If you have twitter you may of notice the tag – #listentosurvivors .
This is an amazing tag done mainly by exited women and men to speak out about having leadership in the abolitionist movement and to prevent the UN decriminalising the sex trade.
I feel it is very brave to speak out on twitter – the land of any woman-hating nutter, the land that encourages advertising the sex trade but shut down abolitionist for being too graphic.
Twitter is a dangerous for any woman who wants serious change, but for exited women it can become a place where pimps and punters hide behind pseudonyms, and enjoy the power of mentally controlling us.
So for exited women and their true allies to create #listentosurvivors is a highly political act of deep courage.
It is a significant symbol of what exited women have been struggling for many centuries and across all cultures – the simple right to have their expertises, knowledge, insight and ability to connect to be not under heard, but form as the leadership in the abolitionist movement.
Why when we ask or even suggest we need this simple right, do so many allies refuse to listen or cut us down for daring to speak?
This is an act of control, an act of silencing the prostituted class – and it an act that place the prostituted class as too sub-human to get basic human rights.
When exited women even mention that they could and would want leadership roles, there becomes numerous ways of silencing us.
There is a basic threat – saying we will or could destroy the abolitionist movement by rocking the boat.
There is the constant patronising attitude wondering why we are not just grateful to be out the sex trade, why do want or need more.
There is the divide and rule approach of saying we can only see from our individual history, so would be strong enough to be leaders.
There is denial as you use and copy our words and ideas with no permission or credit, than act as if you invented those words and concepts.
This is the tip of the iceberg of how exited women are silenced by so-called allies in the abolitionist movement.
It is a constant dripping of poison remaining us that we have no rights to human rights.
The sun shines brightly on allies who do not act that way – allies who listen to survivors of the sex trade and have no fear of giving them leadership roles.
I am delighted to see that many on twitter are understanding why #listentosurvivors is needed, and many are exploring ways to give survivors real respect and dignity.
I feel we are in a time of real change, where the voices of exited women will no longer be silenced or treated as just one-offs.
I feel a groundswell of exited women who cannot be controlled, made into tokens or used as examples any more.
These exited women have deep knowledge that must be mined if we are to ever rid the world of male violence.
But more we must listen to exited women if we want abolition to be permanent.
The silencing comes mainly from fear of hearing the knowledge that all exited women carry.
It is a fear to know and feel the inner depths of being the prostituted class.
This means having the ability to hear how being inside the prostituted class is to be made sub-human, is to be nothing – to know all violence done to the prostituted class is never personal, is just an act of violence done to goods.
This means having the courage to hear that the prostituted class are living with death as their norm – knowing that the average prostituted woman or girl is 12 times more likely to die from violent means than any other group of women or girls, that the average age of death for a prostituted woman is 34 in the West.
But more than just facts and statistics – exited women bring to the abolitionist movement a spiritual edge, ability to connect, sense of long history of oppression, knowledge that all man-made cultures were and are gaining from the sex trade, the ability to see beyond man-made acts inside the rotten soul of the sex trade.
We need leadership roles to say uncomfortable truths, to makes listeners or readers connect to the deadness of being prostituted.
We are speaking out – but all the time there walls stopping us.
I feel 2014 is a start of exited women saying they will pull down those walls – and either help us to pull them down or get out of the way.