Connections between Anti-Prostitution Laws and Fake Sting Operations

Many of us are well aware of how anti-prostitution laws promote and encourage real vice sting operations against sex workers, but there seems to be much less focus on how these same anti-prostitution laws also promote fake sting operations, in which abusers tell sex workers that they’re vice cops so that they’ll comply to be handcuffed or tell sex workers they’ll arrest them for prostitution if they don’t provide free sex acts.

Once a sex worker is handcuffed, it’s much harder to defend oneself and get away from abusers, and the consequences have been tragic.  For example, David Naugle acknowleged that he pretended to be an undercover cop when he picked up sex workers off the street, and he proceeded to assault and rape them, killing at least one sex worker: .http://www.livedash.com/transcript/cold_case_files-(killer_on_the_strip%3B_the_doll_murder)/612/KICU/Thursday_March_11_2010/220880/ . There are many unsolved murders of sex workers  which he could be connected with. 

Why was he able to trick some sex workers into thinking he was an undercover cop and get them to comply to being handcuffed?  Because there really are vice sting operations against sex workers in prostitution and anti-prostitution laws allow for this.   If such sting operations against sex workers didn’t exist, then abusers wouldn’t be able to trick sex workers into thinking they’re undercover cops enforcing anti-prostitution laws.  Here’s another of many horrific examples of how anti-prostitution laws encourage violence and further endanger sex workers.

Trafficking Numerology

A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers. –  Plato

The Western mind adores numbers; it finds them impressive and magical, and the less an individual understands about math the more numbers impress him (especially if they’re large numbers).  The quickest way to win the typical modern dullard’s respect is to throw some very large figure at him; in most cases he’ll simply accept it without even thinking about what it really means in terms of human experience.  On my own blog yesterday I mentioned that the trafficking fetishists call their propaganda of “100,000 trafficked girls” in the United States (or “100,000 trafficked children” depending on the writer) a conservative estimate, and claim that 300,000 is closer to the mark.  These numbers are repeated endlessly (including in CNN’s “special report” Selling the Girl Next Door which aired last night) despite the fact that they have no basis in fact whatsoever, and nobody ever bothers to think about what 300,000 girls really means.

The only places in which any hard facts about prostitution can be uncovered are those in which our profession is entirely decriminalized, and there aren’t many of those; luckily, New Zealand took the trouble to study prostitution in depth in order to answer fanatics who predicted disaster when decriminalization was implemented there in 2003.  In a survey done in 2005, researchers found that there were a total of 5932 prostitutes of all levels in New Zealand, of which 210 were underage.  Furthermore, 75% of underage girls were working only on the street, which leaves only about 53 wh0 could be advertising on the internet (but also may not).  In other words, 5722 of New Zealand’s prostitutes – 96.46% – are legal adults.  And given that this is the ONLY methodologically sound study available for any portion of the English-speaking world, it’s the best estimate we have for the United States or ever will have until and unless prostitution is fully decriminalized here and whores can therefore feel safe in answering such surveys.

According to the 2006 census the population of New Zealand was 4,143,279, of whom approximately 2,082,049 were female; active, declared prostitutes (excluding part-timers, party girls, strippers, gold-diggers etc) were 5932 of those women or 0.285%.  Since this jibes very closely with the standard 1% estimate of all women who prostitute themselves to one degree or another it seems very reasonable and we can therefore apply it to the American population as the best estimate we’re likely to get in the lifetime of anyone reading this.  According to the most recent estimates (2009) there are about 155,600,000 women in the United States, which after applying the New Zealand estimate gives us a figure of 443,323 active, declared prostitutes in this country – of which trafficking fetishists wish us to believe about two-thirds are involuntary, “trafficked” underage girls.  In truth, the number (again, by application of the New Zealand estimate) is 15,694, of which 75% (11,770) are only working on the street.  That gives us a rough estimate of 3924 who might be advertised on the internet…a far cry from the “Wal-Mart of sex trafficking” declared by CNN.  Furthermore, not all of these girls are involuntarily involved, which makes the number of “internet sex-slave children” still lower even if we allow the equation of “legal minor” with “child” and “pimped hooker” with “slave”.

