Particularly Ranty Outburst that doesn’t say much more than “FUCK POVERTY”

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So I got a right talking to by a close friend yesterday. I suggested, after asking to borrow money, that considering how trapped by poverty I feel that I was considering going back to sex work. This was not the first time I have had this sort of talk. I’ve had it again and again from “friends”. “You’re not strong enough for this sort of work”, “you’re better than that”, “you’re putting yourself in danger”, “I’m glad you’re not working anymore, I didn’t want to be around you if you kept at it” and my personal favourite “don’t you want to have more respect for yourself?”

I stopped working in January of this year. I had been working in a sleazy motel and was working not necessarily with but in close proximity to people that were not good for me. Or I was not good for them. Either way, I found myself working essentially alone. Without support staff, a partner in crime and attempting to keep it a secret from nearly everyone I knew. It was a bad time. The money was coming in but the personal cost to me was huge. The proprietor of the motel I was working at was a holy despicable miserable cow who I refused to let have the last word. As a result, I was banned from the motel. This banning came shortly after I had seen a client that I had seen at the brothel I used to work at who was just too slimy for me to cope with and who I would normally have not seen but was under pressure to pay for my expenses for the day. The last twenty minutes of his hour booking he got to spend with me on a bed, me wrapped in a towel refusing to be touched anymore starting listlessly at the cricket on the T.V. Even though he was a creep, even I knew that charging someone was I was charging for silent, half naked cricket watching was going a little too far. That was the last job that I did.

So I stopped working because the situation that I was working in was not good for me. I had fallen out with some whore buddies, I was alone and did not want to go back to a brothel. Friends that knew I was working were once again completely relieved that I said I was giving it away again and then there I was. Working part time and trying desperately to make ends meet. I still am trying desperately to make ends meet. The reason that I am not working is not because the work in itself is inherently dangerous. Nor is it because my soul dies at having to fuck strangers; it is because of the isolation that comes with working in a criminalised setting. The stigma and fucking bullshit I have put up with from those nearest and dearest to me is astounding.

How can I explain this so that people will get it? It’s not about me being abused as a child, it’s not about me “being better than that”, it’s not about me wanting an ego boost, it’s not about me wanting to live a particular lifestyle; IT’S ABOUT THE FUCKING MONEY!

I’ve been struggling through for years now trying to finish my degree, trying to get my part time community services wage to go further than rent and the cash I’ve borrowed off mates to get through the fortnight, trying to keep a car on the road, trying to have enough dosh to buy presents for birthdays for my nieces and nephews but anyone out there knows that there is never enough money. Never. I’m screwed between a rock and a hard place. I get told that I should just struggle and get a better job or a second job just like everybody else, but I’m not like everybody else. The times when I have tried to live in the straight world with a straight job it has nearly fucking killed me.

Why am I disrespecting myself if I want to have enough money to pay parking fines, pay my registration, pay for a night out on the town for fucks sake? I’m comfortable in my body, I’m comfortable using my body for work. Right now as I rant this blog out, I am using my body to sit at a desk (which I should be working from). I use my brain for inane tasks, I use my muscles to lift boxes why oh why does it upset everyone so much that I want to use my body to relieve men of the burden of their wallets. This is my way of getting access to privilege I have been denied my whole damn life. It’s so easy for the white men of this world with their private school educations to look down on me and say “oh, you’re better than this. Don’t disrespect yourself so much” Yeah? Well I didn’t get to go to private school, I didn’t get to have my afternoons to work on my school work. I held down a job to help pay my way. And when I tried to work part time and go to uni when something bad happened the stress was too much for me and I dropped the ball on everything.

I won’t be going back to work just now because the isolation is too much to cope with. If I go back to work I regain my financial independence but I lose respect and solidarity of “friends”. So my choice is to keep being marginalised by poverty while the world looks on and tells me “oh you just need to get a better job”. Is that fucking so? That sounds familiar. Like a solution to my depression “you just need to change your attitude”. Or my other INCURABLE mental illness “you just… you just… you just…” These words kill me.

I wish I could stop money from being a priority in my life. I wish I could live free from its shackles. But when we tear down the walls of capitalism, then I might be free from this fucking prison of poverty. And I’m not even that broke. Just VERY broke. I know without the patronage of friends and family I would be on my arse in the gutter.

