International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Event in Raleigh-Durham Chapel Hill

Thank you to the NC Harm Reduction Coalition and many others for making this happen. Sex Workers Without Borders is thrilled to be part of this important event in the Triangle. International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, 2011
What: A discussion with special guest Jill Brenneman- child sex-trafficking survivor (and later, consenting adult sex worker), sexual assault crisis counselor, & advocate for harm reduction & sex work decriminalization with Sex Workers Without Borders

When: Saturday, December 17th, 2011 from 5-7 PM

Where: Internationalist Books & Community Center, 405 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Who

http://www.facebook.com/events/253967284662740/

http://sexworkerswithoutborders.org/category/swwb-events/

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-owh_aRRO92I/TuJJskxY2QI/AAAAAAAAAIc/0hrtvMys8Ak/s1600/umbrella-2_vectorized.jpg

Protest Against BackPage Harms Sex Workers AND Trafficking Victims

The coming November 16, 2011 protest against Backpage by CATW, NOW-NYC and Prostitution Research and Education is another example of harmful actions and campaigns by elitist feminist academics against both consenting sex workers and trafficking victims.  These alleged feminist activists claim they are fighting human trafficking by protesting Backpage  to force the closure of its adult advertising, but his is theatrical garbage activism that is toxic to the very people they purport to be trying to help.

 

I am a consenting sex worker.  I was, at one time, a human trafficking victim.  I am still doing sex work in my 40′s because I need the money to pay bills, including medical needs related to multiple blood clots in my lungs; without sex work I could not afford the medical care that I need to survive.  It is not the right of alleged feminists to take my income or that of so many of those like me.  We work to live and to pay our bills, just like you high and mighty CATW, PRE and NOW-NY activists…well, most of you anyway; many of your ranks are college students that know little about the issues faced by those of us who did not get high school or college options.

 

Backpage adult advertisers are nearly all independent sex workers who are neither pimped nor trafficked, and shutting down Backpage would eliminate a major advertising venue that we use to stay independent.  You would know this if you asked us rather than feigning expertise.  We need our jobs and will keep them, but the closure of advertising spaces makes us vulnerable to the very pimps and traffickers that this garbage activism claims to be fighting.  When our independence is taken away we become vulnerable to predators that will exploit our labor because we lack options.  When I was a teenage trafficking victim and advertising venues closed for whatever reason, I wasn’t freed from prostitution.  My sadist pimp didn’t suddenly end my captivity and free me; he just put me on the street instead, which was far more dangerous to my safety and exposed me to the harsh elements.  I would truly like to see these supposed experts work the street for weeks in the winter in a northern city and come back and tell me that I was better off because advertising failed and I was out in the cold.  Still a slave, just a much colder and much more vulnerable one getting into cars alone.

 

You high and mighty abolitionist activists disgust me; if you knew anything about this issue you wouldn’t be taking this rubbish approach.  Yes, you can trot out your “survivor” activists who were harmed in the sex industry to advance your position, but these survivors are allowing their pain to misguide them into promoting a criminalization model in order to ostensibly end harm to prostitutes by ending prostitution.   I, too worked to advance that garbage until I woke up and realized the harm I was causing as an abolitionist filled with the bullshit lies of abolitionist feminism, a movement led by vacuous intellectuals who were never prostitutes and choose to assuage their pain by tearing away the rights of those in the sex industry.

 

Let me tell you what your efforts to “eliminate” prostitution actually accomplish:  You team with law enforcement officers who disingenuously claim to care about trafficking victims but are actually seeking to arrest more prostitutes.  We suffer as a result of your alleged “concern”; the risk of arrest keeps us from having access to law enforcement when we are the victims of crime while doing our jobs.  Pimps and violent clients know that we can’t go to the police and won’t because we fear the police, getting arrested and all the consequences that come with arrest.  We can’t be honest with our doctors when we suffer brutal rapes and assaults because we can’t explain our injuries without exposing ourselves to legal risk.  You think that’s a positive?  Try having a violent LEO client brutally rape you, suffocate you with a trash bag and hit you in the head so many times that you are taken via ambulance to the ER, incoherent with a major concussion, and are not even able to honestly explain how you were injured.

 

You think it’s worthwhile abolitionists?  Try meeting with a “reputable” businessman who realizes you are legally defenseless and so feels safe in overpowering you, tying you to a bed and beating and sodomizing you with a bamboo cane while forcing you to count the strokes.  You take 493 violent blows all over your body as I did; the bastard shoved my underwear and fee into my mouth and left me blindfolded, bleeding and tied to a bed.  Please….  Come tell me feminist anti prostitution activists protesting Backpage how I benefit from your activism.  Tell the other sex workers who saw me immediately following these assaults if I was better off with your criminalization.  And now you wish to further criminalize prostitution AND close our advertising venues.  Great.  So I and others like me can be criminalized and shoved into the hands of pimps and traffickers.  You and your activism disgust me.

 

Tell me how your efforts helped me or the “submissive girlfriend” of a man who wished to beat her so hard before my eyes that I truly doubted that “girlfriend” actually consented.  I’ve seen these people first hand.  I’ve been harmed by them.  I’ve been absolutely vulnerable to them, and this man was one of them.  I could do nothing but reject his offer to hire me; I had no way to report my suspicions to the police without risking arrest myself, and as a prostitute I had zero social credibility even if I did go to the police.  Likewise, the “girlfriend” had no protection from being arrested if she was ever found.  I went to a friend who is also a police officer and asked for advice, and was told to leave it alone:  there wasn’t enough evidence and as a sex worker I wouldn’t be deemed credible enough for law enforcement to take action, yet I would expose myself without helping her.  Maybe she will get lucky like I did and get away through a fluke, but it sure as hell won’t be because Backpage was shut down or because we are all made criminals; instead, there will be far more like her.  Perhaps some who are independent escorts now will end up like her, brutally harmed because their options for safety were taken away by grandstanding activists and their clueless and self advancing politician and law enforcement allies.

 

Feminist anti-prostitution activists protesting Backpage:  you are harming both consenting sex workers and trafficking victims.  You can write all the pretty press releases about fighting trafficking, sexual slavery and pimps that you want to, but I have lived the reality of your “work”.  Someone has to expose your lies and self-serving career advancement tactics that harm the rest of us.  I have been hurt in the sex industry – a lot – and the hurt continued because I was and am a criminal, deprived of rights.  I can call you on your BS from the perspective of someone who has been harmed because of you, and I am happy to do it because you are toxic, harmful frauds.  Preach to your choir and get your support there because those of us that are hurt by you know who you are; we know what you are doing and we are paying the price for your toxic activism.  Now come tell me how I benefit from your “work”.

