Police identify remains, look for link to ‘Green River Killer’

(CNN) — The remains of an Oregon teenager missing for more than 25 years were recently identified by authorities, and police are looking into whether she might have been a victim of Gary Ridgway, known as the “Green River Killer.”

Police believe Ridgway could be responsible for the death of Angela Marie Girdner because her body was found within a mile of the remains of two other women that Ridgway admitted killing, the county sheriff’s office said. Those bodies were found in Washington County, Oregon, near Portland. The bodies of Ridgway’s other 46 victims were found in the Seattle, Washington, area.

The most prolific known serial killer in U.S. history, Ridgway is serving 48 consecutive life sentences. He has denied involvement in Girdner’s death, as well as that of Tammie Liles, whose remains were found near Girdner’s.

More CNN.com 12.16.2009

The Green River case takes its name from a river south of Seattle where Ridgway began dumping his victims in 1982. Most of the women were prostitutes. Ridgway has said he targeted prostitutes “because I thought I could kill as many as I wanted without getting caught.” He said he killed because he hated prostitutes and didn’t want to pay them for sex, and claimed he killed so many women he had a hard time keeping them straight

.

Privacy for Sex Workers.

The guy in charge of Firefox just called out Google, saying, stop using their search.  Why would he do that? Because Google’s CEO said:

If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

But can’t we just trust in “I have nothing to hide?”.  NO.  Privacy is way more than what some company collects about you.  Privacy is The right of an individual to choose what personal information is given to who and when. So, think about your privacy, and what you want it to be, then SHARE that information with people.  Let people know what your privacy level is.  Do you want your partner to dish about your latest happenings to their friends?  Do you trust person X to know about your Sex Work, but don’t want them to tell anyone else?  The clearer and more open you can be about your privacy, the more it can be respected.  But back to this whole Google privacy issue:

So the Firefox guy says use Bing, which is Microsofts search.  I actually have some different thoughts. If you must have google search, there are ways to make it more private.  But there are search engines dedicated to Privacy, like ixquick.  Also, sites like Zuula and Hakia have reasonable privacy policies. I think I like Hakia‘s front page better, but from a privacy perspective ixquick is definitely the queen.

But what about Google’s other services?

I’d recommend Riseup or Yahoo Mail if you need free email.  Otherwise for some money try something like hosted Zimbra, I use a company in the UK. (I like the idea of my email being outside of the US.  Then the govt’s have to beg each other for access, and for what I do, I can’t see them caring enough).

Instead of Google Docs, try Zoho.  Instead of Google Analytics (which is on the short list to being banned in Germany), try Yahoo Analytics.

I sadly have no alternative to Google Maps  (There is Yahoo Maps, and Microsoft Maps, but they don’t really compare).

But, EVERY web company today (yes including Facebook, twitter, etc) all collect everything they can about you, to use for advertising, etc.  Google is by no means the only one.  However, Google’s privacy policy is HORRID.  Most of the others at least attempt to have one, and think about privacy.

So what can you do?

For every Privacy tool you use, there is a trade-off. There are things like TOR for the uber-private (and lots of tools to help integrate it into your browser experience easier). But for those of us that don’t need or want something quite so heavey handed, you can try some of these tools which I blatantly steal from Jah-Wren Ryel:

  • Adblock Plus [mozilla.org] – general catch-all to block things like doubleclick and the million other trackers
  • CookieSafe Lite [mozilla.org] – for fine-grained control of what sites can set cookiesNoScript [mozilla.org] – for fine-grained control of what sites can use javascript and flash
  • Redirect Cleaner [mozilla.org] – for removing those “bounce links” that a lot of sites use to track you when you follow a URL off their site, with the cleaner you go directly to the destination URL
  • RefControl [mozilla.org] – for clearing out or rewriting the referrer URL – prevents sites from knowing where you came from when you clicked a URL to their site, sometimes helpful in accessing poorly ‘restricted’ content
  • Targetted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out [mozilla.org] – sets special cookies that sites may choose to obey to say “don’t profile me” since these TACOs are not unique-per-user, I figure it can’t hurt although it probably doesn’t do anything
  • User Agent Switcher [mozilla.org] – Lets your browser identify itself as a different browser – this is very important
  • Ghostery [mozilla.org] – Informational Only – tells you what tracking sites may be tracking you on any given page (does not block them, and you get false alarms on sites where NoScript blocks javascript, but it is still good for situational awareness)
  • Better Privacy [mozilla.org] – Blocks new stealth “super cookies” in Flash and DOM Storage Objects. VERY IMPORTANT.

