Not a New Year Person

I do not like the tradition of New Year.

Too much pressure to change, but not real long-term change, just say the resolutions and forget all them by January the 5th.

Too much pressure to be drunk, to fake happiness, or be a boring party pooper.

I am happy going to an Italian restaurant for posh lunch, then watching Jools Holland with fizzy white wine, oh maybe not knowing it is 2015, coz too gripped in a film or asleep.

I do not make resolutions, for they just blowing soap bubbles in the air – rather I stand by all my desires year-round for abolition and ideas to make it solid.

I want if you do make resolutions round abolition or the human rights of the prostituted class – that it not just some drunken wish, or a nine-day wonder.

I want to promises you know you will break, certainly do not say these to those of us who have exited the sex trade, until you have solid practical evidence that you back your freedom.

I look back over many years of writing this blog, and speaking out as an exited woman – and see a road full of broken promises, of betrayal and of silencing.

The most important is the breaking of the promise by the Left and by feminism, to place the multiple voices of the exited in a leadership role in the abolition movement.

There has been a dismissal of the largest survivor movement – that is Sex Trafficking Survivors United – that has over 1oo members and is international.

There are many strong campaigners in this group, mainly women who are experts in knowing the conditions and motives of the sex trade profiteers and consumers.

Many are great writers, many are skilled at public speaking.

We come from many backgrounds – middle-class white women, indigenous women, from poverty.

We have known most aspects of the sex trade – being filmed for porn, brothels, street prostitution, being boyfriend material, escorting, stripping, being locked away etc etc.

Most of the member of STSU were moved around many aspects of the sex trade – forcing them to lose hope, lose their voices, lose any connections with those who care about them.

We have been regularly tortured – sexual torturing, physical beatings, mental torture and the torture of losing of what it is to be fully human.

But STSU is constantly silenced, or having our words stolen and used to bring other some creed without the respect of saying it a survivor’s work.

I can understand why it is important to silence STSU – for our truths will tear down the lies and illusions that keeps the sex trade – what is cutting me to the heart, is how many so-called allies are a big part of this silencing.

This is a betrayal – and it makes it very hard for the exited to fully trust our allies.

We expect most anti-trafficking groups to betray us, we may know the majority of Leftist men are not interested in the human rights of the prostituted – all of those folks want to keep the status quo of the sex trade, with a wee pieces of tinkering at the edges.

Anti-trafficking groups.creates myths and lies to keep this status quo.

They claim that it is easy to divide trafficking from chosen prostitution – this makes no difference to the male violence that is the norm in all forms of prostitution.

Punters don’t care about the prostituted back-story, all he care about is his entitlement and getting his money worth.

Most anti-trafficking groups keep the focus on under-aged prostituted, and ignore the adults who are prostituted.

They ignore that most of the adults may of enter the sex trade when they are under-aged, that most by aged 18 have experienced multiply rapes, have known mental, physical and mental torture, have lived with death-threats.

No, they ignore that trauma and see the adult prostitute as somehow empowered and it must her free choice.

How bloody convenient to disconnect the child from the women – and say it now ok coz now she is so sub-human she is now unrapeable.

Trafficking is now only recognised if it is international, and involves extreme violence against the prostituted.

This excludes looking into conditions in most brothels or escorting, excludes seeing internal trafficking especially using loverboy tactics, excludes looking at buying brides especially by men in the Western countries.

It excludes the vast majority of ways that the prostituted are recruited or tricked into the sex trade.

To the cynical, it may appear that too many sex trafficking groups are pushing for adult prostitution to be pushed indoors – and all the male violence made invisible to the public gaze.

What really put a hole in my heart is how many feminists push away or even steal the words and ideas of those of us who have exited the sex trade.

Of course, it is fine to used our works if you ask and are willing to acknowledge why it was written and who wrote it.

We need the language of abolition to spread far and wide – but to silenced of the exited is a betrayal.

Let me state me clearly – many exited women are deeply hurt and want to hide away because this dismissal or desire to control how we speak out.

