VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN / October 2004
the peeping men, and when the shutters went down every 30 sec- onds, they paid again to watch her and to masturbate. In peep shows and in pornography/prostitution booths, men’s booths are hosed down with Clorox after each customer. Funari described the effects on her after less than a year in peep show prostitution:
At work, what my hands find when they touch my body is “prod- uct.” Away from work, my body has continuity, integrity. Last night, lying in bed after work, I touched my belly, my breasts. They felt like Capri’s [her peep show name] and they refused to switch back. When [her partner] kissed me I inadvertently shrunk from his touch. Shocked, we both jerked away and stared at each other. Somehow the glass had dissolved, and he had become one of them. (p. 32)
To retain her self-respect, Funari resisted emotional connection with men who considered her to be essentially worthless. Yet she felt “poisoned” by the contempt of customers. Her sexual feelings for her boyfriend waned.
Dissociation occurs during extreme stress among prisoners of war who are tortured, among children who are sexually assaulted, and among women who are battered, raped, or prosti- tuted (Herman, 1992). Dissociation, depression, and other mood disorders are common among prostituted women in street, escort, and strip club prostitution (Belton, 1998; Ross et al., 1990; Vanwesenbeeck, 1994). Dissociation in prostitution results from both childhood sexual violence and sexual violence in adult pros- titution. At the same time, dissociation is a job requirement for surviving prostitution.
Regardless of the variations in the type of prostitution, women feel that they have to rent out the most intimate parts of the body to anonymous strangers to use as a hole to jerk off in. The women try to keep themselves as unharmed as possible from this massive invasion by maintaining a distance from the customer. (Hoigard & Finstad, 1986, p. 132)
If anything a prostitute treats herself like a chair for someone to sit on. Her mind goes blank. She just lies there. You become just an object. . . . After a while it becomes just a normal thing. (McLeod, 1982, p. 39)