We identify with all women. We define our best interest as that of the poorest, most brutally exploited women. —Redstockings Manifesto (1969)
December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. The commemoration began from the Sex Workers' Outreach Project's memorial and vigil for the victims of the Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer. Since then its purpose has expanded to a memorial for, and protest against, all forms of violence against women in prostitution and elsewhere in thesex industry.
I'm opposed to prostitution as an industry, on radical feminist grounds. I frankly have very deep and sharp differences with the organizers of the event, and I'm iffy at best towards the rhetorical framework ofsex workas a whole, for reasons that are way beyond the point of this post). But so what? The day is an important one no matter what differences I may have with the organizers. Real steps towards ending the ongoing daily violence against women in prostitution and elsewhere in thesex industryare more important than that; here as much as anywhere — probably more than anywhere else — women's lives are at stake.
You can read the rest at the original post. Any serious commitment to freedom for, and an end to violence against, women, means a serious commitment to ending violence against women who work in the sex industry. All of it. Immediately. Now and forever.
And that means any kind of violence, whether rape, or assault, or robbery, or abduction, or confinement against her will, or murder. No matter who does it. Even if it is done by a john who imagines that paying for sex means he owns a woman’s body. Even it is done by a cop or a prosecutor who calls the violence of an assault, restraint, and involuntary confinement an
arrest or a
sentence under the color of The Law. The Law has no more right to hurt or shove around a woman than anyone else does.
In honor of the event, in memory of the 48 women murdered by Ridgway, and in solidarity with the living, I have contributed $120.00 tonight to Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, a harm reduction group that provides counseling, safety resources, clothing, and food to prostitutes on the streets of the Washington, D.C. area, and $120.00 to Alternatives for Girls, whose Street Outreach Project provides similar services out of a van along the Cass Corridor in downtown Detroit. For other groups that provide similar resources and mutual aid, you can check out the links at the end of my original post.