No I didn’t, I f*cked up, let me tell you why.
The main reason I ducked out of the Joint Oireachtas Committee hearings in relation to sex work DESPITE being sought out and invited by Senator Katherine Zappone at the Department of Justice Conference in October 2012 was called:
Anne Ferris and I have a history which I feel certain she forgot as soon as it outlived it’s usefulness.
Way back in 1993, when I had got out of sex work way ahead of the 1993 Sexual Offences Act under threat from the aspects of organized crime intending to take advantage of same I had started to protest the coming legislation. I knew exactly how much damage it would do, and time proved me right.
I was getting at lot of media attention, so, predictably. Anne Ferris called me on behalf of Liz McManus TD. Now I am not daft, and I never was, I knew this was all about publicity, and once the publicity moved on so would McManus. Anne Ferris was on the phone for 90 minutes or more, I noticed that.
She was SOOOO sympathetic…I have no idea how much I told her, being me, probably everything. I must have told her about the way I had to get out of sex work and still had no way to survive, and literally nowhere to turn, not even family. I must have told her about how I still believed I had no right to claim unemployment and was too scared to go near a CWO. I know I told her how I was just burying myself in novels to kill time, waiting for the day I ran out of money and had to take my own life, because nothing else was left. I know I told her how absolutely isolated I was, and how useless and abusive Ruhama were.
The last thing she asked me was if I had anything in writing. I said “yes” and, because I know how fast the publicity machine that attracts the likes of Liz McManus in the first place can turn away, I called an old client (I *HAD* no money, though I will warrant Anne Ferris was financially comfortable, and will never have a clue how that feels) and got him to pay for me to Xerox what I had (21 hand written pages) and bring me all the way over the mountain to leave it all through the door of Liz McManus’ constituency office in Bray.
That was 1993, this is 2014, and I still have not received an acknowledgement for what was, after all requested information. Much less did Anne Ferris or anyone bother to check if I had money to buy food, let alone was still alive.
I never had a ghost of a chance, since then, to have anything approaching a life.
If I had walked in to the Joint Oireachtas Committee and seen Anne Ferris I would not have been responsible for the consequences, and, by that I mean there is no way I could have controlled my reaction to the years of terror and torment she left me to if she in any way attempted to suggest sex workers have any real alternative. Because she was the very person who showed-not-told me that, in the real world, for the unlucky ones, there is no viable alternative to sex work, and all these people who claim otherwise will just sit back and leave you half alive in terror, with no hope of anything better.
I am eaten alive with wave after wave of PTSD just having to revisit cr*p like that long enough to challenge it.
Today 10 September 2014, seeing the courage of Terri Jean Bedford in standing up for the truth in Canada I am deeply ashamed that I did not go into the Joint Oireachtas Committee and *REACT* to Anne Ferris as she deserved, and take the consequences.
Because it is only through honest reaction to psychopathic exploitation and indifference that they will learn that sex workers’ lives are not for sacrifice at will.
NB I have attempted to discuss this with Anne Ferris (now a local TD) recently, she does not even acknowledge.
…and later, much later I suddenly woke up and looked at it all in a different way.
Abolitionism in general, and “Turn Off the Red Light” in particular is a campaign of cold blooded, deliberate, fraud in pursuit of a legal sanction to abuse real people for gain.
That’s it, nothing else involved, and the elected representatives who rubberstamp it through without the most casual glance at the truth, are not stupid, they know that as well as I do.
…and they tell themselves they are so superior to someone like me…