Sex Workers & How Your Stigmatization Results In Sexual Violence 0 1100

Trigger Warning: This feminism article extensively mentions sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and drug use.

“She dressed like a slut and didn’t act much better.”

“She spent her life whoring for dangerous men.”

“The office skank.”

“The tarts were touting for trade.”

“That brazen little hussy!”

From antiquated to contemporary, the stigmatization of promiscuity shepherded by predominantly women from a conventional population is overwhelming.  The aforementioned quotations are, in fact, cited from the prompted Google definitions for the bolded jargon.

Albeit individuals are habitually fleet of demonstrating their respective decrees with regards to sex workers and their professions, there prevails a deficiency in factual statistics with an architectural foundation on the barbarities they weather within and on the outskirts of their communities.

First and foremost, in accordance with the Huffington Post article orchestrated by Katherine Koster, the Communication Director of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP), there subsists a forty-five to seventy-five percent prospect that a sex worker will experience sexual trauma throughout the duration of their vocation, and a thirty-two to fifty-five percent likelihood of experiencing it within any year.  It should be heeded that the preceding analysis conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information is referencing an international magnitude.

However, principally, throughout the United States, sexual assaults perpetrated against sex workers—manifestly within localities where sex occupations are criminalized and vilified—are exponentially inflated.

To exemplify, Koster expounds that, “In Phoenix, AZ[,] 37% of prostitution diversion program participants report being raped by a client, and 7.1% report being raped by a pimp.  In Miami, FL, 34% of street-based sex workers reported violent encounters with clients in the past [ninety] days.  In New York, 46% of indoor sex workers reported being forced to do something by a client that they did not want to do, and over [eighty percent] of street-based sex workers experienced violence.”

Furthermore, pinpointed within San Francisco, California, “Half of sex workers reported domestic violence, and [thirty-six percent] reported sex work-related violence.  Those engaged in street-based sex work (61.8%), erotic dance (43.2%), sensual massage (48.1%) [sic]; reported higher levels of work violence, as did those with a history of arrest (47.1% versus 25.9%).

Within an exploratory investigation disseminated unto Medscape that, “—contributes to the sparse literature on sexually assaulted sex workers,” it was ascertained that one in five police reports accounting for sexual assault felonies that were attained from an urbanized United States emergency clinic were disclosed by sex workers.  Comparable to the alternative sexual atrocities, the statements from sex workers were representative of survivors that were of a younger generation, were of substantial impoverishment, and tholed more adverse bodily injuries.

Despite the societal education being procured, American states akin to New York and Ohio do not safeguard sexual assault survivors who have been participating in sex employment with the rape shield law, and thus, “—explicitly exclude prostitution to be used as character evidence against rape victims.”

Within states without coded legalities for sex labor, sexual assault, and the rape shield, howbeit, justices will traditionally warrant the discourse for the survivors’ affiliation with the sex industry to be incorporated into licit proceedings.

With respect to that demoralizing data, it should additionally be documented that it, evidently, is not unorthodox for law enforcement—inclusive of magistrates, attorneys, police officers, et cetera—and trial juries to be in possession of prejudices against sex workers.  To illustrate, “In Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania,] Judge Teresa Carr-Deni called gang-rape of a sex worker at gunpoint “theft of services” and refused to allow prosecution to press aggravated sexual assault charges.  In South Africa, police routinely refuse to even pursue rape cases involving sex workers or laugh at victims when victims come forward.”

Consequently, sex workers who have outlasted victimization seldom catalog their throes with law enforcement.  In fact, throughout Toronto, Canada, an unabridged one hundred percent of migrant sex workers surveyed by the Migrant Sex Workers Project (MSWP) vouchsafed that they would not telephone law enforcement succeeding a circumstance of brutality.

Likewise, “In Vancouver, Canada, only 25% of youth engaged in survival sex who had been sexually assaulted reported to the police.  Of the youth who had been victimized, 18% did not receive help from anyone, including boyfriends, other sex workers, friends[,] or parents.”

Transcontinentally, in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and throughout South America, sex workers have communicated inextinguishable obstructions between their factions and police forces apropos of logging their sexual assaults.

Another straw unto the camel’s back, so to speak, is that singletons associating within the sex métier are customarily ineligible for rape survivors compensation bestowed by the government or parliament, or garner a diminished sum.

The United Kingdom adheres to a countrywide legislation, which avows that any independent with a misdemeanor conviction—encompassing a verdict for public solicitation—is prohibited from being indemnified.

Correspondingly, “In United States, sex worker survivors cannot receive compensation for lost wages from engaging in illegal forms of sex work.  In Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Florida, and Ohio, individuals with felony convictions are not eligible for compensation at all while in others, such as Rhode Island, discretion is given to agency administering the victims assistance fund.  Perhaps the largest barrier, many states deny or reduce awards for any actions which may have contributed to victimization, with most states categorically denying compensation if the assault happened to the victim while they were voluntarily engaging in illegal activity.  For example, Indiana specifies that ‘a victim who was injured while committing, attempting to commit, participating in or attempting to participate in a criminal act’ is ineligible for victims’ compensation.”

Unconfoundingly, the apprehension of incarceration, deportation, and trafficking persevere throughout the sex engagement citizenry should they archive wrongdoings enacted against them.

