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.

New Hobbyist Blog

I’ve been following this guy’s blog, Sexhobbyist.com, for a little while and he seems to divide his time fairly evenly between escorts and strippers.   There’s an insightful interview with an escort in it this week.  I think he should be added the Hobbyists Blogs list.  I like it when clients use the head located on top of their necks.

Call for Submissions

Feminism For Freaks

At its best, feminism offers an emancipatory potential from gendered oppression, inequality, and violence. At its worst, however, feminism can work to simply affirm the rights of middle-class, heterosexual,white women, and exclude the voices of already-marginalised groupssuch as women of colour, trans* women, sex workers and so on.

LikeDerrida’s democracy, a truly liberatory feminism is mostly a feminism to come. Not un-coincidentally, those marginalised groups of women are often demonised by the dominant culture, rendered as monstrous, simultaneously invisible and hyper-visible, compelling and threatening, desirable and disgusting–and forever denied a voice ofour own. The question of if and how monstrosity can be reclaimed or re-worked is a vexed one for feminists.

We therefore invite proposals that affirm the voices of socially excluded people, that seek to create new and exciting knowledge and address themselves to feminist theory and activism or the wider culture, on such topics including, but not limited to:
* Monstrous bodies and identities
* Social marginalisation and exclusions (for instance, borders, walls,and immigration laws, and the silencing of voices such as those of women of colour and transgendered people)
* Liberation/transformation/organisation
* sex work
* queer sexualities and genders
* BDSM
* Visible signs of difference (Muslim women wearing the veil, disabled bodies etc)
* religion and spirituality
* freaks in popular culture, body modification etc
* fat positivity

Academic, non-fiction and creative work will be considered–the call is broad, and we’re willing to accommodate new and interesting work by freaks of all kinds. Please submit abstracts of up to 250 words and a short bio by May 31st to estrangedcognition@hotmail.com and suzanmanuel@gmail.com

Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy

The Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy homepage is a collection of links to blogs that will host future editions of this carnival, promoting the sexual rights and freedom of women.

The first edition is up at Uncool blog.

The next edition will be held at Labyrinth Walk on the 21st April 2008. The call for submissions outlining possible themes is here.

This theory of feminism is known more commonly as Sex Positive Feminism, a movement that developed in the 1980s in response to feminists against pornography and prostitution. Sex Positive Feminists (or sex-radical, pro-sex or sexually liberated feminists) believe that women’s sexual freedom is an essential part of women’s autonomy. Any legal or social control or regulation over the sexual self is an attempt to control and regulate women, undermines their freedom and infringes upon their human rights. We are interested in promoting sex workers’ rights, sex education in schools, and we encourage the free expression of sexualities.

Sex Work, Trafficking, and Human Rights: A Public Forum

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Elizabeth Wood
Phone: provided upon request
Email: elizabeth (at) sexinthepublicsquare (dot) org
Co-founder, SexInThePublicSquare.org
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Nassau Community College

Sex In The Public Square Presents:
Sex Work, Trafficking, and Human Rights: A Public Forum

New York, February 20, 2008 – Ten prominent sex worker advocates, writers, researchers will be publicly discussing the issues of sex work and trafficking from a human rights and harm reduction perspective, February 25 – March 3, on SexInThePublicSquare.org. The week-long online conversation will conclude with a summary statement on March 3, International Sex Worker Rights Day.

Sex work and trafficking are two issues that must be discussed as distinct yet intersecting, and we’ve invited some of the smartest sex worker advocates we know to help sort out the complexities. “This forum is not about debating whether or not we should be using a harm reduction and human rights approach instead of the more mainstream abolitionist and prohibitionist approach to sex work,” explains Elizabeth Wood, co-founder of Sex In The Public Square and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Nassau Community College. “Instead our goal is to create a space for nuanced exploration of the human rights and harm reduction approach so that we can use it more persuasively.”

Wood explains: “The human rights and harm reduction approach seeks to reduce the dangers that sex workers face and to stop human rights abuses involved in the movement of labor across borders, a movement which occurs in the service of so many industries. We want people to be able to learn about this perspective, and to develop and refine it, without having to dilute that conversation by debating the legitimacy of sex work.”

Questions and themes include:

Defining our terms: Is the way that we define “porn” clear? “Prostitution”? “Sex work” in general? What happens when we say “porn” and mean all sexually explicit imagery made for the purpose of generating arousal and others hear “porn” as indicating just the “bad stuff” while reserving “erotica” for everything they find acceptable? When we say sex work is it clear what kinds of jobs we’re including?

Understanding our differences: How do inequalities of race, class and gender affect the sex worker rights movement? Are we effective in organizing across those differences?

Identifying common ground: What are the areas of agreement between the abolitionist/prohibitionist perspective and the human rights/harm reduction perspective? For example, we all agree that forced labor is wrong. We all agree that nonconsensual sex is wrong. Is it a helpful strategic move to  by highlighting our areas of agreement and then demonstrating why a harm reduction/human rights perspective is better suited to addressing those shared concerns, or are we better served by distancing ourselves from the abolition/prohibition-oriented thinkers?

