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Posts Tagged ‘Madonna/whore’

I just don’t get why an intelligent girl with a good family and  boyfriend would start to sell her body.  She was so honest and let me look for a few seconds into her soul, and I saw who she is and I don’t think she wants this.  I want to help her, but to her I was just another bad guy who paid for that and don’t deserve her respect.  I want to understand why is she doing this.

The Shadow 2-15-38Sell her body“?  Do you mean she started doing sex work?  You mean she chose an extremely lucrative job with shorter hours than most, extreme flexibility and no boss?  Sounds pretty damned intelligent to me; in fact, it’s the career I chose as well, and I’m generally considered to be reasonably intelligent.  Now, if you meant something more literal, like selling blood or eggs or some other part of her body, I stand corrected; however, something tells me that you just mean she became a whore.  She chose one job over the other options available to her, for the same sorts of pragmatic reasons anyone chooses his or her job over the others available at the time.

You say she “let you for a few seconds into her soul”; I’m not sure what sort of mystical or pharmaceutical process was involved there, but I can assure you that unless you are The Shadow or Dr. Strange or something, I sincerely doubt it was her soul you saw.  To be honest, it sounds to me what you were seeing was the constellation of your own needs you projected onto her.  You seem to have some sort of guilt (“I was another bad guy who paid for that”) about a simple business transaction, and you appear to load sex down with all sorts of Deep Meaning and metaphysical weight that it simply does not have, except in the minds of people conditioned from an early age to believe a load of rubbish about how something even dogs and chickens engage in is somehow a “sacrament” when highfalutin’ monkeys with notions do it.

You’re probably thinking about now that I’m an incredible bitch, and that I’m being very mean to you.  On the contrary; I’m doing you the great favor of trying to wake you up to the fact that sex is nothing more than a biological activity, and that the only “meaning” and “sacredness” it has is that which we choose to invest in it.  Eating can be a rich and wonderful bonding experience and the center of powerful rituals…or it can be a mundane thing one does because one is hungry.  And nobody pretends that the latter somehow “violates” or “degrades” the former, nor that there’s anything wrong with cooking or serving food for pay.  Nobody would say a waitress is “selling herself”, or pretend that a diner is “bad” for buying a hamburger.  And nobody, but nobody would pretend that there is some deep psychological motive behind a cook working as a cook, nor state that he could tell in a few seconds that said cook “really didn’t want to do this”.  Sex work is work, nothing more or less, and sex workers have the same range and complexity of feelings about it as other people have about their jobs.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Aya de Leon teaches creative writing in the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley and blogs here on WordPress; her sex worker Robin Hood novel, Uptown Thief, will be published in the spring.  This essay grew from a conversation she and I had on Twitter; I was so impressed with her ideas, I asked her to expand them into an essay.

Hollywood has a lot in common with the sex industries; for one thing, it thrives on selling sexualized access to young women.  Some would argue that Hollywood only sells images and fantasies of sex, while the sex industries offer more; however, any in-depth exploration of the film and TV industries reveals widespread transactional sex and sexually predatory behavior towards women (we need only look at Lena Dunham’s autobiography or recent revelations about Bill Cosby to see examples).  In addition, women of color are marginalized in both industries, and most female participants are seen as less valuable as they age.  While the sex industries have niche markets for women over 35, and particular actresses manage to remain hot commodities in Hollywood beyond their youth, both industries cater to male appetites for young and naïve ingenue-type women.

Children for SaleRashida Jones (39) and Jada Pinkett Smith (43) are two African American actresses who have recently found themselves standing at the crossroads of Hollywood and the sex industries.  Jones produced the documentary Hot Girls Wanted, and Pinkett produced the CNN special report, Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking.  There are vast differences between the two, but what they have in common is the way they reflect both women’s attempts to reinvent themselves from aging black actresses into producers.  Former Hollywood ingenues themselves, both women have seized an opportunity to reassert their relevance via spotlighting the sexuality of younger women, in the time-honored role of moralistic crusader.  Both women concentrate on the sexual exploitation of young women, and in both cases they miss the mark (Pinkett by an especially wide margin).  Rashida Jones faced heavy backlash for her slut-shaming comments when she began to publicly voice her concerns about “pornification” and sexualized behavior of younger women in mainstream media.  But at least Hot Girls Wanted was a collaboration with a pair of women filmmakers who put together a compelling and coherent (albeit problematic and whorephobic) narrative.  In addition, it maintained the focus on the young women, as opposed to including Jones in the film; in contrast, Children for Sale features Pinkett as commentator, and its central story is about her emotional journey around the issue.

