01 June, 2010

I'm Sorry.

I'm learning more and more about the essentials of free speech lately.
I've been part of speaking tour called Sex On Demand (and pretty busy - which is why I haven't blogged lately - sorry!)... none the less the speaking tour has been with a guy named Victor Malarek who has recently written a book called 'The John's: sex for sale and the men who buy it'.
Victor is very passionate about trying to limit and indeed shut down the sex industry - the people who profit from women 'for sale'. Victor points out the reality - when you legitimize the commodification of women's bodies you perpetuate the growing evil of the global sex trade and contribute to inequality.

Thankfully this is supported by The Salvation Army Internationally (see the positional statement on human trafficking which suggests that we combat both the commodification of women - the sex industry. AND the demand for sex - men who buy it).

Apparently the 'sex industry' was insulted by the advertisement for the speaking tour. I've attached it here for you to have a look at. The reality is that when you make women's bodies commodities, no matter how you 'dress it up' it is degrading.
It's not the poster you should be offended with - it's the reality.

So, to the sex industry I say that I am deeply sorry. I'm sorry for the hundreds of thousands of women and children that are exploited into sexual servitude EVERY YEAR - I'm sorry for the equality of women being hijacked and set aside by people who desire money over freedom. I'm sorry for the future generations that grow up believing that subjugation and humiliation are 'empowerment'. I'm sorry that I've been quiet for this long and I'm sorry that I haven't offended you more often. I'm sorry that I've been apathetic and indifferent to the plight of women stuck in the grinding poverty and the gradual death of their bodies and souls as a result of this prostitution.

Not only am I sorry - but I'm repentant. I'm going to change my ways. I'm going to speak up more. I'm going to remind society of the costs to real women with real names and real lives who live as virtual prisoners to men who demand sex and use their economic power to get it - at great costs. I'm going to remind myself of the names and faces of women and children who suffer the real pain of sexual servitude... the young 12 year old girl in Tasmania who was raped by over 100 men - pimped out by her own mother... the 14 year old boys charged with gang rape as they re-inacted what they watched the 'sex industry' pump out as 'normal behaviour' on the internet... the young girls lured into prostitution from TV shows that glamorize the life of prostitutes and LIE to bolster their industry at the expense of the innocence of girls and the health of society.

So, let it be known. I'm sorry. And I've changed my ways. I determine to stand up, speak up, and fight for a society that protects it's most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens. I determine to protect and serve women and children who have been exploited from economically poor conditions to sexual slavery in Australia (they say this is a better life!). I determine to set my sights on a day where Australia and the rest of the world will believe deep within their hearts that women and children ARE NOT FOR SALE. Where men are held accountable for violence against women - ALL women. And where little children are taught the value and dignity of every human being!

Grace
Danielle

7 comments:

Melanie Robinson said...

I'm learning more and more about the sickening nature of some peoples idea of free speech lately. When it is used to stand up for your right this is one thing, when you are using it to impinge on others, make judgement, defame and harass - I'd rather it didn't exist. Thanks so much for reminding me of the latter.

The women are not for sale, they provide services for money - the same as anyone who has paid employment does. A sex worker as a person s no more for rent than is someone who washes your car, or fixes your busted pipe in your house. Try and remember that, or perhaps you feel you in your paid employment (which I am assuming here you have) you rent your body and mind to perform the tasks required rather than consider you perform the tasks required for your wage. It is a very different notion.

I note you ignore the existence of male sex workers - don't fit into your argument do they? You ignore the women who purchase the services of sex workers, be the sex worker male, female or trans*

Before you start with but oh that's not the majority of the industry, it is part of it - do not ignore peoples existence its inherently rude and despicable.

You may find that its not some emotionless soulless industry that was insulted, it was sex workers who were insulted by the advertisement - real people, with lives, feelings, emotions. Real people who value their skills and the work they do, the happiness they provide to others through their actions. Do you value providing happiness through your actions - it doesn't seem so with such an attack shrouded as an apology blog for having such a poor narrow minded attitude.

Sex workers are people providing a service, they do not consider themselves some meat for sale. By supporting the poster design indicates you do consider sex workers meat. It is you doing the commodification of flesh. Not the workers who use their skills, and not the clients who appreciate and value the skills sex workers have.

Is catering to someone else's wants and needs of your own free will subjugation and humiliation. if you consider it is, be careful when you next dare open the door for someone, help them carry something or do anything that they want that you were happy to agree to help by using your physical skills and your body as a tool for that.

Perhaps you should apologise to each individual sex worker you upset not the industry, you keep ignoring sex workers are people.

You claim death of sex workers souls. people who cater to what may make a day brighter for someone, people who recognise other people as being worthy of their attention and care, and make this their work. To you I am sorry you must have no soul. I wish I could give you one. I'm sorry people will read your drivel and feel disenfranchised about humanity that judgemental people like you exist. I am sorry you think that offending anyone is something you should strive to do. I'm sorry you consider a sector of our community not to be people worthy of dignity. I am sorry you consider another whole sector of our community to not even exist. I am sorry you consider the lonely, the disabled as exploitative and unworthy of human affection.

