Call to Action: 20/20 Report Demands SW Responses

As an active sexworker, longtime sex worker rights activist, and member of SWOP and this board, I urge anyone and everyone who viewed Diane Sawyer’s “Prostitution in America” on 20/20 last night to write to ABC in one of two ways (or both):

1. Seen something? Heard Something? Know something? Please let us know — by being the reporter yourself. If you have facts or information to add to the story, fill out the form below and we’ll get in touch with you. You have a 2000 word limit to add your own story about your reality as a sex worker.   Make sure to link back to either boundnotgagged.com or your local SWOP chapter.

2. You can also leave a comment about the story on the ABC site.  Again, make sure to link back to either boundnotgagged.com or your local SWOP chapter.

Blog comments on this board can be found here.

16 Responses

  1. I feel like I’ve just wasted so much time trying to post on the “20/20” board. Everytime I write something and click to submit, it tells me there has been a problem and to try again. Not only that, but my message totally disappears, so it’s not like I can’t just simply click the button to resubmit it again. I have to rewrite the whole thing.
    Well, at least I can still take action by posting on here. However, I’d really like to post a link to Bound Not Gagged on the “20/20” board so people can read what we’re saying and expand their knowledge about sex workers rights issues and our perspectives as sex worekrs rights activists, which were absent in the “20/20” report.

  2. […] Cross-posted from Bound, Not Gagged: As an active sexworker, longtime sex worker rights activist, and member of SWOP and this board, I urge anyone and everyone who viewed Diane Sawyer’s “Prostitution in America” on 20/20 last night to write to ABC in one of two ways (or both): […]

  3. sexworkeradvocate- maybe you could draft a letter to post here that we can all sign on to? The more we post about it here the more likely people will find the blog when the search for Diane Sawyer and Prostitution. I haven’t tried posting over at the 20/20 board yet. I will try soon…

  4. Thank you, karlykirchner, I’ll try posting over there again and see if I have any more luck.

  5. I did a long post on this with Secondhand Rose as soon as we finished watching; and we’ve plastered it a few other places (Sex In The Public Square and BlogHer). I also did email contact ABC as I had great difficulty posting a comment. (Chronic problem with ABC’s site, unfortunately.)

    We did not mention any organizations because we acted as individuals & did not know of this post (among other personal reasons). If anyone would like to contact us, you may do so off of our blogs.🙂

  6. Ok, I tried again and it didn’t work. Here is a draft of a letter and people can add onto it and edit:
    As sex workers, allies, and activists, we are deeply concerned about the “Prostitution in America” report that aired on “20/20” hosted by Diane Sawyer.
    Though prostitutes are the people most strongly affected and harmed by existing prohibitionist policies against prostitution, the report did not feature prostitutes’ perspectives on the legal status of prostitution. The only person interviewed who whose perspective was featured on this issue was a reporter for the New York Times who promoted the Swedish model, even though Swedish prostitutes have denounced this legislation. Yet, their perspectives were not represented either.
    Furthermore, we also found it highly offensive when Sawyer denied the perspectives of an independent, indoor sex worker just because her perspectives differered from Sawyer’s. When Sawyer told her that this sex worker that did not believe the perspectives she expressed, this was a violation on Sawyer’s part. Sex workers have the right to define our experiences for ourselves. Though we have no way of knowing for sure whether Sawyer ever worked in the sex industry, she did not identify as a sex worker and if she really is interested in learning about what sex work is like and speaking about sex work, then perhaps, she should try working in the sex industry herself rather than just projecting her own stereotypes and prejudices onto sex workers.
    Sex workers are a diversity of people with a diversity of experiences and perspectives on our work. When reporting on sex work, it is important to respect this diversity and to respect the sex workers. It is also essential to allow sex workers voices on public policies that affect our livelihood, such as the legal status of prostitution
    (end of letter)

    Please let me know your thoughts on the letter and if you think it should be edited in any way. As karlykirchner suggested, this can also be a collective letter and we can add link to Bound Not Gagged and sex worker advocacy groups.

  7. Gracie, thank you so much for taking the time to write a sex workers’ rights critique of the “20/20” piece. I read it and it was great. Here is a link so people can read it: http://sexinthepublicsquare.org/node/628#comments

  8. I loved Gracie’s response, and I would love to re-post it to several message boards where this issue is being discussed.

