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Rape victims get 50% of compensation cut for doing sex work

08 Apr

At the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) event in Glasgow, the ECP revealed that after police failed to deal with a serial rapist, they funded a successful private prosecution. But the two women had their Criminal Injuries Compensation cut by 50% – because they sex workers.

Para 25 p11 of the Ministry of Justice’s Guidelines state that compensation can be cut for “conduct”:

An award may be withheld or reduced where the conduct of the applicant before,during or after the incident giving rise to the criminal injury makes it inappropriate to make an award or a full award.

Sex work was considered “conduct” which provoked the rape. No other job could be so willfully and openly punished, and no other rape victim would have been victim-blamed so much. If anyone was in doubt that sex workers are stigmatised, this is the final proof.

Happily, the problem is easy to remedy. Para 25 goes on to say “For this purpose, conduct does not include intoxication through alcohol or drugs to the extent that such intoxication made the applicant morevulnerable to becoming a victim of a crime of violence.” So all that is needed is for the words “choice of career”, “work”, “sex work” or similar before or after the line about intoxication.

As Irish Law student  @belowcontempt noted, the Irish Criminal Compensation laws are even more far-reaching, though they also do not specify rape or sex work.

Compensation was witheld – for both rape and murder – in Australia in 2006. The judge reportedly made shocking comments like “this wasn’t a woman waiting at home for her husband.”

Women are being reduced to their job – sex work. They aren’t human beings, they’re commodities. This is also insulying to men because it imples that rape is simply a risk of the job, that all clients are potential rapists.

The targetting of sex workers raises a number of philosophical conundrums: would compensation be cut if a sex worker is raped while not doing sex work, for example if she is raped by her husband? What if a man is raped one hour before exiting the sex industry? Or if, an hour after being raped, a woman joins becomes a sex worker (and how would the start time be calculated, anyway? Her first phone call to the escort agency, or when she sees her first client?) Gaye Dalton (@mechanima) raised an interesting question: where would I fit? How would they see my conduct? Are all sex workers equally culpable in their own rapes, or are VirginWhores less fallen so maybe should only have their compensation cut by a third instead of by half? Or is selling virginity even more reprehensible to men who literally reward (with compensation) sexual inexperience in women and punish experience?

This is disgusting. A century ago, rape wasn’t recognised as rape if the victim was not a virgin. And it looks like nowadays, rape isn’t really rape if the victim is not a non-sex worker. The Criminal Compensation Scheme is literally ascribing more value to ‘good women’ than to sex workers.

And even in its misogyny, it fails. Because non-sexworkers can be “sluts” and they won’t even require payment for doing it. At least sex workers only do it for work. And as I pointed out above, it seems to be a lottery of when you get raped – if you haven’t stopped or started sex work yet, you get double the compensation.

Government incentives to keep the women of Britain pure and under control.

Ministry of Justice Criminal Injuries Compensation Guidelines: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/victims-and-witnesses/cic-a/am-i-eligible/criminal-injuries-comp-scheme-2012.pdf

The Irish Department of Justice’s guidelines: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Criminal_Injuries_Compensation_Scheme

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Sex work

 

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11 responses to “Rape victims get 50% of compensation cut for doing sex work

  1. jemima101

    April 8, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you for writing this people need to know

     
  2. slywinkle

    April 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    So, If I open a store, and an armed robber comes in, I’m entitled to a lower compensation because obviously I had goods for sale and a till full of cash. I’m asking for it!

     
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      April 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Exactly 🙂 You could make similar arguments about most crimes e.g being beaten up is your fault for going out of your house and being there to beat up.

       
  3. gherkinette

    April 8, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I’m furious that sex workers still get their compo docked, but no other rape victim blamed as much? Don’t undermine your case by ignoring the facts on this. Until 2008 all women who had taken any drug, prescription or illegal or drunk any alcohol could be docked up to 50% of their award for rape under that conduct clause. I was one of them.

    I was drugged and raped and told it was my fault. I took it to a judicial review that took up 5 years of my life, drove me to suicide, gave me an eating disorder, PTSD and crippingly depression. I asked for help from other women. Not one single one offered it and I amd my solicitor had to go it alone. I raised the issue of sex work while I was fighting. No one backed me.

    I’m still campaigning to ensure sex workers get fair compensation. I’ve met with two Solicitor Generals, one Attorney General and two government ministers on it. But prior to my case sex workers could be docked 100% of an award so while it’s still not fair, there has been progress and I’m proud of the change I made. Perhaps you could suggest how people can come together to continue the pressure to get the law changed?

    The sex work clause didn’t come under my JR because unlike intoxication, it is applied to all sex workers and wasn’t seen as indirect sex discrimination like intoxication was.

     
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      April 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      That is horrific. Did you get the compensation in the end? Congrats on changing the law, and yes you have made good progress. As for creating pressure/drawing people’s attention, me and Fallen Female were talking about it; I think it’d be easy to create a change.org petition and if lots of sex workers, feminists (and actually most people would probably be for it) RT/publicise it, we could get lots of signatures. Especially if we got sex worker orgs’ logos for the petition.

       
      • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

        April 9, 2013 at 2:01 pm

        Btw are you on Twitter? And its so ridiculous – it is still indirect sex discrimination esp as majority of sex workers (in UK) are women. It seems to be more sex discrimination than the alcohol thing is, b/c with alcohol it can be equally applied to male rape victims and child rape victims, as well as anyone who is physically assaulted while drunk. And anyway its not sex discrimination that’s the only issue, discriminating on basis of your job or sexuality or religion or any reason is just as bad. FFS its unbelievable.

         
  4. Fallen Female

    April 9, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Kalika has said it all….but I have to add my thanks for sharing your terrifying but brave story. I’m so sad that no other women – no matter who they were, what they worked at – stood up for you in your fight. You should be very, very proud of what you have achieved for all of us. I hope your journey is brighter now. All my love @Fallenfemale

     
  5. Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

    April 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    What Fallen Female said. I honestly think there should be a movie made of your campaign, people need to know. To know what you did, and to know that if you hadn’t done it women would still be being told it was their fault they were raped. Which is especially shocking when, as in your case, the drugs were consumed only because the rapist drugged them!! Or you could write a book about it. I just wish people knew. All this fuss about Thatcher who didn’t do any good and nobody knows what activists and campaigners are doing right now or what we owe to them.

     
  6. gherkinette

    April 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Oooh, loving your campaign ideas. Count me in to get involved. I did get my full compensation in the end, thanks to now abolished Legal Aid and a wonderful kick ass feminist solicitor who put so much faith in me and those other women. The psychological aspect of being told it was my fault was devastating. Getting my payout was less about money (although I was broke) and more about acknowledgement and once it was acknowledged that it happened and I wasn’t lying, I felt able to move on.

    I totally agree that no one should be discriminated against due to gender or social class or their job so if we can draw some attention to this issue that would be fabulous. I’m gherkinette on Twitter so look me up and lets get plotting. This is an issue close to my heart and I’m feeling like getting my campaign on again!

     
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      April 12, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      That’s such a powerful story. I’m glad you got it – you deserve it. I’d rather that nobody get compensation, like USA, than compensation used to separate “good girls” who got 100% from “asking for it” who get 50% from “whores” who back then got nothing. Its disgusting, like not all rape victims are equal. Dm’d you xx

       

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