One more thing before I wrap up about privacy, what about this Do I need a second pre-paid phone to do sex work?

NO, but you probably want one anyway.  It won’t do anything to hide you from the police.  If you want to hide from the police, you need to do a lot of things differently.  If it’s just around Sex Work, the cops almost certainly don’t care about your legal identity until after they bust you.  But, it’s great way to keep stalkers and others from tracking down your legal identity.

Privacy is WAY more than just keeping your browsing information from Google, but it was a great excuse for me to write about the larger issues of privacy.  I encourage you to think about what you want known about you, both online and off, and then share your boundaries or your own personal Privacy Policy with others, so that there is a greater chance of it being respected. I certainly don’t know all the answers.  Do you have great tips on privacy?

serial killer targets “a certain profile of a woman”

I am so upset.  Again, women have been assaulted, raped and murdered by a serial killer: Again, the “justice system” has turned a blind eye.  A blind eye to a women who was “bleeding and injured” because she wasn’t “credible.”  Read: a prostitute.

While this article does not use the exact term “prostitute,” nor does anyone in the interviews, we can read @#&*#!

Advocates fear that sensitivities including shame, checkered backgrounds and mistrust on the part of the women he tended to befriend might make it tricky to learn of more victims…

…Another woman, 43-year-old Tanja Doss, told The Associated Press two weeks ago that she was attacked by Sowell in April at his home and escaped the next morning. She said she didn’t tell police because she felt her past conviction on a drug charge made it unlikely they would take her seriously.

Any other survivors need to know “no matter what walk of life you chose, were actually pushed into, you’re still a person. Don’t give up on people that sometimes choose a different path of life, as they call them ‘throwaways’,'” Davis said…

…Sherri Smith, who works with churches in the Sowell neighborhood and has encouraged rape victims to seek help, said some might be hesitant for fear of being seen as “a certain profile of the women” that he allegedly targeted.

I feel sick to my stomach.  For all of those who adhere to armchair feminist theory that supports cracking down on prostitution in order to “save” women, for all of those who supposedly want to protect women from harm by lobbying for legislation to police them more, and for all those who try to silence the voices of sex workers who demand a right to safety by way of decriminalization, you should know that you efforts amount to this:

It soon emerged that a prosecutor declined to file charges after a woman fled Sowell’s home last December, bleeding and injured, because she wasn’t considered credible.

Read the whole article from the Huffington Post HERE

Also, an article from the NY Times, where “Nobody did anything because she is a girl walking around the streets.”

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 .

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…

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.

The Myth of Criminalizing Prostitution

Robert Arthur, author of the cartoon and blog post sent me the link and asked me to post it here. He examines how criminalizing prostitution does not protect the worker in any way, inspired by the reactions because Markoff found his victim through CraigsList.

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.)

Suspect Detained in Murder of Masseuse Advertising on Craig’s List

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090421/ap_on_re_us/us_craigslist_killing

Social Justice and Peace Conference/Exhibition May 1

Below is information I received about a social justice and peace conference/exhibition.  Since we promote justice and peace for sex workers,  it would be great if sex workers’ rights activists could attend and participate.  One of the suggested topics is sex trafficking, so perhaps somebody could put together a presentation about sex workers’ rights approaches to human trafficking and how sex workers are being incacerated and subject to human rights abuses by law enforcement under the guise of fighting sex trafficking.  However, there are a variety of topics we can present about.  The topic ideas are very open.  The event will take place at the University of Texas-Pan American, which is located in the Rio Grande Valley on the U.S./Mexico border.  Here is the information I received: 