The only compelling quote in Sale was Pinkett’s “People who are having sex with children are not johns and tricks.  They are child rapists and pedophiles, so we should call them what they are.”  This crucially differentiates between sex work and sex trafficking, but unfortunately, she doesn’t demand that level of precision around other language in her film.  To begin with, her subtitle “The Fight to End Human Trafficking” is misleading because the vast majority of human trafficking is non-sexual labor; ending sexual trafficking would only end a small portion of human trafficking.  But then, the entire film was misleading and imprecise.  Pinkett claims that girls as young as 11 are being trafficked in the United States, but she presents no evidence to support this claim, nor shows any girls that age, nor reveals any situations where girls were being held in slavery-like conditions.  We see interviews with young (adult) women who go from stripping to full service sex work, and Pinkett slurs stripping as a “gateway drug”, but that doesn’t constitute a story of child sex trafficking.  The central interview subject in the film tells of starting a relation with a seductive older man when she was 14; he later manipulated her to have sex with other men in the back of a barbershop for money, but she continued to live at home and go to school.  While she was clearly exploited and the sexual activity was statutory rape by any definition, this isn’t a story of slavery.

Jada PinkettAnother problem:  from the beginning, the police are presented as heroes and saviors.  There’s a raid, and a young “victim” is found, yet she “refuses help” to return to the “only life she’s ever known.”  A psychologist then attributes this refusal of help to a lack of self-esteem.  But if she’s a victim, why is she being handcuffed and marched into the back of a police cruiser?  And what rescue services do police have to offer young people?  Juvenile hall?  Foster care?  Even the trafficking survivor-led program they profiled doesn’t have long-term housing options.  By aligning herself first and foremost with the police, Pinkett is inevitably unable to effectively investigate anything; as a visiting celebrity, she doesn’t have any real connection with anyone in the situation.  The entire tone of the film is set by various images of blurred face individuals with voice-overs by police and anti-trafficking advocates, and police cruisers driving down streets.

In fact, the film totally fails to provide visual documentation of the “facts” of Pinkett’s narrative.  One segment included a tour of an area where the anti-trafficking advocate says there is supposed to be a great deal of street solicitation, but for some reason it’s quiet that night, and they don’t send cameras on any other night to capture it; we must take their word for it.  There may indeed be 11-year-olds being trafficked in the very places Pinkett was looking, but she never found them.  In other cases, the production manufactures what it fails to capture.  They interview a grandmother who calls a hotline for help with her 14-year-old granddaughter, and the police work tirelessly to find her; she is discovered with another “victim”, a fifteen-year-old, who is allegedly on the way to her first trafficked sexual encounter.  Thus, they “rescue” both girls from “the life.”  Yet all of these assertions remain unsubstantiated by evidence of any kind; only in the hysteria surrounding child sex trafficking could such shoddy reporting get such a large platform.  People have an appetite for sexual drama and tragedy, especially with black women; it need not be well-documented or even have a coherent narrative, only salacious innuendos.

Hot Girls WantedUnlike the CNN documentary, Hot Girls Wanted had a coherent story, following one young woman and her cohort through their introduction and overall disillusionment with amateur porn and the sex industries; the New York Times‘ Mike Hale described it as characterized by “an uncertain tone that vacillates between weary outrage and motherly concern.”  The film exposes some real problems with working conditions with “amateur porn”, which though it is actually very organized and professionalized, sells the scenario of the initiation of a given young woman into porn.  Thus, after the first film, their prospects quickly decline.  However, these labor practices where the “it girl” fades away and the spotlight moves on are not exclusive to amateur porn or even sex work; they are certainly at work in Hollywood, as well.

Furthermore, Hot Girls Wanted ignores the fact that today’s young women face relatively bleak prospects for employment and career development, even if they do go to college, and the internship model for entry level professional positions effectively excludes poor and working class girls.  In this time of limited prospects, sex industry entrepreneurs can exploit young women’s aspirations for something other than dreary work for low pay, no security and no benefits.  Yet Jones’ solution to the situation is to deny young women the choice.  Harvard-educated Jones is the daughter of wealthy celebrities; she has always had access to fame and money without taking any risks of her own, yet she criticizes girls for taking the risks associated with sex work in the hope of gaining fame.  She suggests that a central problem with amateur porn is that the women involved are too young to make their own decisions, but I would argue that the only way one learns to make decisions is by having the power to make them.  Young women entering the sex industries generally face two kinds of older adults:  On the one hand, they face shaming adults with little information about the industries who judge their desires and dismiss what they hope to gain; on the other hand, they face exploiters who withhold information, exaggerate and romanticize the payoffs and underplay the risks.  In either case, the young women generally cannot get the support they need to make informed decisions, which would include access to older adults with accurate information and probabilities about women’s trajectories in the industry, as well as non-judgmental listening and feedback.

