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Authors: Linda Lovelace

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Out of Bondage

BOOK: Out of Bondage
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Linda Lovelace
OUT OF BONDAGE
with Mike McGrady
 
 
LYLE STUART INC.
Secaucus, New Jersey
All copyrighted material within is Attributor Protected.
This is dedicated to
the ones I love
introduction
I am writing an introduction to this book by and about my friend, Linda Marchiano, for reasons that have everything to do with you, the reader.
First, I want to strike a bargain. If you begin her story, please read it to the end. If you know only part of Linda’s experience, I fear that you will be left wondering if she could have brought some part of her tragedy upon herself.
I don’t say this because I lack faith in the reader. On the contrary, I believe you can and will judge the humiliating facts of her long journey for yourself. That’s precisely why
Out of Bondage
—like her earlier book,
Ordeal
—is so very important.
But we are too close to the time when even rape victims were suspected of “asking for” the crimes of humiliation and violence inflicted upon them; a time when the testimony of a victim was disbelieved unless corroborated by witnesses who had watched the crime, and a victim’s past personal life was admissable in court when the rapist’s past, even if criminal, was not.
No wonder we are still in a time when the thousands of teenage runaways, terrified women and even children who are victims of forced prostitution and pornography each year— victims who are forced to coexist and depend for their lives on their victimizers for far longer than the duration of a rapist’s attack—are accused of cooperating with their captors, even of enjoying their own humiliation, or at least of being suspect because they did not escape.
After all, millions of viewers saw
Deep Throat,
the first hardcore porn film to enter the popular culture, without asking whether the young woman known as “Linda Lovelace” was there of her own free will. They ignored the bruises that were visible on her body, the terror in her eyes, even the simple empathy that should cause each of us to wonder whether another human being really could enjoy humiliations and dangers that we ourselves would never tolerate. Linda was forced to smile, but viewers were not forced to accept that smile.
How much harder will it be to believe the long road back to self-respect, when Linda was physically free but still imprisoned by society’s opinion of her, that is the subject of this book?
Second, I want to offer my own support as a journalist, and later as a friend, for the facts of Linda’s story: her captivity against her will, her attempts to escape, and her many efforts to be believed so that her story would help not only herself but others forced into pornography and prostitution.
She should not need this support. As you soon will read, she had been put through many factual proofs, including a long and grueling set of lie detector tests, long before we met. They were the precondition of publisher Lyle Stuart and of journalist Mike McGrady, her co-author, before the publication of
Ordeal.
Furthermore, those who have protested her story, even threatened her because of it, have yet to deliver proof that counters any part of it.
But her story was so widely ridiculed, so disbelieved by critics who accused her of seeking publicity or even of masochistically enjoying the sexual tortures that have scarred her body, that I, too, re-investigated the facts before writing a 1980 article
1
for
Ms.
Magazine when
Ordeal
was first published. I also interviewed Linda myself, watched her undergo many other media interviews by reporters proud of their ability to detect pretense and inconsistencies, listened to her trying to help other women escaping from pasts of prostitution and pornography, and, finally, came to know the private Linda as she dealt with husband and friends, or cared for one child and gave birth to another.
Six years of knowing her have strengthened my early conclusion as a reporter: that she is telling the truth. In the interim, I have added only one modification: that she may be telling it with restraint and generosity. For instance: Linda left out of
Ordeal
a number of incidents involving Hugh Hefner and his Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, even though they were newsworthy incidents of sex and celebrity. Why? Because she was not positive that Hefner knew she was a prisoner, acting under threat of death by her “husband” and keeper, at the time.
How does this sense of fairness survive inside someone who has been treated so unfairly? That is the miracle. I no longer question whether the reasons for her ordeal might lie within herself, her acts, her background: there is no doubt in my mind that the same thing could have happened to me, to anyone, had we had the similar bad luck of crossing the wrong person’s path at the right time. (To say otherwise is no different from blaming a rape victim for her walk, her dress.) What
is
exceptional about Linda is her ability to escape, to survive, to live.
Third, I want to remind all of us that to condemn pornography is not to condemn sex, nor even to condone censorship. The question is freewill: Are the subjects of pornography there by choice, or by coercion, economic or physical? Are viewers seeking out pornography by choice, or are they forced to confront it in the public streets, newsstands and airways?
In fact, we have a First Amendment right to demonstrate against pornography, to boycott its creators and sellers, to explain that pornography is to women of all groups what Nazi literature is to Jews and Ku Klux Klan literature is to Blacks. It is as different from erotica as sex is different from rape. After all,
porné
means harlot, prostitute or female captive; thus, pornography is the writing about or depiction of female sexual slavery. On the other hand,
eros
means sexual love, and love implies free choice and mutual pleasure. The point is to separate sex from violence, pleasure from pain.
Finally, I would like to make one more bargain with you. When you’ve finished this book, walk through the center for prostitution and pornography that probably exists in your city or town—and figure out how you can protest it.
Ask yourself if friends, even family members may be supporting pornography by buying or tolerating it—and let them know this is just as offensive as supporting anti-Semites or the Klan. Get up the courage to say how you feel, to throw pornography out of your life and house at least. Educate your children in the difference between pornography and erotica, between domination and mutual choice. Support the centers that are helping women and children escape this coercion and find self-respect.
The miracle is that Linda has survived to tell her story.
The rest is up to us.
 
