I don’t, in fact I would say that is the biggest load of bolax ever, if there weren’t SO MUCH stiff competition from the abolitionist lobby for the title.
Do not misunderstand, I am always pro informed choice in everything but harming third parties, and I am convinced beyond doubt that no third parties are harmed in the selling of sexual services.
I agree it is bloody hurtful to discover your partner has been buying sexual services, but it is always indicative of a problem in the relationship that would not magically go away if sexual services were not available for hire. The same problem would only be acted out in another way, and every other way I can think of is far more harmful.
I don’t think sex work prevents rape. I don’t even think it prevents divorce, but I do believe sex work can prevent a dying relationship from deteriorating into an emotional bloodbath.
I just do not care enough about the right to hire sexual services to bother with it. The right to buy sexual services is strictly conditional on someone deciding to sell them anyway, and I am pretty sure I do not personally care enough about the right to choose to sell sexual services to actively participate.
I believe in the right to abortion and find the pro-life lobby self serving and repulsive besides, but I have never bothered attending a demonstration, or making any kind of protest about it. It just isn’t important enough to me for what the fight would cost me. In fact it is something I hardly ever even think of.
So what am I putting up such a fight for now?
Let me tell you something that might shock your socks off:
It is extremely unlikely that I would take an active part in campaigning against any package that guaranteed no criminal charges for sex workers and real respectful, viable support to leave sex work for all.
In *my * experience sex work is, almost invariably, at best, a crisis measure, a situation, and a decision nobody should ever have to face . That is what I care so much about, and honestly, in terms of sex work it is *all* I care deeply about.
**Offer me a scenario where every sex worker can have whatever assistance and support she actually needs to get out of sex work, and nobody will ever be left with no option but sell sex again** and I would have no active objection to raise any more. I would still believe in freedom of choice and bodily autonomy but if they are big enough to buy and sell sex they are big enough to fight their own battles and there is nothing in that battle that means anything much to me.
Now I am not blind, I realize there are more abolitionist orgs offering a guarantee of everything from ** to ** than there are variations on a theme of “little black dress”, but they are all cruel and hollow shams with no purpose but to exploit the issue of sex work.
That is not to say there is nothing at all. I have come across a very few people, worldwide, who do their very best to offer as much as they can from their own time and resources. We think of ourselves as “sane survivors” though I think we would all be happy to admit that we focus more on promoting sanity than practicing it.
This is one of those times when I start having to reach for words because what I am trying to say here comes in contact with the deep, personal and painful.
When I was a sex worker ALL I wanted was a way out…so I could feel safe enough from desperation to be able to heal and maybe have some kind of life, hardly surprising, because that was pretty much all I ever wanted since I was a child, and, in truth, it is still all I ever want today.
In case you haven’t noticed I am very smart and very strong. It took a staggering amount of mental, emotional and physical abuse to destroy me to the extent that I have never been able to function, support myself, find a partner, even have aspirations, or just fun…
Believe me, I am way too smart and strong for autism alone to prevent me from doing those things (albeit idiosyncratically!).
Let me share something with you that I wrote 15 years ago in 1999 triggered by a flashback. Because it is also a pretty concise description of all that is on offer on the pretense of help and support to leave sex work (they all seem much the same, or worse, globally too). A vicious circle of abuse that can. too easily, become a death spiral.
Most of the sex workers I have ever known had reached saturation point with abuse before they ever sold sex. They cannot, not “will not”, absolutely cannot, absorb any more, even if, as per the Nordic Model, absorbing more abuse is the only chance at survival they have after the market for sexual services has been destroyed.
More to the point, they do not deserve any more abuse.
Right now all anyone is offering them is a straight choice between selling sex (however hard, traumatic and dangerous) and the same old hell to pay that put them there in the first place.
In case you failed to spot the word “cannot” and get away with the idea that “at least it is better than selling sex” let me tell you how much damage that kind of abuse can do.
In the 40 years since the system “processed” most of who I am into oblivion the first time, I came to believe the voice I had was a harmless fantasy rather than a fact, an empty boast to hide from my own sense of inadequacy and failure. I think everyone who knows me came to believe that too.
Nobody knows how many hours I spent here, in the middle of nowhere, trying to get that voice back. In the past few years, with lots of practice, in the right mood, given the right song in the right pitch I could produce something, but I am sure almost anyone can do that.
Last night I heard this song for the first time since I was six years old and half learned the words phonetically without even knowing which language they were:
…and I realized I was singing along with it, flawless, pitch (though DEFINATELY not word) perfect.
I tried a few other songs, different genres, acappella…most of the sound coming out was remarkable, better, and far more controlled than I had ever been at my very best. I wasn’t imagining things. Someone was there (who has heard me break my own heart trying many times before) and confirmed it.
In the end I just broke down and cried for all that has been stolen from me.
I have no idea why it finally came back, or why that particular song triggered it. But I have always know what destroyed it and stole my own talent (along with so much else) from me:
Exactly the same kind of abuse so many people are trying to use abolitionism to coerce sex workers into for nothing but their own ruthless personal ambition, gain, and just very occasionally, sincere pathological fanaticism.
Fix that and I will withdraw overnight.
Keep it up, and I will die fighting you if I have to.