A former DCU student, who by the age of 22 had spent a third of her life in prostitution, has penned a book giving a unique insight into her experiences and prostitution in Ireland.
Rachel Moran, who now works with a global group pushing for a change in legislation regarding prostitution, left home at 14 and worked on the streets for seven years before going back to education to study for a degree in Journalism at DCU. Her new book, ‘Paid For: My Journey through Prostitution’, was released recently.
Speaking on the Late Late Show on Friday April 12th, Moran described how she grew up with two mentally ill parents. When she was 12 her father committed suicide. She left home two years later and lived on and off the streets until a man in his 20s told her he had a great idea for how she could earn money.
She worked mainly on Benburb Street, Burlington Road and Waterloo road in Dublin City Centre and would have to see between 7 and 10 men on a night in order to make £100. “I had no other options,” she said of her lifestyle, “I’d no way to support myself and here was a way”.
While full intercourse attracted the highest fee at £20, she refused to engage in this. Her scariest moment working on the streets was a night where she had a rifle pointed at her, aged 15, for refusing to engage in full intercourse. She was frequently physically, sexually and verbally abused and was treated with the attitude that she could “put up or shut up”. Prostitution, she said, had destroyed her sense of self-worth.
“You get these men playing out their porn fantasies and your body is the utensil… It’s disgusting,” she told presenter Ryan Tubridy. Moran also described how she became a cocaine addict as she needed “to take herself out of the situation mentally” after a night’s work.
Aged 22, Moran realised she wouldn’t be able to provide a stable home for her four-year-old son and continue working on the streets. She spent a year living in poverty in a holiday home outside Dublin before coming back to do a PLC course in 2000. On the back of her results in that she was accepted onto the Journalism degree course at DCU.
Describing how she felt slightly out of place in college after seven years on the streets, she said “it was funny, I didn’t feel vulnerable for the most part of prostitution but I felt vulnerable in college because I didn’t feel any right to be there. Stubbornness kept me there”.
Image Credit: Quinnums via Flickr via Wikimediacommons.org