Come children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out. - William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
As regular readers know, the chief organization crusading for imposition of the Swedish model on Ireland is Ruhama, the new mask worn by the orders of nuns who for centuries enslaved many thousands of women in the horrible Magdalene laundries. Just barely over a year ago I published “Puppet Show”, in which I shared information from Irish and British activists exposing Ruhama’s chief puppet, Justine Reilly, as a convicted “pimp” with a long history of “reframing her experiences” to transform herself from ruthless businesswoman to naïve hooker to pathetic victim of “pimps” herself (whichever was most profitable at the time). But soon after that column appeared, Ruhama unveiled a new star, Rachel Moran, whom they paid to present herself as the author of a fabricated memoir entitled Paid For. I say fabricated because over a year before it appeared a correspondent wrote to me saying that during a bad time she had shared her own unfinished memoir with people from Ruhama and had reason to believe they had photocopied much of it and would in the near future build some tragedy porn around it; when this book appeared she confirmed that much of it was plagiarized from her manuscript. But while Moran’s pantomime performance as victim-turned-author seems credible to True Believers and ignoramuses, it is utterly unbelievable to those involved in the tiny and close-knit world of sex work in Dublin. For months now, activist Gaye Dalton has been “tweeting” about the holes in Moran’s story, and on February 26th she actually filed an affidavit swearing to that testimony. When I expressed an interest in publicizing the affidavit Gaye kindly provided me with both scans and a transcription; I have combined the scans into a PDF for your perusal (her address and phone number have been pixilated to preserve her privacy), but here’s the heart of the document:
I sold sexual services on Waterloo and Burlington Roads in Dublin…between approximately June/July 1987 and March/April 1993…I worked there 5 or 6 nights a week…usually [arriving] at about 9:30pm and [working] until at least 2:30am. I spent most of my time on the streets either walking or in two places:
- At the top of Waterloo Road by the corner of Wellington Lane
- Near the corner of Burlington Road outside Dublin Institute of Advanced technology
In cold or wet weather I might also sit in my car either at the top of Waterloo Road, or on Burlington Road looking out on to Waterloo Road. The sex workers and regular clients were a small community that could be compared to the regular clientele of a pub, we all knew each other, at least by sight and were very much aware of new people, unusual occurrences, or any form of crime or abuse. Every woman I knew at that time worked independently, for herself, apart from two women who were in personal relationships that would have been abusive and coercive in any environment…Anyone who seemed underage was prevented from working, sent home if possible and reported to Gardai. Many of the women had teenage children of their own and were not easy to fool in this respect…Drug abuse was extremely rare and many women were actively involved in the “concerned parents” movement in their local communities.
At no time did I ever see, or hear of “Rachel Moran” author of Paid For and founder of “Space International” nor anyone resembling her, working in that area. In her book she claims to have worked near the corner of Wellington Lane from early evening until “the small hours”, which would have placed her within 15 yards of me for several hours most nights. I have asked several people…from that time and nobody else can remember her, or anyone like her, not only there but in any form of sex work indoor or outdoor, at any of the times she claims to have worked, between 1991 and 1998. Beyond this, in her book Paid For and…blog The Prostitution Experience she has described several people, but not one of them even resembles anyone I ever met or heard of. Like any small community of people there was gossip…we knew plenty about each other’s lives and were familiar with the known details of any abusive, awkward, or even interesting clients. She does not allude to anyone recognisable to me at all. At no time does she show any awareness of the terminology we used, nor even the material realities of our work. She has also, at times, claimed to have been arrested for soliciting before 1993. Not only was this impossible, but also, one of the first things you would be told as a sex worker at that time is that you could not be arrested for soliciting. She did not even know that.
Rachel Moran is making money from her book and speaking engagements as well as…making significant input into Justice Committees both sides of the border through totally misrepresenting herself and that entire community and time. Meanwhile real sex workers are denied all…self representation to refute [her claims]…I understand that it is unlawful for a person to obtain financial advantage from deceit, but I am personally more concerned with the damage to vulnerable, voiceless people that Rachel Moran will do with her lies. The idea of anyone so unscrupulous having any degree of control over sex workers’ lives in future…absolutely horrifies me. Justine Reilly, her partner in “Space International” (all reference suddenly removed from website in past few weeks) was discovered to be a convicted pimp in February 2013, after…putting herself forward in the media as a helpless victim. I have never observed her to show any remorse towards the women she exploited, while at least one of these same women has been openly chastised by Ruhama for “disrespect” for alluding to her convictions. During consultations in both North and South of Ireland genuine sex workers have been treated as animals who cannot think and speak for ourselves while dishonest persons such as these have been put forward as speaking for us. Genuine sex workers have been abused, intimidated and excluded while blatant lies are treated with the greatest courtesy and respect…
I wish that I could believe that this affidavit will help to undermine Moran’s credibility with the Irish government, but I have little hope for that considering the obsequious deference it has rendered and continues to render to the Magdalene orders, both on the issue of compensation to their past victims and the issue of their current attempts to bring sex workers under their control once more. But I can and do hope that it has some deleterious effect on her credibility with the Irish people; each revelation like this one adds to the growing heap of evidence that Ruhama, like all prohibitionists, is a pack of sociopathic liars who will stop at nothing to subject all human sexual behavior to police and institutional violence.