First of all, Part 3 is here. And what happened after that is here. That’s February done. My June tour dates are here and I’ve updated the photo on Meet Jewel page – long overdue. The whole page needs to be updated but I’m not promising anything.
Secondly (but equally importantly) here’s a very badly- worded petition that I would like everyone who cares to sign.
And here is what I think about it. OF COURSE I want any crime against me and my colleagues to be taken seriously and to be dealt with in a respectful manner. So I support the (arguably) good intention of this petition and the end result. But people need to understand that sex workers are at higher risk of being victims of crime for many reasons, and not all of them will disappear if police start taking us more seriously: working in a criminalised context, fear of police, stigma, marginalisation will still be around. Don’t even start me on sex workers who have children. And the language used is problematic to say the least. I can easily imagine some uninformed member of public (i.e. the majority) reading this and going into panic about how horrific my job is. A well-informed anti-prostitution activist, on the other hand, can use this to further their case that all sex work is violence and the only solution is to criminalise everything till kingdom come.
The anecdata used just sends me into a mental torpor. “In the UK, more than half of women in prostitution have been raped and/or seriously sexually assaulted.” By clients? By their partners? By police? By passers-by if they work in the street? By traffickers? By criminals who prey on vulnerable women who they know will not go to police? “The mortality rate for women in prostitution in London is 12 times the national average.” Hands up who wants to know what the national average is! And could we please have the national average for men as well. And the mortality rate for women in London who are not involved in prostitution. Because I guess it’ll be higher than mortality rate for women in the Isle of Skye (population 43.75 persons on an average busy day) and therefore higher than the national average anyway. And could we please compare it all to the mortality rate for sex workers in New Zealand where prostitution is decriminalised? And most of all I would like to know the source of this dead hooker statistic so I could go there and look up what death causes were taken into account. Suicide? Murder at work? Domestic violence? Overdose? Cancer? Car accident? AIDS? Old age? Were the women whose cases were used for this statistic street workers? Or did they work in a licensed sauna?
Nowadays, when people start talking about prostitution, it seems to be appropriate to throw in any statistic and it won’t be questioned. Over three quarters of prostitutes in London will experience sexual assault! How awful! 95% of prostitutes in UK are drug addicts and/or alcoholics! Horror! 11 out of 10 women involved in prostitution want out! It all goes. And why? Because politics. Because prostitutes have to be victims, otherwise the public won’t want to save them. Politicians are good at using this kind of statistics – just read Rhoda Grant’s “consultation”! By the way, today she published its results. You can enjoy them here. What a sad sad day for this country.
You probably feel that you got more political talk than you ever expected from this blog. I am sorry. I’ll leave it for now (but I’ll want to get back to this later) with just one other hooker statistic. I recently had to re-read Farley’s farts (Prostitution in 5 Countries, 1998) because I was looking for a specific quote. I found this:
A number of authors (e.g. Barry, 1995; Hoigard and Finstad, 1992; Leidholdt, 1993; Ross et al., 1990; Vanwesenbeeck, 1994) have described the psychological defenses which are necessitated by the experience of prostitution, and which frequently persist: splitting off certain kinds of awareness and memories, disembodiment, dissociation, amnesia, hiding one’s real self (often until the nonprostituted self begins to blur), depersonalization, denial.
And then a few days later I had to go to a dentist to have my root canal re-done. So while he was screwing my tooth and sticking little metal rods straight into my gum to measure the length of the canals, it occurred to me that this is the most invasive and traumatising procedure I’ve ever had to endure, physically as well as mentally. And where is this famed hookers’ ability to fecking dissociate? I wished I could pull off some sort of disembodiment trick there and then but apparently 7 years in sex work isn’t enough to develop this technique.
And yes, I know that what you really came here for is the competition! Well, thank you for your patience and reading this far. I have received a string of limericks and I’m very much looking forward to putting them up for vote. Come back on the 1 June. And prepare to be amazed!