(Written December 2014)
I don’t know…
31 May 2018 – Edited to add:
The trouble with the sex work issue in Ireland is that both sides are as bad as each other and I have kept my peace about much of that for far too long.
Let me first state that I always have, and always will believe that full decriminalisation is the only way to deal with sex work that does not amount to an huge human rights abuse.
Destroying someone’s income by destroying the market they depend on isn’t even technically “not penalising them”, it is a monstrous level of persecution and the only reason anyone tries to claim otherwise is that, if they tell the truth about their motivation and objectives any application for funding based on “supporting” sex workers on any terms, or any level, will have to be turned down as the blatant conflict of interest that it is.
The core of abolitionism is framing sex work, and pornography, as a contributory factor in men’s violence against women and eradicating it, for that reason, without regard for those who depend upon the industry. Tobacco is often cited as a precedent, but I do not think anyone in the anti-smoking lobbies has ever had the barefaced cheek to present themselves as supporting and representing the best interests of tobacco industry workers – and insisting those needs are best met by constant increases to the funding they spend on campaigning to abolish smoking.
The trouble with sex work is that, even if, in some cases, simply because of the plethora of cultural taboos and stigma that must be overcome to do it, it is most usually somebody’s last resort. That is an horrible situation I have always had a great strategy to permanently abolish. It’s very simple, you make sure nobody is ever driven to that degree of desperation in our wealthy societies, that do not need to do that to anybody, Why not even go so far as to make it a criminal offence to leave a person in an impossible situation of financial desperation?
Not only have there never been any takers, the world we live in today is steadily rowing back away from elements of the social safety net that was already inadequate to some circumstances. On those terms any attempt to damage the last resort income of many sex workers is nothing short of an atrocity.
I realise few, if any, of the entitled, self indulgent brats of all ages and genders who are drawn inexorably to abolitionism as an affirmation of their natural superiority with onboard social networking and career advancement, has the first idea what it feels like to run out of money, food, heat and days to eviction, much less how it feels to live in dread of the next time it must inevitably happen, but does that really excuse them?
Not to me.
I can’t watch and challenge Ruhama and “Turn Off the Red Light” any more. Watching facts and research mocked, derided and bulldozed out of the frame by blatant, and not even slightly convincing, lies for the sake of the personal agenda of a pack of sub psychopathic spoilt brats (because that is precisely what they really are) is melting me down and making me suicidal.
I am finding it impossible to function with constant proof that no matter how desperate I become (and for someone as vulnerable and isolated as me, the shadow of absolute desperation stalks every day of my life in a way most people will never be able to grasp) I will have nowhere to turn but the mockery and hypocrisy of a similar ruthless waste of public funds. I knew that, all my life, but I don’t need forceful reminding every time I tilt my head slightly.
We are about to get cruel and dangerous anti sex work legislation based entirely upon ensuring the current Justice Minister can get back into the Senate if she loses her seat in the next election.
I know much of her, and what I know left me horrified to see her elected to the Dail at all, never mind handed a ministry, for more than one reason. It would be true to say that many of the agenda she habitually supports are not only rotten and wrong, but, in some cases, represent a threat to me personally, while others have done so in the past. Now she gets sex workers lives to play with too.
Opposition to this cruel and senseless legislation has determinedly excluded anyone not prepared to prioritise the construction of a handful of personal fiefdoms from the start.
There is nothing unusual about this, the people who float to the top of any side of any issue tend to be pretty similar, but one side of any issue is always more right, or at least less harmful than the others.
There is *NO DOUBT* full decriminalization on any terms is more right and less harmful by a very great deal than any form of criminalization, prohibition or abolition, whoever promotes it. The biggest problem I have is that decriminalization has always taken such a significant back seat to the personal agenda of individuals, very much to the cost of the fight for decriminalization
The same thing happened in ’93 when the opposition to criminalization consisted of people like “Ruhama” and “The Women’s Health Project” who are the backbone of abolitionism this time around.
Look how well that turned out, and believe it or not I saw it coming even then.
The tactics they used to try and shut me (or any other hooker who got the bright idea she could think and speak for herself) up were off the wall as it was. There would have been far worse if the bigotry that went right into their bone marrow had not prevented them from seeing us as equals able to mount a real challenge.
My first experience of SWAI was a reprise of that old theme, and it never got any better. Predictable to be honest. The original problem was too bizarre to ask anyone to believe it happened, but I could show you emails since that are so weird they render that mundane…because that is how much genuine contempt SWAI hold us in, they do not believe we are even smart enough to recognize, save and use the evidence, so they don’t bother hiding it…perhaps, like Ruhama, more sinisterly, they know they can pull strings, gag and shout over us anyway if it comes to it?
Ever since SWAI realized that the only reason I say I can do anything is because I actually can, or that I know anyone is because I actually do SWAI have made several attempts to court me, but always based on demanding I comply with blatant lies rather then explaining and resolving the existing issues as equals and partners should. This is always a huge red flag. Apart from setting up a situation that is literally impossible for an autistic (we can ignore the truth, that is easy, the stress comes in when we can’t work out what we are supposed to react to and how instead on an ongoing basis), this is also a common technique of interpersonal domination called “gaslighting “. After all, what is more unequal and controlling than an alliance based on demanding unquestioning compliance with any lie you choose to tell?
The agenda was always to exclude anyone who insisted on doing their own critical thinking instead of signing up for a ready made ideological package and fighting more to establish SWAI as a lobby than to decriminalize sex work.