Rashida JonesI see both Children for Sale and Hot Girls Wanted as part of a classic cycle for women in general and black women in particular.  Many young black women enjoy the attention that sexual currency brings, yet when they get older, many pick up the rallying cry that “we’ve got to save these young girls from themselves.”  I don’t think it’s coincidence that both of these older African American actresses are making films and speaking out on these topics; after all, the media aren’t interested in what black women have to say about global warming or the IMF, and they don’t put a microphone in black female hands to talk about Middle East foreign policy or immigration reform.  Jones and Pinkett are actually doing the very thing they claim to despise, trading on the public’s fascination with young women’s sexuality.  It’s a quandary all women must face:  when a society is far more interested in a woman’s sexuality than in anything else about her, how can she navigate through her life?  Yet neither documentary includes veteran sex workers, the women who did figure out how to navigate through the sex industries, especially those who entered the industries on someone else’s terms and then figured out terms of their own.  In Children for Sale, they are non-existent; in Hot Girls Wanted, their stories are glossed over.  The girls who stay in the industry are reduced to a footnote, while the film’s main subject quits and moves in with her boyfriend (in an implicit “happily ever after” ending).  Due to the lack of input from veteran sex workers both films lacked nuance, breadth, depth and insider information, and reached deeply flawed conclusions.

As an over-35 black woman, myself, I understand the need to stay relevant and maintain career momentum; like Jones and Pinkett, I’m a non-sex worker who chooses to write about sex work.  However, any vision of justice for people in the sex industries must be informed by a spectrum of voices that centers those currently working in those industries.  Criminalization and social stigma shrouds much of sex work in secrecy and silence, so a casual observer cannot get a clear picture of it (much less a celebrity with a camera crew).  These are areas of society that desperately need clear illumination, not the distorted and exploitative stories in today’s media; unfortunately, Jones and Pinkett chose to produce work suffused with moralistic narratives, which can only fail to change conditions for the young women they had hoped to help.

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The whore is despised by the hypocritical world because she has made a realistic assessment of her assets and does not have to rely on fraud to make a living.  –  Angela Carter

Because of the stigma against it, sex work is often taken up by women whose choices are otherwise limited; in other words, it is often the best of a limited range of options.  And for much of recent history, it was virtually the only worthwhile option available to women viewed as sexually “soiled” or “ruined”, often through no fault of their own.

Squirrel Tooth AliceTake Mary Elizabeth Haley, for example.  She was born in Belton, Texas in 1855 to James and Mary Haley, a fairly well-to-do couple.  Unfortunately for Libby (as she was called), if her family hadn’t had bad luck it would’ve had none at all; first they were financially ruined by the Civil War, and then the nine-year-old was abducted by Comanche Indians in 1864.  It took her father three years to raise the ransom the Comanches demanded, and even after she was released her ordeal was far from over:  “civilized” whites assumed she had been raped by the Indians, and her parents found themselves with an unmarriageable daughter.  Her father seems to have been deeply in denial about her ostracism, however; when young Libby’s looks and personality attracted a suitor mature enough not to care about her “reputation”, her father responded by shooting the man to death because he was too old.

Libby was both intelligent and pragmatic, and thus understood that her hotheaded father would either murder or frighten away any man willing to overlook her history, so at 14 she ran away to Abilene, Kansas and became a dance-hall prostitute.  Nobody in the boomtown knew anything about her, so it wasn’t difficult for her to find a boyfriend:  a professional gambler and sometimes-cowboy named Billy Thompson, younger brother of the gunslinger Ben Thompson.  From 1870 to 1876, the couple drifted across (mostly) Kansas and Texas, following the cattle drives or running from the law and/or people Billy had cheated; each brought in money by their professional skills, and they were married in 1873 after the birth of their first child.

