Last March there was an article in the Stranger about the aggressive criminal prosecution of a teenager who was being prostituted. Police and prosecutors claimed she engaged in “high risk behaviors,” carried a knife (I should hope so), and was in grave danger and likely to be raped. Instead of getting her some help in the form of support from women, money, a place to live, a reason to hope, prosecutors figured the thing to do was lock her up for a year in the Echo Glen Children’s Center. Evidently that is the trend here — to aggressively prosecute prostituted teenagers “for their own good.” Never mind the many young-through-aging pieces of human excrement who seek out little girls like this to rape and molest– they walk. Never mind the pimps the teenage girls are supporting.
In this week’s Stranger, the reporter who wrote about this particular girl’s situation published a letter he was able to to obtain from the girl’s pimp, who is in jail on domestic violence charges. The letter was originally published on SLOG, the Stranger’s blog.
How you doing babes? I need you to do something for me. SMILE.
Now I must get down to business with you. I hope you know what I expect of you when the 20th comes around. I expect for you to continue to handle yourself in a productive, professional fashion as if I was still there, because I am. I’m still here. Do not let these people tear us apart. Every time they took you away from me, I was there smiling when you came back. Now I expect the same from you and without a doubt in my mind, I know you will be. I need you to be my better half and continue to hold me down like you always have. I believe in you. Here is the ultimate test.
Now I need you to switch and play my role for yourself so I’m going to give you the Dos & Don’ts that you need to follow and apply at all times. With no exceptions or excuses. Period.
Don’t ever run out of condoms.
Don’t consume any alcoholic beverages or ingest any form of drug or illegal substance in any way shape or form while at work or 3 hours before.
Don’t reckless [sic] eyeball or communicate in any way shape or form with any individuals of African descent.
Don’t ever get in a car with tinted windows you can’t see in.
Don’t ever double date with another girl.
Don’t ever get comfortable or close with any other females at work.
The letter goes on to tell the girl how to send the pimp her earnings while he’s in jail, and ends with these words:
Nothing has changed. I need you to continue to be my better half. I wish that I could be there for you in the flesh and I promise to be back before you think. So hold me down like I know you can. Shine.
In another letter, the pimp wrote:
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in life to become strong enough to fly.
Struggle with me and we’ll fly together.
-This is what you strive to obtain:
We’re Bonnie and Clyde now. It’s me and you against the world.
I wonder if people realize how powerful words like this are in the ears of a troubled little girl who believes everyone has turned against her and she has nowhere to go. I wonder if people understand the power of this level of mind and body control. It is very much like religion, really– it’s all up to her. All she has to do is be obedient, do things right, and she will SHINE. She just has to follow the rules, endure the “struggles,” and remain loyal and faithful, and then the pimp, in her eyes a powerful person, like God, like a parent, like a lover, will be proud of her.
Of interest to me is the stern admonitions not to get close to another girl. Solidarity with another girl, or girls, might mean this little girl will begin to get strong, will begin to be empowered, might get funny ideas in her head about going out on her own, no more gravy train for the pimp. She might even get free with the support of other girls. It is of paramount concern, always, to the patriarchs that women be kept from bonding with one another, that their loyalties remain with men, whether fathers, male family members, church leaders, husbands, pimps.
Of course, if the girl disobeys or breaks the rules, she will be beaten by this man, who is in jail, again, for domestic violence, and it will be her own fault then. She knew better.
She is terrorized on every side by men. What choices does she have, really? She has the choice to trust her pimp and believe his rap, or the choice to be beaten by him. She has the choice to go out on the street and possibly to be beaten, raped, killed, arrested, thrown in jail for a year. Or she has the choice to obey the pimp, play by his rules, and hope against hope she survives it and that he really means what he says in those letters he sends to her.
Meanwhile there all the men who prostitute her and little girls like her, who don’t look back, who go on about their lives as though this little girl did not exist.