I’m sure anyone with half a brain can look at these figures and recognize them as far more realistic than the “300,000” figure touted by the fetishists.  The reason their wild exaggerations aren’t discarded out of hand is that, as I said in the first paragraph, most Americans are unable to comprehend the sheer magnitude of the claims. Of the 155,600,000 American women I mentioned earlier, 17.4% are older than 4 but younger than 18; that’s a total of roughly 27,074,400 school-age girls in the US, of which the media wants you to believe 300,000 – in other words, 1.11% – are held in sexual bondage. According to trafficking fanatics, the percentage of underage girls in “sex slavery” is almost FOUR TIMES the best estimate we have for the total percentage of women of ALL ages involved in any kind of formal prostitution.  And if we only consider the ages most trafficking “authorities” claim as the majority of underage prostitutes (namely 13-17) it’s more like ten times the percentage.

Nobody in his right mind could believe these figures, yet the mainstream media irresponsibly parrots them without question.  I wrote this article, research and all, in about ninety minutes; any reporter could have found the same figures I did from the same online sources, but they don’t bother because inflammatory lies are more interesting to the lowest common denominator than mundane truth.  Ignorance is one thing and willful misrepresentation another; since Amber Lyon of CNN and her cronies on other networks could find the same information I did, I can only conclude they don’t want to find it.  And that places their actions beyond the bounds of mere ratings-seeking hype and into the realm of pure criminal negligence.

Dutch government wants their cut from sex workers

From the Huffington Post:

Nobody knows exactly how many prostitutes there are or how many of them pay tax, since legal ones are registered as one-women businesses, not brothels. But an Amsterdam-chartered study in October estimated there are slightly fewer than 8,000 prostitutes of all kinds in the city, and 3,000 working behind windows. An industry think-tank called the SOR Institute believes around 40 percent of window prostitutes already pay some income tax.

“It’s more all the time – though of course there are some sex workers who refuse,” says Mariska Majoor, a former prostitute who now runs an information center in the district.

“Their attitude is, we are stigmatized, made to feel that we are not part of society, we have trouble in getting a bank account – why should we pay taxes?”

Full Story Here

For the General Public: When does sex work become rape?

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.

CraigsList: Future Thinking

Assuming that CraigsList Adult Services stay down, where will everyone go? Granted, the majority of those in the business in the US aren’t advertising on CL anymore. But now civilians are enjoying the thrill of discovering what’s been online for the past 10-15 years and are publicly speculating what sites advertisers will flock to.

On the one hand, other advertising sites have been obvious all this time if you know how to use Google. The current public attention might help some girls get a little extra business in what I know is a sagging economy and a seasonally slow time of year (beginning of school). On the other hand, I’m very worried by the attention thrown at other sites. The motivation for this current state of affairs goes far beyond the usual cat-and-mouse game played by local cops. The anti-trafficking Nazis have one possible victory with CraigsList and probably feel ready to go stomping on any other site adult sex workers use.

Because it’s about ending prostitution. It’s not about helping victims.

Continue reading

Anthony Comstock Would Be Proud

I’m posting this on behalf of Lailah. She recently commented on my personal blog, telling me about her arrest. I encouraged her to write her story and submit it to be posted here. Since the general public looks at this blog, I would like them to see what an arrest feels like from the perspective of a consenting adult sex worker — the most common kind of sex worker, BTW. I’m very proud she took me up on my offer.

Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Lailah (not my real name). I’m a single mama, a business owner (businesses NOT adult oriented), and a professional escort. I spend my spare time cleaning house, tending children, and being a soccer mom, just like every other mother across the country. I started escorting in early May, 2010. And I stopped in June, 2010. I loved it. I absolutely loved escorting. I couldn’t see a downside to it. I like sex and money. My clients liked sex and money. They were willing to give me money to spend time with me (admittedly, we spent that time having sex), so we both got what we wanted and went away happy.

Continue reading

Comments by “Citizens against Trafficking” about Photo of Cambodian Sex Workers Protesting Law Enforcement Brutality

“Citizens against Trafficking” (CAT)  wrote the following about a photo of Cambodian sex workers protesting law enforcement brutality under U.S. imposed anti-prostitution legislation: 

“Look at this photo from a ‘sex workers’ rally’ in Cambodia. The writing on their t-shirts says ‘Sex Work is Work: Defend the Right to Livelihood.’ Look at the faces of these women. Do they look like happy, empowered women and girls rallying to demand their right to be prostitutes? Or do they look like victims of trafficking told to put on t-shirts and sit while someone takes their picture?

