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Neutral Isn’t so Neutral

February 11, 2014

At my university we have a women’s resource and action center and I plan on applying to intern there.  However, I am a sex worker and I plan on staying a sex worker and I really don’t have time for misguided idiots trying to save me. Even well intentioned misguided idiots.

I deal with enough idiots at work.

I went and asked the center about their attitude to sex workers, whether they are pro sex worker or save the sluts. They emailed me the other day with a response.

They are sex worker neutral.

At first when I saw this I was like hmmm great. I won’t be “saved” and my job won’t become a factor in me being chosen for an intern position.

And after that I started thinking…

This whole neutral thing isn’t much better than “save the sluts”.

This is a resource and action center. Resource and action. By taking a neutral stance they don’t have information relevant to sex workers. Now I get that percentage wise most women are not sex workers. That’s just fine but not providing information at a resource and action center blocks an avenue for accurate and helpful information.

Example my city has a great program for rape and sexual assault victims- I’m applying to be a volunteer. Part of my job would be going to hospitals with victims and helping them understand their choices and making sure they are aware of them.

Now say a sex worker is raped. Advocates have no training for the special circumstances surrounding rape as a sex worker.

“Will I go to jail myself if I report?”

“I want to report but nothing is going to happen, they wont believe me.
“I was selling sex at the time of my attack was I even raped?”

Taking a sex worker neutral stance in these cases is as damaging for the sex worker as “saving” sex workers is. You block information for sex workers who want to educate themselves more or need help from a resource and action center and you block the flow of information to the general public.

Education is stopped. Reliable sources are not readily available. The single story is still the only story that is told.

I still plan on applying for the internship and the volunteer position but this attitude is something I hope to change.

Silence is the same as oppression- it just sounds nicer.

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13 Comments
  1. Good luck! I know it would’ve been fantastic to have another sex worker show up to be with me the morning I was raped by a serial sex worker rapist posing as a client. And hell yes, if a client does something that you didn’t agree to no matter how much he paid, or if he takes the money back afterwards, it’s rape. Thanks for your courage in being an activist & doing your blog!

    • Thank you for reading! The more of us who share our stories and bring the issue to light the sooner they have to acknowledge us. I’m actually applying for a position as a rape/sexual assault victims advocate along with my roommate. Hopefully they will address the unique position of sex workers and our safety when it comes to sexual assault and rape. Thank you for reading!

  2. Maria permalink

    You go girl! We need to make sure all women have the help they need after terrible deeds, no matter their occupation/lifestyle/whatever they do with their lives. I’m sure you’ll bring great change if they’re smart enough to realize how lucky they’d be to have you 🙂

    • AWWWWWWW This review made me smile. I hope I get it. I’d like to do panels w/ sex workers from all over the USA. Skyping different sex workers in from all sorts of sex work- cam girls, strippers, escorts, prostitutes all sex workers so we can have a discussion. Or at least educate about the danger of criminalizing sex work. Thank you so much for not only reading but also for your kind words.

  3. Adam permalink

    fantastic

  4. We met the other night! I couldn’t wait to start reading your blog!!
    I will actually be attending a training by Rachel Lloyd who leads the GEMS program in New York that helps girls who have been a part of sex trafficking. (You should see her documentary Very Young Girls by the way-they will be showing it at the university)

    The training is offered through the sexual assault advocacy organization you speak of ( I am an advocate through them as well) & can ask some of these questions.

    Anyways, just putting it out there, if you have any other questions you’d like me to ask her on this subject- I know she works with sex workers as well as victims of sex trafficking. You can email me missmelissmn@gmail.com.
    Keep up the great work!

    • AHHH I’m so excited you ended up finding my blog. I plan on going to Very Young Girls. I love working with the advocacy organization. We disagree on a few philosophy things but I still completely believe in the work they do.

      Something I’m always curious to know about non ses workers who work with sex workers is always their stance on legalization. It tells me so much about the speaker. I wish I were going!!!

      • I get to go to training for free since I am an active volunteer! I’m very excited. Rachel Lloyd is probably my most favorite activist right now. I got to have dinner with her the last time she was in town.

        Another little tid bit- I direct The Vagina Monologues that will be at the university April 25 & 26. Let me know if you’re interested in volunteering to sell tickets and you can get free admission 😉

      • I’m pretty sure you know my roommate. I will deff let you know! Thanks for the info!

        Again- jealous about New York. How often do active volunteers get that kind of opportunity?

  5. She’s coming here for the training lol. I Wish I could go to New York!!

  6. Neutral isn't Negative permalink

    Rape is rape, no matter what field you work in. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are wrong, I think that is what they meant when they said they don’t have a stance. Maybe YOU could do research and provide them with the numbers and help with women who have to worry about the “trickier” questions that are involved with those in the industry. Unfortunately, they do exist. However, I don’t think they meant any harm when they said they were neutral. No is no. No matter where you work.

    • sadly though by not providing the information and staying silent they allow harm to happen. Rape is always rape until you are in a police station or a court room. A full service sex worker was gang raped and the judge declared it theft.

      Staying silent in the face of harm is as erroneous as committing the harm yourself. While they may not MEAN harm that doesnt mean their actions don’t cause harm.

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