Violence as Result of Criminalization of Prostitution

So after my recent violent rape by a trick I wrote to the self appointed anti trafficking gurus, at Prostitution Research and Education Melissa Farley, and Citizens Against Trafficking’s  Donna M. Hughes, and Hughes colleague Melanie Shapiro.  They were so convinced criminalizing indoor prostitution in Rhode Island would stop this kind of activity.  Well, gurus of anti trafficking.  I live in North Carolina where it has always been criminalized.  Not only wasn’t I protected, but instead I was raped by a Federal Air Marshall who knew he could get away with it because of criminalization.  For me to turn him in means turning myself in.

According to you, Ms. Farley, Ms. Hughes, Ms. Shapiro,  I was supposed to be safe with criminalization in place.  I even wrote to each of you asking your thoughts.  And what a surprise.  Not a single one of you wrote back to me.   Not that I expected you to, but nonetheless, especially Donna M. Hughes, since we were friends at one time, I wondered if you would drop politics for a moment.  No you didn’t.

Criminalization creates rape of prostitutes, it creates assault of prostitutes, it creates the death of prostitutes.  Better have the minions get the bowl of water ready so you can wash your hands of your deeds Gurus of Anti Trafficking.  You are pathetic opportunists who could care less about trafficked women.  All it is for you is enhancement of your resume and paid speaking events.  By the way have any of you been a prostitute?

Cowards.

For the General Public: “A Prostitute Can Be Raped. First Person Account”

This post is intended far more for the general public than for those who usually read it.  It is not a post seeking sympathy.  I”m using personal experience to illustrate a point.

Recently I went to work for an outcall escort agency.  The agency does the screening of the clients with the idea being a date is supposed to be safe and not with a police officer.  I drive to meet the client, get there, get the money everything seems fine.  The session is 1 hour or 1 climax whichever comes first.  Rules are preset about how far I am willing to go.  First he want’s a massage.  Then oral sex.   Only he isn’t able to get the response from his body that he is hoping for.  This goes on, and on, until my jaw is literally locking.  Finally he pulled away and I made the comment that maybe this just wasn’t working.  He disagreed said he knew it could work and said he just needed a drink to relax.  Asked me if I wanted one?  No, thank you I’m fine………  I give him the speech about not drinking and driving as a personal policy.  While he is getting his drink I notice framed on the wall is his graduation from training as a FAM.  Federal Air Marshall.  I think, great, this guy is quasi law enforcement.  But until this point it was still sex work.  I still owed him a few more minutes and had no issue with trying again.  He drank his drink and in one quick move had me down, handcuffed and had a trashbag over my head.  When he first handcuffed me, I thought shit, he’s a cop.  The trash bag told me different.

He hit me over and over in the head telling me to stop fighting and to give in and let him have what he paid for.  He didn’t pay for what he took.  While oral sex didn’t arouse him anal did.  He made repeated points about his hatred of condoms and that I was going to see what it felt like to have plastic over my head.  Which was an odd twist of words given we were talking about different “heads”.   He hit me in the head a bunch more times until I agreed to swallow the condom.  I was too disoriented from what was diagnosed at the ER as a moderate concussion/post concussion syndrome.   I went to the Desiree Alliance conference in Vegas a few days after this incident.  For those who spent any time with me it was likely apparent I was suffering the effects of concussion.  Along with re-activated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When did it become rape rather than sex work.  When he forced me to do something I hadn’t agreed to.  People have argued with me that prostitutes can’t be raped, and that this kind of thing is an occupational hazard.  I say that totally wrong.  I don’t give blanket permission by virtue of being paid.  Certainly I didn’t agree to the trashbag, to the 10 plus blows to the head, or the anal sex which was never supposed to be part of the deal.  Without a doubt, swallowing the condom wasn’t.

Now that I’ve give the background.  Yes, prostitutes can be raped, we do get raped and we need full decriminalization so that we can go to the police rather than fear them.  Or be raped by them and their law enforcement colleagues.  The prohibitionists who allegedly want to end human trafficking by virtue of making it as illegal and hard as possible to do sex work.  The method doesn’t work.  How many trafficking victims are rescued vs. the number of prostitutes that are arrested, that are raped, assaulted.  Not to mention, in my case, facing another set of worries with the swallowed condom.  Although first HIV test was negative.

So general public, think before you sign documents like this one We need to move in the other direction.  Bring full decriminalization which brings it above the surface.  We need sex work to be regarded as work and abuses tackled like abuses in any other industry.  There are many of us who need the money we make in sex work and don’t have other choices.  This client gave me my eighth concussion in my life time.  He should have been arrested for multiple infractions.  If I went to the police, the likely arrestee would be me.

As soon as I no longer consented, it became rape.  That I’m a prostitute doesn’t matter.  Please don’t support things that make it harder for sex workers and trafficking victims.  Obscurity doesn’t solve the problem it only makes it occult.

We can and do get raped and it hurts us just as much as it hurts anyone else.  Rape should never be an occupational hazard.

Mission & Philosophy

Sex Workers Without Borders is an educational organization and advocacy group whose focus is the wide array of human rights issues involved with all forms of sex work, including both voluntary and coerced prostitution. Our mission is to use both media and live appearances to raise public awareness of sex workers’ human rights, and to combat the harm done by individuals and organizations who seek to deny those rights. We strive to end the long standing marginalization of sex workers through expansion of social consciousness.

SWWB advocates for the decriminalization of prostitution from the platforms of both harm reduction and individual agency. We believe that most social ills attributed to prostitution itself are actually caused by its criminalization; for example, ”sex trafficking” by definition is only possible within criminalized, underground, and unregulated industries. The disproportionate amount of violence against sex workers is due to the fact that criminalization makes them especially vulnerable. Under the current system, it is impossible for sex workers to seek protection from law enforcement, which sets the dangerous precedent that human rights only apply to certain groups of people. Decriminalization is the only way to place individual agency back into the hands of sex workers.

Though we are often incorrectly stereotyped as mentally incompetent, addicted, diseased and desperate, sex workers actually come from all backgrounds and walks of life, and 85% of us work indoors. Many are single mothers, some are students, and some use sex work to supplement their incomes from other sources. Some would choose to leave sex work if they had different options open to them, while others enjoy their chosen profession and would choose sex work regardless of circumstance. In fact, some of our members are university graduates who choose sex work because they have found it to be best suited to their goals. All sex workers are human beings and as such ought to be afforded basic human rights to life and liberty.

Unfortunately, criminalization worsens the quality of life for all sex workers; it closes doors to those who want to get out of the industry and forces them to remain. Families are torn apart when parents are declared unfit for no reason except the fact that the state disapproves of their method of employment. Sex workers not only deal with stigmatization and unsafe working conditions, but also the possibility of being thrown in jail for simply trying to earn a living, even though they have violated no individual’s rights. Please visit http://fworld.ca for more information.

SWWB’s stance on the “Swedish Model” (criminalization of the purchase of sexual services rather than their sale) is that it robs sex workers of agency and assigns them the role of victim regardless of the status of their consent. Such legislation pushes the women’s rights movement back an entire century by reducing all women to infantilized dullards incapable of independent choice and likening them to objects which can be “trafficked” like a trunkfull of marijuana or a kilogram of cocaine. The abolitionist approach conveniently ignores the social and economic issues that compel women to enter the sex industry and instead causes further harm to the very people they claim to want to help. The model of decriminalization our organization supports mirrors that of the legislation successfully implemented by New Zealand in 2003.