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.

Prohibitionists and Consequences

Do the prohibitionists realize, or care, that their campaign to “end prostitution” actually ends rights?  A recent very poor experience with a client could have had a different ending.   Or perhaps not happened at all had there been sex worker human rights.    With sex worker rights and full decriminalization, I could have gone to the police and charged him with physical assault, sexual assault, probably a couple of other things.

Does handcuffing an unwilling participant and putting a trash bag over my head to use as leverage for negotiation count as a crime?  Or making me  eat a used condom?  How about forced anal sex while I was focused on asphyxiation?  Perhaps if we had sex worker rights and full decriminalization, he wouldn’t have done what he did at all.   Does the concussion count?   How do I explain how this happened to the doctor?  To my non sex work employer?  Oh, and why am I doing sex work?  Because I can’t live on the wages of my “straight job”, and they won’t post the schedule until 24 hours before it is valid.  Making most straight jobs impossible.

Thanks prohibitionists, you’re doing such a great job saving us………..

Citizens Against Trafficking, the brainchild of Donna M. Hughes and Melanie Shapiro state on their website:   CAT (Citizens Against Trafficking)  believes decriminalized prostitution in Rhode Island enabled the expansion of the sex industry, an industry vulnerable to trafficking.  Decriminalized prostitution meant that we were unable to identify and assist victims of trafficking.  We were unable to use some federal laws or participate in federal initiatives to combat trafficking.

So what trafficking victims were assisted Ms. Hughes and Ms. Shapiro?  North Carolina is a state where prostitution is fully criminalized.  Yet it is still here.   Where are the trafficking victims being saved here in North Carolina?

Back to the original point.  Federal initiatives?  The perpetrator was a federal law enforcement employee.  And please don’t tell me I have “rights”.  I’ve seen that process before.   You can not take on the federal government.

Thank you Donna M. Hughes, Melanie Shapiro, you made a difficult situation so much better with your “work”  Either of you ever been bagged and shagged?   Or are you safe at URI making decisions for others?

There ya go Donna Hughes. You’ve saved the Carolina Panthers Mascot from potential trafficking

Donna Hughes may finally have a victory she can cite.

The New England Patriot’s mascot was arrested in Rhode Island for hiring an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute on Craigslist. With the Carolina Panthers coming to town this week, one could only imagine what heinous perpetrations the New England Patriots mascot may have had in mind with the Carolina Panthers mascot. Which is ironically a ki….. umm cat.

Well, there ya go Donna, there would have been cross border traveling as I can personally attest that the Carolina Panthers play their home games in North Carolina, and I have no doubt the Panthers Mascot would have been brought across state lines via aircraft with many young women, ironically called the Carolina TopCats who are likely to be scantily clad at game time.

I’m certain Donna Hughes would argue, all the indicators of human trafficking are there,,,,,, There is cross border transportation, young women dressed as cheerleaders, even many men who will play with their balls on Sunday.

But thanks to her efforts, this may have been thwarted.
MSNBC

From MSNBC “Don’t know how to say this so I’m just going to say it; Pat the Patriot, beloved mascot of the New England Patriots and inspiration to Boston-area children since 1960, has been arrested in a prostitution sting. But it gets worse: Evidently Pat was caught answering a naughty ad on Craigslist. Placed by a policeman in Rhode Island.

Rumor has it that local prostitutes called Pat by his other nickname, “The Revolutionary Minuteman.” They did not mean it as a compliment”.

Read More

Study: Children Exposed To Pornography May Expect Sex To Be Enjoyable

Study: Children Exposed To Pornography May Expect Sex To Be Enjoyable

Posted on behalf of Maxine Doogan

Sex workers aligning with drug dealers to threaten Polar Bears and Eagles

CNN has uncovered treachery and skulduggery at a level I have never even considered. From the vast wisdom of the Ted Turner creation known as CNN is an article about how drug dealers and prostitutes are threatening wildlife refuges.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/23/neglected.refuges.ap/index.html

One would have to assume sex workers are behind this heinous plot against polar bears, wolves, eagles and other protected species seeking refuge from multinational corporations, corrupt governments and global warming.  Personally I think Renegade Evolution is behind this sex worker attack on polar bears and bald eagles.  If one reads many of the rad fem blogs everything else is her fault.

One can only imagine what CNN will uncover next.

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network on Blog Talk Radio

Here is the latest updated program listing. All shows available at www.xxbn.net www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast Times listed are Eastern time. All programing subject to change. All previous programs are archived, please check for great guests. Thank you to Liz Berlin of Rusted Root and The Naked Heroes for their music for our programs. Listener call number 646.200.3136

  [172657]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Desiree Alliance 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, labour and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171963]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet pxrn performer, sex workers rights advocate
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/3/2008
6:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [172663]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Discussing the alleged “The Pimp Lobby” Maxine Doogan, Jill Brenneman and other guests..
Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
12:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com​ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.com​ht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [172226]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Gracie Passette Gracie Passette is a sex worker, though no longer working directly with clients in the flesh; she now uses media to work with the issues of sexuality.   Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/5/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173836]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network SerpentLibertine
SerpentLibertine is a veteran sex worker and activist with Sex Worker’s Outreach Project-Chicago. She has worked in many facets of the sex industry as a dominatrix, escort, masseuse, and madam, as well as behind the camera doing castin, camera, and sound on shoots. She is currently creating sex worker made videos and podcasts for her new project, Red Light District Chicago and helping organize the Desiree Alliance Conference in Chicago in Summer of 2008. You can also visit her blog at http://www.sexpr Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/6/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173589]
XBN Swopeast Broadcast Network
Queen of the Sky the Most Famous Blog-Fired Flight Attendant”
Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/7/2008
4:30 PM
60 Minutes
  [171042]
XBN Special Guest Der Gregor
Der Gregor- FEMINISM UNMODIFIED Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/7/2008
11:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173109]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson Politics Progressive
Adults Only
4/8/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173858]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
The Naked Heroes, time to be determined Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/10/2008
9:00 PM
60 Minutes
  [173647]
TBD
TBD Politics Progressive
Everyone
4/22/2008
10:00 PM
60 Minutes

Live on Blog Talk Radio XBN: Sex Worker Rights Broadcast Network 5PM Eastern Saturday 3.29.08

XBN Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Please join XBN at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Listener Call in number 646.200.3136

Join sex workers and sex worker rights activists in media created and driven by us!