Evaluating research: What do we think of the actual research generated by prominent abolitionist/prohibitionist scholars like Melissa Farley, Gail Dines, and Robert Jensen? Can we comment on the methods they use to generate the data on which they base their analysis, and then can we comment on the logic of their conclusions based on the data they have?

Framing the issues: What are our biggest frustrations with the way that the human rights/harm reduction perspective is characterized by the abolitionist/prohibitionist folks? How can we effectively respond to or reframe this misrepresentations? What happens when “I oppose human trafficking” becomes a political shield that deflects focus away from issues of migration, labor and human rights?

Exploring broader economic questions: How does the demand for cheap labor undermine human rights-based solutions to exploitation in all industries, including the sex industry?

Confirmed participants include:

Melissa Gira is a co-founder of the sex worker blog Bound, Not Gagged, the editor of Sexerati.com, and reports on sex for Gawker Media’s Valleywag.
Chris Hall is co-founder of Sex In The Public Square and also writes the blog Literate Perversions.

Kerwin Kay has written about the history and present of male street prostitution, and about the politics of sex trafficking. He has been active in the sex workers rights movement for some 10 years. He also edited the anthology Male Lust: Pleasure, Power and Transformation (Haworth Press, 2000) and is finishing a Ph.D. in American Studies at NYU.

Anthony Kennerson blogs on race, class, gender, politics and culture at SmackDog Chronicles, and is a regular contributor to the Blog for Pro-Porn Activism.

Antonia Levy co-chaired the international “Sex Work Matters: Beyond Divides” conference in 2006 and the 2nd Annual Feminist Pedagogy Conference in 2007. She teaches at Brooklyn College, Queens College, and is finishing her Ph.D. at the Graduate Center at CUNY.

Audacia Ray is the author of Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads and Cashing In On Internet Sexploration (Seal Press, 2007), and the writer/producer/director of The Bi Apple. She blogs at WakingVixen.com hosts and edits Live Girl Review and was longtime executive editor of $pread Magazine.

Amber Rhea is a sex worker advocate, blogger, and organizer of the Sex 2.0 conference on feminism, sexuality and social media and co-founder of the Georgia Podcast Network. Her blog is Being Amber Rhea.

Ren is a sex worker advocate, a stripper, Internet porn performer, swinger, gonzo fan, BDSM tourist, blogger, history buff, feminist expatriate who blogs at Renegade Evolution. She is a founder of the Blog for Pro-porn Activism and a contributor to Bound, Not Gagged and Sex Worker Outreach Project – East.

Stacey Swimme has worked in the sex industry for 10 years. She is a vocal sex worker advocate and is a founding member of Desiree Alliance and Sex Workers Outreach Project USA.

Elizabeth Wood is co-founder of Sex In The Public Square, and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Nassau Community College. She has written about gender, power and interaction in strip clubs, about labor organization at the Lusty Lady Theater, and she blogs regularly about sex and society.

To read or participate in the forum log on to http://sexinthepublicsquare.org

For more information contact Elizabeth Wood at elizabeth (at) sexinthepublicsquare (dot) org.

Letters from Working Girls

Hi:

Susannah Breslin here; I’m a journalist, blogger. I’m wondering if any of your readers/members may be interested in contributing their anonymous stories to an online project I’ve created, Letters from Working Girls, featuring, well, letters from working girls about their experiences in the business. Feel free to spread the word, and thanks much.

http://lettersfromworkinggirls.blogspot.com

Best,

Susannah

Nothing But a Whore

January 6, 2008

by veronicamonet

monetnoseart.jpgMy dad use to veto my thoughts and feelings with these words: “I make the money around here and when you start supporting this family you can have a say in how things are run.  Until then, keep your mouth shut and do what you are told.”

 

As a teenager, I often dreamed about making money so I could have an opinion. 

 

I got married in my early 30’s and my income rose dramatically from a level which barely kept the lights on to a very healthy six figure income.  It wasn’t my job that changed.  I had been an escort for a couple years before I got married.  But once I said “I do,” I did do my best to be a financial knight in shining armor.  Whatever my husband and stepchildren wanted or needed, I went out of my way to make the money to purchase it.  It felt like a self-sacrificing role but of course it was more of a manipulative maneuver given my training around money and power.

 

Despite or maybe because of MY overbearing assertions about being the one in charge because of MY income, I eventually grew tired of being the primary breadwinner in my marriage.  The more money I made the lonelier I felt and the more tired I became.  My husband didn’t express much appreciation for my money and yet he became accustomed to all that it could buy.  Making twice the money he earned never meant being respected as a good provider or a hard worker.  And though he rarely said so, he didn’t like what I did to make my money. 

 

When you are a whore, your family takes your money as penance for your sins – not a gift of your labor.

Full post here