END RANT

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Fear of Violence & Self Preservation versus Doing What Is Right

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The Night I Failed

A few years ago, a friend and I were travelling Australia. We were working from spot to spot, funding an epic adventure that took as from the South right up to the North of the country, to Western Australia and to South East Asia. It was a wonderful time in my life, an epic journey that opened my heart and mind to a bigger world, and bigger possibilities. It is a time that I will always treasure and look back on fondly. Having said that, there is one night that stays in my mind for what my friend and I failed to do, action we should have taken, but didn’t. I carry that regret with me to this day.

Being a touring sex worker is an incredibly rewarding experience. Earning as you travel is an amazing way to see the world. Opportunities and experiences just present themselves before you, plans evolve and change to suit the ebb and flow of cash and there is generally an inevitable amount of networking with the local workers. You can find yourself in a tight spot, but the beauty of being a sex worker is “you can always fall back on your back”.

We had arrived in Darwin and my friend *Stacy and I had been working and earning at the same time as getting to experience the absolute splendour that is the Northern Territory. The laws in the NT require that you work only from hotels or holiday apartments or for one of the Escort agencies. Private home work is prohibited and working for an agency requires registering with the NT police. We opted to work privately, even though you are required to work alone, we felt it was the best option. We had been hotel hopping when an opportunity came up for cheap rent on a semi-permanent room a local sex worker was not using at the time. We leapt at the opportunity and found ourselves working at the ****** Apartments, just on the outskirts of the city.

It was a tough slog. Some clients just refused to go there. People who had been happy to see us just the week before at one of the nicer hotels just did not want to be seen at that notorious Hotel/Motel complex. This didn’t stop us from making our money, but it did highlight for us that we were working at the rougher end of the trade. I had up until that point, had a fairly sheltered experience (only so far as far as my sex work career goes) as I had older, wiser and (mostly) kind sex workers to guide me through my days as an L plater and had for the most part avoided violence, intimidation or threats. I had worked privately in rural centres and for one suburban brothel, so the entire trip had been an exercise in education and developing my skills as a worker.

At night, when we had called it quits and laid down a clean sheet on the working bed we both slept in at night, all of the noises from the surrounding area would echo off the bitumen of the road and the concrete of the walls of the motel. There was often yelling coming from the street which, we normally identified as the locals drinking and carrying on. There were often moans of pleasure (or faked pleasure) to be heard coming from the rooms next to and below us. There was the erratic bursts of mothers losing their shit at naughty kids on budget holidays and the squeals and splashes of people enjoying the pool situated in the courtyard.

One night there was noise coming from directly below us, two floors down, and it was different. It started off sounding like any heated argument but soon the voices intensified. I could hear a man bellowing, and I could hear a shrill female voice responding. I can’t put into words how I knew this girl was bargaining for her safety as I couldn’t hear the words she was saying. It was something in the tone and the tempo of her voice that made me know she was in trouble. The man’s voice intensified and after one sharp yell from the girl, there was a crash and a bang. A screen door slammed. The man kept yelling over the top of a constant mumble of the girls now muffled voice.

It went on and it went on for what felt like forever. Just when we thought it was over there would be more thuds and bumps and more yelling from both voices. The whole time this had been going on, my friend and I were laying in bed petrified of what was happening downstairs. We discussed in whispered voices what we should do. We wanted to call the police, but fearing for our own safety and our own desire to avoid contact with the police we delayed making the call. We discussed going outside to see if we could find out if the girl who’s cries we had heard needed help but decided that we didn’t want to be seen witnessing anything that had gone on. What at the time we convinced ourselves was rational discussion of what was transpiring, was actually a strong sense of self preservation in a foreign city; we didn’t want to get involved. We told ourselves we couldn’t call the police because of the drugs in the apartment and the fact that we had been working together when the law stipulates that private workers must be sole operators. We told ourselves that we were vulnerable, and to become involved would put us at risk. We whispered these excuses to each other in the dark, distressed to the point of tears at what we were hearing.