G
LORIA
S
TEINEM
one
I’m back in my bedroom in a rented cottage in Beverly Glen, California. The window beside my bed is open. A small noise there causes me to stir. I look up through sleepy eyes and see a man, a stranger, and he’s crawling in through my window. I try to scream but my throat is paralyzed. I want to run but my legs have lost all strength. As I sit up in bed, I see the other men, five of them, all strangers, all surrounding my bed, staring down at me. I know what is to follow—the beating and the raping—and a terrible panic overwhelms me, leaving me weak and helpless. I start to sob wildly, uncontrollably.
It is then that I wake up.
I rarely have the dream any more. But just a few years ago the dream came every night. I dreaded sleep because those men would always be there, surrounding my bed, waiting, threatening.
The dream comes from an earlier life—back when I was Linda Lovelace, the star of
Deep Throat,
the high princess of pornography. Most likely the dream springs from a specific incident, a hot summery day when a man named Chuck Traynor introduced me to prostitution by selling me to five men in a motel room in Florida. And every time I have the dream, I’m forced to go through feelings of fear and pain, of helplessness and hopelessness.
There was no escaping those feelings. Even when the dream ended, the memories would be there. I would wake up battered by a nightmare and the flashback would begin.
 
Flashback to—
A Holiday Inn in South Miami, a sprawling two-story building not far from the University of Miami. Walking with Chuck down the central corridor, up a flight of stairs, down another hallway to the end. The last room, Chuck knocking on the door three times, a man staring out at us, smiling, letting us in. Five men in the room, middle-aged, businessmen, wearing ties and jackets, having a drink, giving me the old once-over. Chuck talking to me in the dressing room, saying, “Those five guys out there—you’re going to fuck every one of them” Me looking for the joke: “Chuck don’t talk crazy.” No joke: “You got no fucking choice. I already got the money. And that’s something I want you to remember. The first thing you do is get the money . . . now take off your clothes. ”
Saying no, then seeing the gun in Chuck’s hand, listening to his insanity; “You know what I think? I think you’re going to take off your clothes, all of your clothes, and then you’re going to go out there and fuck those five guys. And if you don’t I’m gonna put a bullet in your head right now.”
And me, still innocent, still looking for a smile but seeing only a gun. “I’m gonna shoot you right now unless you get out there and do what I’m telling you.” Knowing that he meant it, he wasn’t lying; he would shoot me. Going numb then, the tears flooding my eyes as I remove my clothes, trembling, really shaking, too frightened to even pray. Chuck saying: “Stop your crying before you go out there. Crying is bad for business.” Walking out into the room then, wearing nothing. A man coming over and putting his hands on my breasts: “Not bad. Chuck got us a nice young one this time.”
 