Upcoming Guests

Guest Carol Leigh! Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot Unrepentant Whore published by Last Gasp Carol Leigh,

3/31/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171865]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest to be determined

4/1/2008
8:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest to be determined

4/2/2008
6:00 PM
60 Minutes [171963]

XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network

Guest: Renegade Evolution Profile of a Henchwoman: Often over generalized as a bit of a clockwork apocalypse, heartless capitalist and generally ruthless scum, the terrifying truth is RenEv is a stripper, Internet porn performer, sex workers rights


Everyone 4/3/2008
9:30 PM
60 Minutes [171948]
XBN SWOP East Broadcast Network
Guest: Melissa Gira Bio: http://www.melissagira.com
ht Unpacking the Wired story on tech & sex work: http://www.wired.comht — and adding more on how sex workers internationally use technology in advocacy for human rights. internet, jill brenneman XBN, Melissa Gira, sex work, sex workers, sex workers outreach project, swop, swopeast Politics Progressive
Mature 4/4/2008
3:00 PM
60 Minutes

All previous shows are available for playback or download at www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast

Previous Guests include:

Veronica Monet

Constance Sisk

Stacey from Desiree Alliance

Maxine Doogan

Amanda Brooks

And a live call in show after a Presentation by Jill Brenneman at William & Mary, this program hosted by Amanda Brooks, features many live calls from the presentation audience from the Brenneman presentation who stayed and joined XBN’s live broadcast which was being simulcast over the auditorium. This presentation was in response to the significant protest and backlash against the organizers and supporters of the Sex Worker’s Art Show Appearance at William & Mary and protests against the Sex Workers Art Show themselves. As the show demonstrates there is a lot of support for the Sex Workers Art Show at William and Mary.

Many outstanding guests are being scheduled, please watch for updates! If you would like to be a guest on this revolutionary project bringing sex workers voices to the media please contact www.swopeast.org

If you are a sex worker or sex worker rights musician and would like to make your music available to XBN, please contact us as we are in need of both theme music and would love to feature and credit sex worker and sex worker rights musicians.

XBN: Sex Worker Voices, Sex Worker Viewpoints, Sex Worker Rights

Many Thanks to The Naked Heroes for letting us use their awesome music on XBN! Please check them out and support them!!! http://www.myspace.com/thenakedheroes

Add XBN: The SWOP East Broadcast Network to your blog or website by inserting this code. <a href=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/swopeast”><img id=”btn180×60″ border=”0″ alt=”Listen to swopeast on internet talk radio” src=”http://www.blogtalkradio.com/img/180×60_wht.gif”/></a>

Reaching the media, Sex Workers Against Rape

We’ve briefly touched on this as a topic in various forums but never really gone forward with it.   This is a hard topic but one I honestly believe we have to put forward.  The media couches our movement, our efforts at social justice behind the myth that we are a very small fringe of all sex workers that both have not suffered violence but also are rich, affluent, spoiled brats making way too much money or in denial about what we have and do deal with and suffer.

We advocate fighting oppression, fighting violence, fighting discrimination, fighting coercion, yet this is missed by the media and very well played by the prohibitionists as exclusively their domain.  We are repeatedly blown off with these ridiculous terms as “pro trafficking”.  No one is pro trafficking other than traffickers and I don’t know anyone who is pro trafficking.  Is there anyone in our movement that wants someone coerced into the sex industry?  Is there anyone in our movement that wants to see a sex worker raped, assaulted, or harmed?  No.  Those are the very issues we are fighting against.  While our reasons for fighting for social justice for sex workers are many, I have never been part of a more inclusive, more united, more willing to be respectful of diversity group of people in my life than the sex worker rights movement.

Thus my thoughts whether popular or unpopular within our movement here they are.

We have to speak out against violence that we suffer, that we have suffered.  Obviously no one should be expected, forced, anticipated or even remotely pushed into outing their past suffering.  But those that are able and willing to do so.  We need to.  It is easy for reporters to slot audiences against us when they are able to portray us in the light of the never victimized high priced escort.  And yes there are many of them and yes their voices are just as important as anyone’s.   I’m not denying the importance of the voices of sex workers that were never harmed.  We all have very important voices.  But some of us are victim/survivor, however one self defines of various forms of harm.  We need to present this part of our movement too.  When a victim/survivor of trauma from our movement comes forward and says yes, I suffered this in the sex industry, or as a child, or both, we become much more accessible to people who would otherwise miss us and flock to those put forward by the prohibitionists.  That some of us come forward and say yes, these things that were very wrong happened to me in the sex industry which is why I advocate for sex worker rights, these things that were very wrong happened to me in the sex industry, as a child, whatever, BUT prohibitionist/end demand ideologies only make things worse, people have a much harder time dismissing us.  Or putting us into the slots that the prohibitionists so want us to be in.

I am the one in six childhood abuse survivors, I suffered violence in the sex industry, BUT, I advocate sex worker rights.  I do it by choice, I am aware of the various other ideologies, I’m not brainwashed by some monolithic pro porn movement as critics charge,  I’m not rich, I live paycheck to paycheck, worry about bills, am happy when I come home from work and the dog hasn’t gone potty on the floor,  in other words I’m human.  Just like 20/20’s viewers.  I don’t want to be glamorized, pitied, studied, or rescued.  I left the sex industry in 1995 because I chose to.  Not because I was running from it, not to beat an addiction, but because I wanted to do something else.  The same reason I have left many other jobs.  The same reason others leave their jobs.

When I did need help, when I was facing violence and coercion in the sex industry, none of the current anti trafficking measures would have applied or helped, I couldn’t go the cops or the justice system because in the US being a prostitute is illegal,  the clients getting arrested,,, so what???  Great so the whole thing which was underground in the first place just moves farther underground.  Not to mention I went into the sex industry for a reason.  To make money to survive.  I didn’t need the clients arrested because they were clients, I was there to make money to eat, to live, there was a need for the clients.   I needed the ones arrested that beat the shit out of me, or raped me, or forced me to do things without my consent.  I needed them arrested for rape, for assault, not on some minor misdemeanor that they could wash away with a visit to “John School” in some lame ass plea bargain.  I needed labor and human rights so that an abusive, sadistic pimp, didn’t have criminalization to use against me to keep under control.  As long as the whole thing is illegal the cops were more his allies than they ever could have been mine as I was more afraid of being arrested, or worse, being blown off because I was a prostitute and sent back to him to face a very angry pimp.  I needed human rights.  Not more than the rest of the world should get, but not less either.  Perhaps what people don’t like about the sex worker rights movement is that we want to determine our own course.  We don’t want to be rescued, or be research guinea pigs, or stereotyped.  We are individuals and human beings.  We are hugely diverse.

