I was used for sexual pleasure then tossed aside like damaged goods. My new “work” just made sense. I almost immediately felt it was where I belonged and what I was created for and it didn’t take me too long to become comfortable in this new life. Up to that point everything only seemed to validate that I was unlovable, unwanted and only desired for momentary sexual pleasure. My chains, although invisible, were powerful!”

There are so many different elements, and experiences that even lead a woman to the sex trade, and once they are there, shame and worthlessness goes a long way to keep them there. What these girls really need is for us to get a mind and heart change toward them and to reach out with love and compassion. They need to know they have value and worth and are made for far greater than what their lives have dished out to them.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit with me. Till next time. 🙂


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