The story of that day, that life, was told in an earlier book,
Ordeal.
In those days your worst nightmares were my everyday occurrences. For nearly three years I was enslaved by Traynor, a man who beat me and kicked me; a man who hypnotized me and sold me and traded me; a man who managed finally to turn me into a sexual zombie, able to do anything while feeling nothing.
The nightmares didn’t end in 1973 with my escape from Chuck Traynor.
Deep Throat
was behind me; enslavement was behind me; a great deal was behind me. No longer was I forced to have sex with strangers for pay. No longer was I a party favor given freely to celebrities. However, although I was away from that life, I was not free of it. My nights were filled with dreams and my days were crowded with ghosts.
I was Chuck’s profitable little sexual zombie and he wasn’t about to give me up without a fight. He searched for me everywhere, and I had to go into hiding. Wherever Chuck went in those days, he carried a flight bag concealing a semi-automatic revolver. While I was hiding out, protected by professional bodyguards, I was shown a newspaper story about Chuck.
“She’s either going to work for me or she’ll work for nobody,” I read. “I’ll see to that. She’s mistaken if she thinks she’s going to do her nightclub act without me. . . . I’ve made her what she is today. She’d be nothing without me.”
It took a long time for my fear of Chuck to dissolve. Over and over again I tried to tell people what I had gone through—that I’d been brutalized, that I’d been a victim, that none of it was my idea—but no one wanted to hear that. Newspaper reporters couldn’t write the truth because it would be “too libelous”; a well-known television host rapidly changed the subject; a publisher explained that the truth was too downbeat and would never sell as well as the fiction they had published about me in the past; even family and friends seemed cool and disinterested. The whole story was taken lightly and before long I stopped boring people with it.
In those days the truth could only be found in fragments.
Playboy,
for example, allowed that Chuck Traynor “played a sort of porn Svengali to the early Linda’s Trilby.”
One person who knew the truth was Gerry Damiano, director of
Deep Throat.
Although Damiano avoids interviews, he was talking about Chuck Traynor to a college audience and his remarks found their way into the Boston
Phoenix:
“That man (Chuck Traynor) was a nothing. He had no personality, no charm, no brains. He was just a user of people and he used Linda. He gave her nothing and abused her. He was very brutal with her. . . . Many times she’d come on the set and be completely black and blue.”
Isn’t that amazing! Reading that gave me a classic set of mixed emotions. On the one hand: Thank God
someone
finally backed up my story. On the other hand: why didn’t he do something at the time; why didn’t he come to my rescue?
People always ask me why I didn’t get help.
Where would I have gotten help? From whom would I have gotten help?
Here’s Damiano admitting that he knew I was beaten viciously—yet he never lifted a finger to help me. He was by no means the only one.
Chuck never broke stride. Within a few weeks he was back at the old stand, managing—and later marrying—the second most famous pornographic star in the world, Marilyn Chambers, the former “Ivory Snow Girl.” Marilyn Chambers began her porno career starring in
Behind the Green Door
and went on from there to ever bigger, ever more rotten movies.
It was impossible to get Traynor out of my mind. Because no matter what he did to me, no matter what crimes he committed in the past, he was free to wander wherever he wanted. And where he did a lot of his wandering was in front of the cameras.
Never alone. Alone, Chuck Traynor is less than nothing. So always he was seen with his current charge in tow. At first I felt Chuck and Marilyn were made for each other, that this was a match made in some strange porno heaven. But as I read the news accounts about the two of them, it seemed clear that Chuck was re-creating the same master-slave relationship he had with me. And the fact that “she smiles a lot” or “she looks like she likes it” has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
I watched the two of them on television and listened to Marilyn Chambers saying exactly the same things I used to say—how she lives for sex, how she can never get enough of that wonderful stuff, etc.—and I knew who was the author of both the lines and the sentiments.
The more I read about them, the more I could see Chuck was up to his old tricks. And the reporters who interviewed them seemed to notice that something was not quite right; to some it was like interviewing Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.
Ken Mayer in the Boston
Herald-American:
“Someone should tell Marilyn Chambers’ manager Chuck Traynor that when a writer interviews his property, he should sit back, collect his 10 percent and zip his lip. . . . Traynor should take a crash course on getting lost.”
A story in the Los Angeles
Free Press
noted that Chuck did the talking while Marilyn did the giggling: “Whenever asked to comment on something related to her sexual experiences or the making of her hard-core features, Marilyn would giggle and defer to Chuck’s more businesslike demeanor.”
The San Antonio
Express
quoted Marilyn’s tribute to Chuck’s “transformational skill”: “‘Chuck changed my whole appearance,’ Miss chambers swallows her beer. ‘He taught me to be a lady.’ And what is a lady? ‘A lady,’ says Miss Chambers gravely, ‘A lady is someone who looks good. And doesn’t speak unless she’s spoken to.”’
The most ominous note appeared in a column written by Larry Fields of the Philadelphia
News
. Traynor, as usual, was doing all the talking. “Hovering by Marilyn’s side was her lover-manager-Svengali Chuck Traynor. . . . Marilyn interrupted to ask for permission to go to the bathroom. ‘Not right now,’ Traynor said.” When Marilyn asked a second time, Traynor snapped at her, “Just sit there and shut up.” When Larry Fields urged Traynor to let her go to the bathroom, Traynor turned on the columnist and snarled, “I don’t tell you how to write your columns. Don’t tell me how to treat my broads.”
Now
that’s
vintage Chuck. In Larry Fields’s world, the world most of us take for granted, these kinds of things do not happen. Adults do not ask each other for permission to go to the bathroom. But for two years, if I wanted to go to the bathroom or read a magazine or file my nails, I asked permission first.
I didn’t have enough feeling left to feel sorry for Marilyn Chambers. Besides—thank God!—the pressure was off me. It took a court order to accomplish it, but Chuck was leaving me alone. Finally, I could come out of hiding and be . . . what? I had no idea. Be myself, I guess. But who was that?
Everyone seemed to think I would just go back and be Linda Lovelace again, that I would star in pornographic movies and distribute my sexual favors as freely as Chuck had done. Only this time around, naturally, I’d be able to keep the profits for myself.
Everyone wanted me to do the same thing. Famous lawyers and high-priced accountants offered to set my affairs straight-and then they’d say why don’t we get a bottle of champagne and maybe we can talk it over in front of the fireplace. This always came as a shock; still, it almost always came.
One acquaintance who was selling cocaine said, “Hey, all we have to do is get together and you don’t have to pay a thing.”
The person I knew best and trusted most had just one message for me:
Go for it!
She would say, “You’ve already done it—what difference could it possibly make now? You can clean up, you can have a ball.”
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