What Were the Adult Video News Awards Really Like?

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Today's blog post was written by Refuge for Women graduate, Deanna.


What were the (AVN) Adult Video News awards really like? On the outside, it looked like I was eating it all up. Getting nominated for porn scenes that I remember having to get drunk for because the guys were so violent, having back up producers on set to control how violent they could get, or crying in the pillows when the camera was not on my face, or re-shooting scenes because of various physical problems and waiting for pain meds to kick in to finish what I was sold that day for. It celebrated the award-winning movies that I distinctly remember showing up to after smoking meth that the limo driver provided me with out of a hotel light bulb, or the movie that had to stop production because someone else tested positive for HIV and a quarantine was in effect, or the movie where I was so afraid of the guy they cast I drank into oblivion and they said we can't sell this because she looks like a rape victim. It was showing up to people’s suites and seeing people paid for and flown in waiting in the other room for the next guy to have sex with so more sales would be made. The women, men, and transgender were not just an object for show, trafficking was happening right above "the show" that seemed innocent enough because it was controlled right? 

It was a young 18-twenty some girl controlling where people’s hands went as they flew from all over the world to take a picture with me. This was the weekend thousands of people were entitled to touch me in a controlled way right? After that it was going from one photographer's suite to another thinking to yourself I'm ready to put some clothes on and eat something. Our production assistant would meet me in the morning with vodka so I could make it through the weekend without the DTs. (But hey at least I'm not smoking or injecting meth anymore right?) For me it was producers pulling me by the hair to show me who was boss, or being grabbed elsewhere when I walked by, even after it was a well-known fact I was done performing. It was people following me from one state and one room to another because they were infatuated. Some not living to see their family grow up because their addiction led to broken marriages and for others suicide. Imagine being called by the wife turned widow of someone addicted to your addictions being filmed for the whole world to see… forever.

It was all a big party until you try to leave. And you are trying to cleanse your self of the memories, the dreams, the shame, and the worthlessness of agents, pimps, and producers offering your body from one person to another. And you are in too deep, everyone is telling you there’s no life after this. So when I was done being an object, I turned around and did this to other women. Women who I sent to stores and clubs, the very clubs our RFW residents were getting raped at in the back! 

I remember my boss with tears in his eyes from the shame of doing this to young women as his daughter was getting older. I remember girls in their 40’s in the makeup chair swearing they would never come back but they didn’t know how to make rent or support their children, so on the side they were turning tricks because they said they had no dignity anymore. But they would put on a happy face, take some pills and celebrate the accomplishments mentioned above before returning to their families.

So today, 8 years removed, I would like to celebrate something different. I want to celebrate people like Refuge for Women Central Kentucky who are giving girls their real dreams back. Giving them a chance to catch up with their pain, finances and legal issues long enough to have a real chance at life. A life full of freedom, and real choice, (not just choosing between addictions) but choices that lead to unrecognizable lives because there are people who believe in you. If you are at AVN and you know anyone who is tired, or on the verge of suicide, anyone ready to leave, please let them know there is a way out. Please help them to find life. Refuge For Women gave me back mine.