But we are fighting for social justice, we are fighting against oppression, we are fighting for human, civil and labor rights for reasons and those are often being missed by the media or the messages are being hijacked by the prohibitionists and their misguided conflagrations and stereotypes.  Prohibitionist researchers who were never sex workers and know little about them other than their 2 hour interviews with loaded questions slanted for desired results.  I’ve been to the big prohibitionist conferences and the biggest topics tend to be the number of stars of the hotel rating, how disappointing the eggs were at the continental breakfast or that their hotel suites had bad color schemes.  I’ve been to their conferences and been given the list of prohibited words, phrases and ideologies that will be stricken from the record if used and/or lead to expulsion from the conference.  These are some of the reasons I left that movement in 2002.  I’ve never seen that kind of garbage at sex worker rights meetings conferences, events, even if those same events are nothing more than a meeting at an unheated, poorly lit space that some other org is letting us borrow, with no meal service other than what we bring for ourselves, but we are there because we are working on issues, social change and fighting oppression.  Not because we are being funded by the USDOJ to stay in Washington DC Hotels after having to suffer the “indignity” of flying in coach because the Government wouldn’t agree to pay first class as some of the suffering prohibitionists did in 2002.

I’ve never known a more passionate, tolerant, empathetic, and authentic group of people than I have met in the sex worker rights movement.  There is a great amount of humanity in our movement.  Let’s make sure media sees that.   Yes I suffered in the sex industry and as a child.  But I want to choose my own path, my own career choices, and determine the propriety of my own experiences not have them reframed as some prohibitionist based projects would do for me.  We don’t need to be rescued, we need fucking rights and the people who best know this are the sex workers themselves, not the politicians, not the researchers, not the media.  But we have to be heard and people have to see us as three dimensional human beings and sometimes that means risking exposing our vulnerabilities.  For those who can do so we should.  Let Diane Sawyer argue with the sex worker who says yes I was harmed in the sex industry BUT I don’t want SAGE to rescue me, I want the same rights as Diane has as my path to not being harmed by my industry just as she shouldn’t be harmed in hers.

 

Check out Amanda Brooks and Jill Brenneman on KMUD

http://kmud.org/site001/program-schedule/302.html The whole show is archived.

on Wednesday Night Talk. Wednesday 19, March 2008 7PM

The “feminist” caller that was “offended” and her statement about sex worker rights causing women to be viewed as holes…………………… I wish I could have heard her better at the time as there was a lot of distortion and she hung up before I could ask her to repeat the remainder of her question beyond the hole comment.   Fighting oppression by generalizing Amanda and I as causing women to be viewed as “holes”  Nice………….

Melissa Farley Words v Actions: Ethics or Not?

Melissa Farley has taken a stand opposing Governor Spitzer’s hiring of the escort Kristen. Does she deserve to be congratulated for doing the right thing and criticizing Spitzer’s hypocrisy of spearheading a campaign against prostitution while hiring escorts despite the fact that until his arrest he was advocating similar political strategy as her? Was there any risk in her doing so? Not really. One would have to assume that she like many of her allies in the anti trafficking movement feel betrayed by Spitzer’s. Her other actions contradict her integrity.

There has been a large outcry against the public outing of Kristen by the media. Rightfully so. Her outing was an abysmal example of the lack of integrity of many media outlets. The media’s outing of Kristen is disgusting. Their blatant misuse of the pictures from her myspace page are jaw dropping in their lack of integrity. Especially given many of the media outlets were supposed to be ones that operated at a higher standard. That professed themselves to be above the level of tabloid shit like the National Enquirer.

Those that stand behind Melissa Farley and Nikki Craft need to consider that the actions of these two anti trafficking, abolitionist activists are as an egregious breach of the rights of a sex worker or worse, if the pictures depicted on their websites are as they described, victims of human trafficking and coerced torture as they are presented by Farley and Craft. Both Farley’s Prostitution Research and Education http://www.prostitutionresearch.com “trafficking jamming” blog and Nikki Craft’s ACLU, “Always Causing Legal Unrest” show porn pics of women in bondage. Pictures that it can easily be speculated are without the consent of the women being photographed as neither Farley nor Craft have ever responded to requests to prove consent to use the image or even if the women are of legal age. While lack of response is not inherently guilt, it is hard to fathom a reason why either “anti trafficking activist” would not be outspoken if they had acquired consent of the women depicted. Farley’s is more graphic and after outspoken criticism from sex worker rights activists and from Farley’s statement apparently survivors of rape, she put a disclaimer rather than having any viewer including those under 18 be ambushed by a picture of which any pornography site would be held accountable under law to have warnings about adult content, illegality of underage viewing and full consent of the actresses depicted. Farley’s explanation of placing the disclaimer on what had been a blatant image as soon as one hit the blog page ”

In response to comments by survivors of torture and other sexual abuse, we have placed a warning and additional link to the photograph of kink.com torture. Traffick Jamming visitors can now choose if and when they look at the photographs.

Her disclaimer reads ”

WARNING If you open the red torture photo link directly below this paragraph, you will see two photographs of people being tortured. One is the widely-circulated photograph of a hooded figure with electrical wires of man being tortured at Abu Ghraib. At the same link, you will also see a photograph of a woman being tortured. This photograph of torture is from the website kink.com. The woman’s face is masked and unrecognizable and she has on a thong that covers her genitals. Her breasts are concealed here. She is shackled by the ankles and hung with her arms tied to the wall over her head. The woman is being electrically tortured by someone off-camera with what looks like a cattle prod. All you can see is his arm with the cattle prod. There is also what appears to be an electrical outlet or battery in front of her. Click Here to view photo. I have not enabled the link from here to the pictures. This blog is taking extensive traffic and given these pictures are in very high probability without consent, they are as exploitative as the news media. Showing a naked woman being tortured with captions describing the action without the consent of the woman in the picture…………. Sorry, if you want to find this you can look yourself. My goal is to make a point, not to direct a high traffic load to pictures that I believe are being used in a manner that is a horrendously egregious breach of privacy and law that is being overlooked because it is done by the alleged freedom fighters for trafficking victims as Farley and Craft self portray.

Outspoken self proclaimed radical feminist “Pony” in response to the disclaimer states

Please DO look at the photographs, which are not owned by the people depicted, but by the torturers. As long as the only people who see these and others like them are the torturers and torture and pornography consumers, women haters, abusers and traffickers win, because ordinary people will not see what pornography is really about.