TBC...

Melanie Robinson said...

continued from previous..


Not only am I sorry, but I am proactive. I will continue to challenge the small minded who go through life with blinkers on, to see sex workers as people who deserve equal rights. I will challenge those people not to see sex workers as commodities, but as people as most of our clients do. I am going to remind society that sex is a joyous act shared, not something that is degrading. I will remind myself of the names and faces of those who judge my lifestyle as lesser, and remind myself they are hypocritical by doing more judging than the rest, and remind myself that society will be a poorer place while these people continue to expound uninsightful drivel. I will strive to bring these people to elucidation of how just because they wouldn't want something doesn't mean others don't.

I will not deny that there are some cases such as the Tasmanian one you refer to that are abhorrent - but the fact that that does on attests more to the people who force their child to do anything against their will, more than it does to people who willing perform services. If they had forced their child sew tshirts would you call and end to the textile industry ? Is the demand for shirts worth that - you wouldn't make that claim - but yeh in a way you are just directing it differently.

So let it be known - i stand in my place. I am determined to continue to stand up for my rights, my co workers rights, and sex worker rights and fight for a society that sees sex workers as people, values their rights, their skills and what they contribute to society. I am determined to protect and serve sex workers who are judged, degraded and emotionally attacked by people who seek to deride their rights, see sex workers as victims and not the proud skilled people they are, be it through their work or how they choose to live their life. I am determined to set my sights on a day where Australia and the rest of the world will believe deep in their hearts, sex workers are not for sale, they sell their services and have respect for them. Where perpetrators of such hate writing of this are held accountable and brought to justice for the attacks they make on our sector of the community. Where people understand the value and dignity of every human being is not lessened because of an industry they choose to work in.

I do not deny there are some but far in the minority who are not in the industry of their choice, and I believe in supporting anyone to be in a place they want to be, regardless of what the circumstance is. the sex industry is not the only location of this in our society. To empower those people to have their lives as they want. It would be nice if yo did not deny or ignore the majority of sex workers in Australia who are not exploited and perfectly satisfied with how they are. Surely you can afford people such respect and dignity? I will assume if you edit, censor or do not publish my reply that you are comfortable in your oppression of a sex workers voice, and consider I am not valued enough by you to allow my voice to be heard.

RIK said...

In Australia everyone has a right to practice their religion without prejudice. I respect that right, and in return I expect religious people to respect my right for me to live my life without religious interference from others.
I’m a male sexworker by my own choice; I have male, female and transgender clients.
I consider your article to be ill-informed, misleading and offensive. There are a number of groups representing sex-workers in Australia and I suggest that in future, before writing such drivel, that you take the trouble to contact them and get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

Hi Grace, would be great if you could take your blinders off and get facts from all sides before you type away trash.

Whilst everyone is entitled to their opinions, I would point out that yours seems misinformed, extreme and very much misguided to say the least. I and many others do not tolerate sex slavery or forced sex but you need to understand that the industry in general is one of choice and freedom. The negative side is thankfully rare.

P said...

Hi Danielle,
Would you like to tell us a little more about your sex life? It only seems fair. After all, you seem rather obsessed with the sex life of other people.

So what do you like to get up to in the bedroom? What’s your thing? I can’t wait to find out so I can write about it on my blog and voice my disapproval. Gee I might even do a speaking tour on it and see if I can rally some people against you. Yeah, I know that its none of my business, and what you and another consenting adult do in the privacy of your bedroom is your business, but if passing public comment, judging and condemning other people for their sexual behaviour is your thing, I’m sure you’ll understand where I’m coming from, and you won’t mind if I return the compliment.

Has it every occurred to you Ms Strickland that it’s none of your business if I like having sex with prostitutes? Has it ever occurred to you that they just might like having sex with me? That we are responsible grownups and if we chose to have this kind of sexual relationship it is our business and not yours?

In the past five years I have been with 300 different prostitutes and every one of them was just a normal happy healthy person. I have been with girls in modest brothels and been with high class escorts in five star hotels and everything in between. I have loved my time with all of them and I intend to continue to enjoy this mutually respectful happy relationship and agreement.

None of them have been messed up, confused, drug affected or diseased. None of them have been tired or upset in anyway by what they are doing. I know you’ll probably hate these facts but that’s the way it is. I’m not lying!