Near the end of 1876, however, their luck began to change.  In October, Billy was arrested by Texas Rangers and extradited to Kansas to stand trial for the 1873 murder of Sheriff Chauncey Whitney; miraculously, he was acquitted, and for the first time they felt as though they might actually settle somewhere.  Both Billy and Libby were quite good at their professions, and had put aside a sizable stake;kissing prairie dogs they purchased a ranch and a dance hall/brothel in Sweetwater, Texas, and moved into management (Billy as a rancher, Libby as a madam).  During the years they had spent much of their time on the range, Libby had developed a fondness for prairie dogs; now that they lived in town she started keeping them as pets (some said she even walked them on leashes).  From this and the prominent gap between her front teeth, Libby at last gained the name by which she is known to history:  Squirrel Tooth Alice.

The next twenty years went quite well for them; both businesses prospered (especially the brothel), and Alice’s fame spread across the West.  They had nine children in all and their marriage lasted for 24 years, until Billy died of some sort of stomach condition in 1897.  Alice continued to run the brothel until she retired in 1921 at the age of 66.   Alas, her declining years were not as happy as they could have been; though several of her daughters followed their mother into our honorable profession, several of her sons inherited their father’s worse characteristics and turned to crime.  Alice lived in the homes of several of her children who had settled in Palmdale, California, and when she became too ill to care for themselves she moved into the Sunbeam Rest Home in Los Angeles.  There she died on April 13, 1953, at the ripe old age of 98.

Prohibitionists are fond of pretending that because sex work is often a constrained choice, that this is an argument for criminalizing it (as though it made any moral or logical sense to remove the best choice from a limited range of options!)  How would it have helped young Libby Haley to cut off the means of her escape from the narrow-minded bigots of her home town?  Prostitution not only allowed her to make a living, but also to find love, acceptance, fame and personal satisfaction; I guess the prohibitionists would prefer she had died a lonely charity case, unsullied by either men or money.

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Somewhere, some document says I am entitled to the pursuit of happiness.  I can’t think of many things that make most people happier than sex.  –  “Bacchus”

Lying Down With Dogs

The US should be proud to be in such august company:

A Russian lawmaker intends to draft a bill introducing fines and community service for using the services of prostitutes.  The existing draft suggests…significantly harsher sanctions for married men and women.  Oleg Mikheyev…said…his suggestions would help to combat prostitution more effectively [because of “end demand” dogma]…He [incorrectly claimed] that similar measures had worked in…Sweden and Norway…

Acting and Activism 

After two years of waffling, Amnesty International appears ready to finally get off the fence about decriminalization.  And the usual cast of Hollywood airheads is very unhappy about it:

Amnesty International says its proposed policy “is based on the human rights principle that consensual sexual conduct between adults…is entitled to protection from state interference”.  It cites many examples in which criminalization increases risks to sex workers…”This policy does not change Amnesty International’s longstanding position that trafficking into forced prostitution should be criminalised”…the proposed policy states…[this] prompted a letter of protest from more than 400 [prohibitionists]…including actors Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, Angela Bassett, Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, Lisa Kudrow, Lena Dunham, Kyra Sedgwick, and director Jonathan Demme…The proposed policy will be addressed at Amnesty International’s international council meeting next month in Dublin, Ireland…

empty-headed celebrities

Rooted in Racism

You can be as bigoted as you like, as long as you blame it on whores:

…Alecsandra Puflea tried to check into a room at the Holiday Inn Express in Hull with her boyfriend…but…was turned away after the receptionist found out she was from Romania.  The 22-year-old criminology and forensic science graduate…had booked the room online…The hotel introduced a policy of [discrimination]…after other Romanian women were found to be using the rooms for prostitution…the hotel has now apologised to her and is reviewing its policy…

Above the Law 

A police chief in a small island village in Ohio looked the other way when one of his officers used “roofies” to drug and rape two female cadets, then threatened the victims and covered up the crime, two federal lawsuits allege…the women charge that [Robert] Lampela, 53, wouldn’t allow them to file criminal complaints after they were…attacked in 2003 [in the town of Put-in-Bay]…Lampela…harassed them repeatedly when they complained, held a gun to one cadet’s head at her home and said he was the “God of Put-in-Bay and could make or break” their careers.  When one of the cadets allegedly got a verbal confession from their attacker, Lampela responded that “No whores are going to take down my department,” and “Who do you think they will believe, you or the chief of police?”  Lampela was [finally] arrested in February…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their declaring that it exists:

The Michigan State Police claim few cases of human trafficking were reported last year…despite widespread publicity from elected officials and new laws aimed to combat the issue…only three [accusations] of human trafficking were [made] statewide in 2014…the…state Attorney General[‘s]…spokeswoman, Andrea Bitely…said the nature of human trafficking makes it difficult for law enforcement to…distinguish…victims from criminals…

If that last line doesn’t enrage you, I don’t know what would.