It is no coincidence that is an identical technique to that used by Ruhama to deploy the marginalisation and stigmatization of sex workers to personal advantage for the past 25 years. The blunt truth is that those behind SWAI are no better than those behind Ruhama, they just picked the opposite side of the debate, for personal advancement, more because it was the only one with vacancies than for any ethical reason.
The best interests of sex workers are equally irrelevant to both, and any point at which they coincide is purest coincidence.
Both sides think of us, pretty much as dumb animals, and anticipate carving the issue up between them whatever way it ends.
It is no coincidence that silencing me takes an unusual priority with both sides. I am the joker in the pack, the factor nobody allowed for – clear, literal memory – all the things they checked and double checked would never show up on google come back to haunt them from different angle, in the form of an autistic woman who could not keep up a lie for long if she wanted to.
I also keep all my emails (once because I was too lazy for selective archiving, but, for a long time, because I learned how invaluable old emails can be.)
That means I represent a 24/7 threat to one hell of a lot of bullshit on all sides. My full address was exposed without protest from anyone because so many people, on all sides, hoped that would finally push my life off a cliff. There was every reason to suppose it would, even without my special circumstances…not a doubt in my mind that, and intimidating others out of speaking up, was the whole intention of exposing me.
That is the stark truth I live with 24/7. A lot of people would very much like to see me dead, they may not think of it that bluntly, and mince it down to something like “out of the picture”, but that is what it really amounts to, just because I know so much of the truth and my compliance cannot be bought or intimidated, and those people are on all sides.
(If you think I am being harsh, ask yourself why, knowing my disability and the danger exposure represents to me, neither Ruhama, state funded to protect sex workers at risk, nor SWAI, with qualified solicitors on the board, ever even raised a quick, easy, formal objection to Stormont exposing my contact details in terms of the Data Protection Act – I would LOVE to hear their answers to that one – the comment section would be a good place for them.)
Escort Ireland took complete control of all opposition to “Turn Off the Red Light” from the beginning (Initially as “Turn Off the Blue Light”) and spared no effort or expense in retaining that control as absolute, even creating their own service provider “SafeIQ” to run the Uglymugsie scheme that they set up originally with SWAI (the things you find in old emails), and, just incidentally, to retain a significant amount of the phone numbers in play in the sex industry in the databases of an android app (you would think sex workers had enough teenaged kids between them to know this is a VERY BAD IDEA in private hands).
This has created a situation where anyone who opposes “Turn Off the Red Light” is leaving themselves wide open to being accused of promoting and protecting “Escort Ireland” (that the media have helpfully made notorious – memory again in the sex industry media notoriety is worth a fortune in advertising, always was), something few, if any, politicians can afford to be accused of. Because of that one, simple fact, very few politicians dare stand up to “Turn Off the Red Light”.
I contend that those in control of “Escort Ireland” are not so completely stupid as to be unaware of this.
I stand by my earlier article on Escort Ireland. I do not believe the company to be at any ethical disadvantage compared to Nestle or Tesco…neither of which have ever been in the position to impose a closed shop monopoly and probably would not experienced their finest hour if they were. That is why we have a monopolies’ commission to regulate legitimate business. Exemption from that is also one of the advantages of operating outside the law as long as you can stay one jump ahead of legislation (Escort Ireland have now relocated to Spain in preparation for Nordic Model legislation).
Why would Escort Ireland covertly to block opposition to Nordic Model Legislation?
Because Nordic Model legislation will make them an obscene amount of money, but there may be a little more and crazier to it than that…
…memory discloses the things other people miss.
It always seemed strange to me that despite the names “Peter McCormick” and “Audrey Campbell” being thrown around in the media, scratch the surface and everything in Escort Ireland is still impenetrably hidden. Frankly, I don’t think I ever believed “Peter McCormick” and “Audrey Campbell” were likely to be any more than a misdirect, and, equally frankly, it did not matter, because to judge someone who has spent the past 14 years running Escort Ireland on things that happened even longer ago is absolutely preposterous, before we even start on condemning Escort Ireland based upon the historic relationship choices of what is now, on paper, the former owner…that beggars belief.
I am pretty sure I know who really owns Escort Ireland, and has enough media and political contacts to ensure they are never named outright…”cherchez la femme” is a game often won on the default, in seeing what is, inexplicably, missing rather than what is on display.
If I am right the person who controls Escort Ireland has had a pretty irrational bee in their bonnet about ensuring the clients are the only ones that pay for a very long time, possibly even predating Ruhama.
Let me quote her, from the 1990s (loosely transcribed to avoid identification through text search):
When it all comes to court the women and the Madams are the only ones who pay. We are the people who get our names, addresses and photos splashed all over the press while clients get the benefit of arrangements between their solicitors, the DPP and the Judges who see to it they are never at risk of being identified. It takes two to tango, those men came to us for what they wanted, we did not go to them.
Did she find a way to make revenge pay?
I would admire her if it did not also involve sacrificing every sex worker who is not prepared to work in a closed shop, under her, sometimes cruelly dysfunctional thumb. But then she always wanted that really.
(SWAI used insist they were founded by a sex worker and admit that they collaborated in the foundation of Uglymugsie, I have emails. I wonder if that is the same person, seeing as it is such a deeply buried secret?)
But once upon a time, for ten short years, it was different, we had full decriminalization and sex workers could flip off EVERYONE who wanted to bully, abuse and exploit them, and just get on with making the money they needed and achieving their goals.
There is literally nothing more I can do short of self immolation at the gate of the Dail…and, to my shame, I will never have the guts for that because there is a chance it might be enough to wake people up and stop this.
So I have failed.
I am sorry…