SOCIAL JUSTICE and PEACE CONFERENCE/EXHIBITION Conceptualizing In/Justice: Images/Voices of Resistance MAY 1st, 2009 CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS, EXHIBITIONS, POETRY & MUSIC Submissions due APRIL 1st, 2009 The UTPA Department of Criminal Justice is sponsoring an event to promote social justice and peace. The goal of this conference/exhibition is to engage the students, the community and the faculty in a dialogue about social problems that affect our lives locally, regionally, and globally. Not only do we want to raise social consciousness, we want to provide an avenue for discussing solutions to these problems. The purpose of this conference is to provide a safe space for dialogue and protest. Activists and campus organizations are invited to share their struggles, as well as their visions for a better future, including solutions we can implement as individuals. The Conference/Exhibition makes a call for artwork, poetry, music, photo-documentaries, documentaries, posters, presentations and other alternative forms of artistic expression. Please submit an abstract of 150 words or less. Provide the title, contact information, and affiliation if any. Please email to justiceconference@gmail.com or resendiz@utpa.edu Conference Date: May 1st, 2009 Deadline for Submissions: April 1st, 2009 Suggested Topics: Human Rights, Civil Rights, Immigration Rights and Violations, Labor Rights Inequalities, Discrimination, Racism, Classism, Sexism, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues Dehumanization, Exploitation, Torture, Sex Crimes and Sex Trafficking Environmental Justice and Pollution, Animal Rights Health, Education, Elderly Issues, Disabilities Economic Justice, Poverty, Class struggles, Protest Movements Imperialism, War, War on Drugs, Violation of Peace Treaties Religious Tolerance, Spirituality, Empowerment Peace and Legal Discourse, Criminal Justice and Peace-Making Criminology Border Issues, Militarization of the Border Prisons and Detention Centers Other Related Topics Welcome!

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.

Modern-Day Witch Hunt

Prostitution is now apparently a federal crime

Art by Norma Jean Almodovar

Art by Norma Jean Almodovar

Remember when we were all discussing the silly idea that the House had come up with in their version of the TVPRA? The one that proposed that the FBI should be fighting prostitution as it is “synonymous with trafficking”? Well, turns out that legislation never needed to be passed. The FBI is currently fighting prostitution in a nation-wide sweep under the guise of fighting child prostitution. It is a modern-day witch-hunt. How many consenting adult women’s lives have been ruined by these costly and ineffective arrests?

…some 17 FBI agents and plainclothes officers were struggling to arrest two kicking and screaming young women…

Seventeen to two??

…one of the women screamed at the top of her lungs, then rolled around on the floor hyperventilating…

Wow.

…the FBI, Boston police, and State Police said they were at the hotel conducting an undercover investigation as part of “Operation Cross Country,” a nationwide initiative of the US Justice Department aimed at cracking down on child prostitution…

Didn’t the Justice Department come out against the demands of the House version?

“Generally, these things can be investigated and taken down quietly, but sometimes circumstances outside our control occur,” said Russell Kleber, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office, adding that the arrests were “aimed at combating sex trafficking of children.”

The goal of the sweeps, being conducted in over 30 cities, is to target pimps, rescue juveniles, and gather intelligence, according to law enforcement officials.

The Boston sting led to the arrests of five women, ages 19 to 33, who allegedly showed up at the Marriott after agreeing to provide sex for up to $300 an hour to undercover officers. The officers had responded to advertisements posted on the Craigslist website, according to Boston police reports.

Apparently as of last October they had arrested 600 adult prostitutes in this “sweep”.  According to a report from 1987 (quoted in this article– I have a copy of the actual paper if anyone wants one), it cost police about $2000 per arrest. That’s $1.2 million 1987 dollars. Extrapolate that to today’s dosh, and then add in how much more the FBI officers presumably make than the local and state police, and you’ve got a hefty sum of cash being spent on arresting adults engaging in consensual activity. Shouldn’t they be investigating other things? Like terrorism or fraud, perhaps?

This “sweep” is clearly a modern-day witch hunt, persecuting women.  The house seems to have gotten their way. Will this continue under Obama?

Meanwhile, working folks, beware of Craigslist. They’re out to get you.

SWOP 2009 U.S LEGAL GUIDE::Call for Community Expertise!