I’m a nice man. I really am. I am kind and gentle and thoughtful. Do you think I have a personality change when I’m with a prostitute? Do you think I lose all my sensitivity and perspicacity? Might it not be that if a girl was upset I would pick up on it? Wouldn’t I notice an unwillingness or sense of weariness on her part? We can pick up on these things in passing conversations with people. How much more heightened is it is going to be when you are naked and intimate together. And I mean intimate! You need to understand that. She is not a blow up sex-doll. She doesn’t lie there passively whilst I have my way with her (sorry to disappoint you). She has sex with me in the very same way that most people have sex. She makes demands for her pleasure as well as ensuring mine. We kiss and explore each others bodies with our mouths. Look into each other’s eyes. We “make love” to use the old fashioned term. We “get it on” just like a normal healthy happy pair of mutually respectful adults who have decided they want to have sex – which is exactly what we are!

I sense that you have invented you own idea of sex-work, sex-workers and people who enjoy their services. I sense you believe it is a perverted power play. Men being insensitive and greedily satisfying their base desires upon coerced and desperate women, or worse, women in captivity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of the hundreds of sex-workers I have seen over the last five years some have been students, some have been professionals. Some do it for fun. One I see regularly is a lawyer. One is a final year med student. Some are, or have been, teachers. One I stayed with was a cop (prostitution is perfectly legal). One was a teacher in a Christian school. And one was a member of your little group. Ooooooh...you don’t want to believe that do you? But it’s true. Yes, she was a Salvation Army girl. Sorry but these are the facts.

Some are saving up for a business. Some are single Mum’s raising their kids and wanting work they have good income and flexibility of time. Some do it because it is such a satisfying and fulfilling life style. Some do it for fun: they don’t even need the money. All of them are normal happy health people enjoying THEIR sexuality in THEIR way. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!

P said...

Continued...

And us clients? Or “John’s” as the ill informed sometimes refer to us. In the main we are just like most men you know. We are fathers and brothers, sons and boyfriends and husbands. Think of some kind gentle respectful man in your life. He would be just typical of what we are like. In fact, don’t be surprised if he is one of us.

Sex workers and the people (both men and women) who interact with them are normal happy people who are part of the community. Caring for others, being sensitive to others. We are not a breed apart. For some people sex with strangers is beautiful. It is fun and pleasurable to be able to get together with another person and enjoy sex without any complications or further obligations. Some of us grown-ups like to do that. It’s not hurting anyone else so what’s your problem?

I don’t know, maybe its jealousy. Maybe you desperately want to be part of this fun filled and happy activity and it’s making you angry that you can’t, so you’ve decided to set about spoiling it for others. Your attitude and behaviour would certainly suggest that.

Oh, and please don’t talk to me about sex-slavery, exploited people or other tragedies. Believe me I care, and I am as angry about such things as you will ever be. If ever I got a sniff of it I would report it to the police within seconds! But I just don’t come across it. I do not deny these things exist but you’d have to seek it out. You’d have to move away from the legitimate sex-scene and choose to buy into that vile network.

Surreptitious exploitation of people exists in many parts of life, not just in the sex industry. In fact there is a heightened vigilance in the sex industry that guards against it, so ironically it is less likely you would see it in the legitimate sex industry than elsewhere.

But do not be too confident that the runners you bought the other day or that dress you found at a bargain price or the rug upon your floor, or so many everyday objects in your life, didn’t come about without the exploitation of someone. Perhaps the occasional discovery of unscrupulous operators is reason enough to shut down the entire manufacturing industry?

If you are really concerned about the exploitation of children and women I’d suggest you go set your target on the Catholic Church. You’ll find a lot more victims there.

Danielle, I don’t know what you get up to in your sex life and frankly I don’t care. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else I hope you continue to enjoy it –whether you want to tell us about it or not. I know what I get up to and I don’t feel bad about it. I have a heart and mind and conscience. I have a deep and abiding respect for fellow humans and their right to participate in this agreement with me.

The situation I frequently find myself in is this: Two people naked together being kind and giving each other pleasure. Tenderly stroking one another, being kind gentle and understanding. Usually we don’t even know each other’s names, but somehow I feel that this gentle act between two humans might be closer to the will of God than all your self-righteous indignation and condemnation.

Anonymous said...

well where to start? I am a 40 year old woman with 2 degrees. I look after my health, have never taken drugs, was not abused as a child and come from England where I had many choices of work. I have chosen to do sex work over the years because as a single parent there are few jobs that finish at 3.30 so you can collect the kids and that pay very well with no tax involved. I claim NO benefits but I wanted work that enabled me to see my daughter and pay my bills. perhaps the real exploitation of women comes from the lack of work choices in a male dominated world that fit in with child rearing? Sex slavery is always wrong but for those who choose the work it is curiously liberating and the clients are all great. It's a service like any other. Were I to work for McDonalds I would be selling my time and my ability to talk to customers and make them a fortune - for what $20 an hour before tax? Now I work for $270 an hour tax free to be treated like a queen and make someone happy. It's a no brainer. My only sorrow is that I'm getting too old for it! as someone else has already blogged - if you want to really do something about the undeerhand exploitation of women and children you could do worse than attack the catholic church!