Carla’s jour­ney to heal­ing af­ter dark times

Cockburn Gazette - - INTERNATIO­NAL WOMEN'S DAY - SPECIAL EDITION - Lau­ren Pi­lat

THERE are no two roles for a woman more dif­fer­ent than the old­est pro­fes­sions; a nun and a pros­ti­tute.

Carla van Raay has been both and cred­its each to her jour­ney of heal­ing from abuse and dis­cov­er­ing self love.

The 79-year-old was sex­u­ally abused by her fa­ther as a child and al­most died at his hands.

Ms van Raay, who was born in The Nether­lands, en­dured years of abuse that led her to be­lieve she was “sin­ful, bad and dirty”.

“I would sep­a­rate my­self be­cause I was not wor­thy of be­ing loved,” she said. “I be­lieved I was this aw­ful, dirty, ter­ri­ble child.”

She moved to Aus­tralia with her fam­ily in the ’50s and joined a con­vent in Mel­bourne, seek­ing refuge in a life of poverty, chastity and obe­di­ence.

“At the age of 18 I chose to go in to a con-

vent and live with a group of nuns but we weren’t al­lowed to talk to each other or form friend­ships,” the mother-of-two said.

Ms van Raay di­vorced her­self from the Catholic church and left when she was 31 be­fore re­al­is­ing she did not know how to iden­tify with her fem­i­nin­ity.

“I didn’t grow up to be an adult at that time, I was just a re­bel­lious teenager,” she said.

“My de­ci­sion to be­come a pros­ti­tute was part of that but it was also be­cause I wanted to ex­plore my sex­u­al­ity.”

Be­fore be­com­ing a sex worker, Ms van Raay was a teacher in Mel­bourne and mar­ried a man she tried to love.

But she couldn’t and ended up hav­ing a love af­fair with a 19-yearold man that broke up the mar­riage and left her as a sin­gle mother.

The grand­mother, who stopped work­ing in the sex in­dus­try when she was 52, said it was her time as a call girl, and hav­ing pas­sion­ate re­la­tion­ships, and chil­dren, that brought her into her fem­i­nine self.

But it wasn’t un­til writ­ing her best-sell­ing novel, God’s Call Girl, that she dis­cov­ered her need for self love and to heal the wounds of be­ing abused.

She is now ded­i­cated to help­ing heal oth­ers who have been emo­tion­ally, phys­i­cally and sex­u­ally abused.

“Women are very pow­er­ful and that’s why they’re be­ing sup­pressed but when women are sup­port­ing women, noth­ing can stop them,” she said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie d479729

Carla Van Raay is a former nun and pros­ti­tute... she is now a healer and au­thor.

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