CALL FOR COMMUNITY EXPERTISE:

Do you have personal experience in the justice system that you would share as part of SWOP’S 2009 Legal Resource Guide?  We are looking for short 2-500 word articles and quotes to publish in this years updated resource guide which will have lists of recommended lawyers and legal resources and be distributed to all chapters and during outreach events.  Possible articles/topics that may be included:

  • If there were 3-5 things I could tell other sex workers about getting arrested, going to court, choosing a lawyer, etc.
  • What to expect after getting busted
  • Common mistakes that get people arrested
  • Using a public defender
  • My experience with diversion programs
  • Sexual harassment and assault from Law Enforcement
  • Words from a sex worker parent
  • I fought for my rights…and WON.

We seek to cover a broad range of predicaments that our community members feel comfortable sharing (pen name or anonymous is ok) as part of this guide.  Ideally we would like to touch on 647b (solicitation of prostitution) type of charges, BDSM related arrests, exotic dancer legal resources, and a section of resources for parents.  Regional chapter members who would like to contribute by calling your local area law offices and assessing if are in line with SWOP’s mission and should be listed in our resource guide is also needed.  If you don’t have a copy of the last 2007 Legal Guide, go to http://www.swopusa.org and download a copy or email one of us and we will send it to you.  Please send mariko.passion@gmail your words of wisdom (informal is ok).  This project is being edited by Tara Sawyer and Mariko Passion, but this is truly a community resource that is written BY and FOR all members of our network in the U.S.

Pompeo, Stirring up the Kettle on Rent Boys and Methheads

After being given ample content on rights work, the relation to workers of other genders, and the ins-and-outs of racist and sexist discrimination and policing by a number of New York’s working boys, Joe Pompeo pulled a Jessica Pilot  in the New York Observer with “The Hipster Rent Boys of New York.” Not a word on racial discrimination, or the use of video peepshows, strolls, or the few last-standing hustler bars, and not a word on organizing.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if the comments section wasn’t crammed full of those nasty little “diseased,” “Narcissistic,” “drug-addicted,” “meth-head” accusations that complete the very definition of an Internet article about us whores and those whoring regardless of gender.

But that’s enough raving. In other news, the Freakonomics guy (and Columbia sociology professor) Sudhir Venkatesh keeps getting quoted in what I think are questionable articles. He’s the guy who wrote a piece for Slate Magazine citing the 40 percent figure, as in 40 percent of sessions don’t include touching or sex. Maybe I should invite him on a work date?

One thing Obama can ignore in his first week in office

(In light of the continuing debates about how US sex workers understand trafficking, I’m crossposting this from my personal blog.)

Nicholas Kristof has been issuing ad-hoc Presidential guidance on the sex trade for years now. The archive of his editorial column in the New York Times serves as a record of his proposals. In 2004, he “bought the freedom” of two women working in brothels in Poipet, Cambodia with the intention of returning them to their villages. Kristof wasn’t prosecuted under US law for the purchase of sex slaves – he wrote of this sale as an “emancipation,” and in 2005, he was back in Poipet to check up on the women. One had returned to prostitution, prompting Kristof to offer another round of recommendations to President Bush, pleading with him to commit the United States to a New Abolitionism.

Now he’s back with his 2009 agenda, delivered like the others, as a kicker to his column. In it, he asks that the Obama administration pressure the Cambodian government to bust more brothels, on the premise that the risk of going to jail for selling sex will hurt brothel owners’ profits and will protect more women from abuse and violence. Yet such stings and raids are already the centerpiece of a disastrous crackdown on Cambodian prostitution. The Bush administration has supported the raids of Cambodian brothels for at least as long as Kristof has been demanding they step up a fight they are already in – and losing.