And then it stopped. Silence crept back into darkened work room that we had made our home for that week and we told ourselves that meant that it was over, everything was now okay. I tried not to think of what else the silence could indicate. Nothing to be heard, no victim to worry about, no cries of distress to nag at our consciences. Sleep didn’t come easily that night. I woke up at the smallest noise, still wondering what had happened and if (if?) I should have called the cops. I justified in my head that the pigs were our natural enemy, being sex workers and that to call them went against my nature. I told myself lots of things to try and get the sound of the screams out of my head. A few days later we checked out of the room, did a very lucrative escort job with a local proprietor and headed for our Kimberley adventure. Darwin, the apartments, the bellowing male voice and the girl, were left far behind us.

I often wonder if there is anything that I would change in my life, given the chance. There are many things that I have been through, but I always decide that these experiences have made me who I am and led me to where I am today. To wish them away is to wish myself away. But I can’t think that way about someone else’s experiences. I can’t tell myself that someone getting bashed or raped or hurt in anyway is going to be good for them, help them build character and teach them a life lesson. It’s something I tell myself to cope with the things that have happened, and it is a way for me to be ok with the past by being ok with the present. I don’t know what that girls present is like, and even if I did, I still couldn’t impose my values on her experience.

If there were one thing I could change, I would go back to that night and I would call the fucking police. Fuck the drugs I had on me, fuck the fact I was sex working outside of the law, fuck being scared of violent men! I would go charging down those concrete stairs yelling at the top of my voice that the police were on their way, I would find the person that voice belonged to and I would let her know that she wasn’t alone and didn’t have to suffer the violence being visited upon her. I would stand alongside her and hold my head high in the face of whatever to perpetrator or the police could dish out to me. That was nearly three years ago and I still feel a massive sense of regret and shame that Stacy and I made the wrong choice. We failed that night. Massively.

I was recently in Darwin again and was driving out of the city towards a friends house and as we turned onto the Stuart Highway I pointed out the motel and mentioned that I had worked there. I briefly spoke about that night and a fellow sex worker, *Kate, someone who I admire for their strength of character, their ability to navigate their way through life, academia, family and relationships without hiding in a closet or denying what it is she does for a living, well she gave me a telling off. I had only met her that day and had been having a lovely time with her and a mutual friend (yup, another sex worker!) She didn’t preach to me, and she didn’t seek to humiliate me, she simply said “well, the next time you call for help…” and trailed off. It hit me like a slap and she was absolutely right. Little miss white bread, sheltered suburban L plater hooker didn’t want to get her hands dirty and let someone get bashed or raped or both. I have been raped, more than once. I have had the CIB close an investigation telling me that it was obviously just another case of girl having too much to drink, despite the fact my beer was being spiked with Jagermeister. My first night in the brothel a client attempted to rape me anally. Boyfriends have held me down too. The worst part is, the week before this incident had occurred back in 2009, I had been raped whilst travelling in Asia. I felt like I was to blame as I had put myself in a vulnerable situation and I just had to deal and let it go as even if there had been police where I was travelling, my experience in Australia of reporting rape was that of further invasion and pain and I told myself that it would be that much worse in a Developing country. So I shrugged it off. I struggle to recall ever feeling as ashamed of myself. After what I had personally experienced in my personal life before sex work as well as what had happened overseas just recently, I struggle to understand why my reaction wasn’t to run and help, but to hide and make excuses to myself.

Years later after experiencing so much more, experiencing violence and witnessing violence I have learned that no one wants to get involved, least of all the victim. Earlier this year, the same friend was in an abusive relationship that she was trying to leave. I was at her house when the guy came over and rather than let him in, she stepped slightly outside to talk with him. I kept my ear to the door to make sure that she was ok. Suddenly her voice rang out, not from the front door where she had been talking to him, but from further down the street; she was screaming my name. I ran and I saw her being dragged towards the guys car by the hair. I watched him pick her up and slam her to the ground. I watched as he tried to kidnap her. I watched, helpless, as one of my dearest friends was being brutalised by someone stronger than both of us combined. I screamed at him to stop. Stacy was screaming and she was crying and pleading to be let go. I dialled 000 and asked for the police and only when the guy realised I wasn’t bluffing and the fuzz were on their way did he get in his car and leave. He didn’t go far but Stacy was safe, even if just for that moment. This all happened on a quiet little lane way, at about 11:30 at night. The street was full of cars my Stacy’s neighbours would have had to have been either sedated, or wearing industrial ear protection not to hear that this was going on. Not one person came to see if we were ok. Worse still, the police took nearly half an hour to arrive.