A Rhode Island police officer who has been in the brothel-spas looked at this photo and said, ‘The women I saw in the spa looked just like that.”

Well, of course these sex workers look unhappy considering that they were protesting the rapes, beatings, and theft that Cambodian sex workers have been subject to by police and prison guards under U.S. imposed anti-prostitutuion legislation.  Yet, CAT mentions nothing about this oppressive legislation.  CAT mentions nothing about how sex workers have been incarerated and subject to police brutality under anti-prostitution policies like what this organization promotes, in which the issue of human trafficking is exploited to promote policies against sex workers.  Well, this is a tragic example of what happens when people  exploit the seriousness of human trafficking to promote oppressive laws against sex workers.   The quote above was on page 3 of an article “Sex Radicals Vision for Rhode Island.”   Here’s a link:  http://www.citizensagainsttrafficking.org/attachments/File/sex_radical_vision_for_ri_92309.pdf .

Also, here’s an online documentary about the human rights abuses Cambodian sex workers are being subject to by law enforcement under U.S. imposed anti-prostitution legislation: http://www.blip.tv/file/970833/ .

Here’s an article which uses the same photo of Cambodian sex workers protesting that CAT used, but the difference is that this article used the photo in context: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/20080604/cambodian-prostitutes-protest-police-crackdown_all.htm .

Store this number as “creepy diaper guy”

From Alex Leo of the Huffington Post:

Senator David Vitter, a man who endured a public scandal after being outed for visiting prostitutes, has devoted himself to taking on ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) after the group advised an under-cover couple posing as a prostitute and pimp to lie about her profession and launder her earnings in order to receive housing aid.

Andy Cobb
is not amused. The satirist made a video asking Americans to call Vitter’s office to discuss his prostitution scandal and lack of punishment. Cobb wrote this on his YouTube page:

“If Senator Vitter is so outraged by the ACORN prostitution scandal, surely he doesn’t mind talking about his own. The group that Vitter and others so easily condemn provides vital services to some of the poorest people in America. ACORN is clearly imperfect, but it takes a bold man to attack their sex worker interactions when his own have gone unpunished. So as long as the self-proclaimed ‘most outspoken critic of ACORN’ is sitting in judgment of prostitute consultations, let’s benefit from his real world experience. Call up Senator Vitter’s office [(202) 224-4623], ask him all your questions vis-a-vis hooker management services. If the topic is important enough to deny services to the most under-served communities in America, it’s important enough for him to address directly.”

Polk County busts Craigslist prostitution ring

By JOSÉ PATIÑO GIRONA | The Tampa Tribune
and NATALIE SHEPHERD | News Channel 8
Published: September 14, 2009
Updated: 09/14/2009 10:21 pm

They came from Central and South Florida; authorities say they were trying to earn money in the world’s oldest profession.

One woman was dropped off by her 19-year-old daughter and her husband of 20 years. At least two were pregnant.

One prostitute came from a previous prostitution job, took a shower and was setting an appointment for her next job in Lake County, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

One “high-dollar” prostitute flew in from California and another from Wisconsin, investigators say. Read More…

Press Release: Malicious tactics used by Fox News reporter

The Desiree Alliance, Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) and allied organizations such as BAYSWAN and the Best Practices Policy Project are saddened to observe the malicious tactics used by Glen Beck of Fox news in a recent “expose” of ACORN. All of our organizations stand firmly against the exploitation of minors in prostitution and we also oppose trafficking in persons, but we are concerned about the way the provision of services to adult sex workers was portrayed in the recent report.

In Glen Beck’s effort to critique ACORN via a highly edited series of videos, he in fact belittles the efforts of sex workers who seek services to find stable living circumstances and financial help.

“The Fox news report tears down the efforts of grassroots service providers all over the country to reach out to hard to reach communities of sex workers to help them,” said Tara Sawyer of SWOP-USA.

“Sex workers are already very fearful about accessing services that could help them, and these low-brow media attacks on service providers increase barriers and harm” she added.

All of our organizations are concerned that the “expose” will cause service providers and non-profit organizations to shy away from providing harm reduction services and helping sex workers “where they are at.”

“Providing sex workers with information about how to live safely, even though what they do is criminalized, is essential,” said Susan Lopez of Desiree Alliance. “And we commend all organizations that provide these services to prevent HIV, help sex workers find housing, seek financial support and to take care of their health needs. Don’t turn sex workers away because of unconscionable undercover reports like those carried out by Fox.”

