I am used to it now, the total unimportance of my survival…but is everybody else thus endangered (and you can be sure other people *ARE* thus endangered) unimportant too?
They say you are most in danger when the threat has passed, the adrenaline levels have receded, and you take stock of everything that could, and perhaps was *INTENDED* to happen.
My heart nearly stopped dead reading this.
In early 2014 I swore out an affidavit concerning matters that did not suit the Justice Committee in Stormont. The first words of that affidavit (after a paragraph of full disclosure of financial interest) were “I sold sexual services”.
The Stormont Committee responded by publishing that affidavit (tellingly, with the third page omitted) with my full rural address, phone numbers and similar data about the elderly, widowed Peace Commissioner who counter signed it, in their final report. Thinking about the way every member of that same committee keeps a close wrap on their own address details as a legacy of the troubles had me dripping stone cold sweat all by itself.
Within a month the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign (also not well suited by the truth) were hosting incitement to hatred implying that I had some kind of paedophile involvement on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/turnofftheredlight/reviews (it is still there).
It took 18 months and significant pressure from the Information Commissioners to get the names and addresses buzzed out. I lived in a state of total collapse, cuddled up to a commando knife.
(Remember, all I have ever done is live the truth, then tell it. When I was a kid that didn’t even feature in the ten commandments as a “thou shalt not” – I guess they upgraded them? So now it is a death penalty offence)
But that is not what almost stopped my heart reading this. My idea of truth is restricted to accurate description of what actually happened and excludes all expediency even my own, as a result “Lucy Smith” of Uglymugs Ireland, mentioned above, was fully aware of the situation and the danger it placed me in, refrained from a single word of protest against this and encouraged others to take a similar stance.
THAT is why my blood ran cold today. It is apparent there is absolutely no way any of these people believed I would survive such exposure (there was no precedent, usually when a sex worker has been exposed to that extent she does not live alone in a rural area, and moves, as I could not, within days)
Sex workers in Ireland are trapped between the jaws of long term symbiotic enemies Turn Off the Red Light and affiliates on one hand and Escort Ireland who have seized total control of all opposition as well as all potential for Sex Worker Rights lead support on the other. The names and faces change but that situation in largely unchanged in at least 30 years.
If you want to sell sex in Ireland you have to court and maintain the approval of Escort Ireland, if you want to stop selling sex you have to court and maintain the approval of Turn Off the Red Light affiliates. Scratch the surface and both sides are equally abusive, unscrupulous and thoroughly dysfunctional cultures of bullying and exploitation that prey on sex workers. It’s a horrible situation that should never have been allowed to happen, let alone go on this long.
The only way to change this for the better is to take both sides out of the equation for good, decriminalise sex work fully (current plans to “decriminalise” sex workers while criminalising clients hope to increase sentences for sex workers to 6 months imprisonment of 1st offence) and let sex workers have the safety and space in which to speak for themselves directly. They are not sick or disabled, there is not even the flimsiest of excuses for suggestion they need third party advocacy, yet somehow that is the only kind of advocacy they are allowed. How can this be?
As for me, I am not the first person in the world to be under fire from both sides, and I will not be the last, coming to terms with living in a world that dirty has been hard, but I got there.