    I also think it is a more powerful piece that the draft suggested by sexworkeradvocate. If it were sent out as an open letter, I would happily sign it.
    By the way, what would be the logistics of signing such a letter be?

  9. I think it would ge breat to circulate around Gracie’s piece, but the only challenge we may face is the length. It may be too long for some boards. On the “20/20” discussion board regarding the report by Diane Sawyer, posts can be no more than 2000 words.
    I realize that if we shorten it, it could become less powerful, but we may need to for some boards.

  10. Sorry for the typos in the first sentence of the previous message. I meant to say that I think it would be great to circulate around Gracie’s piece. Now that I think about it, Gracie said that she already posted something on the “20/20” board regarding this program, but we may be able to circulate it to other places with her permission.

  11. I was planning to respond directly to Thais, but I will. First, I agree with you that Gracie’s piece is powerful and if you think it’s more powerful that the piece I wrote, you have the write to feel how you do. It definately contains a lot more information and as I said before, it’s great, which is why I posted a link.
    However, just so you know, the thoughts I expressed in the letter I wrote came from my heart and my mind as somebody who has worked in the sex industry, so to me, it is powerful. Please keep that in mind when writing comments and think about how you say things. From my perspective, I was deeply offended that none of the sex workers’ perspectives were included regarding social issues affecting our livelihoods, such as the legal status of prostitution, while some reporter who didn’t even identify as a sex worker did express his perspectives on air.
    Also, I don’t think anybody has any business denying us the right to define our experiences and our perspectives for ourselves, as Saywer did to that indoor worker when she said she didn’t believe her perspective. If that were me, I would had caused me emotional suffering, to use the term Sawyer was trying to project onto this woman. How ironic that she complains about prostitution causing emotional suffering when she herself may be causing emotional suffering to sex workers by the attitudes she expressed toward us and the way she portrayed us and our work.
    Though there were so many things in this report that I take issue with, I choose to focus on those two things I mentioned because they were what got to me the most emotionally. However, I realize that different people may have been affected differently, but karlykirchner suggested that I draft a letter, so that’s what I did, and I welcomed people to add to it or edit. However, that was before I read the letter by Gracie, which I also think would make a great communal letter for us, but it may need to be shorted because if it is too long, people are likely to just skim over it, just read part of it, or not read it at all. It’s definately a letter that should be read.

  12. sexworkeradvocate,
    I am really sorry the way I worded my response ended up being inconsiderate. I generally try watch what I am saying precisely for that reason, but I didn’t pay attention this time.

    What makes me see Gracie’s response as more powerful is strictly the more persuasive and emotional manner in which it is written rather than actual content. In terms of content, I really like both. The downside of such approach is that it could make people defensive – and the more balanced draft you presented could work better to avoid that.

    Perhaps, the two could be merged both in content (since both have really good points) and manner: make the bulk of it leveled, and add just a sentence or two that utilize more persuasive rhetoric. I never studied writing in English so there are stylistic tools I don’t know the words for. If I manage to complete some of the commitments I already have today, I could take a shot at such a summary.

  13. Thank you, Thais, and I accept your apology, but there’s no need to apologize. You have the right to your perspective, but I just wanted to express mine also.
    My letter was just a draft rather than a final polished up version. There is also some grammatical stuff that would need to be fixed. Sometimes, I get so passionate when writing that I overlook grammar. I’ve done that plenty of times on this board. I guess that for myself, part of expressing my thoughts also includes addressing the content. Like I said before, maybe, the reason why I addressed the content is because it really got to me and I wanted to challenge it. I had an emotional response to the content.
    I’d be happy to accept just Gracie’s letter as a communal letter if she and other people on the board would be up to that. There’s no need to merge both, unless that’s what people wish to do.

  14. Hi,

    I wanted to make sure that we’d have something up at the blog by Monday am so…

    I got inout from as many as possible to re-work the first draft that sexworkeradvocate worked on (thanks!) and I added a quote and track-back to Gracies post at SITPS. Anybody who would like to sign on can just do it in the comments.

    Hope this is a happy compromise for everybody. Feel free to re-post, etc.

    https://deepthroated.wordpress.com/2008/03/23/shame-on-diane-sawyer/

  15. i didn’t comment on the discussion blog, gah, couldn’t even bear to read it, but I did send a comment via the other option.

  16. […] reader here…. Posted on March 29, 2008 by iamcuriousblue Immediately after the BNG post calling for responses to the 20/20 story, came this post over at the blog “Feminist […]

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