I will admit I had mixed feelings when I saw your story splashed all over the news. Everywhere I turned, there was some variation of the headline: Josh Duggar Cheated With Me!”: Woman Tells All About Their Two Sexual Encounters.
At once, I understood and felt compassion toward you, but I also felt revulsion and anger.
But I know you are only reflecting back to me something I recognize in myself.
I was once a sex worker.
Once upon a time…I was stripper and a nude model. I made my money off of men and their desires.
And I was in utter denial for a lot of my time in the business.
I did dangerous things.
And while many assume that I had an amazing amount of courage to stand onstage naked and an extremely high level of self-esteem and confidence, it was quite the opposite.
When I read that you had sex for money with Josh Duggar and were now sharing the details, I did not blame you for sharing your experience, for wanting to cash in on your story. I applaud you for coming forward. I applaud you for telling your story.
I don’t even care if it was all done purely for profit and not to raise the consciousness of the problems women in the industry face, or if you are only hoping for your fifteen minutes of fame.
None of that matters after I read the small details that broke my heart and that I hope can save some other women from walking down your path—my path.
You said, “He was manhandling me, basically tossing me around like I was a rag doll. It was very traumatic. I’ve had rough sex before, but this was terrifying.”
It was that word that I fixated on.
And then after this terrifying experience, he shorted you $500 of the agreed upon price of $1,500.
And then you met him again. And you have sex with him again. With a man whom with you had had an experience that was terrifying. With a man that could not be trusted.
If the story is true (you did pass a polygraph test), I feel so bad for you.
Again, this is because I recognize myself and the times I did things I felt I had no choice in, the times I put myself in danger because I thought this was the only way I could make money, the times I felt terrified, but did the things anyway.
And I was not even as hardcore as you; I was not a porn star or a prostitute. I was simply a stripper and nude model.
When I think of you walking back into a room with a man who terrified you, who didn’t even pay you what he said he would, I am reminded of my own vulnerability, my own stupidity, my own depression, my own lack of value.
I feel so sad for you, me and all women who have walked into terrifying experiences because we did not know our own value, because we thought we could not ask or expect more, because it felt like our only choice, because we loathed ourselves that much, because we were that scared that we were inconsequential in every other way, because we thought we were only valued for our bodies and our sexiness, because we did not know or feel our inherent value as human beings.
I was there, in similar ways, and while maybe no one else is expressing it, while everyone else is focusing on you being the bad one and while you will say you are empowered by what you do, I just want to say, you are valuable.
You are valuable and valued. I sit here in my office, miles away from you now in so many ways, but I know this and I want you and every young woman thinking fame and fortune and value is to be found in our sexiness to hear it—I see you. I really see you. And I am here for you if you ever need someone to talk to.
There are other choices that you can make.
You do not have to, nor should you (or any woman), ever have to be terrified again.