Introduction, Aline Terpstra, 29 March 2021
In excerpts part 6, Esther tells how she has been trained in sex work from an early age. How she is trained, or rather 'educated' as a prostitute to respond precisely to the wishes of the men who make use of her. She tells how, as a teenager, she learns to function independently as a prostitute while the invisible pincers of the cult keep her in an iron grip that is invisible from the outside. And how, as an adult, she has to combine an 'ordinary' life on the outside with a secret life as a prostitute and as a participant in cult meetings and the crime world, among other things, although the latter two are not discussed here. The consequences are enormous if the capricious demands of the cult and the connected pedo/porn network are not met.
Primary school age sex work
In my baby, toddler and preschool years, I was prepared for sex work. Grandpa and my uncle often practiced what to do during sex, what to say or what sounds to make and what was asked when. We practiced until they thought it was perfect and sometimes I was loaned out to others to test it out. My family loved making porn movies. Sometimes I was asked to do what I had been taught and sometimes not to do it at all and had to pretend that someone was touching me for the first time. There would be lamps and a large camera, sometimes several and a bed, mattress on the floor or a sofa. Mostly it just happened in the shed of my grandfather or uncle and men came to watch, who in the mean time were helping themselves while watching me. Parties were also organized at home, where the guests were allowed to come in one by one. Situations were created in such a way, that it was possible and hardly noticed, although most people, looking back now, just knew about it.
I didn't think the sex was the worst part. I was used to it, it often happened several times a week, even at this age. The sound of the camera was so characteristic, hearing that it had to be over or hearing that it had to be more intense, so intensely painful, watching the film afterwards while I'm still lying there in my nakedness, sometimes even bleeding, is tearing. Thinking back on it is very intense and difficult. The idea that others are looking at you in front of you, while you are not doing anything at the time, the remarks that come with it or the possibility that everything has to be done all over again is so worthless. I was about 10 years old when I was lent to an older man with a beard. He picked me up and took me to his house, where he wanted to have sex with me. I had seen a lot of money being handed over to my uncle when I was pushed to get into his car and once at his house, in his bedroom I saw a picture of his wife and him together. I was afraid she would come in as well and hated having sex with 2 people at once. He ordered me to undress myself and he was unbuckling his belt, saying that I looked much nicer in real life than on the movie. I'll never forget that moment. I never realized that those video images were being distributed, it just didn't occur to me, but at that moment I realized that he had already seen me on film and that's why he wanted me in real life now. I had just had a film recording of sex with a dog and immediately thought he meant that and was very afraid that he had some big dog that would jump on me. Fortunately this date didn't turn out that way, but from that day on I constantly walked around with the idea in my head that the whole world had seen me on video and that everyone knew my secrets. It was unbearable to walk around like that on the streets and at school and I withdrew.
Meanwhile, sex appointments with others were expanding. I learned how to log on to a website, confirm appointments and agree on where to pick myself up. I was making more and more money and handing it over to my uncle after each appointment.
I was taken out of school by uncle 1. I had not even had the first hour, we were still singing and I had to go to the dentist. At least that's what the teacher said because on the note I handed in was dentist appointment and no end time. That usually means that anything can happen. You always have cavities, the teacher often says. It's true, I have neglected teeth and always have cavities, but the number of root canal treatments is really lower than the number of teeth I have. Only nobody seems to be able to count....
I don't even bother to explain it, because grown-ups are always right. I have a rich imagination, so they won't believe me anyway. I remain silent and walk out of the classroom to uncle 1. I nod and silently follow him. I think I already know what's going to happen. There must be filmed. It's a chance for me to show that I obey and do my best. The easiest way to show it, because at unexpected moments it is more difficult. I see it positively.
We arrive at the farm and I greet Grandma. She was just walking in the fields. I walk into the barn and there is another girl, about the same age as me, I think around 8 and there are 2 men dressed in just jeans and there is a man behind the camera setting everything up. Uncle 3 also comes in and says who has to do what and how. We have to play as if we are sleeping, together in bed with our backs against each other. I do what he says and close my eyes. My thoughts wander around the barn. Are there people watching now? What will the men do? Do I hear animals? Do I hear the camera running? Are there others coming in? I'm on alert.
The recordings are made, the men supposedly wake us up and we pretend to have a great time. It was quite a long session and I am tired. I wash myself, together with the other girl and grab my clothes. At the same moment I hear other voices and I go into a kind of alert survival mode where I can be out of my body at any moment. And that is exactly what happens. Suddenly I'm at school and I hear myself say that it hurt a lot and that I can't eat anything right now.... In the break, I get questions about why it took so long and they want to look in my mouth. I open my mouth nicely and randomly point to a tooth. I have been drilled so many times that there is enough to see, so I am actually always in the right place. My experience is that if I am as open as possible, the attention is gone the quickest.
