Our Voices Matter

"Never Be Quiet" by Angel Cassidy

I am a survivor of prostitution.
A survivor of brutal beatings and rapes.
A recovering heroin addict.
Five years out of the life and I will NEVER forget the smell of a crusty old trick.
The Fear.
The Pain.
The knives and guns and fists and tire irons and jail cells.
I will never be quiet!
Too many times I have been beaten near death.
Left for dead.
The cops said it comes with the territory.
Being a worthless whore.
A Non-Human.
If I had been murdered, no one would have remembered my name.
I would have been a NHI. [i]
Jane Doe.
Thank you for remembering Emma. [ii]
Remember the millions like her.
Like me.
Like you.
Women, sisters, daughters, mothers.
Considered less than human.
Let us lift them up.
Let us never forget.
And never,
Be quiet about the outrageous brutality that is prostitution!

[i] NHI an abbreviation for No Human Involved, a label reported for murdered prostituted women.
[ii] Emma Bacon, a 20 year old prostituted woman, was murdered in Madison, Wisconsin in April 1997. She was memorialized by members of the Minnesota Coalition Against Prostitution.


I was sexually abused from the age of five by a secret society in a ritual setting that involved candles, incense, meditation, drugs and alcohol. The perpetrators said that I was put on earth to serve men sexually. They told me that I would die if I tried to get away. I left home and began prostitution at age 14. In prostitution, I was brutally beaten by tricks and "boyfriends" -- pimps. I have survived more than thirty rapes and been left for dead more than once. I have been incarcerated numerous times. The last time I was arrested was February 10, 1993. In the next six months behind bars, I found hope that I might be able to do something different. I had spoken to Norma Hotaling a number of times--every time I went to jail--and upon my release, I contacted her. I thought, if she got out, maybe I could, too. I went into an 18-month treatment program for substance abuse. I was concerned that prostitution and sexual trauma were not addressed in the program I was in, and began searching for a place to get some help. There was nowhere to go. I began working with Norma Hotaling, speaking out about the need for special services for survivors. After several years of hard work, SAGE in San Francisco was funded.

In the past six years I have gone from being a homeless, hopeless, worthless-feeling whore on the street to being a strong, happy, and loving mother. I work in social services, helping pull my sisters out of the darkness. I love my life, and I love the work I do. I am currently living in San Francisco, USA.

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