Dianne* met a couple of strip club dancers when she was 17 who encouraged her to dance, but she told them she wasn’t interested. So they encouraged her to turn tricks instead.
* Her real name, used with permission.
“I was too screwed up to get a job, and I needed money for drugs,” Dianne shares. “I liked the idea of prostitution as it would allow me to be in control of men. I thought it would be a way to ‘stick it’ to my abusive father, knowing he’d be mortified.”
Thinking prostitution wasn’t a big deal, she convinced herself she could detach from the sexual act.
“Once I started, I realized it wasn’t that easy. Emotionally, I felt sick, even nauseous. It was degrading to have a man paw at me. I thought I was in control, but really I had no control at all,” Dianne shares.
** Please read the following prostitution facts before reading more of Dianne’s story. **
Dianne may have been a few years older than the average age of entry for prostitution, but incest by her father definitely drew her in.
The sadistic, sexual abuse started when she was just three years old. “Being forced to look at the pictures he gave me of himself naked was terrifying and scary. I knew it wasn’t right.”
He would chase Dianne and intimidate her by saying, “I’m doing this, because I love you so much.” Dianne remembers the abuse occurring several times a week, every week.
When the sexual abuse started, migraines became an incapacitating struggle for Dianne. Her mom would give her the tranquilizers her doctor prescribed to help get rid of the pain. “They knocked me out, and I didn’t have to think about the abuse.”
Dianne knew her mom would never believe the man she loved was sexually molesting her daughter when she was out running errands or at bridge club parties. Dianne knew how much she loved her husband, so she decided not to tell her.
Dianne remembers her mom as being emotionally detached and not maternal. She longed for an emotional connection with her mom during her elementary and middle school years.
Around 15 years old, Dianne began abusing diet pills. “I was in control. They gave me a sense of euphoria – like I could do anything. I’d take them and stay up for days. I was earning great grades. But after not sleeping or eating for days, I would go into a rage with severe mood swings.”
In one rage, Dianne remembers confronting her father and saying, “I’ll kill you if you touch me again.” At age 16, this threat finally stopped the abuse.
Despite all the drugs and partying she did during high school, Dianne graduated early. “My parents found a letter I’d written describing all my partying. After reading it, my dad threw me on the floor and started beating me and pointing a gun at me. He told me he’d rather see me dead than with a needle in my arm.”
Dianne begged to leave. “You can go, but you have to tell us where you are,” her parents said.
She roamed the streets of midtown Atlanta until she moved in with Lisa (not her real name) who was a few years older than Dianne.
“Not understanding how much I lacked a maternal emotional bond, I started thinking I was in love with Lisa. She was everything my mother was not. She would hold me and tell me everything would be OK. The lines became very blurred. I had no concept of what love was, but I definitely thought it involved sex.”
Dianne became co-dependent on Lisa, and Lisa quickly tired of it.
After meeting the strip club dancers at 17, Dianne began prostituting herself for drug money. “I would walk the streets and have sex with two johns each night, earning just enough money for drugs. I’d party the rest of the night.”
A pimp introduced her to heroin and Dilaudid. “When I did those drugs, I didn’t feel anything or care about anything. I just wanted to die. I even tried to overdose twice and failed both times.”
A friend of Dianne’s and her pimp wanted Dianne to hook up with a john to take his money without having sex. “After I got him to a room, my friend hit the john with a gun. We took his money and car and partied for several hours before deciding to try it again. When we went back to the place where I hooked up with the john, several people told us the cops were looking for us.”
“I was arrested for armed robbery and prostitution. I was 18 years old. I spent two months in jail, and it was terrifying,” she remembers.
“I knew I never I wanted to go back. I watched women be raped with broom sticks in jail. I sat next to the crazy woman who was in there for murdering her baby. I was safe when I sat next to her.”
Dianne reported a potentially horrible racial fight brewing between blacks and whites to the matron, but her information was dismissed. While she was in the arraignment cell awaiting her arraignment, the racial riot happened. Because she wasn’t in her regular cell when it happened, Dianne felt God protected her.
“Some people came to talk about Jesus. I felt like I needed to accept ‘that guy,’ because I wanted things to change. I decided I’d accept him if he got me out of jail.”
When she was released from jail for armed robbery and prostitution, Dianne was grateful. But she promptly forgot about accepting ‘that guy.’
Dianne and Lisa moved into a boarding house. Dianne thought a job at an insurance company would earn the money she needed to live and surely reduce her chances of going back to jail. However, her paycheck was still being used to support her drug habit.
At work, Dianne met Susan (not her real name). “I was attracted to her as I was convinced I was a lesbian.”
Susan invited Dianne to go to church with her, and Dianne agreed as a means of getting close to her. “I was high as a kite when I entered that small, back woods church. But I sobered up quickly when I witnessed a man speaking in tongues who was rebuking the devil out of the man he was praying for.”
After the sermon, the preacher declared that someone there didn’t believe and that person needed to have faith in Jesus. “I was afraid they all knew it was me. I went down to the altar. When I tried to say Jesus, I couldn’t. Something had my tongue.”
The people at Susan’s church laid hands on Dianne and rebuked the devil. “Finally after enough prayer, I was able to say Jesus. It felt like ten thousand pounds came off me. I was grateful.”
Sadly, that feeling didn’t last. She felt like the same ‘ol Dianne. “My spirit man had been saved, but my soul was still a big mess. I didn’t understand why I still felt the same ways about drugs, alcohol, and liking women. It was confusing.”
Come back next Friday to read Part 2 of Dianne’s incredible journey!