Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The coercion,exploitation,psychological and sexual abuse of women in pornography (Part two)

Michelle Sinclair "Now I'm gonna cry"

Shelley Lubben

Shelley Lubben (born May 18, 1968) is an American author, singer, motivational speaker, and former pornographic actress. As a performer in the adult film industry, she was known professionally as Roxy. After she left the sex industry, Lubben became a born-again Christian and anti-pornography activist. As of 2012, she is the Executive Director of the Pink Cross Foundation, which reaches out to women and men in pornography and speaks in public forums, sharing about the hazardous working conditions that she experienced in the porn industry.
 In the autobiography she wrote for her website (, Shelley, born in 1968, notes that she attended “a good church” with her family and that, “as a little girl, I knew and loved Jesus very much.” Unfortunately, her stable if unaffectionate family moved to another location and stopped going to church. Television became the basis of their family life.
Then, at age nine, a classmate and the girl’s teenage brother sexually molested Shelley. With no one to turn to or redress her abuse, Shelley defused her anxiety via auto-eroticism and furtive sexual forays with both girls and boys. “It felt good to be wanted by someone and to receive attention, but at the same time I felt dirty. I didn’t recognize until much later that my entire childhood had been sexually hijacked.”
She carried shame and self-blame into her teen years. “It must be something evil in me,” she thought. She “started having sex at age 16” and became a “rebellious resentful teenager who acted out to get attention.” Hoping to keep peace in the home, her parents let Shelley dress up as a Playboy bunny and date strange boys, who led her into drug and alcohol abuse. The family tried counselling to no avail. Unable to understand what to do, her parents “told me to leave home at age 18.”
She landed in the San Fernando valley with no food and no money. “A ‘nice’ man saw I was upset and told me how sorry he was.” Still shocked and angry about being kicked out the house, so “that I didn’t care any more . . . I sold myself for $35.”
Thus Shelley entered a life of prostitution, but the money, jewellery, and gifts soon included bizarre sex with strangers who stalked her, slashed her tires, and threatened to kill her if she demurred from performing certain sex acts. One man tried to kill her with his truck, and she often had to lie her way out of frightening situations. During her eight years as a prostitute and exotic dancer, she had two miscarriages and one birth. Little Tiffany grew up living “with a lewd wild woman.”

Most of her prostitution money went for drugs and alcohol to blot out the trauma of her life. To avoid the rapes and arrests for prostitution, she turned to pornography because “it seemed safer and more legal.” However, even prostitution did not involve the brutal kinds of rape and degradation that she endured while “starring” in pornography. Soon she was required to do very hardcore scenes.
  During her time in the sex industry, she contracted herpes and HPV, which led to cervical cancer, and resulted in the removal of half her cervix. During and after her life in the sex industry, she battled alcohol and drug addictions. During her pornographic career, which lasted from 1993–1994, Lubben appeared in about 15 hardcore movies. Lubben has stated that the sex acts that women perform on film sets are physically harmful (including anal and uterine haemorrhaging), and psychologically traumatizing
Only more drugs and alcohol could get me through them. . . . I sold what was left of my heart, mind and femininity to the porn industry and the woman and person in me died completely on the porn set.” After becoming infected with herpes, I quietly left the porn industry but went back to prostitution to survive.
 The sexual violence and degradation of modern pornography was so bad that she left her economically rewarding “star” roles to return to a safer life doing “straight” prostitution. The “glamour” of porn is only a mask:

 “You have to do what they want on the sets,” she says. “There’s too much competition. They can always find other girls. Girls bring in their friends and get kickbacks. They feel like stars. They get attention. It’s all about the spotlight. It’s all about me. They have notoriety. They don’t realize the degradation. Besides, this is a whole generation raised on porn. They’re jaded and don’t even ask if it is wrong. They fall into it. They get into drugs to numb themselves. They get their asses ripped. Their uterus haemorrhages. They get HPV and herpes, and they turn themselves off emotionally and die. They check out mentally. They get PTSD like Vietnam vets. They don’t know who they are. They live a life of shopping and drugs. They don’t buy real estate. They party, and in the end they have nothing to show for it except, like me, genital herpes and fake boobs.”