Whether Pony is speaking for herself or on behalf of inside knowledge of Farley apparently not having consent to use the photo of the women being tortured. She advocates that one look at the photos. Pony who in other posts advises that she does not “frequent pro porn blogs” has no problem viewing the kind of porn she condemns if it is on an anti porn site and encourages others to follow despite her opposition to these very types of images. Despite by her belief Farley does not even have consent to use the picture which if this were on a non anti porn website one would very likely see very outspoken criticism from Farley, Craft, Pony.   If the pictures are owned by torturers, not the people depicted, this even by Pony’s admission and her ally Farley is using pics owned by torturers and Pony is advocating one look at these pics.  Hmmmm,  seems like an odd contradiction.  Farley and Pony come from a school of thought which considers giving condoms to working sex workers collaborating with traffickers and pimps.  Thus what does that make a feminist using stolen pictures without the consent of the persons depicted, taken by photographers identified by Farley and Pony as torturers without even a safeguard to protect minors or compliance with 2257 which deems the pictures legally assumed to be without consent and of minors.  That is feminist?  By what standard?

So, back to the hypocrisy issue. Farley jumped on the bandwagon with her betrayed colleagues. Sex worker rights activists have condemned the hypocrisy of a leader in a fight, Spitzer, against sex work by consenting adults with clients hiring escorts while hiring the very people he is persecuting. Sex worker rights activists also oppose human trafficking and coercion. That is not a stance owned by just the “anti trafficking movement”. The suggestion that a sex worker rights movement would be pro trafficking is absurd. The idea behind a movement for the rights of a population is exactly that. Rights. Right to consent among other things.

Including the right to consent to the use of your pictures. Farley in her blog opines about the porn actresses who later wished to have their images removed and had to go to litigation and attempt to force these images to be removed via legal action after various website owners would not grant the wishes of the actresses. As a sex worker rights activist, as Executive Director of SWOP East, I can state firmly that we advocate strongly for the right of consent to the use of images and the right to terminate consent both of which being held by the actress portrayed at all times. If the actress wishes the pictures to be removed they should be removed. An empowered sex worker rights movement would have a much greater chance of having this kind of protection built into contracts with website owners and legal remedy for damages in the event of contractual breach. Farley wants this right except when it applies to websites owned by Farley and Craft. Then she wants what Spitzer wanted. To be above the law.

So my questions are to anti trafficking/radical feminist/abolitionist activists. If you oppose the outing of Kristen and the blatant misuse of her pictures without her consent, one would assume then that you would also want these protections for the actresses in the pictures of websites owned by Farley and Craft. Otherwise, once again we have a hypocrisy issue.

If Farley wants credit for condemning Spitzer perhaps her actions should speak more loudly than her words and the pics should be removed. Not to mention perhaps a mea culpa. If her allies want her condemnation of Spitzer to be more than words perhaps they should consider the step of condemning two of their own engaging in their own ethical transgressions.

If only I would cooperate and what happens if I don’t.

It seems today I am evil.  No surprise this happens with some consistency and despite ever changing abolitionist feminists remarkably similar.  So today a few sporadic emails to SWOP East and myspace which reference my BnG post. Most of which is the usual rhetoric that I have heard many times. So I am responding to the troll named Whou indirectly, and to Jeffery Blumethal directly as his personal email contained a thinly veiled threat.

Dear Miss Brenneman

Miss Brenneman you are suffering from a mental illness that is not your fault. But you must realize the danger you cause to women and girls because of Stockholm Syndrome definition

This is the mental illness which you suffer. Again, you are not at fault for this. The Stockholm Syndrome (SS) is a psychological involuntary state in which victims of kidnapping or abuse begin to feel sympathy, emotional bonding, and solidarity for those who are abusing them or keeping them captive in oppressive situations.

The Stockholm Syndrome was named in 1973 by psychologist Nils Bejerot after the hostage victims of a Stockholm, Sweden robbery and six-day kidnapping resisted being rescued, defended their captors, and refused to testify against them. Two of the women hostages eventually became engaged to the captors.

When victims are under tremendous emotional and physical duress, they may begin to identify with their abusers or captors as a defensive mechanism. The victim develops a strategy of staying alive by keeping the captor happy and eventually sympathizes with the captor. Small acts of kindness on the part of the abuser increases the emotional bond.

Stockholm Syndrome is a common survival mechanism of

captured brides
battered women
physically and/or emotionally abused children
incest victims
prostitutes
cult members
concentration camp prisoners
prisoners of war
those in controlling and/or intimidating relationships
hijacked victims
hostages..

that is what which you are suffering. It is not you’re fault as I believe you are telling the truth about being tortured by pimps and tricks. That is what they do and what they like. But you are affected by this so severely that you are a danger. You can not keep writing because the media likes salacious stories and will talk to you. But because you suffer from acute Stockholm Syndrome you are now a recruiter for others to prostituted and tortured as you were. You may not realize it but you want others to tortured because you were and because it arouses you because it is how you learned to be loved. It has happened to many in the past so you can be forgiven but you can not continue talking publicly until after many years of therapy. For the safety of others I am telling you to stop as you can and will not be allowed to cause harm to thousands of women and girls for the sake of your unfortunate battle with Stockholm Syndrome. Raleigh, NC is not so hard to make the price too high for you to continue. Your illness is understandable as is your pain but it has turned you into a sexploitation recruiter making your torture porn and prostitution seem glamorous. Please stop yourself so that others do not have to help you get there.

Jeffery Blumenthal MSW

 

No Jeffery, I am not suffering Stockholm Syndrome and personally I find it annoying that you enclosed the definition in your letter as you apparently feel this would be a revelation to me. What impresses me is your effort to impose your clinical diagnosis of me in an effort to advance a political agenda. I don’t owe you or anyone a detailed response to an unfounded and baseless diagnosis. You do however leave openings for discussion.

I am not the perfect victim Jeffery. I am not your stereotype sex worker that either has to be saved from herself or rendered evil and a danger to society. I digress for a moment because your post brings to mind the Genesis song “Mama” but various posts all day have brought musical references to mind. Shrug. Back to topic. Yes, I have the classic history of childhood abuse that likely fills your stereotype. Yes, I was tortured. Yes I was a sex worker. So in your belief and that of others such as “Whou”, I have a duty to open my soul to the world. You create a dynamic in which I have a duty to re-live over and over the trauma I suffered in some of my experiences in sex work and that those should be public experiences to be debated for their veracity, for their effect on me, for their value in “warning others” and in the case of the neo abolitionist anti trafficking types of the Spitzer, Melissa Farley, Donna Hughes ilk, for value in using my experiences as the template for all sex workers. Veracity being determined by virtue of whether I am speaking from the abolitionist perspective. Effect on me as a cookie cutter mold to impose upon all sex workers. Duty as a mandated survivor to warn all those who may be at risk regardless of whether or not I continue to be torn apart in that process as by virtue of suffering I should become a martyr. The answer to that is no. My value as an activist, as a woman, as a human being, does not go up if I become a martyr for the cause. Feminism does not gain when women are destroyed for a macro level war to protect all women. And much to the likely surprise of many who oppose the idea of a survivor of sexual abuse, rape and torture, I am capable not only of finding healing without patronizing correspondence of a stranger but further, I am capable of being able to determine the propriety of my activism and of my life. As to your psych assessment of me. Remind me again. Who are you? We’ve never met……………… perhaps MSW type since you don’t know me, that means you don’t know me and thus you are projecting upon me your fantasies of victims of sexual violence and how they should respond.

