Rapeability, harm, and “listening” to men who buy sex

20Jan10

Oh, this shit. Again. Here, too. And here. I want to be fair and nice and kind about this, so feel free to read the original study. In fact, I want you to. You should read stuff for yourself and make your own mind up about it.

That said, since this is my blog, I’ll go ahead and tell you what I think, gentle readers. I think it’s a thinly veiled attempt to create facts to support Swedish model legislation in the UK. If you visit the website, it’s full of such facts about how prostitution is not a choice and women are abused and so on and so forth about how prostitution is a harm in and of itself. So this study is all about making the men who buy sex look like monsters so that the laws can be passed.

A couple of thoughts. Firstly, as a sex worker, as much as I like my clients and hope they like me, the idea that somehow what I do for a living should depend entirely on whether or not they think I’m “rapeable” or not is fucking laughable. I care less about if my clients think I’m “rapeable” and more about why they think that and what would happen if one of them raped me. Sex workers are “rapeable” because the law turns a blind eye on violence against us because we’re criminals. Clients know this, so they know they can get away with violence. Look at the Green River Killer! And other murderers of sex workers! Maybe if public conversation shifted away from whether or not it’s a “choice” and whether or not clients think we’re “rapeable” and to the actual, material, and physical harms we face.

Secondly, this whole thing about prostitution being a system of harm in and of itself is just so fucking. I have no words. I’ve read all about it. I understand the basis for the argument. I do not agree. I think the variety and intersectionality of sex work refutes this idea. How can you account for such a variety of experiences, so clearly based on gender, race, sexuality, class, education, and so on, by saying it’s the job? It just makes no sense.

The harm is not sex work. The harm is not being able to leave sex work. The harm is not having other options than sex work. The harm is a criminal justice system that hangs sex workers out to dry. The harm is a criminal justice system that supports the idea for clients that they can abuse sex workers.

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4 Responses to “Rapeability, harm, and “listening” to men who buy sex”

  1. 1 Amber Rhea

    The harm is not sex work. The harm is not being able to leave sex work. The harm is not having other options than sex work. The harm is a criminal justice system that hangs sex workers out to dry. The harm is a criminal justice system that supports the idea for clients that they can abuse sex workers.

    As always, I remain indignant at the fact that this is apparently such a difficult concept for so many people.

  2. How can you account for such a variety of experiences, so clearly based on gender, race, sexuality, class, education, and so on, by saying it’s the job? It just makes no sense.

    No, no, no, Jane. Any experiences that divert from the status quo of the abolitionist crowd stem from our self-delusions about our work and how we feel about ourselves and who we really are and repressing memories of our daddy issues of him molesting us therefore pushing us to sell our bodies later.


  1. 1 Simone de Beauvoir – Insufferable Sluttist « Feminist Whore
  2. 2 Interesting posts, weekend of 1/24/10 « Feminists with Female Sexual Dysfunction

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