In 2005, Lubben initiated an aggressive online marketing campaign, utilizing social networking web sites in order to reach out to the sex industry. In 2008, Lubben established a faith based organization called the Pink Cross Foundation. The group concentrates on outreach to and evangelism of those in the porn industry, especially performers, and offers support to those wishing to leave the industry.  A secondary focus of Pink Cross is outreach to individuals seeking recovery from pornography addiction. Pink Cross attends pornography conventions to educate fans about how porn is not glamorous and also reaching out to porn stars and reminding them that they have options.
The Pink Cross Foundation also lobbies against pornography and the adult entertainment industry. Lubben supported California legislator Charles Calderon in his effort to tax the pornographic industry by speaking to lawmakers about her experiences. Lubben indicated that the scenes on the set of a hardcore porn film often involve a woman and several men who are doing degrading acts to the woman. Lubben describes the scene of a hardcore porn film as devoid of intimacy, and describes it as "all mechanical and beastly". She further writes that "women are vomiting off the set, and most of the actors are doing drugs and alcohol." In June 2010, she spoke to U.S. House and Senate members and their staffs in Washington DC about the damage that was done to her body from her time in the porn industry. She continues to be outspoken regarding the illegal and hazardous working conditions in the industry, with sexually transmitted diseases being a workplace safety issue and public health concern.
As of 2012, she presents her personal experiences in the adult film industry in public forums and speaks out about her recovery process and the emotional, mental, and physical effects of pornography on performers. In February 2011, she spoke at a Cambridge University, where she presented the harmful effects of pornography and debated the issue with advocates speaking on behalf of the pornography industry.
In January 2013, Swiss recording artist and model Patrick Nuo publicly claimed that Lubben helped him deal with his pornography addiction.
In January 2016, The Pink Cross Foundation closed.
But her personal website is still online.

Sharon Mitchell

Sharon Mitchell is an American sexologist and former pornographic film actor. In 1998, she founded the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation (AIM), which tested over 1,000 adult film performers per month before a 2011 information leak led to a lawsuit and the clinic's closure.
 During her 20-year career in adult films, she appeared in over 600 movies and directed 29 movies. During her years in the industry, Mitchell admits to being a heroin addict for sixteen of them. Mitchell also contracted herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis, and trichomoniasis.
An adopted only child raised as a Roman Catholic in the farm country of Monmouth County, N.J., Dr. Mitchell was an Off Broadway actress and dancer -- she toured with the Martha Graham company -- before starring in hard-core movies in the mid-1970's. It was, she acknowledged, a radical, liberating rupture from her upbringing.

She combined the look of a runaway bad kid with the girl next door.
She started out in New York as a dancer and actress, and a regular on the New York punk music scene, before becoming a staple in the growing adult film industry as a borderline underage performer.
She was frenetic and busy, starring in films and in strip clubs, taking acting and dancing classes, working as a dominatrix, and singing in bands.

"I've worked in that industry since I was 17," she said. "They (adult filmmakers) think they can do anything. They think this is the Wild West."
 Drugs were a different matter. Dr. Mitchell delved into heroin, she said, an addiction that lasted nearly two decades. ''People I worked with knew I was an addict,'' she said. ''I never felt it necessary to hide it.''

Tired from her shift at a strip club and in need of a heroin fix, Sharon Mitchell was about to turn the key in her front door on a March night in 1996 when a man sprang from the darkness and grabbed her by the throat. In 1996, Mitchell was working the nightshift, stripping in a smoky Los Angeles bar. She noticed a man sitting directly in front of the stage. He was hooting like any other fan, drunk and belligerent, but seemed more threatening than most, scattering the pejorative “devil” among the more commonly heard “filthy bitch” and “whore”. After work, Mitchell drove quickly across the San Fernando Valley, anxious to get home for a heroin fix, a habit she had supported for 17 years by working as an adult film star and stripper. As she entered her apartment, the man from the club burst in, knocked her to the floor, and raped her. During the attack, he broke her nose, knocked out three of her teeth, crushed her larynx, and bit chunks of flesh from her body. Mitchell finally managed to grab a dumb-bell and hit the man in the temple. He collapsed on her. As she faded into unconsciousness, she swore to herself “I've never had an education, never a legitimate job, I've never even been a mother. So help me God, if I manage to live through this, I will change my life.”

