I don’t normally do book reviews but ‘In Her Own Words’ (part of the ‘Soul Destruction’ series) by Ruth Jacobs is such a moving and honest account of the sex industry that I simply had to give it a shout out.
Ruth studied prostitution in the late 1990s, which sparked her interest in the subject. Her novels dispel the ‘happy hooker’ myth and expose the dark world and the harsh reality of life as a call girl. She draws on her research and the women she interviewed for inspiration. She also has first-hand experience of some of the topics she writes about, such as post traumatic stress disorder and drug and alcohol addiction.)
Ruth explains what her work is about far better than I could:
In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl is the unedited transcript from an interview I undertook with a London call girl in the late 1990s. It is an enlightening and moving, first-hand account of a woman’s life affected by prostitution, exposing the emotional, psychological and social effects of living that existence. All royalties from this publication are being donated to Beyond the Streets, a charity helping women exit prostitution.
This charity publication and the cause is very close to my heart, partly because the woman I
interviewed was a very dear friend, a wonderful person, and who had a terribly sad life, with
childhood sexual abuse and then being pimped on the streets from the age of fifteen. As
she is no longer alive, this is the reason I wanted the royalties to be donated to Beyond the
The stigma a significant section of society has against prostitutes and prostitution is mainly
due to lack of knowledge. 75% of prostitutes have been sexually and physically abused as
children, 70% have experienced multiple rapes, and 67% meet the criteria for posttraumatic
stress disorder, which is a major cause of suicide.
With this publication, I hope to show the reality of life for women working in prostitution,
the effects it has on them psychologically, emotionally, in relationships with men, how they
are viewed and how they feel they are viewed by society as outsiders and outcasts, often
judged and looked down on. Seeing them as real people, with real feelings, and acquiring
an insight into their tormented childhoods and painful present lives, allows people who are
not in that life to gain an informed perception of who these women really are, and with that
knowledge, are less likely to judge but instead develop compassion.
Extract from “In Her Own Words… Interview with a London Call Girl”
From a young age, from like being fifteen, I’ve been hardened to it. The first…when I first
started doing it, I cried my eyes out every day and just scrubbed myself in bleach and…I felt
like I’d been raped. It was just…it really screwed my mind up. And there’s this feeling when
you get…when you’re with a client and it’s like sometimes when you feel like…you grab your
fists and it’s like, “Get off me! Get off me!” And it’s like…you know you can’t push them off
you, right? Because you know you’re getting paid for it. So it’s basically allowing yourself to.
be raped, right? But you can’t even fight them back or say, “Get off me.” It’s like…and you
cry while it’s happening and all this shit, and you go home and you cry yourself to sleep after
all that shit, and it happens to you a lot of times until eventually that feeling goes away,
and that feeling…you don’t get that feeling anymore. It gets less and less and less. And you
become hardened in your like…your heart and your soul to it, and this is when you get the
hatred for the men.
To find out more about Ruth Jacobs and her Soul Destruction series of novels visit