These two separate incidents have some similarities for me. Both times it was violence being visited upon another person. Both times this was worse than experiencing it myself. The difference was, when it was my friend, calling my name, I ran to her. But even then, all I had the power to do was call the men that the Government pays to be our protectors. When I passed the place where I had heard someone in need of help and ignored it, I couldn’t help but say what had happened there. When *Kate told me off, what has happened since, not so much to me but to others, the scenes I have witnessed, these things all came rushing from my memory into my present mind. Like a sledge hammer hitting my brain, people are victimised because the rest of us let it happen.

Last night, I was at my “day job” finishing off some work when I heard raised voices and crashing and banging coming from the units across the road. It went on for a few minutes and I didn’t hesitate calling for police assistance. I waited for the police to arrive and I waited and watched while they investigated the domestic disturbance that I reported. As they were leaving after apparently giving it the all clear they asked me just for some more details of what I heard. Even though I fear the police due to my line of work and have never been given any reason to trust them, I calmly explained what I had heard. And I told them “it may have just been an argument but I have ignored this sort of thing before and regretted it”. Even though all had gone quiet before they arrived, that could easily have been because the victim was unconscious or dead as it could have been because they resolved the argument or lapsed into a cold, silent cease-fire.

I will never again let someone suffer through violence alone. I will never fail in the one act that we should always offer to strangers; assistance when in distress, crisis or need.

I can’t change the past, no matter how much I want to. And I can’t learn some lessons without going through what I go through, but if I can prevent someone else from having to experience violence, then that is what I am going to do even if it puts me at risk as witness, or at risk of violence or at risk of being a drug taking whore having to have contact with the police, I will never again choose the path of least resistance in the face of someone else’s suffering. I have become a “vulnerable witness” to crime, and getting involved has cost me. I don’t regret it though. I only regret the time that I didn’t get involved.

Of course the silver lining is the lesson learned and the transference of this lesson into all aspects of my life. I just wish that the bitterness I felt at my own experiences of violence and rape going unpunished hadn’t led to such a cold reaction. I hope that I can redeem myself and I hope that bitterness has gone from inside of me. I hope that I can be a better person. Most of all, I hope whoever that girl was in Darwin in 2009 is safe tonight.  

So this Friday the 17th of December on International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, while memorialising the victims of violence, make a commitment to stand in solidarity and end violence.  I will be.

Laws & Whores

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South Australia is in the throes of another attempt at Law Reform. This isn’t the first attempt but it is by far, the most promising attempt in the long campaign to bring sex workers into the mainstream and out from under the discriminatory and out-dated laws still in place. The Sex Work Industry Bill 2011 was set to be voted on the 20th of October; however, interested parties have requested further time to make submissions on the proposed legislation.

The current draft of the proposed legislation is, in my opinion, unworkable and would serve to further marginalise workers in this state, specifically street workers. The proposed rules regarding places frequented by children (not within 200m) and the proposed fines ($20,000) would put existing businesses in jeopardy, nearly completely prohibit sex work in the Adelaide CBD and make street work nearly impossible. The fines have been multiplied by ten and the overt efforts to the public’s mind at ease reek of keeping the vocal moral minority happy. Again, it seems the street workers are bearing the brunt of moral outrage at selling sexual services. As such a small percentage of the industry as a whole, this very visible form of work draws an unfair amount of policing, public attention and media. The best part of the proposed bill is the squashing spent convictions. This will be a major benefit for workers who lived through times of harsh law enforcement, and have numerous convictions to their names.

Of major concern is the wording of who will be covered by anti-discrimination legislation. It would appear that only once workers have gone through exit-strategies will the anti-discrimination law come into effect. This seems counter-intuitive in a bill that is meant to be decriminalising the industry.

These concerns aside, it is so encouraging to see movement on this issue. It would be heartbreaking for those that have campaigned for this for so long to see legislation enacted that makes working life harder for sex workers in South Australia.