It was under threat of sanctions from the United States that prostitution was outlawed in Cambodia. The resulting government-sponsored raids on brothels did not lead to a great improvement in the lives of women and girls. Instead, the same police tasked with “liberating” women from Cambodia’s brothels have been accused by human rights groups of abusing these same women.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In a video made by members of the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW), one survivor of what was called a “rehabilitation center” relates the story of being gang raped by six members of the police force: “They raped me from one after the other… the last one didn’t use condom because I got only five condoms. I told him that I have HIV but he was not believe me. He said if I had HIV, would have scar on body, not so smooth.” Another woman survivor describes her time in the Koh Kor rehabilitation center. It sits on the same island that was once home to a Khmer Rouge prison and execution camp. She explains that when she asked questions about why she had been taken in against her will, and what was wrong with what she was doing, she was repeatedly beaten by her captors – the police. These are the people – the police, and the government officials who have operated brothels in a network of corruption – that Kristof would like us to trust to combat violence.

Setting a human rights agenda for the United States will be an enormous challenge for Barack Obama and his incoming administration, with a host of failed Bush campaigns to contend with. His handling of so-called “sex slavery” will be but one. When considering how he ought to proceed, to undo damage done, and to improve human rights around the globe, Obama should look not to Kristof and his urgent cries, but to those women who are currently imprisoned and violated by the people who were supposed to “save” them. To endorse brutal, violent raids and “rehabilitation” as a solution to the brutality and violence of coerced prostitution ignores the evidence that raids do nothing to discourage abusive conditions — they perpetuate them.

A “Prostitution Free Zone” for the Inauguration

It was just one month ago that sex workers from around the United States converged on Washington, DC for the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Now, with the excuse of preparing for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, “portions of downtown [DC] have been declared a ‘Prostitution Free Zone’ for the Inaugural celebration period,” according to DCist.

Different Avenues and a coalition of DC-based advocates, including the Best Practices Policy Project and Alliance for a Safe & Diverse DC, released a report this summer on the discriminatory practice of the “Prostitution Free Zones,” detailing how anyone — usually transgender women and women of color — walking in these “zones” can be targeted for harassment and detention by law enforcement.

I don’t think any sex workers expected to feel welcomed by the incoming Obama administration — and though we don’t know exactly where the pressure came from, this aggressive move by DC law enforcement only reinforces that. (Besides, honestly, aren’t most of the pols & media types in town hiring sex workers by word-of-mouth these days? Unless after Spitzer they’ve all decided it’s safer to trick on the streets. Too bad for them.)

(Photo by Jason Cragg, via DCist)

New Report Examines the Use of Raids to Fight Trafficking in Persons

On Friday, January 9th, The Sex Workers Project, at the Urban Justice Center in New York City, released a new report, Kicking Down the Door, that analyzes the use of “rescue” raids in the fight against human trafficking.

The report “summarizes findings from interviews with 46 people with experience of such raids, including service providers who have worked with hundreds of trafficking victims, law enforcement personnel, and 15 immigrant women who have been trafficked,” and “concludes that so-called “rescue” raids are not an effective way to stop trafficking in persons and in fact can be counter-productive.”

From PlanetWire.org:

WASHINGTON DC, Jan. 9 – Law enforcement raids designed to rescue victims of human trafficking may do more harm than good for the victims and are ineffective or even counter-productive in curbing the practice, a coalition of advocates for sex workers said today. They urged President-elect Obama to adopt a rights-based approach to the problem.

The Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center, a New York-based coalition of service providers, researchers, advocates, donors and sex workers, released a report analyzing the experiences of 46 people involved in such raids during 2007 and 2008.

“The findings suggest that vice raids are an ineffective means of locating and identifying trafficked persons,” said Dr. Melissa Ditmore, primary author of the study, during an audio news conference announcing the release. “They are often accompanied by violations of human rights of the trafficked persons and sex workers and are therefore counterproductive to their own goals.”

Kicking Down the Door concludes with a lengthy list of recommendations for the US government, law enforcement personnel, and service providers. For some of us, these recommendations are common sense, but most of us also know that common sense isn’t really the cornerstone of policies involving sex work.

The Sex Workers Project (SWP) provides legal services and legal training, and engages in documentation and policy advocacy, for sex workers. Using a harm reduction and human rights model, we protect the rights and safety of sex workers who by choice, circumstance, or coercion remain in the industry. They released two previous reports, Revolving Door and Behind Closed Doors, which examined street-based sex work and indoor sex work in New York City, respectively.

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.