 "I did one of my first scenes with Jamie Gillis, and another young man (Russ Carlson) in Vanessa del Rio’s film That Lady from Rio. The director was trying to talk me into a double penetration or something and I had never even fucking heard of it you know. Jamie was like, “This girl just walked on the set. She has no idea.” I remember him arguing with the guy about that and he just kept saying, “You know what? Just listen to me. I’ll take care of you for a couple of months.” He could see that someone could have taken advantage of me. From that day forward, I worked with him in tons of films. He always watched out for me, and he was always a sweetheart and never judged me. We lived together from time to time and with other folks, and we shared apartments. I loved Jamie. Jamie was like the perverted father I always wanted to have.
  "There was a ton of money around in porn and I made up my mind that I was just going to stay working regardless of the type of work there was. There were two things I knew I didn’t want to do: one of them was prostitution, and the other one was being a waitress. I wanted to fucking avoid those two things. I was getting a lot of work as well. There wasn’t enough money to become a fulltime mainstream actress. I would have done it sure, but back then, porn was kind of a rotten thing to do. You had to walk into a theatre to watch porn because it wasn’t on TV back then; it wasn’t even on videotape. It was really a shocking thing to do porn which was part of the appeal for me. I was an anarchist, so it was a way to cause trouble and mayhem.
 "You know people always ask me, “Was it heroin that drew you into porn?” It really wasn’t about one or the other. It’s just that I was experimenting with drugs ever since I could probably walk. I had been working every night literally, so when cocaine came along it kind of helped me stay awake. Heroin was the perfect drug for me and the good thing about it I was very careful, thank god. I never shared a needle and I was so secretive, I didn’t want anyone to know. There was nothing like heroin. There’s nothing that can compare to it before and very little since. It was something that took away any kind of anxiety or pain that was emotional or physical, or any type of chaos going in inside of my head ─ any type of feeling that I didn’t fit in. When I found that to go with the cocaine, I eventually dropped the cocaine."

It took Mitchell 2 years from the time she got out of hospital to become a licensed addiction counsellor. Meanwhile, she worked as a video engineer's assistant, caterer on low-budget horror and mainstream films, florist, dog walker, and maid. “I was willing to do anything”, she says. “I just didn't want to do porn.” After earning California certification as an addiction counsellor, she obtained an MA, and then a PhD from the Institute for the Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality in San Francisco, California.

The Free Speech Coalition said Tuesday that AIM Medical Associates has closed as a result of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's steady campaign against the clinic that served nearly all of the business' performers.
In order to avoid a significant gap in health services for performers, FSC said it has drawn up preliminary strategies to offer options for performer testing protocols.

 Nadia Styles

Nadia Styles (real name Patrice Roldan, born June 25, 1982) is an American pornographic actress.
Growing up, Styles had a difficult childhood and a physically abusive mother who threw her out of her home at age 17. Styles entered the adult industry as an Internet model by answering an advertisement in LA Weekly. She shot her first film for New Sensations at the age of 19. During her career of over 250 films, she would contract gonorrhoea several times, along with other sexually transmitted diseases, and she also became pregnant and had an abortion. In her second year as an adult actress, she was making an income of $100,000. She had started to take drugs and pain-killers, such as Vicodin, and/or abusing alcohol, according to her, to free herself from the pain she experienced at that time.

Roldan, like many of the women who drift into the porn and prostitution industry, had a difficult and troubled childhood, including a physically abusive mother. Her mother threw her out of her home when she was 17, and she spent time in homeless shelters. She answered an ad in LA Weekly that offered women $1,000 as models. This is a common doorway into the porn industry. She started appearing in Internet porn. She had a boyfriend when she began filming and tells me she “felt guilty” about hiding her porn sessions from him, but the money was good. Her boyfriend eventually found out, and their relationship descended into one increasingly characterized by verbal and physical abuse. She drifted from the Internet into films. She was 19 when she made her first film.
 She had been promised $1,000 for her first film. She was handed $600 when the scene was done. She also contracted gonorrhoea. Porn stars are tested for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases once a month, but “people do so many scenes between tests that a month is a long time.” She began, once she had treated her gonorrhoea, to do films three or four times a month. She would have several more bouts with gonorrhoea and other sexually transmitted diseases during her career. She got pregnant and had an abortion. The demands on her began to escalate. She was filmed with multiple partners. Her scenes became “extremely rough. They would pull my hair, slap me around like a rag doll.
 She became a staple in “gonzo” porn films. Gonzo movies are usually filmed in a house or hotel room. They are porn verite. The performers often acknowledge the camera and speak to it. Gonzo films push the boundaries of porn and often include a lot of violence, physical abuse and a huge number of partners in succession.
 Roldan would endure numerous penetrations by various men in a shoot, most of them “super-rough.” As she talks of her career in porn, her eyes take on a dead, faraway look. Her breathing becomes more rapid. She slips into a flat, numbing monotone. The symptoms are ones I know well from interviewing victims of atrocities in war who battle posttraumatic stress disorder.