This thing that you have Jeffery and others about my alleged recruiting of others into the sex industry. Anything to back up those assertions? Even my “pro prostitution, pro porn” friends and allies would likely advise you that I am not an outspoken proponent of sex work. I’m an advocate of sex worker human and labor rights and of harm reduction. That is a far cry from recruiting others into coerced participation in BDSM. Which for the record, neither I, nor any sex worker or sex worker rights activist that I have ever known has advocated coerced participation in sex work. We are actually strongly opposed to coercion. We do however do something as evil as say get together to send condoms to sex workers in Chile

Perhaps Jeffery, Whou, others,, you can’t get off on the fantasy of me advocating sex worker rights rather than hearing the story of my exploitation and thus I am not fulfilling your needs and given you obviously view me as a cookie cutter whore apparently if I can’t fulfill your expectations I better shut up and get out? It seems that I like my sex worker and sex worker rights allies am not some iconic idol, I’m just a woman, just an individual, one who happens to believe in human rights for sex workers despite my past making me the potential posterchild for the CATW magazine’s year end issue. Despite having been a sex worker, I can think for myself, choose to do so and advocate for others to have the same rights.

As far as the sublime threat about my speaking to the media and the use of where I live as part of the subliminal threat. Nice try but it’s been done. It’s on my myspace profile that I live in Raleigh. It isn’t exactly a secret. So Magnum MSW, Whou and others, you will have to find someone else to sell your pitch about being the perfect victim and the duties that go along with it. If I want to march to the beat of a drummer I can listen to Mick Fleetwood or Jim Dispirito. But it is never again going to be to the likes of Farley, Hughes or their true believers Blumenthal or someone as creative as to use the name Whou. Doesn’t Ric Flair have a copyright on that? No wait, I think Ric Flair is Wooooo,,

Former Governor of MN, Jesse Ventura and Prostitution

I’m not a fan of legalizing prostitution.  I advocate decrim.  But I was a resident of Minnesota during the Ventura years as Governor.  While Governor Ventura advocated legalization, and I am a decrim advocate, I respect that he unlike Spitzer and so many of the politicos had the courage to be straight about his feelings about sex work.

Ventura statements on prostitution

In one of his books, Ventura mentions a visit to a prostitute near Reno, Nevada and he admitted to visiting brothels in the Philippines while serving in the military. Ventura has publicly stated that prostitution should be legal, since it will exist in any case, and legal controls protecting the health of clients and workers are needed.[16] He said “I voted in hopes to make prostitution legal once, and I’d do it again in a second”.[17] He admitted to trading a belt made of gun cartridge cases in exchange for 10 dollars plus the services of a prostitute in Nevada during his younger days.

I also appreciated his views on opposing fundamentalists

Ventura states “But I do have a problem with the people who think they have some right to try to impose their beliefs on others. I hate what the fundamentalist fanatics are doing to our country. It seems as though, if everybody doesn’t accept their version of reality, that somehow invalidates it for them. Everybody must believe the same things they do. That’s what I find weak and destructive.”[22]Ventura endorsed equal rights for religious minorities, as well as people who don’t believe in God, by declaring July 4, 2002, “Indivisible Day” through this proclamation:

“WHEREAS: The unique feature of this nation at its founding was its establishment of a secular Constitution that separated government from religion – something never done before; and WHEREAS: Our secular Constitution has enabled people of all worldviews to coexist in harmony, undivided by sectarian strife; and WHEREAS: President James Madison made clear the importance of maintaining this harmony when he said, “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the endless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries”; and WHEREAS: The diversity of our people requires mutual respect and equal protection for all our citizens, including minority groups, if we are to remain “One nation, indivisible”; and WHEREAS: It is the unfettered diversity of ideas and worldviews that have made our nation the strongest and most productive in the world; and WHEREAS: Eternal vigilance must be maintained to guard against those who seek to stifle ideas, establish a narrow orthodoxy, and divide our nation along arbitrary lines of race, ethnicity, and religious belief or nonbelief. NOW, THEREFORE, I, JESSE VENTURA, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim that Thursday, July 4, 2002 shall be observed as: INDIVISIBLE DAY In the State Of Minnesota.”
 
And the Iraq war.
 

Ventura is serving as an advisory board member for a new group called Operation Truth, a non-profit organization set up “to give voice to troops who served in Iraq.” “The current use of the National Guard is wrong….These are men who did not sign up to go occupy foreign nations”.[27]

He had his gaffes, wasn’t always PC, had some rough moments.  But he was straight forward and wasn’t a farce faux crusader like Spitzer, Tobias and their ilk.

A Former Sex Worker’s Thoughts About Eliot Spitzer,

A Former Sex Worker’s Thoughts About Eliot Spitzer, 

 I’m Jill Brenneman,  Project Coordinator, of  Sex Worker’s Outreach Project, SWOP-East  www.swopeast.org a chapter of Sex Worker’s Outreach Project USA www.swopusa.org and a member of the Desiree Alliance www.desireealliance.org

 It is 3AM, thoughts about Eliot Spitzer and the related farce are rolling in my head.  So I blog.  Here are my thoughts.

Eliot Spitzer is a farce, Eliot Spitzer is a disgrace.  Of course I’m speaking from a perspective far different than that of many of the political types in Albany.  I’m speaking different perspective than the faux moralist conservatives who are haughtily demanding his resignation for disgracing the office by hiring the services of a sex worker.  People who immediately feel the office has suffered a massive disgrace because Spitzer involved himself with someone viewed as socially low as a prostitute, a sex worker, a whore, as all the self righteous types want to place themselves above.  Well dear moralists, dear political pundits, dear high and mighty virtuous types, you are likely missing much of the bigger picture. 

