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Thursday, 18 March 2010

Experience Can Cloud Judgement....

Now there is a very nice woman I befriended on facebook, a former sex worker and heroin addict. She is a lovely person but has had a hard life, and had a very bad time in the sex industry working on the streets in a rough area. I understand, the streets are harsh, and she said things about judgemental people judging her years after the events that were upsetting to hear....but I know, people can be all too quick to judge what they do not understand. Sex workers are a stigmatised group, and I find it hard when I meet people for the first time and they ask what I do etc and I have no choice at times but to be deliberately evasive. There are a few possible reactions - the first is of course to move away from me like I am a piece of dirt and look at me in shock and horror. The second is to assume I am either a retard or a victim and look down on me with pity. The third is to be fascinated to have met someone who inhabites a world they have rarely glimpsed, ask me probing questions, and if they are men they may even ask what my prices are, do I ever give freebies etc. The fourth is to be tolerant and not care, treat me like anyone else. The fourth reaction is of course the reaction I prefer - but it is rare to get that from the straight world unless they are people who have known sex workers or used their services. People of the night themselves are more likely to have that reaction.....but believe not all of them are even tolerant, I've come accross thieving and cheating drug addicts who look down on women who sell sex, as I said in one of my earlier posts.

So it is not an ideal job, it causes strain in personal relationships aside from the issues described above, and the stress at times from the work itself. But the streets in a rough area of a capital city are the worst place to be in the sex industry - I myself have never worked on any of those strips but I can imagine....The woman I know online has worked on those strips and that has been her only experience of the industry. Due to this she generalises from her own experience and assumes the whole industry is like that, that all clients are abusive, predatory, pimps are the scum of the earth etc and that paying for sex amounts to what is abuse on the part of the man paying - he should be prosecuted for sexual assault upon a vulnerable woman who is weak enough to accept 'payment for accepting abuse', because she has been abused as a child and abuse is all she knows.

In some cases this may be true, yes, there are women out there with deep issues who work on rough strips, the clients who pay such women for their services are more likely to be predatory and as for men who profit from the women on these strips......well, it logically follows. Perhaps the 'payment for accepting abuse' radical feminist theory may have a point in these circumstances - but we are only talking about one side of the industry - the lowest end of the market. The strip I was on was not so bad ten years back....but I don't like to go out there because the women have become more desperate, rougher, catfight among each other, attempted to pick on me in some cases, and I did notice a difference with the clients. I couldn't work out there for long without it getting to me, and police harrasment makes things worse.

But really, will imprisoning not only the clients but also the partners/minders of these women truly solve their problems. It won't. It will make things worse, ALL of the clients who have something to lose - i.e jobs, marriage etc - will dissapear and the only men who will use these women's services will be the predators. Women will put themselves at more risk because they will no longer be able to be choosy about clients or prices. As they become more pressured, if the men who live from their proceeds are already abusive they will become more so under financial pressure (I myself have experienced money worries causing deep strain in relationships - not only when I have been a sex worker but in any relationship). But some politician support and campaign for such a law that will not only be applied to the streets but also to the indoor market....so it will affect people like myself. Do me a favour and sign the link I shall post later against any such proposed law.

The radical feminist view is disempowering - the woman I spoke of earlier is still deeply troubled because her friends support and encourage her view that she is still a victim and always will be one because she has suffered abuse for most of her life (first from her father, then clients, then in personal relationships with me). She is seeing someone but the relationship is one sided. Me and her do have a few things in common - but it seems her lot in life has been harsher than mine, there are levels of abuse and the scars that result. The more you have been abused the more likely your judgement is to be clouded and the more likely you will be to generalise from your personal experience.

Now if anybody has heard of Aileen Wuornos, the American lesbian serial killer (of men) and ex sex worker/streetwalker - she is the result taken to it's very extreme. Now a friend of this friend names herself on networking sites after Wuornos, is an extreme political lesbian feminist, very militant and fanatical, and of course is extreme anti sex industry. God knows what has happened to her - it must have been something. Women do not become gay for political purposes and promote a theory that holds all men to be predatory and abusive for no reason. But clearly all the men she has had any experience with must have been, so she clearly assumes all are.

However heartbreaking some people's stories are - there is no need to demonise a whole industry - and in extreme cases half of the human race (i.e men) simply because of some bad experiences in that industry and some men who are abusive towards women. I am not saying there are no problems with the sex industry, and the implications of money in exchange for sex does carry it's own issues and problems - but criminalising the men who I rely on for my livelihood and the men I choose to be involved with personally will not solve any problems I have - it'll make my life far harder. It may not be ideal, but I am well aware that this lifestyle I adopt has been my choice at the end of the day - for various reasons, and I do not want 'rescuing' - even if there are women out there who are troubled enough to feel they do want rescuing it does not mean I do - and yes, I am selfish enough not to wish my own livelihood to be put at risk for the sake of what are essentially other people's problems, not mine. If these women want drug 'treatment' and the 'exit strategies' suggested by middle class do gooders they can use them - but leave me out of it. I can deal with my own issues and want no 'exit strategy' to get me out of a life I have chosen of my own volition, and I will not accept compulsory 'treatment' (another suggestion made by these same politicians) for a 'disease' that there is no medical evidence that I even have. I don't believe I am a victim with a social disease. If other people wish to take on that role and accept such a label it is their perogative to disempower themselves like that - but they have no right to thrust it upon those of us who will not accept it, sex workers and drug users who believe they do have human rights to continue as they are if they so choose.

2 comments:

  1. I agree completely: to level criminal charges against the men who are customers is unfair to us ladies who work in the life; it takes away our right to earn money. I particularly don't understand this situation in Sweden, where paying for sex is against the law - even though prostitution is legal there. That's quite a contradiction!

    I do understand the policy-makers' intent to protect women who are prostitutes, as there are indeed violent customers, and not just at the street level: it's not uncommon for callgirls and women who work for outcall services to become victims of violence - after all, who knows what will happen when you knock on a customer's door, even in a posh neighbourhood?

    However, to make it illegal to pay for sex would even further discourage a prostitute from seeking help if she's been attacked by a violent customer, not to mention that her livelihood would lessen considerably.

    And what of the customer who would never dream of physically harming women - how humiliated and degraded he would feel to be arrested for something that should never be a crime in the first place.

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  2. i'm getting more and more enjoying reading ur post babe..plz kip up the gud work ya~

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