In the evening Uncle 1 picks me up again. Mama says I'll have a nice evening, because it went so well at the dentist. I feel mixed up. The dentist, that wasn't fun, but I did something good and I get a nice evening, so I am curious. I feel proud somewhere, I just can't quite gauge why. Uncle 1 picks me up and tells me that it was quite exciting this morning that all of a sudden people came in when you were naked and that they were about to see what we were going to do. Those recordings are super secret, you know that, that is only for very special people who may see you. I nod. I'm flattered. Not for these people, but you know that very well. I nod again. I do know that. I had done my best to hide what we were doing when Uncle 3's visitors came in. We pretended we were changing clothes to go to the beach. One of the rituals we practiced when we were (almost) caught. Inside, the struggle was huge to make sure no one found out what we were doing there, and the drilled-in tune (pretending to change clothes for the beach) went right to work inside me at a personality level, after seeing Uncle 1's finger signals. I didn't think anymore, I just did it. Now I know that it is ingrained in me to react in this way to these finger signals. Nobody, but nobody should ever know what we were really doing. At times like this, it looked weird and I noticed that people didn't always believe it. But then I was dismissed as a weird kid, as someone who has a rich imagination. All the other signs they might have seen, people quickly forgot about. It was all down to me, the weird child.
Today you showed that you make a good choice. I want you to keep doing it, so I'm giving you this. He shows me a ring. A very thin gold ring. He says it was his grandmother's and it's the keeper of secrets. You can always do it with that, he says. The keeper of secrets can speak when necessary and remain silent when possible and cannot be ignored. I didn't understand a thing about it, but together with something to eat and drink and all the attention and time, without pain and sex, I found it a very nice and special moment. I was dropped off at home and mama already knew what I had gotten. Let me see, she said. I proudly showed it to her and went to bed.
Teenage sex work
I earned well. At least, that's what I heard from my uncle every now and then when I came to bring him some money. Every time I handed over an envelope with money, I got an envelope in return. In this envelope were drugs that made me very happy. They helped me every day. They were my happy pills and I saw them as a reward for my hard work. My merits.
It was also made very clear to me that I had to raise the money to pay off a debt : I had been told that I had accumulated a huge debt with my training1 and that I had to pay it off and then I could quit. I never earned anything from it. I took the drugs several times a day, I was so used to it. I really needed them and if I felt I needed more, I told them and it was arranged. Then the following week there was some extra in the envelope.
During heavy sex dates, for example with several men at the same time and with torture, I was sometimes given other kinds of drugs, which I snorted or took in pill or spray form. I always wanted this kind of drugs, especially in combination with alcohol, but sometimes it was taken away from me as a punishment. If I wasn't wearing the right thong, if I was waiting on the doorstep too late or for other reasons, then the other girl who was also present would get the drugs and I wouldn't. Sometimes it was the other way around. Sometimes it was the other way around. it was a means of power. I knew better and better what to do and what not to do in order to make a good impression, but the demands became stricter and harder to follow.
Around the age of 15, I was found to have missed an appointment. To this day I do not know which one, so it is possible that it is a lie, but for this I was punished. I was tied to a waterwheel, naked, and spun around by the water. Sometimes they would stop the wheel for a moment while I was underwater and sometimes they would go very fast. Unpredictable, making it harder to keep up. After this I was tied to another implement which made me lie in a splat with my arms attached to my legs and I was raped for a long time.
When they are finished it is never finished, because then the men just want to relax and have a beer with each other and laugh and then of course it is not like you can just go as a teenager. I was hung upside down in a coffin with only my head out and put in a bucket of water. When I relaxed my head I came under water and I couldn't breathe. I was so tired, so bizarrely tired, that at a certain point I tried less and less and relaxed my head longer and stayed under water. At one point I sort of fell asleep and was shocked to find myself almost choking on the inhaled water. I was taken out and laid on my side and eventually brought home.
Young adult sex work
I became an independent prostitute who made her money through sex and paid it off to her pimp, in this case my uncle, in exchange for pills. I sometimes had control over the men and could enjoy that. Besides this life, which I did as it were on the side, I led a normal life with a part-time job, I had become a mother and I had a busy social life. I never slept much and was not possible with this double life, I still lived on pills and other drugs.
Occasionally the sex appointments were a surprise. Then I thought I had agreed with a regular customer and then I had fallen for it. Then it was a group of several men who wanted to live out their fantasies, or it was a punishment with HX or another from my past who wanted to make sure I remained a slave. These moments were hell for me time after time. The moment you think you have everything under control, few unexpected things happen and the way things are going, you can handle it, something very intense always happens. The tortures and the unexpected painful moments are so big that everything collapses under your feet and disappears. Everything you had built up is gone in one blow and you have to fight all over again for the safety you thought you had. Devastating.
One time I was under the impression that I had an appointment with a client at the hotel. When I got there, HX and a few more guys were there. I had a hard lesson there after not quite following their rules. I was worked on inside with a knife, stitched up and had to recover for days. The longer you are their slave, the more you dance to their tune. You survive.