About the Organizations:

The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. We provide leadership and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labor and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.

Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.

Shout out of support for Victoria Thorne in UK!

Latest adult woman persecuted by zealous prohibitionist police. She’s going to jail for 15 months!

Some choice quotes:

“It is plain that those who thought they knew you, and knew you well, are at a loss as to how you came to be involved in such a seedy world.” ~the judge who sentenced her

“In this case Vicky Thorne showed complete disregard for both the law and our own high standards and paid the price through the loss of her career and freedom.” ~ Det. Insp. Andy Jones

Policewoman turned escort jailed in UK

Marriot Hotels Sexist?

It’s bad enough they cooperate with traumatic prostitution busts; but they also seemed to blame a kidnapped, raped woman (and her kidnapped children) for her rape/kidnapping. Marriot then blames their insurance company for the unfortunate wording in their defense.

Don’t stay at Marriots if you’re female.

New Agency Bust

Here is the video

When will they just leave adults to their own devices? When will ALL adults start fighting for the right to be left alone??

Sexism in Prosecution

So a woman and a man were caught by police while engaging in sex for goods (he offered her a case of chips in exchange for oral sex, to which she agreed). The woman got arrested, the man did not. The woman had her mug shot taken and released, and now published, the man did not. Nor was his name published. The woman’s was.

WTF??

Here is the story. (I am including the link to the SWOP LV News blog instead of original to try to give the woman some anonymity.)

Help get tranny-alert.com taken down!

Via gudbuytjane.livejournal.com, reposted from feministing

Call for action: www.tranny-alert.com
From http://www.tranny-alert.com . This is not just appropriative or transphobic, it directly threatens the safety and privacy of trans women:

Our site cannot survive without your submissions!
Spot a tranny or suspected tranny around town? See a hot tranny mess? Observe a guidette in New Jersey with tranny style? Notice trannies on TV/Radio/Billboards? Find yourself at a Lady Gaga concert? WE WANT TO KNOW!

Remember, if you spot a tranny: snap your fingers, snap a pic, and e-mail those photos to: mayday@tranny-alert.com !

In light of the murders of trans women such as Gwen Araujo, Angie Zapata and others, it is indefensible to run a website that requests readers submit photos of trans women (or people they’ve read as trans women) without their consent and publicly out them. This site threatens the safety of every person they post a photo of. Please spread the word and take action.

Please contact http://www.tranny-alert.com and let them know this is NOT okay.
The site appears to be hosted via Blogger, so please enter a complaint against their hate speech and endangerment of the lives of trans women.
Please Twitter about it with the #trannyalertfail hash tag.
Please send complaints about their Facebook page .

ETA: To enter a complaint at Blogger, follow this link: http://help.blogger.com/bin/request.py?contact_type=hate_speech&blog_URL=http://trannyalert.blogspot.com/ (Thanks queersubversion!)

ETA2: TrannyAlert’s response on Twitter : “Wow people really need to get a fucking sense of humor.”

ETA3: If you have access please post about this on LJ trans communities, as this account isn’t a member of any of them (and will have to wait for approval to post, etc.).

– gudbuytjane

You can go here, http://tinyurl.com/n34flk

to file a direct complaint to Blogger against this blog, you can also do it as many times as you like so please try to do it as much as you can so as to draw attention! Thanks!

Donna Hughes: Have tattooes? You don’t deserve respect.

I was pretty taken aback at the condescension dripping from Donna Hughes’s opinion piece below that appeared in the Providence journal. How on earth someone who is clearly repulsed by “certain” women can be involved in any Women’s Studies program in any university is way beyond me.

01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Providence Journal
DONNA M. HUGHES

AFTER MY EXPERIENCE at the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, I believe Rhode Island is headed for a human rights disaster and nationwide political embarrassment. It is becoming apparent that the Senate is not going to pass a much-needed prostitution bill. Rhode Island will continue to have an expanding number of spa-brothels, prostitution of minors in clubs, and no law that will enable the police to stop it.

The hearing (on Senate bill 0596, to close the loophole allowing indoor prostitution) was a sordid circus, with pimps and prostitutes coming forward to oppose the legislation. Continue reading

This is with whom the prohibitionists wish to entrust sex workers’ lives

And they say they are trying to protect sex workers from violence?