What strikes me is the desire to keep it under wraps, and a palpable fear that brothels will spring up in suburbia and young girls will be encouraged into the industry in droves. Firstly, it already does go on in every part of Adelaide and the surrounding suburbs. We hide in plain sight and what goes on behind closed doors is (mainly) private and discreet. Secondly, Adelaide has somewhat of a cottage industry. Just like any niche, there is only so much work to go around. Thirdly, if this is such a major problem to the concerned parties, children being exposed (what? Seeing people walk in or out of a door?) to what I can only assume is people’s perception of sex workers and their clients as inherently perverse and the visibility of street based sex work, then why have sex workers been able to advertise in the town’s only daily rag for so long? If this industry is so very bad due to its illicit nature, why is it the only industry that is given more than a whole page of advertising in a paper that is read widely and available to children? If it is so very very bad, why aren’t the adult services advertisements alongside advertisements for illicit drugs? Why? Because sex work is not a bad line of work, sex workers offer a valuable and highly sought after product and sex workers have clients from every strata of society. Sex workers are not who you would think. Sex workers are mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, friends, lovers, neighbours. Selling sex does not have the same health and societal impact of selling drugs.

Another whine, another rant, another day waiting to know if South Australia will make it into the 21st Century with equality and rights for all workers.

The Rape of Perception; Or “How I learned to Stop Hating All Journos, (even though some of them totally deserve it)”

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Rape With No Cock

Rape is four letter word, powerful or meaningless and is applied across a spectrum of occurrences. They called the Japanese sacking of Nanking “The Rape of Nanking”. There was literal rape, in the thousands upon thousands, murder in thousands, tens of thousands. The brutal penetration of the military might of an Empire staking it’s claim during the global upheaval that was the Second World War can only be described as rape. It is a fitting name. Colloquially, one can be “arse-raped” by wily salesmen, or the Vogonism rampant in public and private sectors, designed to confuse and entrap.

As an accusation, it can be career destroying or soul destroying, dependent on if the raped or the rapist is saddled with blame. Rape is not just theft, taking something by force can be done without penetration. Rape is the powerful invading the powerless and taking from inside what should be the sacred thing that houses our life forces (or souls, dependent on your outlook)

Last weekend, a newspaper printed a feature article about sex workers in South Australia in the wake of legislation drafted by the Hon. Steph Key that if passed would decriminalise the sex industry and its workers in this state. The workers that gave the journalists access did so because when the media comes along to do a piece on these perceived oddities of people that do this work, it is a spectacle for the straight and narrow to rubber neck at “oooooooh! A real live whore! OMG! Look at it!?” Sadly, it is rarely the fourth estate doing its job. Even when attempting to be inoffensive, I am offended.i I As bad as I know these articles can be, and as much as I know that a by-line doesn’t mean the sub-editor didn’t chop up the words like George Martin chopping up reels of merry-go round music for Mr Kite off Sgt Pepper ii Sir Martin however, hacking at magnetic tape, collaborated to create one of the most famous albums ever recorded (no denying, regardless of taste) The editorial and journalistic work that daily, offends me, last weekend led me to tears. The potential of a three page feature and what those…journalists… birthed out of the heaving beast that is the trade they ply and have to sleep at night with, made me see fucking red. The worse part is, there is a possibility they thought they were helping us poor, poor hookers. You know, the helpless hookers who are weird and exotic and must be a little simple or else why use sex to make money?iii

Perspective is a curious thing. I read the piece and I tried to see the positives. Then I noticed that the photos that were chosen, knowing some of the individuals in the pictures, were (call me cynical) purposefully unflattering. Upon re-reading the individual write ups of the “types” of sex workers I let my anger rise up at the headings and the inherent implications and judgements therein. Hearing echoes of sentiments expressed to me personally in what I can safely say is a contortion of what was actually said during the interviews, boiled my blood and made me glad that every time I have ummed and aahed about it, it has never come to pass that I am the subject when the media decides to play with this particular groups lives. My life by extension of the bond, sorority and fraternity that exists between me and my colleagues and peers. (Being marginalised, up against the wall most of the time by all the bloody opinions, laws and bullshit does make you either buddy up, or go it alone) Being glad makes me sad, because these workers that were put in the paper stood up to be the voice, in an attempt to prevent a worker perhaps being paid, coerced or manipulated into an exploitative spectacle due to the vulnerable nature of workers in a criminalised setting. I wish I were I that brave. Kudos to all of the workers, regardless of how the picture got painted.

As a review, this is scant on detail for a few reasons; those engaged in the issue will have seen it, it was in the paper for all to read and I don’t want to repeat too much of what was printed. I am sure the individuals involved in journalism never set out to betray people and need to do their jobs, just like everyone else, but there are lows in that profession that I think could, would or should cause more sleepless nights than sucking actual cock for coin. I’ll take real cock for coin over Satan’s cock* for accolades and egoism any day of the week.

