Friday, January 18, 2008

So does that mean you think prostitution should be illegal?

No. I believe that sex workers are the passive objects of sex work, especially prostitution. I believe that women (and a growing number of men) are victimized by the sex industry. I do not believe that the passive objects of a given act should be blamed for the act, or that the victims of the crime which is acting out your sexual aggression on a stranger with no other options should be punished, as they are now in our system.

To suggest that we punish the victim for the crime which was committed upon them is ridiculous, and the fact that people want to do this so often to "bad women" is a sign that a large and powerful segment of our society hates women and thinks they need to be punished for acts which pale in comparison to what their clients are doing.

To clarify: Currently, prostitution is illegal in this country, and the result is that "Johns" are rarely if ever punished and include many police officers, with a focus on putting non-abusive agencies run by former prostitutes and women working for themselves out of business which takes valuable resources away from stopping abusive pimps. I had quite a few clients describe close calls to me in which the police, in order to get information about an agency or individual they were trying to take down, took them in and threatened to tell their families about the fact that they had been seeing prostitutes. However, none of these men were ever threatened with charges for regularly abusing women as the police poured resources into arresting said women.

More about police and prostitution: Not only I have worked for agencies that avoided trouble with the law by getting tips from police officer clients, there have been cases of officers working on a "sting" to capture certain women or agencies having sex with a prostitute on the government's dime before arresting her. If anything, I think the horrible treatment of prostitutes who get caught under our current system is due in part to the fact that the men busting them come from the same pool and share the same attitudes (and often are the same men) who are paying to do horrible things to them- which is to say they they hate women and have absorbed patriarchy's lessons about abusing them.

Finally, under a system which treats prostituting oneself as a sensational crime and not an unfortunate victimization, the news stations that love to report sensational crimes will have a field day, splattering a woman's face all over the television and reporting her name. This can and has opened up the woman to vigilante justice, and those news stations do not care because she is a "bad woman," a "whore." The news stories go online, as does the sex worker's face. This woman can never get a "real job."

At this point a system that purports to abhor the existence of sex work has taken away all the other options for the individual who made it onto the news, in effect ensuring that sex work continues to exist. This same principal is in effect when a woman who has been stripping for a long time cannot get a mainstream job, either because the well-off men who control who gets hired frequent her, know what she does, and have deemed her unworthy, or because she is unable to explain a long gap on her resume, or because she was actually stupid enough to admit on paper to having been a stripper in world where strippers are assumed to be hair-twirling, bubble-gum popping nymphomaniacal morons with nice hair.

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