I asked a close friend who isn’t a sex worker to be my safe call. Initially she agreed, but now suddenly she said she doesn’t want to hear about it, because she disapproves of my work and does not want to support it in any way. There’s no one else I trust enough, so I’m hurt and feeling let down by my friend. We’ve always been honest with and accepting of one another before, so why is this different?
Stigma is an awful thing; it tempts otherwise-good people to shun or mistreat the stigmatized individual, encourages the weak-minded to view her as subhuman, and provides an excuse for evil people to harm or even kill her. Perhaps at some point in our evolutionary history, “othering” fulfilled some useful function by allowing a band of proto-humans to exile or kill an individual who somehow imperiled the others’ survival, but nowadays the capacity for disconnecting one’s empathy and seeing another as a thing rather than as a brother or sister human is a dangerous atavism exploited by rulers as a tool for persecution of despised minorities. Once the hatemongers succeed in convincing the masses that some real or imaginary group – Jews, aboriginal people, black people, the mentally ill, immigrants, homosexuals, “addicts”, “witches”, sex workers, clients, “sex offenders”, etc – is a threat to Our Treasured Way of Life, the majority will support denying members of that group even the most elementary level of decent treatment. Though we all carry this nasty ability to dehumanize other humans in our brains, it’s far nearer the surface in some individuals; they’re the ones who can always be counted on to turn in their neighbors and family members to the secret police or Inquisition. I don’t think they’re necessarily bad people; they’re just extremely susceptible to suggestions that some individuals need to be ostracized or even “punished”, personal affection notwithstanding.
I suspect your friend may be one of those individuals; she has bought in to the lie that compensated sex is a Great Social Evil that Must Be Stopped (for the children!), and your willing participation in it marks you as a Them who doesn’t deserve to be treated with the basic consideration one gives one’s friends. She may believe that she’s demonstrating “tough love” by denying you safety, in the hopes that you’ll be scared out of what she views as unhealthy or “bad” behavior (despite the fact that you aren’t her minor child); if you get killed it’ll serve you right and teach your ghost a lesson, by golly!
Obviously, you can’t trust this friend to help you; I think you have every right to feel hurt and let down, and I wouldn’t blame you if you decided her friendship was insincere. But while you’re wrestling with that question (and believe me, I don’t envy you the struggle), you still have the practical concern of finding someone to monitor you while in session with clients. Are you friendly with any sex workers online? With modern technology there’s no real need for the two of you to be in the same city; after all, she wouldn’t go to investigate in person if you failed to call in, now would she? A lady in the UK, US, Australia or any other place could call for help just as easily as one in your own country, provided she was supplied with whatever emergency numbers you feel necessary. And you could even perform the same service for her in return.