Let me clarify some of it from the view of a former sex worker.  To me Spitzer’s disgrace isn’t about reducing the credibility of his lofty office of Governor.  If reduction of the credibility of his office is considered the greatest of his transgressions he is being viewed by people with priorities that are askew.   In his passion for self advancement Eliot “fought prostitution”, Eliot took a tough stance on “human trafficking”.  Or at least used his power to orchestrate his various battles against crime, at various times that crime being prostitution, used his office and a faux concern for victims of human trafficking to work on that issue from the same perspective of the anti trafficking czar, Randall Tobias, who, resigned for,,,,  um, hiring sex workers….   But who was looking?  Thus he had the formulas to push his career.  So what if a sex worker, no pun intended, got screwed in that process.  So what, if when one examines the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, of which Spitzer was an advocate of, turns out being a worldwide failure leading to deaths throughout the world because it denies funding for HIV prevention among other things for sex workers, as any form of assistance to working sex workers only adds to the problem of prostitution, thus better to sacrifice some people now for the greater glorious war on prostitution.  Great for Eliot, his career advanced.  Until he was caught and then everyone piled on with the condemnation, the Republicans, who forget their own politicians problems with similar issues, the politicos worried about the image of the office from Democrats rushing to get away before they be associated with him. 

Who gets lost once again?  The sex workers.  In the frenzy to finger point, to dig up whatever graphic details possible of what kind of sex Spitzer may have had for tabloidesque gossip, the impact of his farce is missed. 

I’m a former sex worker.  I still have many sex worker friends that are dear to me.  Ones who both face all the risks of being a sex worker, but also fight for sex worker rights in public.   They are at risk from the very policies of men like Spitzer.  Eliot could have done something groundbreaking.  He could have been a governor that dared to advocate for sex worker human rights.  But he didn’t.  Eliot persecuted sex workers.  He made it easier for sex workers to be exploited, to be violated, to be stigmatized, to face discrimination, to face rape, assault and other crimes.  My sex work experience while not entirely in the genre I’m about to discuss nonetheless a great deal of it was.  Facing homelessness, unable to get find a job, I was a soft target for a sadistic pimp.  Granted the average pimp isn’t like the one I had but nonetheless, there he was.  He ran an escort service that provided escorts at high prices to clients that wanted what most escorts wouldn’t do.  I was a paid submissive.  Well sort of paid,,,, criminalization of sex work tends to eliminate labor rights or going to the police, the Attorney General, the State, to have my labor rights enforced, thus the pimp got a huge percentage of the money.  This pimp was good at convincing me to go with him.  He promised a position as an actress.  I would role play.  My “interview” was at the pimp’s “studio” which was a dungeon.  My role.  I was an “actress” playing the part of “willing submissive” to men who hired women that they could hurt.  I wasn’t Elisha Cuthbert in Captivity daring to fight back in the face of torture.  I got the idea very quickly from my “audition” which was a practice session with the various equipment in the “studio” which was nothing more than a dungeon that fighting back wasn’t an option.  Neither was running away, because run to where?   Tell who?  The police?  The police who are the enforcers for the offices of attorney general’s such as Spitzer.  So I played the part.  Paid submissive.  Clients, many wealthy, many powerful, and no I won’t divulge names, paid to enact their fantasies of torture with me as the “willing victim”.  I got the money, well sort of, thus I must have been willing.  Do I oppose consenting BDSM?  No.  But consent is crucial, and the lack of the ability to give or deny consent was a huge problem for me.  The Spitzer’s of the world made none of it easier.

People would and have asked, why didn’t I just run away?  Run where?  If I had family or friends to go to I would have gone.  I didn’t.  Run to the police?  The police view prostitutes as criminals.  Plus the pimp wasn’t stupid.  He knew to exploit the concept that as a prostitute I was the scourge of society, the disgraceful woman, worse, I let men do what most prostitutes wouldn’t.  He made it clear what the likely reaction of the police would have been.  Go to social service agencies?  Most don’t take prostitutes, because prostitutes are considered criminals.  Go to a rape crisis center?  Same answer.  And please, this revelation about my past isn’t a pity party for Jill Brenneman.  That’s not the idea.  Nor what I’m driving at.  I don’t need or want pity.  What I want, need and advocate for is not the Quixote type venture that Spitzer alleged to support in his support for the misguided anti trafficking policies of the Bush Administration and it’s conservative and neo faux sensitive anti trafficking feminist types like Donna Hughes and Janice Raymond.  What I needed then and what sex workers need now are human and labor rights. 

What are those?  A brief excerpt from Sex Workers Outreach Project East Statement on Sex Worker Human Rights,

 
• Decriminalization of all aspects of sex work involving consenting adults.
• The right to form and join professional associations or unions.
• The right to work on the same basis as other independent contractors and employers and to receive the same benefits as other self-employed or contracted workers.
• No taxation without such rights and representation.
• Advocating sex worker rights to be free from coercion, violence, sexual abuse, child labor, rape and racism.
• Legal support for sex workers who want to sue those who exploit their labor.
• The right to travel across national boundaries and obtain work permits wherever we live.
• Clean and safe places to work.
• The right to choose whether to work on our own or co-operatively with other sex workers.
• The absolute right to say no.
• Access to health clinics where we do not feel stigmatized.
• Re-training programs for sex workers who want to leave the industry.
• An end to social attitudes which stigmatize those who are or have been sex workers.
• Working to end child sexual tourism 

Was Eliot Spitzer working toward human, civil and labor rights for sex workers in his campaigns against prostitution or to end human trafficking?  No.  He was working to advance his career.  At the expense of many.  Did he care until he was caught?  No.  Does he care about sex workers now?  I doubt it.  Only in how much they reveal.  Had Eliot Spitzer taken a sex worker rights approach his transgression would have been between himself and his wife and family and how much they knew and accepted with his hiring of sex workers.  Could it still be betrayal of his family if he was open about ending criminalization and advocating sex worker rights?  If he promised monogamy to his wife, then absolutely.  She is yet another victim of Eliot Spitzer as are his daughters.  How much are they and will they suffer for his hypocrisy?  Far more than he will.  He will likely resign his post in lieu of ending criminal charges and end up as some talk show host or on the lecture circuit teaching others how to avoid  the downfall that he suffered.
 