I was good at my double life. Being married, working, raising children and continuing to plan my appointments went well for me. I was not aware that I was addicted to drugs, but it took its toll on my body. My pregnancies were problematic, my children had problems after birth, and my body was eating itself due to the massive overtime combined with breastfeeding and stress. I ate my way around the world to stay at enough pounds, but it didn't work, so at some point I started living on calorie shakes.
My kidneys were shutting down and my body was regularly telling me it couldn't take it anymore, but I kept going. There was no way to stop and there was no way to give up. The choice was to continue or to die. The latter was no longer possible as I had to take care of my children. The days that my appointments could not be planned properly, I arranged babysitting, excuses or other things. Very often a sex date went wrong, so I came home later than expected. The babysitters were already used to it and so was my partner. I regularly scheduled fictitious appointments, so that I created time in my week to meet with men. I had a completely well-created life that was tailored to what the cult wanted from me and I obeyed like it was the most natural thing in the world.
Haven't I ever thought about quitting? Oh, yes, you have. But every time I took steps to do so, it cost me dearly. Every time I showed the slightest sign that I wanted to go another way than them, I was punished hard and my life or that of my children was in danger. I let it out of my head.
In the group I had regularly seen people killed, because they had tried to go another way. They call you an apostate, a sinner. You are hanged and stabbed and disgraced in front of your whole family. Your blood gets on your family standing around and you are laughed at. Not something you wish on each other.
Adult sex work
There is a part in me that did most of the sex work in NL, her name is Ilze. She has borne so much pain and misery and has absorbed so much so that I and other parts, but also people around us would be safer. Ilze is the hard worker, who gives everything for another. Ilze is the one who continues at all costs to survive, to collect, to collapse and to get up again, before others notice.
Ilze is the one who was addicted to pills and who very bravely started telling what was happening every day. We came in therapy and slowly Ilze started talking. She had a different name, which our family had given her and which she listened to, but more and more it became clear that her identity was not in the work she did, or the task she had, but that she was made as they wanted her to be, but that this did not match reality. Ilze went looking for herself and with trial and error and hard fighting and asking for help over and over again, she has to this day stopped having sex appointments and taking drugs.
This road was immense and intense. From not listening to the people you've always listened to, to getting off the drugs and telling you the hard times when the urge to hurt is strong. Ilze has picked up every fight and seized her chance to get away from it. Rehab was super tough. She had a lifelong addiction behind her and by stopping slowly, step by step, she started to feel it. Sometimes the craving for pills was still so great and there was so much emotional pain, that she would fall back and make an appointment with the cult or a client. The consequences were huge, which made the lesson very hard. But it also made her want to stop more and more and fight against her weak spots.
Every day it is still a battle in her head. Every day she is afraid of retaliation and reckoning, of the possibility that her videos and photos will become public knowledge, at work and with her children. The shame is immense and the feeling of guilt is enormous. With great regularity the desire for numbing of feelings is very great. The desire for drugs, for violent sex, so you can go out and don't have to feel anything anymore. The more negative feelings, the more dampening it is. The reason why people can be so self-destructive is so deep. The only antidote is talking about it and bringing it into the light. Writing, talking and sharing. It really works.
The photos are almost all with images of huge moments of shame. Moments when she has sex with animals, to being completely bloodied by what others have done, as well as moments when she hurts others. I say she, but I know it must also be me. She is me and I am her, but she is not yet fully intertwined with me. I see it, I feel it and I know it, but she led such a different life than I did. It's so hard to accept that my hands did these things.
We have pictures showing me strangling a girl while another is having sex with her. My head is showing, her head is showing, but he is not showing. This girl did not survive because of our hands. There have been endless conversations about guilt and shame. Where it belongs and how we should see it, and yes without a family like mine and without the people who were around me, I would never have done these things, but the fact remains that they were done, by my hands.
In addition to the guilt and shame, there is also an attachment problem. The uncle who picked me up from school and dropped me off at clients' houses was also the uncle who gave us security when people wanted something we weren't allowed to do. That uncle also made sure we weren't killed and that we got home on time. But that uncle also hung me in the barn, naked, for days on end, to teach me not to talk to others. Very complicated, a love-hate relationship.
Ilze has many of these relationships, because within the appointments with men, there were also regular customers with whom she got along well. Men who pampered her and made her feel important. Attention, a little love, in exchange for a little sex and time. The struggle to break free of these twists and turns of thought has been very hard. She was never angry with them, never felt intense anger. She felt fear. But since a few months she is angry. She is hurt and wounded, because they did this to her. Since months she sees that they really didn't love her, but that she was used. The start of real healing and an identity of her own.
In daily life we are still haunted by this piece of the past. People we know from sex dates we meet in daily life, often together with their families; the sound of a camera on TV or in real life; nonchalant, free behavior of men which triggers and the whistle in the street to a teenager cycling by with not too much clothing. Ilze of course always knew this, but the other parts knew nothing of this, it was our normal life.