Broken Record 

The tiny numbers and silly language make this Irish version of the “gypsy whores” myth rather comical:

The Galway Races are set to turn sordid as…more than 50 hookers will descend on the city to coincide with one of the biggest events in Irish sport.  Plainclothes gardai will be on duty throughout the week in a bid to clamp down on prostitution…Escorts…as young as 18 are advertising on sordid websites, with 30-minute rates starting from €60 upwards, and hourly rates from €120.  All-night packages are also available for €2,000 or more.  Ruhama…[pretends] the influx of hookers is orchestrated by criminal gangs….[and] that men who pay for sex at the festival are helping to fuel organised crime…Up to 150,000 punters are expected to descend on Galway Racecourse over the course of the festival…

Skin To Skin

Kerry Porth describes her experience with a disfigured client:

…James…had severe scars from burns and skin grafts that covered 40% of his body…when he was 14 years old, his family home caught fire…he ran back in to save his sister by lowering her out her window…He continued to see me every few weeks for about 18 months.  During that time he told me about dating situations where young women had reacted in terrible ways to the sight of his scars, even though he had told them why he had them.  I wanted to find those girls and slap them.  I encouraged him to keep trying – that one day he would find the right woman.  And then one day he did…and…[came to] see me one last time to say…thank you for…convincing him that he wasn’t disgusting…

Challenge

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (#321)

The largest review of the available evidence on the…HPV vaccine Gardasil, has found no evidence of any serious short-term or long-term safety issues.  Bringing together the findings from clinical trials, post-licensure studies and data presented at scientific meetings but not yet published, the researchers focused particularly on autoimmune diseases, nervous system disorders, anaphylaxis, blood clots and stroke – but none of them is caused by the vaccine, they found…

A Year Later

The more female sex workers feel connected to their colleagues, the less they engage in risky transactions with clients who refuse to wear condoms, according to a new study urging the Conservative federal government to repeal its anti-prostitution law.  The study…found a third of the 654 Metro Vancouver sex workers interviewed over a three-year period reported being coerced into letting a client perform vaginal, anal or oral sex without a condom in the previous six months…The ability of sex workers to organize and protect themselves will continue to be severely hampered by…Bill C-36…which…pushes such workers into more dangerous areas and activities so they can protect their clients…

Welcome To Our World (#536)

As I said, “nothing more than a concern troll“:

…a series of articles published in The New York Times purported to expose rampant labor abuses in New York City nail salons.  Reporter Sarah Maslin Nir claimed to have interviewed more than 100 employees of such salons and found that manicurists working long shifts for as little as $10 per day was the norm.  Public response was swift and emotional, sending the Internet-outrage-spiral into full force and even influencing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to pass emergency regulations for nail salons…But as with so much high-profile message journalism recently, the Times article seems based on dubious facts and broad generalizations.  In The New York Review of Books, Richard Bernstein challenges many of the claims on which Nir’s narrative is based…Nir [claimed]…that “Asian-language newspapers are rife with classified ads listing manicurist jobs paying”…just $10 per day.  Bernstein and his [Chinese] wife found this surprising, so they started combing through the employment ads in those papers themselves.  What they found…was a lowest rate of $70 per day plus tips, and many…up to $110…

Seizing Power

“Crucified” is a much stronger word than I would use for this nearly-toothless rebuke:

A federal judge crucified…Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart [for his]…attack…on Backpage.com…Backpage sued Dart after he coerced Visa and Mastercard to refrain from doing business with the classifieds portal.  Dart labeled the company a “sex trafficking industry profiteer“…because of its adult ads.  Backpage claimed…that Dart’s actions amount to “an informal extralegal prior restraint of speech”…[and] Judge John Tharp Jr. agreed…ordering the sheriff to cease the attacks…The judge added that “Dart’s informal lobbying of the credit card companies violated the First Amendment by imposing an informal prior restraint on the advertisements hosted by Backpage.com”…The judge did not immediately order Dart to retract the letters…more litigation is expected…

If You Want Something Done Right…

The only important nugget of information in this article:

Neal Falls, the suspected serial killer slain by an escort in West Virginia, may have…[been] involved in serial slayings in eight other states—Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Oregon, Texas, Kentucky, and California…

The rest is the typical garbage which appears so often in stories about such psychopaths:  he had a weird online profile, came from an abusive family, was a loner, had a puppy, etc.