Am I opposed to the sex industry despite the difficulties I faced in a significant duration of my tenure in the sex trade?  No.  Opposing it is absurd.  There will always be a sex industry.  My experiences are my own and are not indicative of those of many if not most sex workers.  My goals come from a statement that I heard that I only wish at 3 AM  I could find the author to give due credit.  Taking away rights won’t stop the wrongs.  Thus I advocate strongly for sex worker rights.  I wonder how much different my life would be today if the above listed rights were commonplace and accepted.  I wonder how much different so many lives would be.  Different in a positive way rather than in jail cells through the actions of false public saviors like Spitzer or even more so, different in a way that meant being alive rather than deceased from serial killers because society cares so little about sex workers, from disease, because hypocritical and misguided legislation as the type that Spitzer advocated such as TVPRA caused. 

SWOP East Int. Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Two Part online event

**Please Distribute Widely**

 

For Immediate Release                              Media Contact: swopeast@gmail.com

December 13, 2007                                               

                                                             
Sex Workers Outreach Project East

International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

Two-Part Online Event

1) Repository for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Projects/Pictures/Events …and…

2) Live Online Vigil

Who: Sex Workers Outreach Project East Two-Part Online Event

What: Repository for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Projects and Live Online Vigil 

When: Repository begins Saturday, December 15th, 5:00 PM EST and continues through Monday;

Live Online Vigil Monday, December 17th, 5 – 11 PM Eastern (2-8 PM Pacific)

Where: http://www.swopeast.blogspot.com/

Beginning Saturday, December 15th, at 5:00 PM EST, the swopeast.blogspot.com will be available for posting pictures, events, comments, summaries, reactions, etc., to events related to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Please post any comments or artifacts that you’d like to share and visit our blogspot to view happenings related to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers from around the world.

On Monday, December 17th, beginning at 5:00 PM until 11:00 PM EST SWOP East will be holding a Live Online Vigil. Please join our virtual community to share your stories, mourn our sisters and brothers, and work toward a space where this violence is no longer tolerated.  

For questions or more information contact swopeast@gmail.com

 

Judge Deni, feminism, genderberg, the importance of rallying together

In a post Gretchen mentioned that Genderberg was also addressing the Deni issue.  Which is great.  It is important that anyone and everyone that is interested address the issue.  I’m not minimizing their efforts.  I appreciate them.

But, to my understanding, and I could be wrong as I haven’t spent much time looking for the answer, my understanding is that most of genderberg is private and closed.  Thus the only member of Genderberg that was public with us was Gretchen.  I believe she truly needs to be an example for her peers at Genderberg and the radical feminist community.  Judge Deni won by a landslide.  The rape survivor has now been raped three times, by the rapist, by Judge Deni and by th Pennsylvania Electorate.  With a 66 percent vote of support for her return to office, one would have to believe that the biggest reason this issue did not impact more voters in Pennsylvania is that they were not aware.

We have commonality in opposing violence, opposing rape, opposing violence against sex workers between our movements.  The Deni victory has to be a benchmark for it to be remembered what and who we are truly fighting.  Sex worker rights activists aren’t allowed in Genderberg.  Again, this is an assumption.  I haven’t applied for membership either.  But given the response to my posts from Genderberg’s owner, there isn’t much reason to believe I or others would be accepted.  Which I understand the need for private space.  The sex worker rights movement also has our private spaces.  But some need to be open.  Some occasions call for unity regardless of political division.

One of the great disappointments of this live blog and the awareness campaign regarding Judge Deni is very few people outside the sex worker rights movement joined us in making a public statement against the social injustice perpetrated by Judge Deni.  As sex workers and sex worker rights activists, given the nature of this issue involving Judge Deni and her treatment of a sex worker that was raped, we have an important place in this fight.  There is a time and a place for debates within feminism.  Those debates are important.

There is a time and a place for feminists, women’s rights activists, supporters, and others, who may not agree with the sex worker rights movement, to put aside the political differences and join us in an issue far more important than our differences.

We held an open forum.  Anyone was welcome to post here.  To my knowledge one radical feminist, Gretchen dared to do so.  I know for a fact there were others that cared about this issue and were outraged at Judge Deni’s decision and equally outraged at her victory last night.  But for whatever reason all but Gretchen stay away from us publicly.  While it was heartening to receive private emails supporting our work on this issue from radical feminists, those voices would have been so much more powerful in public standing with us.  The idea isn’t to congratulate me for doing something viewed as constructive.  The idea is to fight for social justice.  That as to be public.

I don’t mean this post inherently as critical of anyone.  It is intended as a rally call.  It is apparent from the election results that too few voters knew about this.  We could have done so much more together and been able to get the attention of the media much easier as a group than separate.  The vast power of the media to effect change can’t be understated.

How can sex workers expect justice in court when we are shunned and stigmatized by most feminists even though they are fight for the same cause we are in this instance?

Who knows better the pain, horror and fear of rape and the injustice dealt to sex workers that are victimized than sex workers themselves?  This is a call for feminists who don’t want to be seen working with sex worker rights activists to rethink their position.  If we can’t even not be stigmatized and ostracized by anti violence, anti rape feminists, how is social change and society as a whole going to be expected to change?

This is not intended as an insult to radical feminists.  The idea is not to touch off a confrontation of who is the better activist.  That is exactly the opposite.  The idea is to lightly bonk some over the head and say please, remember that sex workers are human, we are women, and that is a commonality we all share.  We feel pain just as any other rape victim does.  Fighting for our justice is fighting for justice for all women and a stand against the much greater enemy which is violence against women.

There is a time to define our positions and a time to join together in one.  This is the latter.

Since we are locked out of radical feminist forums and ours are open, this is a call for radical feminists to stand with us.

Jill Brenneman

SWOP East

Penguins are turning to prostitution. Where I have been wrong as an activist

World: Asia-Pacificfrom BBC
Pick up a penguin

Penguins are turning to prostitution. But instead of doing it for money, Antarctic dolly-birds are turning tricks to get rocks off their menfolk.

Stones are essential for penguins to build their nests. A shortage has led to the unorthodox tactics.

“Stones are the valuable currency in penguin terms,” said Dr Fiona Hunter, a researcher in the Zoology Department at Cambridge University, who has spent five years observing the birds’ mating patterns.

Prostitution is described as the world’s oldest profession. But Dr Hunter is convinced it is the first time it has been seen in animals.

Penguin partners

All of the female penguins Dr Hunter observed trading sex for stones had partners.

Penguins stick to the same mate, she said, but none of the males twigged what was happening.

“There was no suspicion on the part of the males. Females quite often go off on their own to collect stones, so as far as the males are concerned there is no reason to suspect.”

She added: “It tends to be females targeting single males, otherwise the partner female would beat the intruder up.”

Dr Hunter and Dr Lloyd Davis of the University of Otago watched the penguins at work on Ross Island, about 800 miles from the South Pole as part of a Antarctica New Zealand programme.

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