The cruelty takes a toll on the bodies, as well as the emotions, of porn actresses. Many suffer severe repeated vaginal and anal tears that require surgery.
The male stars are encouraged to be rough and hostile. Some, she says, “hated women. They would spit in my face. I was devastated the first time that happened, but I thought it was good they were rough because of my abusive relationships. I thought roughness in porn was OK. I would say, ‘Treat me like a little slut,’ or ‘I’m your bitch,’ or ‘Fuck me like a whore.’ I would say the most degrading things I could say about myself because I thought this was what it meant to be sexy and what people wanted to hear, or at least the people who buy the films. You are just a slut to those who watch. You are nothing. They want to see that we know that.”

She would shoot scenes with men who disgusted her, whose sweat and smell “made me cringe.” And when the lights went off and the cameras stopped, she would stumble off the set in pain, her face often covered with semen. “Sometimes they would hand you a paper towel to wipe your face off,” she says, “and sometimes they would say, ‘Don’t touch us. You’re gross.’ I remember the first time I had come all over my face. I was so pissed off, but I took it. I pretended to like everything they did. I took pride in being a good gonzo girl. My fame came from this.”
By the second year of shooting, with an income of $100,000, she had turned to drugs, including painkillers and muscle relaxants.
“The lifestyle of a porn star is to spend your money as soon as you make it on weed, alcohol, coke, ecstasy and Vicodin,” Roldan says. “I wanted to be the good gonzo girl they wanted me to be. I took this so I would not feel anything. By the next year, instead of only Vicodin I began to drink vodka, a whole bottle. Every girl I knew used alcohol. We were drinking so we did not feel the pain.”
 Four years into the industry I finally took a step out of my porn life box and looked at all the abuse that was going on around me with myself and others. I practically took a whole year off. I went back making movies again the next year. I needed money and I didn't know anything else for myself to make money. Porn was all I knew. I still had a bad alcohol problem and I would take pills to do my scenes again because I simply didn't feel comfortable.

She left the adult industry in December 2008 and became an opponent of the pornography industry with Shelley Lubben's Pink Cross Foundation. In 2014, she stated that she had shot new adult scenes and was returning as an adult star. She cut ties with the Pink Cross Foundation, stating that

"Their agenda did not fit accordingly to what I wanted for myself",and that her departure from
porn was more about her own struggles than the industry itself: "I was not fighting against porn. I was fighting against me."
Recently, Roldan has had a baby and appears to be doing cam-sex work.


Belladonna (born Michelle Anne Sinclair; May 21, 1981) is an American former pornographic actress, pornographic film director, actress and producer.
Michelle was the second of seven children and raised in the church. She had a distinct personality,her mother Dianna Paden says: extroverted and attention-seeking.
After Paden’s husband retired from the military, the family moved from a Delaware farm community to Salt Lake City. Her own history, Paden thought, was repeating itself.
She became increasingly desperate with her children. “I wanted sports, music, art in their lives,” she says. “But most of them ended up doing what I did 'drugs and sexual experimentation.”
When it came to seeking attention, however, Sinclair was in a league apart from her siblings. She attempted suicide at 11 and wound up having her stomach pumped of prescription drugs. At 12, she began stealing her father’s car. She’d wait till her parents were in bed, put it in neutral and let it roll down the drive, and turn the key.