Does anyone have an update on Michigan 2L?

Michigan 2L

I posted this at Christmas, and it probably didn’t get a lot of views because of the holidays, but I feel this is extremely improtant to follow up on. Does anyone know anything else about this case?

She is a law student at UM, Ann Arbor, and she posted an ad on craigslist. The ad was answered by one of her professors, making for an awkward moment for both. They both decided to go through with the appt, and he wanted to experiment with spanking. He ended up beating the shit out of her, and she was able to get away. She went to the cops to report assault (she was bruised and couldn’t see out of one eye), and the cops told her that they could arrest both of them for prostitution or she could just go away and forget it.

Tina Fey on Strippers (we need to protest her)

I found this on one of my google alerts. I am disgusted by it. I think we need to act on this somehow. Letter to Vanity Fair? Protest? Blogging here?

But I love Sasha’s response.

Randy roundup 2008

From Love Bites, EYE Weekly

BY Sasha   December 23, 2008 21:12

“I love to play strippers and to imitate them,” says America’s newly crowned sweetheart Tina Fey in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. “I love using that idea for comedy, but the idea of actually going there? I feel like we all need to be better than that. That industry needs to die, by all of us being a little better than that.”

Tina, you assclown, what is it that you think whores do? If you’re not sure, you know, because you’ve never actually had a reasonable conversation with one or set foot in their workplace because you’ve been too busy mocking them in the squeaky clean world of television, let me make it perfectly clear for you: they act like whores for money — so, like, what you do when you play one on television. Well, OK, maybe not exactly. See, what you’re doing more specifically is profiting off the dodgy status of sex workers while simultaneously stigmatizing real ones, which is even more despicable than actually being one, if you ask me. To quote one of Hollywood’s most excellent silver-screen strippers, Nomi Malone from Showgirls, “Fucker. Fuck off.”

http://www.eyeweekly.com/lovebites/article/48322

Holy Shit

This is absolutely imperative for everyone here to read. It was posted on Feministe on December 17th- unbelievably appropriate. We must contact this young lady somehow to let her know we are there for her.

“Perhaps she should have cracked a legal textbook before coming in to the police station to talk about this,” Ann Arbor Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

This is a direct cut-and-paste:

The Michigan 2L Speaks Out

Posted by: Jill in Crime, Law, Law School, Sex Work

The woman who was charged for reporting her assault has spoken out, sending an email to law school networks and posting a comment on Above the Law. A lot of people have been talking about her and she certainly deserves space to respond and to tell her story, so I’m posting her comment in full below.

My word of (unsolicited) advice for her, should she read this: You have people behind you. Really. You have me. You have a whole community of women and men who read this blog, some of whom are commenting on this post to show their support for you. You are incredibly brave and strong for reporting your assault. You are incredibly selfless and kind in thinking about the other women who might be protected by your report. You do not deserve the treatment you’ve gotten.

Don’t bother with the comments on ATL, or worry about what the loudest law students will say on a private listserve. I haven’t read them, but I know from some experience that a lot of people who sit around commenting anonymously on law school and legal practice websites are among the nastiest on the internet. They do not represent most lawyers or most law students or most people. You have people, all over the country, who are supporting you, and we’re all sending our best wishes your way. If there’s anything the Feministe community can do to show our support, feel free to email me.

For this thread, I will be deleting any nasty comments, or comments that treat the Michigan 2L like a hypothetical and not like a real person. That said, I do ask that Feministe readers — even lurkers! — leave messages of support for the Michigan 2L, in case she reads this.

2L, I am so sorry that this happened to you. Keep fighting. You have an army of supporters right behind you.

______________________________________________
Dear Law School,

I’m the girl who got into the mess with the professor. I posted a version of this in the comments on ATL, because using my uniquename email on lawopen means outing myself, which gives the press permission to publish my name. Fortunately, one of my classmates has offered to transmit this message to you on my behalf. Those of you who don’t know who I am yet will find out soon enough.

Most of you probably don’t know what it’s like to push a boxcutter into your own wrist and neck. Or what it’s like to walk home from the psych ward, and set to the task of cleaning a room covered in your own blood. Or how humiliating and degrading it is to be penetrated against your will. You probably read the newspaper story, but you should know that it contained factual errors, and that it omitted significant details from the police report. I had no idea what I was walking into, and I’m lucky that I’ve made it through alive.