Where do I put anger like this? Where do I store this frustration? Perspective and misrepresentation are themes that snake their way into every facet of our daily lives, marginalised workers used for intrigue and sales figures is a symptom of how the world turns. If I stamp my feet too loud, they’ll call me witch too! Was it that bad? Perspective. I have my opinions, it could have been so much worse. However, if the creators of that feature think they have done a service, the scales in my view tip toward fail.

In the same edition, the story in the main body of the paper that outlined the proposed legislation and when it is due to be voted on etc, street workers were referred to more than once,(as well as online in the comments quagmire of brain farts of anyone with an internet connection), as street walkers. In that one simple change, to something phonetically similar, a trade becomes a judgement and a job is instead a social ill. An adjective suddenly conjures images of the reanimated dead, rather than of someone hard at work. A walker, not a worker. A problem, instead of problem solved.

Kink, BDSM, vanilla, street, whatever the flavour; it’s just like ice cream. There are many to choose from and no particular flavour is right or wrong. Childhood fights over chocolate versus strawberry (strawberry! Of course!) belong with childlike minds. This debate, and this attempted representation of it by the mass media is as nourishing to humanities soul as cholera is to the human body. And, like cholera, the debate about sex work spreads infectious shit rapidly.

It takes a certain kind of person to do this work, and I’m proud of my skills, as should all workers be who do what they do. We need money, that is the way the people who came before us built this world The minute we stop using money and start thinking like the bipeds with intricate cognitive processes and opposable thumbs that we are, the minute we can stop judging people for what they do for money (there you go journos, I threw you a bone because writer is as writer does, and as writer needs to eat.) The point is, I know. And if you haven’t done it, you don’t. Ask all the questions in the world and research and over research this small percentage of the population for the social phenomenon of it, or the perceived perversion, or run in and try and save the slaves, you won’t ever know. If more people had any clue of the truth, more people would laugh at my jokes, and the market would probably be flooded with shoddy, cheap impersonations of the real thing.

To conclude, mass media = bad? Online community = good? If something is not what you thought it would be, you can cry rape? Nothing is that black and white. I started talking about rape without a cock. The idea comes from castrating sex offenders as a solution to sexual crime. I agree it is a just reaction to sex crime, but disagree with it as a solution. Penetration can occur without a penis. Rape can occur without a cock. I’ve been raped by strangers, lovers and friends. It is a serious allegation, and I am not saying an article I didn’t like, in a rag I don’t read, is akin to the genocide and pillage of the former capital of the Republic of China by Japanese Imperial forces in a time of war. That would be disrespectful and a massive overreaction (though the name Ranting Strumpet obviously stems from a pathological need to get in a huff). It was a perhaps lazy attempt at asking anyone who reads this to, if they haven’t already, to consider or reconsider what is being taken from someone, when a label is fixed on them, a lie is told and some careerist fuck thinks they did a good job. Slaves are made in these ways, and victims and dead bodies. That was Eichmann’s excuse when Mossad finally caught him in the 60s.iv (Eichmann ran in 1945 to escape the noose for his part in the Third Reich and complicity in the murder of millions of people. He was caught in Argentina, dragged to Israel, imprisoned, tried and hanged.)

Thank you to the workers who agreed to be photographed and interviewed in an attempt to educate and myth bust. To the haters, the bad journos, the do-gooders, the judges (self-appointed moral judges, not necessarily actual judges) I simply wish you to listen to track 8 of the 2009 Lilly Allen album “It’s not me, it’s you”.

To the good journos with bad editors or evil sub-editors, all I can say is, ego trippers pass words are easy to hack. Take back your words! Stand up for your work! Fuck the threat of being fired! Soon money won’t change hands the same way for the written word anyway. Stand for something. Be good at writing, be erudite and read more than you write. Think of John Pilger for integrity and John Birmingham for brilliant and entertaining persuasion, even if Satan’s emissary on earth keeps the power running to your lap-top and the fridge full of food. Just, you know, try to be good and don’t sell out too much. Rich words coming from someone who sucks cock for coin.  (But in context, it’s conditional on it being clean, wrapped tight in latex and no one touches the back of my head or sweet little Juliette turns into agro-smash ranting nasty strumpet! Obey the rules and I flick straight back to sweet. Of course, in a perfect world, all sex workers would always, everywhere, have that power. In the end, that is the whole point of this rant.)