When Sinclair got her first tattoo at 13, Paden, incredulous, tried to rub it off. Then Sinclair again tried another drug overdose, this time with two friends.when Michelle was 14 she was molested by an older boy. Afterwards, she had a breakdown, attempting suicide. She was put on 24-hour watch in a hospital, then discharged.
Sinclair dropped out of high school at 15 and moved in with a boyfriend. When she was 17, she accompanied a friend who worked as a stripper and another woman to a bachelor party to see what it involved. Sinclair says the two of them danced before a room of cops. One cop offered Sinclair $50 to take her shirt off.
 Michelle had gotten her start in the business at 18, when she came to Los Angeles from her home in Utah to look for work as a nude photograph model. When she failed to get modeling work, her agent encouraged her to try porn. She refused at first. "I always hated porn. I thought it was the most disgusting thing in the world," she told Primetime, which followed her career for more than two years.
 One muggy morning in Los Angeles in 1999, Sinclair got out of her agent’s car in the porn-capital suburb of Chatsworth and went into a house. The home-owner, also the director of what would be Sinclair’s porn debut, introduced her to the make-up artist.
“I was so nervous about am I going to do a good job,” she recalls. “I kept asking him, ‘Tell me what you want me to do.’” The male talent arrived.
Are you sure you won’t do anal today?” the director asked.

“Does it hurt?” she said.
He offered her another $600 beyond the $1,000 she’d been promised. She recalls worrying, “If I don’t do this, am I going to be hired again?

 Another director had told Michelle that Nacho Vidal liked her work, and when the pair saw each other on a Prague porn set, they immediately fell into each other's arms, kissing from one side of the house to the other.
"There's nothing bad about you," she told him admiringly as they prepared for the shoot. "You don't know me very well" he replied with a grin.
But when the director finally got the pair to settle down to the business at hand — filming a sex scene — the tone changed. Without any prompting, Vidal got rough during the sex, slapping Michelle's face violently from side to side, and choking her.
Afterward, she looked shaken, her face reddened and her eyes watery. But she insisted she was OK. "I look torn up — can you tell?," she asked an ABCNEWS producer who was following her progress for Primetime. Laughing and wiping her eye, she turned away and said without conviction, "I took a beating today, and it was great." 
 By December 2001, Michelle and Vidal were engaged. As she proudly showed off her diamond ring, saying how pretty it was, Vidal joked in his Spanish accent, "I need to f—k so many girls for that ring."
When Sinclair flew out to Los Angeles several months earlier, she hadn’t intended to do film. She’d sent her photos to a West Coast agent who told her he’d pick her up in a limo at the airport. Instead, he turned up in what she calls “a ghetto car with its windows broken.”
Her plan was to do girl-on-girl magazine photo shoots, but the agent said the work was in boy-girl porn.
Straight sex on camera with a stranger was one thing, a request for anal sex quite another. She didn’t want to do it, but finally agreed. “This is what people want from me,” she resolved. “I’m going to give it to them.”
Word spread quickly in the tight-knit porn community she would do what many others would not.

After the session, she was shattered. "I wasn't ready for anal sex … It was painful. But I can hide it really well." She had just turned 18, the legal age for participation in sexually explicit films.
Soon after, an agent and a director talked her into doing a 12-man rape scene in a prison cell while she was menstruating for $3,500. she would have sex with male actors in prison outfits — 12 of them. Once again, she tried to back out, telling the director it was "sick," but once again she was talked into it. She had sex — all kinds — with the 12 men. "It was really hard because I really felt like a piece of meat … in a lion's cage, 12 lions … I had to do a lot of things I can't imagine anyone wanting to do.I didn’t handle the pressure well; I gave in,” she says. “The guy who owned the company said, ‘I really want you to do this. I’ll give you the box cover.’ ‘Fine, I’ll do it.’ I was sick of being asked.”

Afterwards, she says, she couldn't stop crying. She packed her bags and went home to her family in Utah. But within a year, she was back, even agreeing to promote the prison movie that had so upset her. 