A month after I was assaulted, I attempted suicide over the whole mess. I’ve been unable to sleep or study, for fear of this story being published. I’ve had PTSD rape dreams. Everything I’ve worked for my entire life, personally, academically, professionally, has been harmed, and I’ve spent $20,000 trying to put it all right again. And I have, in fact, been prosecuted and will be required to pay a debt to society. All I can hope is that the bar will see that this was an aberrant moment in the life of a severely depressed, suicidal, isolated person.

Reading some of your comments makes me want to go crawl under a rock and never come out. But some of your comments have made me think that maybe I can show my face again. It’s difficult reading all of these things written about me without being able to offer an explanation/defense/vignette:

I worked my way through undergrad on my own, doing crazy hours on top of a full course-load. In fact, I’ve worked every kind of menial, low-paid job since I was 15; I’ve never thought I was above any kind of work, or better than anyone else I worked with, because we were all there together. But last semester I’d been so depressed that I could barely even get myself to class, let alone keep up with my finances. In April I realized I couldn’t pay the rent for May, and my parents weren’t an option. Nor was anyone else, because there weren’t really very many people in my life at that time. The housing crisis made it so that I couldn’t get an additional loan without a co-signer. I should have found some other way, but at the time none of my thoughts were very healthy.

I love the law just as much as you do, and I like to think about the ways that it shapes the world we live in. I watch a lot of movies, and go to the gym when I can. I have dear friends at other law schools who I try to keep in touch with. I’m a quiet, introverted, sensitive person; I think I’ve read every post on lawopen and ATL, and taken them all very personally. I used to be a proud atheist, but now I know that God saved my life the night I tried to take it. I also know that God kept the man in that hotel room from killing me, because he was completely out-of-control.

I went to the police the following morning because my vision was blurred from having been hit in the face. The bruises from his belt didn’t go away for a week. I later found out that this man had targeted other sex workers, making him a serial sexual sadist. Violent men target sex workers because they know sex workers are isolated, fearful, and ashamed, and won’t go to the police.

Going to the police seems like a stupid move, as many of you have pointed out. But I was afraid for the next woman he “contracted with.” And I felt so worthless and used that I didn’t care about throwing everything I’d ever worked for. I felt so terrible, and I thought that the police would make it right… that’s what the justice system is about, right?

It’s clear to me now that the AAPD thinks this is funny. That’s why they’re not going through with the assault charge.

What I did was wrong, and I’m a criminal for having done it. But if this had been any other misdemeanor like drug use/possession, DUI, public intoxication, open container, gambling, vandalism, petty theft, or simple assault, there wouldn’t have been a two-page article in the paper. And if you got rid of all of the lawyers who had done one of the above at some point, there’d be a severe shortage.

I also feel compelled to say that despite what many of you have expressed, I am not disease-ridden; my lifetime number is still under 20. I consider myself to be well-informed in the area of reproductive rights and health, and I think everyone has a responsibility to inform their partners of their sexual history, not just sex workers. I’m recently tested, and I don’t have AIDS, herpes, Hep B, syphilis, the clap, or chancroid. And I don’t judge those people who have contracted an STD at some point, because if you’re not a virgin, you take a calculated risk every time you have sex. If you have had sex with more than one person and you don’t have a viral STD, it’s because you’re lucky.

I’m not writing because I want pity. I’m writing because the future lawyers who read this need to understand that the answer is seldom ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but often ‘it depends.’ Good people do bad things sometimes, for a variety of reasons. The reason we have ‘bright line’ rules is because there is so much gray out there. And it’s only through compassion and understanding that anyone is able to make sense of it all. My crime was a cry for help.

Finally, I wish to apologize for having brought negative attention to this prestigious law school. But I expect that every amazing thing you do will outshine my mistake- it really is an honor to be a member of such an accomplished community of people. I hope that you won’t shun me, or completely expel me from social/academic/service life at the University. Many seem to think about this as if it were some complicated hypothetical on a Torts exam. But, I’m still the same girl you knew before. And right now I’m struggling with the reality of public humiliation. I haven’t directly talked to any of you about this because I imagine some of you will want to distance yourselves from me, and I don’t wish to impose myself upon you; I don’t really know who I can still call a friend, but I’ll find out soon enough.

– That 2L Girl (’A’ & ‘384′ on ATL)

PLEASE, PLEASE go there and read the comments.