 Stand for something, and know that perception isn’t just about red faces. Daily realities and people’s lives hang in the balance.

For me I just think about this little injustice on top of a world of massive fucking injustice, in the words of a wonderful singer, often named crack whore who sang for her coin, “What kind of fuckery is this?”

FIN

Post script;

I apologise for the overuse of commas, triadic sentences or clumsy metaphors, grammatical errors, etc etc. I’m tired, typing in the dark, attempting to edit before someone busts the secret strumpet mid rant! Ha, a caveat for poorly edited and somewhat scatter-brained “work”. Ah, blogging, you saucy little minx with low standards! Just how I like em 😉

i Recent German doco on SBS about “prostitution”. Translated of narration into English from German that BBC style female voice saying something like “Whore, harlot, hooker, all are offensive terms for prostitution” (not a direct quote. I can’t even find what it was called. Late. Sorry, will attempt to find and put as a comment) BUT FOR FUCKS SAKE! PROSTITUTE IS A DEROGATORY TERM FOR SEX WORKERS! GAR! Perhaps something got lost in translation?

ii (if that metaphor doesn’t make sense, see Sir Martin’s book on the making of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Interesting in his unceasing faith that they were all good boys that might have experimented, and fascinating for the techniques pioneered, the subtlety of the music in an over-the-top theme album.. I could go on. Excellent book.”Summer of Love; The Making of Sargent Pepper” George Martin and William Pearson authors, unsure of publisher and is apparently only available second hand on Amazon. Oh how sad face. It’s a truly great book. Collective sad face for the printed word, eh? Or perhaps I don’t drive the interwebs properly?)

iii I think I must be a taking crazy pills. Why would you? Why WOULDN”T you, is the question. Did you all miss the part where we explained how we get paid to fuck? PAID! To fuck. Or be fucked? Or suck or be sucked? If we choose it, it means we have power. If we have no choice, it’s because we have NO equal rights or someone is denying us our human rights. Sex worker rights are, after all, human rights.

*Yo, Bill’s line, I know!

iv Please read Hannah Arendt’s “The Banality of Evil” Penguin, 1961 for more details on Eichmann.

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It’s Just Outsourcing…

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For those of us that are immersed daily in the sex worker rights movement sometimes it can be hard to put yourself into the mindset of the general public. Not just hard, but an undesirable mindset for me and most of the awesome people I know. As a truly inspiring woman once told me, speaking out on behalf of the sex working people of the world is less about changing the hearts and minds of the general public, and more about solidarity amongst the marginalised, stigmatised, outcast group of amazing people that capitalise on their bodies all around the world. However, I recently thought that the best way to explain to people who have been influenced by myths about whores, could be to explain it in the context of outsourcing.

There are many tasks around the house that I find laborious and an infinite waste of my time. Cleaning and washing are two such tasks. Cooking is another. I am not good at any of them and much prefer (when fiscal) to engage the services of a professional to lighten the load. Why can’t this be extended to sex? The archetype of an ‘average’ married couple is that of a sexually repressed one and a sexually hounded other. Sexual inequality is a pitfall of the institution of marriage and the concept of a monogamous twosome. People get bored and feel harassed. I feel bored and harassed by housework, enter the cleaner. A wife or husband feeling bored and harassed, enter the sex worker. If the step from possessiveness to pragmatism can be made, emotional closeness between a couple can be maintained and feelings of frustration or harassment (of either not enough sex, or demands for too much sex) can be avoided.

When I am old and frail and can no longer wipe my own ass, my sincerest wish is that those nearest and dearest to me will not feel obliged to wipe to faecal matter away, but feel comfortable to outsource this unpleasant task to a professional. Someone who can treat me with dignity and respect, but won’t baulk at the prospect of seeing my wrinkled old skin smeared with shit due to an emotional attachment to me. The same can be said for husbands or wives that have a desire that may turn their partners nose away. If my husband wants to blow his load on a girls back after fucking her hard and calling her pony, and I’m not comfortable being the aforementioned jizz sprayed pony, I’d be happier for him to engage the services of a professional, rather than trawl the internet and bars in an attempt to start some sort of relationship and work it towards a point he feels comfortable asking for this specific sexual act. By the time the relationship has developed to the point where such fantasies can be broached, an emotional attachment would more than likely have been formed. To trawl the numbers and politely enquire for a service in exchange for cash is a more equitable proposition for all involved. There is no mistress, no dead ends (what if he starts an affair and then she refuses to be his jizz pony?) and he would be supporting an industry that supports some of the most dynamic and interesting people I have ever met and no one is going to come knocking on my door and start messing with my life.