 Michelle couldn't get a high-end studio contract, and ended up taking a job with a company known for "gonzo" porn — sex-only, amateur-looking productions shot on video. The company, Elegant Angel, was making a film in Prague and offered her a starring role, which she hoped would show the big studios that she could carry a film. Michelle has already contracted chlamydia, a venereal disease which can make you sterile. She says "The fans don't like to see condoms. If I were to say I want to use condoms every time, I really wouldn't get any work. Condoms should be legal because you're talking about your life, you know".
Michelle with husband Aiden Kelly

If loyalty was all she asked of her boyfriends, she was sadly disappointed. A Spanish porn star, her lover for three years, acted as if her feelings didn’t exist. There were times, she says, she felt all she was to him was a whore.
She was in a cold, dark, depressing place, she says. “I used to smoke a lot of marijuana. That was how I woke up in the morning, that was how I went to bed at night. I was just numb, nothing ever affected me. I did scenes like the gang bang, then smoked it away. I was making everyone else happy, but a lot of the times I didn’t do what my heart wanted.”
 Shortly after, Sinclair began dating Aiden Kelly. An ex-Bostonian, Kelly built the Evil Angel distributing company’s Website. “I didn’t mind looking at porn all day long,” he says. Indeed, Kelly was a fan of Belladonna’s work. “She was the only porn star I fantasized about.”
Their relationship skirts porn norms, if only because it’s an industry truism that female stars’ husbands or partners have trouble watching their partners having sex on camera. Not for Kelly, he directs and produces most of Sinclair's hard-core movies.
“I’m a voyeur,” he says. “It’s also a fantasy of mine to see my wife have sex with another man.” But not off camera, Sinclair adds On camera or not, dollar signs seem to complicate Kelly’s erotic impulses. His single-minded goal is building a Belladonna-movie-catalog that will provide financial security for his family. If, he hypothesizes, he were to find himself spying on his wife with another man, he’d be too angry at not having a camera on hand to film it to get much pleasure from what he was watching. Ask Sinclair what arouses her on film, and she sighs. “I would get off to something in a regular movie. Two people kissing. I love kissing, almost touching but not, kind of like a tease.”

Kelly, however, thinks French kissing is for 13-year-old girls. 
  Kelly says. “There are times she’s said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ And I’m like, ‘You’re on top of the industry.’”
Two months ago, she signed up for massage-therapy college. “I give killer two-hour massages,” Sinclair says. She didn’t finish high school, so she had to study for a high school equivalency test. Kelly was unhappy about it.
“I don’t even need to be in the movies,” she says. “But he likes me to be involved.”
After a week of Kelly’s pouting, Sinclair returned to working with her husband. “It’s tough being married,” she sighs.

 Sinclair’s 2-year-old daughter was born into porn. Whether she’ll be able to avoid being touched by her mother’s profession as she grows up seems unlikely. She’s already had a brush with porn notoriety. When born, Kelly put her picture on the Belladonna’s Website the same day. Sinclair told him to take it down. Fans still send clothes for their child. Sinclair doesn’t know how to respond.

On a  segment on ABC’s Primetime, hosted by Diane Sawyer. Sinclair broke down on camera, admitting how unhappy she was in porn. Sinclair’s mother Dianna Paden told Sawyer her daughter was abused by a stranger at age 14. Porn opponents say many sex performers suffer sexual abuse when young.
Ask Sinclair about that abuse incident now, and she recalls accompanying a friend to a man’s house in Salt Lake City. When her friend disappeared, Sinclair went in another man’s room and closed the door. He flirted with her, touched her.
“In my head, I was saying, ‘I don’t want to do this, no, no, no,’” she recalls. “But I never said anything. … I never knew how to say ‘no,’ I wasn’t confident enough. People took advantage of me. In my head, I was raped.”
“Guess you were,” Kelly says.

If Sinclair is at war, it’s not so much with the compromises of married life as the success her Belladonna alter-ego has built around her. Now that she wants to focus on raising her daughter, on doing other things with her body than sex for public consumption, stripping Bella out of her life isn’t all that easy.
But, if her instincts as a mother are telling her to exit porn, they are also forcing her to confront her family’s history and the victimization she says overshadows her past for three generations. It’s a pattern, she says, “that blows me away.” Now, for the sake of her daughter, Sinclair is determined that pattern will end with her own generation.
Her little girl’s future, she insists, will be different from her own past. “I spent a good part of my life comfortable being a victim, wanting people to be sorry for me,” she says. “I won’t let that happen to my daughter.”

No comments:

Post a Comment