What if I told you she chose to be a ‘whore’?

I had the chance to meet Sonia Verstappen, 65, a charismatic lady who recently retired from prostitution.

I am sitting in front of her and I keep thinking how nerve-wracking this is for me. I confess to her my doubts about the reactions this interview would get. She is used to hearing that and says: “There are right wing people, left wing, men, women, we can’t know people’s reaction. It’s something that so intimate, people’s relationship with prostitution. It’s a bet you have to take”.

So, to her advice, the bet is on.

 

Sonia looked at me and said with confidence: “I am a whore”.

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Sonia Verstappen, in her boutique in Brussels. [Credits: Screenshot of “La leçon d’amour de Sonia, la ‘pute’ de Bruxelles” on LaTeleLibre.fr]

At the age of 21, Sonia, who was looking to get hold of her boyfriend at the time, contacted the mother who asked to come and see her… in her brothel. Sonia remembers: “It was fascinating.  The women were beautiful, they had make-up on, the men who entered complimented them…

She started as a female companion and a year later, Sonia became a prostitute. “I remember the sensation of his dick on my hand. I had had sexual intercourse before. I had a son you know. But I remember because we can’t forget”.

Sonia’s first client as a prostitute marked the beginning of long discovery of herself as a woman. She was fearless, “perhaps a little anxious” she admits, but she wanted to do it. It wasn’t a need she says, “it was an evidence. It was something which was gonna do me good. Clients took care of the women, like no other men took care of me”.

Her father left when she was still a kid, the father of her child would come once in a while and her step-father denigrated both her mother and herself. Yet, Sonia comes from a wealthy family from Brussels, but prostitution was never talked about.

She laughed when I asked her what prostitution gave to the woman that she is, and replies: “Self-confidence. To know that I was worth something. There were some clients who said thank you. To know that life had a meaning. Voilà”.

 

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Sonia and her beautiful blue eyes [Credits: “La leçon d’amour de Sonia, la ‘pute’ de Bruxelles” on LaTeleLibre.fr]

Sonia continues: “I had pleasures you know. Not only did I have intellectual pleasure, I had narcissistically pleasure and physical pleasure too. I could let myself be in this pleasure, I was very demanded, I could choose my clients, so I chose those who I thought were great”.

 

But above all, Sonia loved. Yes, she loved the men that came to see her. She loved them as humans and for the fabulous relationships she could build with them. To Sonia, love in this case, takes another meaning: “It depends what you put in love, it was a passionate love, a tender love. But like my psychologist once said, true love is made of desire, respect and tenderness, and yes with some clients I had all three”.

 

In our society, we are told that prostitutes are dangerous. Yet, “not all prostitutes are victims” adds Sonia, “most of them enjoy the job”.

Victims of what? Victims of men? Victims of society? No. We are not the only one, there are a lot of precarious jobs which are horrifying. I always say that instead of abolishing prostitution, we must abolish poverty. And if we abolish poverty, there would be, without a doubt, a lot of women who would stopped but there would be some who would continue even if they had money”.

Prostitutes appreciate humankind, they understand their desires and expectations. “Well, in fact, I always say that I am a psychologist or a social helper with sperm added.” She says laughing. And there it is. It makes sense: To give pleasure, to satisfy a fantasy, you are obliged to see the human behind the man. Sensing that an aggressive personality can hide pain.

Today, prostitution remains a taboo. But why?

In most societies, being a whore is distinguishing ourselves from other women by not accepting social conventions and by doing so, carrying the weight of stigmata”.

Sonia retired from prostitution five years ago. She graduated from a master in Anthropology and Social science from the University of Brussels and dedicated herself to the defense of the rights of sex workers, which she had been involved with for many years.

What is striking with Sonia is her pride to be who she is. Not only does she prove that women can- and should be free about their sexuality, but that prostitution is a human necessity: “1 man out of 4 goes to see a prostitute” adds Sonia.

I notice her fugitive eyes. Could it be nostalgia? Before I could even ask, she says: “Each man who came, repaired me, they filled me with many things”.

 

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

-Writing this post was not only an honor, but a teaching to the young woman I am and the one I aspire to become.-

In the hope that you will feel the same…

Love,

P.S.A

 

Links of association working for the defense of Sex workers in the UK and France

English collective of prostitutes: http://www.prostitutescollective.net

Griselidis: https://www.griselidis.com/

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