I am not suggesting that overnight, the prospect of a partner getting sticky and hot with a stranger can be a comforting thought. For some, that is not a possibility. However, what I am suggesting is that to view sex work as real work, you need only compare it to other intensely intimate occupations that people are engaged in to save loved ones from the unpleasantness of having to get too close to a bodily mess that might make them feel uncomfortable. Occupations such as nursing, aged care, disability care, childcare, mental healthcare are all occupations that engage individuals to get right into the nitty gritty of human experience in a loved ones stead. I would also mention that these occupations often result in physical injury, assault and emotional strain, but they are not stigmatised or marginalised by systematic institutionalised oppression.

To extrapolate the argument, there are some aged that go without care. The thought makes me feel cold, of a lonely woman struggling to get her dinner, to get out of bed, to keep herself clean. The same can be said for sex work. Those engaging the services of a sex worker are sometimes not substituting home cooked for shop bought, but are reaching out for just a little bit of intimacy, whatever the hourly rate. Jobs like those are always my favourite. The care in my touch, the shiver when you touch them, the inhalation of expectation, the shudder of relief and enjoyment when they finish; these reactions all fill me with a sense that what I do is more than just about eliciting a physical reaction. It is an act of absolute compassion, to give someone a feeling of belonging, even if it is only for a half an hour at a time, and a sense that they are deserving of some of human touch, intimacy and acceptance. Some people want the sex over so they can get to the part where they can hold you afterwards. To me, and to so many others, this is what makes being a whore so special; the opportunity to give more than you take. To a nurse who sees a patient through to the end, their task is more emotionally wrenching than mine, just as physically dangerous and requires a depth of character that isn’t possessed by everyone. The disparity of course being that nursing is seen as an almost saint-like occupation (even if the remuneration is inadequate) and sex work is stigmatised nearly globally and illegal in many places.

Food for thought for those not in the industry. It is just outsourcing. You may never get a cleaner, but next time you’re cleaning the clogged up hair from the drain, think about how nice it is to have someone else do your dirty work for you.

Increased policing does not equate to an increasing problem

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For the past month SAPOL have been increasing their activity policing the street sex working community in the outer suburbs of Adelaide. My cynical mind tells me that increased policing and increasing arrest figures serve only to portray a “problem” as an “increasing problem”. Street based sex work is not on the rise in Adelaide, but the policing of it is. Some sex workers are copping the charge so they can walk out without bail conditions, as some bail conditions have rendered workers who live and work in the same area house bound. Selling sex on the street is only as illegal as selling anything on the street. If we had an influx of street vendors selling cheap watches, would there be the same police presence?

Why don’t the police do a useful blitz on say, known sex offenders? Perhaps there could be a blitz on known Domestic Violence criminals. Knock on their doors, haul them down to the station and give them bail conditions that would make it impossible for them to talk down their street, so you could just wait around the corner, ready to lock them up. That would make too much sense. Much like a sex worker, someone who is in a violent relationship deserves their lot in life? This is the view of SAPOL; all that needs to be done to get to this conclusion is extrapolate the logic behind their current activity.

A dollar is a dollar, however it is earned. This kind of policing is forcing people from turning an honest buck, into criminals. If the money earned from sex work is to pay for a habit, do you think cutting off a source of income is going to cure a debilitating addiction? Probably not, the money will be found some other way. Why are they increasing their activity across the board? This strumpet wants to know! Who is driving this? The argument goes that they are only enforcing the law, however, the ebb and flow of when and how it is policed is arbitrary. Is it in response to the proposed legislation that would decriminalise the sex industry? Who pushes the coppers buttons? The Minister? The Press? The Christian Right?

Wherever the push is coming from, there are workers around this state who are scared to go to work. Everybody deserves a safe work place, free from harassment, unless there are archaic laws in place that justify arbitrary police harassment.