Just because many exited women may be hiding, does not means they have stop fighting for human rights and dignity for all the prostituted – just we may not want our voices to be public in case it is destroyed.

I thought 2014 would be the start of respect for exited women in feminism – I was wrong.

I did not want to know that some feminists need to keep the prostituted in a box, which only opened with their control and briefly.

The prostituted are not human enough to be women enough to have an authentic voice in feminism – just have their multiples voices translated till it fit stereotypes that can be made feminist.

It is rare that exited women are allowed to speak at feminists meetings, and often it is controlled by having just one survivor of the sex trade on a panel with experts to stop it being too emotive.

I want to speak on a panel of just exited women, with the chair being an exited woman too.

That would part of a revolution I would proud to belong to.

So if you truly an abolitionist – make 2015 the year we begin to make exited women have a loud and clear voice/s.

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11 responses to “Not a New Year Person

  1. This is not the first time in the antiprositution movement that exited women are used for show and tell on a panel of “experts” – academics and attorneys. I was hoping after more than 25 years that would have changed. I’m sad to see it hasn’t which is why so many of us have just left to have our own lives. Worry for yourselves, feminism has a multi targeted agenda – prostituted women have never been on the top of that list. “Prostitution” maybe but the prostituted as leaders – never.

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  2. I think it vital for feminism to listen to exited, and to allow to be leaders not in feminism but the abolition movement. Yes, feminism must be multi-faceted, but it must learn from exited women and not dismiss us, We know about male violence in a physical, mental and beneath the skin way. We can see male is usually pre-planned and organised, and how all gain from having a prostituted class.

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  3. Yes Rebecca, I read your words and you are quite right when you say all women benefit from having a prostituted class. so when we talk about the intersections of isms, eg sexism, racism, classism, should we be also automatically including the prostituted as an ism? How do you suggest we mange this?

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  4. I lost my previous comment, so will start again! 🙂 Yes, I agree, you are right, and you are in the best position to know, that all women gain from having a prostituted class. Somehow, we need to be bringing you to our conscious minds, don’t we? This is a suggestion. I am thinking of how often i collate the isms, sexism, racism, classism. I am thinking in future I will include the prostituted as a class when i do this. Is this a good idea or not? That aside, and I am sure you get weary of this question also :(, do you have any other suggestions for me as one older woman living alone to address my language so that i am inclusive? I see this as grass roots change. Do you agree?

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  5. Such a great post Rebecca! I say all of us who are former sex workers take back our power from those who think they know better than those who lived the life.

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  6. Morgan – i think you doing fine at including the prostituted in your thinking. I would say that men made the prostituted into a class for their convenience. This means they made the prostituted sub-human, and keep them isolated. I believe it a grass-roots issue, for it about getting as many people as possible to see as a human rights issue.

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  7. A powerful post, Rebecca. As usual. I have come to expect a high standard from you — intelligent, educational, compelling argument. But I really stopped by to wish you a Happy New Year! May the vital issues you raise see progress in the coming year. You and those for whom you speak are precious in God’s eyes.

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  8. Hi Rebecca
    I am sorry to hear of your grievances regarding how you feel silenced and let down by those who you thought were allies, and how what you have written and spoken has not been acknowledged – this is very bad. I am sad to hear that you feel let down by feminists, in particular, although I am not familiar with your argument so I will endeavour to learn more about the problems that you speak of.
    I am a researcher-practitioner and I specialise in the area of mothers who become separated from their children in a context of violence and abuse. Of course you will know that sex workers are included in this marginalised group of women who have limited or no contact with their children due to the violence against women and children.
    I am also a feminist and want you to know that there are many different types of feminisms. This causes problems when different types of feminists disagree with each other and their political arguments blind them to important issues such as those that you speak of. I personally do not hold with ideas about prostitution as empowerment because I have personal and professional experience with survivors and understand the trauma and abuse associated with sex work.
    I just wanted to say to you that you are doing a great thing in speaking out and there will be many feminists like me who admire what you are doing as well as those who you have a grievance against.

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