20 March 2006

The Second Battered Woman I've Known

Executive Summary: kind, friendly, young Kyrgyz prostitute gets her head beaten in by an aggressive, drunk, bad trick. I do what I can to make it less terrible and fucked up for this woman.

She phoned me the night it happened, but I didn't realise it at the time, and I had already resolved to be rid of her. There was no way at all I was interested in pursuing some more serious relationship with her, and I was uncomfortable being her ongoing client. She phoned and asked "Do you miss me?", and I answered "No".

After a long pause, she said "I'm going back to Karakol".

Ah, trying to tug my heartstrings, make me worried I'll never see you again, eh? I'm just some guy who bought you off the street, this is ridiculous. "Good, this job isn't right for you, you should go back home".

Another long pause, then from her "Bye".

I thought that was the end of her, and I was proud of my resolve and glad she was behind me now. What she failed to tell me during that call was that the night before a john had taken her home, and that when she wouldn't give him a blowjob he started punching her in the face. She guarded herself with her hands, and got a couple of deep gouges on the base of her right thumb from his rings. He managed to land at least a couple of good ones - she got a very black left eye, probably a light concussion. She couldn't go to the doctor because she had no money, she couldn't go to the police because she was a hooker, she couldn't work anymore both for physical and psychological reasons

But for whatever reasons, she chose to keep that to herself then. But she phoned again yesterday evening, to my work. When I heard her on the phone I started to get cold and hard. "Please, I need money."

Her pleas make me colder, harder. After a long pause, "That's not fair," I answer.

"I can't work again, I need to get home, I've been badly beaten."

The cold melts immediately, and I feel very wrong and very small. "Where are you now?"

"At home, at the hotel."

"Do you remember where I work?"


"Come here, right now."


Her bruises were purple and yellow by this time, but her head still hurt and she carried a handkerchief in front of her eye, to try to hide the marks. She was still pretty, but the scene was so sad. She still had all of her teeth. My father-in-law was much more thorough with my mother-in-law, those years ago; she had needed major reconstructive dental work.

What could I do? I took her home, gave her tea and aspirin, gentle hugs and kisses. I washed her feet, and then massaged olive oil into them, spent a long time doing that, while she watched TV. My positive energy could flow into her feet, and drive the negative out the top of the skull. Not all men are bad, the universe again in balance and harmony.

Then I gave her about US$150. I made her promise I'd never see her working the streets again. "If I find you here, in Bishkek, I won't DO anything, but I'll be so sad and disappointed for you. Please, go home. Don't phone me anymore, I was your client, you don't need any connections at all from this life. Start again, you are young and pretty and it needn't be like it is now."

She gave me her word. I asked her if she wanted to stay the night, or go back home. She wanted to get home, to leave first thing in the morning, and that was fine with me.

Footnote: This is another dead old text, from November 2004, originally here. I want all my text to live here now, so from time to time I carry one here, saves writing the buggers.

If I still remember it right, the story didn't end there. She came back from Karakol a month or so later, came to my place. How sad - she cared for me about as much as I cared for her, but my place had a TV and didn't have constant john traffic wandering through. She let me fuck her, and didn't ask me for any money. It took a very direct talk then, and another couple phone calls, to get her out of my life. But I don't think she went back to streetwalking, bless her soul. Good luck to you. I can't even remember your name now, but good luck to you, stay away from the bad people if you can.

And one other thing, the larger my sample size grows the more it is seeming that almost every woman in Kyrgyzstan has been beaten at one time or another. This story should be retitled "The second woman I've seen who was just recently batterred", but that doesn't trip off the page as nicely. This needs some more thought.