To allude to the latter human trafficking, “This practice has been documented in the United States, United Arab Emirates, and Central and Eastern Europe.  Undocumented migrant workers can face deportation if they report crimes, and while visas exist for migrant trafficking victims, some countries, including Norway, regularly deport non-native victims of trafficking in the sex trade when they come forward for help.”

Discrimination from healthcare and social service professionals, and sexual sadism against sex workers from the configuration of law enforcement are, regrettably, not anomalous either.

In compliance with the foregoing SWOP’s Fact Sheet, “Sex workers [sic] are especially vulnerable to police violence, as police officers can threaten victims with arrest or stage an arrest and sexually assault victims.  Women, especially [transgender] women of color, drug users, and individuals with criminal records are especially vulnerable due to intersectional bias.

  • West Sacramento, CA: Cop Sergio Alvarez [was] sentenced to life in prison for raping at least [thirty-five] sex workers.  Alvarez kidnapped women off the street in 2011 and 2012, targeting sex workers and drug users – women Alvarez assumed would not be believed if they came forward.  Alvarez attacked them in his patrol car.  He attacked them in back alleys and wooded lots.
  • Chicago, IL: [Thirty percent] of exotic dancers and 24% of street-based workers who had been raped identified a police officer as the rapist.  Approximately [twenty percent] of other acts of sexual violence reported by study participants were committed by the police.
  • Oklahoma City, OK: Police officer Holtzclaw raped [thirteen] black, low-income women, many with criminal records for prostitution and drug use.  He systematically used threat of arrest and the victims’ vulnerability due to race, class, and status as a sex worker or drug user to assault them.  During his trial for 36 charges involving rape, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct, Holtzclaw’s defense highlighted victims’ criminal records.
  • New York, NY: Up to [seventeen percent] of sex workers interviewed reported sexual harrassment and abuse, including rape, by police.
  • Eugene, OR: In 2004, two Eugene, Oregon, [sic] police officers were convicted of [sexually] assaulting, abusing[,] or raping at least [fifteen] women over a six year period.  Early complaints were dismissed as the ‘grumblings of prostitutes and junkies’.
  • Washington, DC: One in five sex workers/individuals profiled as sex workers have been approached by police indicated that officers asked them for sex.  Most surveyed found this a negative, humiliating experience.”

The universally inherent malfeasance in sex professions is an astronomical contribution in the physical assault, sexual assault, and robbery of sex workers.

  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL: In summer 2015, a man attempted to coerce at least [twelve] sex workers into engaging in condomless sex for free by impersonating a police officer.
  • New York, NY: A man attempted to evade paying for sex by pretending to be a cop and later sending a photo of a gun to the woman’s cell phone.
  • Chicago, IL: In 2013, a man arranged to meet an escort.  When he arrived, he pulled out a badge and handcuffed the woman.  He and [three] friends proceeded to gang-rape the escort.
  • El Segundo, CA: In spring 2015, a man identified himself as an officer conducting a prostitution sting and flashed a realistic badge.  Once inside the room, he handcuffed and sexually assaulted the victim before taking cash and property.
  • Greenbelt, MD: Beginning in January 2014, Ajibola Erogbogbo arranged to meet women who offered sex through online ads at local hotels.  Erogbogbo would arrive wearing a vest that said ‘police’ and would show the women a badge and a gun.  He told the women they were under arrest, handcuffed them, robbed them, and in one case on [February 19th], demanded sex from the woman in exchange for not arresting her.  He had sex with her until she became unresponsive.”

Without the unlawfulness affixed unto sex workers, M.O.s proportionate to the aforestated assaulters would not subsist, for they could not deceive sex workers with the menace of imprisonment.

All-embracing, “A recent academic article found that decriminalization is the only framework that would secure human rights for sex workers in South Africa.  Across contexts, decriminalization allows sex workers to work together and for street-based sex workers to work in safer areas, factors which increase safety.  Decriminalization also increases sex worker access to justice and allows sex workers to report violence to the police without fearing arrest.  [Seventy percent] of sex workers and social service providers in New Zealand say that sex workers were more likely to go to the police after sex work had been decriminalized.”

In conclusion, sex workers’ rights are equivalent to human rights.  Of each race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual/romantic orientation, gender orientation, socioeconomic categorization—they are resilient and lionhearted in the imperiling eyes of a biased populace.  They minister to their own, congregating to mustering directories of abusive clients they should evade.  They are supportive of one another throughout victimization.  They are openminded when concerning the guidance of authority figures on how to ameliorate bigoted regulations and policies.  They are grandmothers, mothers, and daughters, and yes—grandfathers, fathers, and sons.  They are not for you to fetishize, then berate when you are fulfilled.  They flourish within their ensuing employment, should they elect to progress; however, that does not implicate they were any less beforehand.  They have impassioned hobbies and intrigues as any human being does. Any human being does.  Human being does. Human being.

 

The only thing that the government has done for us is to label us as ‘prohibited’.  Forget having an access to a better life[.]  We have been denied even the basic human writes.”

Sex Worker (Anonymous)

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A eighteen-year old staff writer for Women’s Republic—and former staff writer/associate art director for Affinity Magazine—originating from The Mitten, USA, who’s merely venturing to save the world (among alternative endeavors). Is starry-eyed by the assortment of shapes and sizes of social justice, being an unadulterated bookworm, harmonizing the occasional tune in the shower, and viewing the multitudinous seasons of Supernatural. Is essentially a local time warrior contending the cosmos one emotional codependency after another.

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