We received an anonymous question and we wanted to provide an answer. The question was, in relevant part, “Why is my daughter an alcoholic and a prostitute?”
This is a very serious question (undoubtedly a traumatic and difficult one for the questioner involved) and, as family law attorneys and criminal lawyers, we wanted to answer it with a concise discussion about the disease of alcoholism and why some people become sex workers (they may be called such names as escort, hooker, prostitute, and even the unfortunate term “whore”).
Causes of Alcoholism
People like to drink and get drunk. But some people are alcoholic. There can be various factors contributing to someone developing a problem with alcohol, which many people do, as alcohol is the most abused drug in Georgia.
It's important to approach alcohol dependence with care and empathy and to seek professional help if needed. Some potential factors that could contribute to a drinking issue include:
- Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to alcoholism. If there's a family history of alcohol misuse, individuals might be at a higher risk.
- Environmental Factors: Growing up in an environment where alcohol misuse is prevalent (perhaps mom and dad are both drunks) or normalized can influence behavior. Exposure to stress, trauma, or a lack of positive coping mechanisms can also contribute. Some people find it easier to shut out their worries with booze.
- Mental Health Issues: Individuals struggling with mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or trauma may turn to alcohol as a way to cope. The drunk exhibiting mental issues has become a cultural cliché.
- Peer Pressure: Social factors, including pressure from friends or peers (who might encourage slugging down beers, doing shots, or simply pounding mixed drinks to get totally intoxicated), can contribute to the development of alcohol-related issues.
- Personality Factors: Certain personality traits, such as impulsivity or a tendency to seek sensation, may contribute to alcohol misuse. Everyone knows an impulsive person who’ll drink (or do drugs) anytime day or night. They just want to get drunk or high!
- Lack of Coping Skills: If someone lacks effective coping mechanisms for dealing with stress or difficult emotions, they may turn to booze as a way to escape. Drinking offers a quick, cheap, and legal escape for millions of Georgians.
It's crucial to approach the situation with empathy and encourage your daughter to seek professional help. A mental health professional, counselor, pastor, or addiction specialist can provide guidance and support tailored to her specific needs and personality. If you're concerned about her well-being, consider having an open and non-judgmental conversation with her and expressing your support for seeking help.
Why Do Some People Become Prostitutes?
There can be numerous complex factors contributing to someone engaging in sex work (which is illegal in the state of Georgia), and it's important to approach such situations with the utmost sensitivity and empathy.
People may turn to sex work for various reasons, and individual circumstances can differ widely – we’ve seen people from all strata of society become prostitutes, from very poor people to very rich people. Some potential factors include:
- Economic Necessity: Financial struggles or limited economic opportunities may lead individuals to sex work as a means of survival or to meet basic needs. When bills are due and creditors are calling, for some people their only means of getting by is selling themselves for oral sex, anal sex, a massage with a “happy ending,” or participating in other sexual scenarios.
Some people, however, are from an affluent background and turn to sex work to earn extra spending money and garner some additional excitement. We have seen some very well-to-do ladies from such places as Milton, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, East Cobb and Buckhead who engage in sex work as a way to earn some additional spending money and to, as a few have described it, “add some spice” to their lives. A frequent complaint is that their husbands have lost interest in them sexually, or their husband was now gay.
- Coercion or Exploitation: Some individuals may be forced or coerced into sex work by others who take advantage of their vulnerability. They can be “pimped out” by exploitive criminals who take most of their financial earnings and often physically abuse the sex worker. Interestingly, the pimp will often insist the prostitute call him “daddy.” A woman who manages an escort service or other prostitution establishment is referred to as a “madam.”
- History of Abuse or Trauma: People who have experienced abuse, trauma, or difficult life circumstances may turn to sex work as a way to cope or exert control over their lives. Perhaps she or he was raped or molested as a young person. The prostitute or escort can feel empowered by her or his authority over the person paying for sexual contact.
- Addiction Issues: Substance abuse problems can sometimes lead individuals to engage in sex work to support their drug addiction (to drugs like meth, cocaine, acid, marijuana, mushrooms, pills). Prostitution or escorting call be a lucrative (usually cash) business.
- Lack of Support Networks: A lack of supportive relationships, whether with family or friends, can leave individuals feeling isolated and may contribute to their involvement in sex work. When a person feels he or she is without anyone to turn to, they may conclude that sex work is a reasonable alternative and an easy source of funds.
- Mental Health Challenges: Issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues might play a role in someone's decision to enter sex work. Studies have concluded that sex workers suffer a higher degree of mental illnesses than the general public.
Be Compassionate and Understanding!
It's crucial to avoid making assumptions and to approach the situation with compassion. If you are concerned about someone engaging in sex work, consider encouraging them to seek professional help, such as from counselors, social workers, or organizations that specialize in assisting individuals involved in sex work. These professionals can provide support, resources, and a non-judgmental space to discuss their circumstances.
As caring and non-judgmental criminal lawyers and family law attorneys, attorneys Bill Sherman and Valerie Sherman can definitely help when you or a loved one needs it most! Call us now for a free case evaluation.