Many of the women who come to us are initially in very low spirits. They have adopted different survival strategies to push down their trauma for the time being. Receiving help and beginning to open up is both freeing and daunting: freeing in the sense that their urge to finally speak up is strong, but it increases anxiety because they must now face the pain.

The life in prostitution is demanding and full of risks. When we begin meeting a woman in therapy, the conversations are often about what her everyday life has looked like: abuse, rape, ill treatment, fear and shame. One of our women wrote:

“People sell themselves because it’s fun? It the furthest thing from ‘fun’ to be in an inferior position compared to a complete stranger, especially when it has to do with sexuality. You can actually get killed. Swedish johns are said to be relatively nice, but many have hidden aggression that they take out on women as soon as they get the chance, in my opinion. They are aggressive and violent even when you tell them be gentler; they thrust so hard that you receive bruises. An old man once bit me on the inner so hard that I had teeth-marks! They are all the same, even if they are rich and Swedish.”