Geena Leigh has overcome a lifetime of obstacles. She experienced abuse as a child and at 15, found herself homeless, addicted to drugs and alcohol. She entered prostitution and spent the next two decades working in the industry. She turned her life around to create a career in corporate management and earned three university degrees. Today she travels around Australia sharing her story with teenagers to promote resilience, positive thinking and listening to ones’ inner guidance.
Here Geena shares the moment she decided to enter the sex industry.
Charlene enthusiastically proceeded to tell me and my mother all about her work. She told me how the men ‘usually don’t even want sex, they just like the company’ (this was a lie). She told me how it was ‘really safe’ and the men were ‘really good looking’ (these were also very big lies). Her animation and excitement—later I realised that she was still high from the night before—aroused my curiosity. Mum seemed amused by Charlene’s account of prostitution, and quite horrified at the same time.
I was sick of feeling controlled by Brett. I believed that money would give me more choices and freedom. Charlene made it all sound so exciting, easy, and glamorous even. I was broke, bored and desperately looking for a way out of an abusive relationship. I didn’t know what else to do. This opportunity was presented in front of me and I took it. I wasn’t one to languidly stew on a problem. I thrived upon change. I figured that anything different would be better than what I was currently doing and how I was feeling.
Slowly an idea formed: this might be how I could get rid of Brett—he would surely break up with me if I was a prostitute. Maybe I earn some money, leave Brett behind and travel. I was sick of being broke.
I made my decision, and announced to Mum and Charlene that I was going to become a prostitute. My words were met with silence, so I focused on Mum—I could see that she was in shock—and said, ‘You can’t stop me. I’m eighteen. Don’t try and stop me.’