'Mum, I am a prostitute and training to be a dominatrix’. This is what I heard when my daughter called me in August 2015. My daughter cried when she told me, and offered for us to go to a counsellor. I can recall more of what she said now a few months have gone past, but at the time my mind shut down after that first sentence. The following weeks were a blur of sleeplessness and crying. I had never anticipated my daughter making this choice and I was shocked. I have no idea how I got through those days and actually have no memories of parts of that time. I do know that I repeatedly looked at the webpage of the brothel she is working in, stared at her faceless and headless pictures in various poses, learned her pseudonym name coupled with details of her attributes, her personality and her prices. I read over and over what a porn star and girlfriend experience is. The menu and prices regarding a dominatrix’s activities were staggering. My mother and brother ran brothels, starting from when I was in my late teens. I had grown up in a pub and considered brothels public houses too. In fact I just really didn’t consider them much at all. 25 years ago I even helped my Mum run her brothel by doing the banking and keeping up the coffee supplies. When my daughter was about 8 and told me that she wanted to work for her Nana when she grew up, was when I grew up too. I felt as if I had been smacked in the face by my own reality. I didn’t want that for my daughter! Around that time, a woman had come to my mother’s brothel one night and she charged up the stairs banging on the locked doors and called her husband’s name. That woman was desperate! She won’t know this but she gave me a gift, because for the first time I really appreciated and owned that others are harmed by prostitution. The women who are victims are not necessarily the prostitutes. They are the partners of the men who are with the prostitutes. The betrayal is not just in the relationship, but in how their shared money is spent too. I allowed myself to think about it…really think about it, and feel what the betrayal might be like, especially if the woman who are harmed (knowingly or unknowingly) have children from that relationship. Because my family had expectations that we all thought and acted as one, I made the decision to leave the town where we all lived and I started my life afresh 400 kilometres away, 22 years ago. My daughter was nine then, and I had two young sons. Their father had had numerous affairs and I raised my three children alone. I visited my mother and spoke on the phone with her a lot, until her death in 2002. My daughter showed talent as an artist from a young age. I encouraged her with her art every step of the way. Despite being raised in poverty by a single parent, and despite her developing Crohn’s disease at the age of 24, she managed to complete two University Degrees. Her health has prevented her from working in an average type of job, because she needs to take it easy sometimes and also to be near a toilet. She has had a significant part of her bowel removed and is generally keeping very well. In fact, she told me that she was offered a job in a store but turned it down, choosing to work as a prostitute. I had a thousand worries for my adult daughter, but her choosing prostitution and being a dominatrix, was never one of them. I suppose I had some false belief I had role modelled to her that prostitution impacts everyone it draws in, negatively. A false belief that having been to University and gaining two degrees, she would use her education to gain employment. I have tried to communicate my sadness to my daughter. I have said and shared feelings she didn’t want to hear. I found that my loving and sensitive daughter is gone. Replaced by a businesswoman, who has told me very clearly that people are not designed to be monogamous and she brings happiness by providing a service. We used to share spiritual views, mainly that there is more to this earth to what we see (i.e. loved ones near us and guiding us in our life’s journey) but this is no longer a belief of hers. Much of what I shared was hurtful to my daughter and to my relationship with her. I have apologised to her, not for sharing my views but for the way I shared them. I was hurt and angry in some of my communication with her. My daughter has raised issues with me too and we seemed to have gotten into a spiral of negativity. She returned to our home town a decade ago, so lives 400 kilometres from me. Before she was working in a brothel I visited her frequently, and she me. Now I hardly know her anymore. We have been torn apart with our differences. Aside from that, she comes across as quite self-seeking. My son became engaged recently, and she had no trouble telling a highly offensive joke to his father in law to be, the first time they even met. She had no trouble spending the night with her brother’s best friend, who she also had not met. She does only what makes her feel good. It looks like her new way of being. I still love my daughter (and myself) and want her in my life somehow, so in an effort to cope with the changes in our relationship, I have let her know I am taking time for myself, with a hope to start afresh in a few months’ time. We are going to meet up at a psychologist’s office in November to help us find a way forward, and I am not going to be communicating with her before then. I let her know this, and that she is free to contact me anytime she needs to. Right now though, I need to focus on me. I wanted to share my story here. I wonder about other mothers of prostitutes. I wish I could sit and share my pain with them, face to face. I would like to hear their stories and even cry together! The grief and loss associated with this is unbelievable. Yes, I have reflected on my past and the care free, thoughtless days I helped my Mum run her brothel. How totally blind and thoughtless I was! I don’t know what the future will hold but I know its needs to be about me. My daughter is 31. I had up until now stayed close to her always, especially as she has Crohn’s and can be unwell, but I know I need to separate out and leave her to walk her own path. If there are other mothers / parents of prostitutes out there, my thoughts are with you. I long to be with you, actually. It’s very hard to cope with this all alone. Or maybe parents raising children alone because of relationship betrayals may read this too, and my thoughts are with you too. I am open to any feedback about the decision I have made to temporarily withdraw from the relationship to focus on me. One counsellor I spoke with said to stay close to my daughter, but to me this is unrealistic. The fact is that prostitution robs us of the daughter we thought we knew. She doesn’t exist. My daughter has changed and I don’t feel I know her anymore. She is a prostitute, and training to be a dominatrix.