Open Letter to Police from a Prostitute
Dear Police Officer,
You are way scarier than my trafficker. You call me a prostitute.
He talked to me. He took the time to ask about my life, my hopes and dreams and find my vulnerabilities.
Even though he kidnapped me and raped me, even when I resisted and he chocked me until I stopped thrashing, only to revive me and demand I comply, and chocked me unconscious again… even then, we had an invisible chemical, biological bond that you and I don’t have.
You are as dehumanized in my mind as I am in yours. I know that when police are out on a prostitution sweep, they are out to ‘pick up the trash’.
You are an entity. A force. That night when you pulled me out of the car because my drunken buyer was swerving all over the road, when you strip searched me looking for the money he had obviously given me in exchange for oral sex, I was cold and shut down and let you handle me, like any of the others.
During booking, your big hands forced mine to the inkpad and the gridlines. A dark blue figure like a battering ram seemed to be a wall pushing me through the process.
At the youth detention center, I am ushered to a cold leather couch and directed to a water bubbler. There is no mention or offer of food of any kind, no blanket or sweater, even though the whole reason I got into that drunk buyer’s car was because I hadn’t eaten in 16 hours and it was 58 degrees outside. I sit still with my arms crossed.
Four hours later, someone offers saltine crackers to go with the water, if I want it.
You have detained me, ostensibly for my own good. What good? I think. I’m still hungry. I’m still cold. At least if the drunk didn’t crash, I would have had eaten a hot meal by now.
Before I’m 16
When I have left the foster home and meet Joe and he invites me to hang out to watch a movie, I think whatever, that sounds good. We smoke a joint and I swallow a valium. I took them like they were tic tacks for a while.
In a moment he is telling me that I will have sex with the other five guys in the room. I hadn’t even noticed that I was the only girl. I hadn’t even put it together that this was a college dorm. I say, “no” and the next thing I know is shooting pain. I was sitting on the floor with my hand extended behind me and he was now kneeling on the back of my hand. The weight of his body focused into his knee on the back of my hand -bone to bone. The shock of pain terrified me as he whispered in my ear, “You will or I will break you into pieces.”
I caught the gaze of one of them. He quickly grabbed a pillow and covered my face without breaking his stride. Others are holding my arms. I hear muffled arguing.
Is this how I die?
Then, a hand grabbed my jaw and jerked my head sharply to my left. It’s my pimp. That’s what he is now, right? He says, “Don’t turn you head again.” The one who had covered my face is yelling, “Don’t let her look at me then!”
“I am telling you,” he said. One after another, the door opened and closed as they cycled through. They came from other dorms. Some were protesting and banging on the door, but they kept coming. A steady stream of them took turns holding my legs, pulling me back to the edge of the bed.
It hurts. Everything hurts. Joe puts his coat around my shoulders. I cannot feel my feet hit the steps as he ushers me to the car in the cool of the morning. I have no idea how long it went on. I don’t know where he is taking me. I don’t even care. I just want to sleep.
When I awake, I am covered in sweat. The sun has been up for a while and I have been baking in the car. I stagger down the street as the brisk fall air gives me a chill.
You are the furthest thing from my mind. Police are not a refuge, not my protectors. You are not a person I can trust.