Linda Lovelace and Her “Ordeal”
By Liz Everly
“The worse type of bondage is psychological.” Detective C.T. Sluder, Writer’s Police Academy Session on Human Trafficking
You know how you’re reading a book and then something in real life pops up that relates to it or deepens your understanding of it? This happened to me when I attended the Writer’s Police Academy a few weeks back. I was reading “Ordeal” by Linda Lovelace and Mike McGrady. And I had almost given up on it because I was thinking: seriously, can anybody be this stupid? Shame on me. I am a compassionate person, but her story just seemed like overkill. But it wasn’t.
The story of “Ordeal” is the story of how Linda Lovelace of “Deep Throat” fame was forced into prostitution and porn films. It’s a hard story to read—I was just so frustrated with this naïve person who at the age of twenty went to live with a man she barely knew. She had been abused by her mother for years, which left her wide open to men who like to prey on women. She trusted him because he was nice to her. Then, after he gained her trust, he began to force her to perform sex with other men for money. He beat her. He held a gun to her head. But more than all of this, he continually berated her and told her she wasn’t pretty, she wasn’t good in bed, and often pointed out other inadequacies. She believed him.
The couple of times she tried to escape ended in more violence. Apparently, this went on for years.
I found this really frustrating and hard to believe by the middle of the book. I kept thinking how much more could she take? Why could not she escape?
Than I took this class and learned about human trafficking and how real psychological bondage can be. Then I understood that with was the same exact thing Lovelace was dealing with. I had been thinking “Okay, this woman is really young and scared. But really?” Yes, really. And I also understand that everybody would not react in the same way.I think that some women would have fought more—but may have ended up dead.
I was hoping for more insight into the porn industry—much of what she wrote was the cliché porn industry stuff, which I suppose proves that some cliché’s are there for a reason. Her “husband” Chuck Traynor was in charge of her money (millions), had all of the control, and many of the other men in the business availed themselves to her anytime they wanted. Maddening, heh?
Toward the end of her life, after escaping Traynor and his ilk, she did find love and I suppose that makes it more of a happy ending than what you might expect.
The book made me wonder how much of this coercion goes on today with young women in the porn industry. We like to think it doesn’t. We read about new regulations on the industry and new kinds of porn companies. But I wonder.
I recommend this book—but go in with your eyes open—it will make you think, cringe, cry, and very angry.