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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?

medieval torture devicesStigma 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.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I knew he was there to kill me.  –  the woman who stopped Neal Falls

lady who took out Neal FallsI’ve written a number of times about “NHI” (“No Humans Involved“), the informal police policy that (in the absence of some sort of public outcry) violence against sex workers is to be ignored and left uninvestigated.  Even a serial killer preying on whores is usually allowed to continue the slaughter unimpeded by police action unless he mistakenly includes an amateur in his spree, and even then you can be sure the cops are going to let everyone know that the reason they’re taking action is to protect the “good” women and not the harlots.  Sometimes, the cops even go as far as to deny that there’s a serial killer in the first place, to cover up for him or to announce more persecution of potential victims, just so everyone knows they’re no friends of dirty whores.  So generally, the killing will continue until the murderer widens his appetites to include amateurs, or the cops catch him for something else (and then pretend it was part of their “investigation”), or he stops on his own, or someone else takes him out.  Remember the serial killer operating in Chillicothe, Ohio?  Well, he was stopped in nearby Charleston, West Virginia, by a woman he tried to add to his tally:

Neal Falls, the man shot to death by a prostitute after he attacked her on Saturday, had a cache of weapons and a list of online escorts inside his vehicle…police…suspect he may have been involved in other unsolved crimes.  “He had a machete, shovel, two axes, a bunch of knives, a double-headed ax, a bulletproof vest, numerous sets of handcuffs, as well as the firearm used to kill him,” [said] Lt. Steve Cooper of the Charleston, West Virginia, police…”Nearly immediately after he stepped into her apartment, he said ‘live or die’ and a struggle ensued,” Cooper said. “[Falls] laid his gun on a counter so that he could get a firmer grip around the victim’s throat with both his hands and she was able to scoop that weapon up and fire one round, killing Mr. Falls.”  The escort, who has not been identified, was hospitalized with multiple injuries, including broken vertebrae.  Authorities have determined the shooting was a justifiable homicide…

The Daily Dot had more detail:

When Falls began to strangle her, she…reached for a nearby rake.  Falls put down his gun to try and wrestle the rake out of her hands—that’s when she grabbed the gun and shot him.  Falls died from the gunshot wound, and she ran outside to get help…police…found an extensive “kill kit” in the trunk of Falls’s Subaru…[including] knives, a shovel, a machete, several axes, a sledgehammer, a pair of hiking boots covered in dirt, trash bags, and cleaning supplies.  In Falls’s pocket, said police, they found a list of names of future targets:  all sex workers who advertised on Backpage.  Police have not released the names, or the exact number, of women on the list…Falls…previously worked as a security guard in Oregon, and may have been living “off the grid” out of his car…

Besides the murders in Chillicothe, he may have committed four in Las Vegas:

…according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal…Falls…has been linked to the deaths of four young women:  Lindsay Harris, 21, Jodi Brewer, 19, Jessica Foster 21, and Misty Saens, 25…Harris, Brewer and Saens…were found dead near highways.  Foster has yet to be located…

Neal FallsMaybe, or perhaps cops in various parts of the country are just going to try to pin unsolved murders of sex workers on Falls so they don’t have to waste their time on “NHI” crimes; after all, time spent investigating violence against whores is time they can’t spend harassing, raping, robbing or brutalizing us.  One has to have priorities, after all.  But for now, the as-yet-unnamed sex worker is a heroine to her sisters all over the US, and if she reads this I ask that she let us show our gratitude to and solidarity with her.  She’s an inspiration to all of us, and I hope the next sex worker to be threatened by a monster like Falls is able to follow her example and do for herself and the rest of us what the cops can’t and won’t.

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The sacred whore may have largely ceased to exist in the mundane world of matter, but she still exists in the human unconscious.  And in the West, it has pleased her for a number of centuries now to work under the stage name Mary Magdalene.  –  “Magdalene’s Day”

Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, who was almost certainly not a whore; however, as I’ve explained before, that hardly matters.  Most people raised in the Christian tradition think of her as the patroness of whores, and that’s more important than any official designation.

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