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

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

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2013 in Sex work

 

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How not to get raped

Don’t dress like a slut. Whether you’re going to work, walking the dog, nipping out to Tesco’s, jogging, going out for a walk, to a friend’s house, a night out, your boyfriend’s house, the cinema, the gym, the doctor’s, make sure you aren’t dressing like a slut, you slut. (Even though there’s no evidence that seeing an inch of cleavage turns a normal dude into a rabid monster who will attack you.)

However, research has shown that attackers go for women whose clothes can be easily removed (like loose, baggy clothes or clothes with zips.) So, don’t wear loose clothes either – wear tight clothes. Which may look slutty. You slut.

Don’t walk alone at night – are you an idiot as well as a slut? Get a man to walk you home because women aren’t able to fend for themselves and should rely on men.

However, most rape victims are raped by friends, acquaintances, family and partners. So don’t ask your friend or date to walk you home, or they might rape you. Which would be your fault, you brazen whore.

As we’ve already learned, you are in danger from family, friends and acquaintances. You can protect yourself by:

Being born to a lone mother with no male relatives or other male children. This takes care of possible paedophilia or incest from your family.

Not talking to any of your fellow male pupils, students or coworkers so they don’t become friends or acquaintances and rape you. You might get referred to psychiatric services, lose all your friends or get fired, but it’s a small price to pay for being safe

Another risk comes in the form of date-rape. You should avoid this by not dating, and instead having one-night stands with strangers.

An important thing to remember is that although most victims are attacked by someone they know, you can still be attacked by a stranger. So don’t go out anywhere, because anywhere you go, you could meet a stranger.

However, if a rapist breaks into your house they could attack you there. Living with your partner or parents is no help either, as it is common for women to be attacked in their own homes by friends or family. So, really, you shouldn’t have been born female.

Though transitioning to being a man isn’t any help, because men get raped too – by women and by men.

So there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to prevent rape. Everything you do to avoid it brings its own risks.

Above all: be ready to shag absolutely anyone, because if you’re consenting then it isn’t rape so you can’t be raped. May the sluttiest woman win.

And remember, if you do get raped, it’s your fault for being a slut and you shouldn’t be ruining the rapist’s life by daring to out him or report him to the police. Because it was all your fault, slut.

***There is nothing you can do to avoid it, and why should you even try? It’s the rapist’s responsibility to ensure he doesn’t rape.***

 

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Rape the sluts: the ‘Men can’t control themselves’ excuse

The clothes that a woman happens to be wearing at the time of an assault are often used against her in court, in the media or in her own social circle. I remember as an 18 year old being told by a girl I knew about a newspaper article which reported that a rape victim’s underwear was shown in court to prove that she consented. This was because the underwear had been manufactured with the words “Little devil” printed on the fabric. More recently an article in the Daily Mail sparked outrage for claiming that rape laws were too harsh and were catching innocent men; an example used was that a 19 year old attacked by two footballers had been drinking and had the top three buttons on her blouse undone, so it could not possibly be rape.

Another tactic in using clothes to victim-blame is claiming that if a man sees a woman wearing revealing clothes, he cannot help not raping her, or that the clothes themselves confuse men or constitute consent (a dress is a ‘yes’).

However, the assertion that all men are filthy, sexualised animals who can’t see a bit of cleavage without attcking a woman makes no logical sense. Firstly, men (and women) tend not to commit sexual assaults when there are witnesses around. This is why most attacks on women happen in the victim’s own home, in a dark or secluded area (an empty classroom, a car, an ambulance, a quiet street), in the attacker’s home or are perpertrated by the woman’s partner or family member. So, if men are really beasts who can’t control themselves, why can they control themselves when they know they’re likely to be caught? Why don’t we see men committing rape in malls, busy classrooms or crowded streets? Even when they do abduct victims from crowded places, how are they able to control themselves long enough to get their victim into a secluded area (remember the 14 year old boy abducted from a mall and raped in a toilet in Marks and Spencer’s?) How can Daddy control himself in the street and when Mummy is around, but suddenly he can’t control himself if his wife leaves the house? The myth that men can’t control themselves is just a nonsensical excuse.

A disturbing fact is that we don’t accept the ‘I couldn’t control myself because of my gender’ for any other crime or for any other gender. Try telling a judge that you couldn’t help knifing that person or nicking that wallet because you’re a man. Try telling anyone that you couldn’t help sexually assaulting that man because you’re a woman. So why accept that excuse for men who rape? The excuse should either be valid for all crimes and all genders, or it should be invalid for all crimes and all genders.

Another fact: we don’t accept the excuse for men who molest children or have sex with underage girls. But it seems that if you’re over the age of consent, it’s all your fault for leading him on and he couldn’t help it. If he really can’t help it with girls over 16, why is he able to control himself with a 15 year old? Why is it all his fault if you’re 15 and consenting, and all your fault if you’re 16 and not consenting?

Yet another illogical aspect of this excuse is: If men can’t control themselves, wouldn’t that mean that women also can’t control themselves? So why are only men deemed to be animals, and not women?

The tactic of using clothes to victim-blame, or even just to slutshame women ordinarily, is a dirty trick. You see, that outfit that Jenny is wearing that seems slutty to you isn’t Jenny – it’s an outfit. You’re judging Jenny based on what she’s wearing. If you had met her two hurs earlier she would have been wearing a business suit. If you were to meet her two hours later she’ll be wearing a frumpy, mumsy cardigan and worn baggy jeans.Later, when Jenny’s wearing her fleecey PJ’s, you might be wearing a short see-through nightie. So if Jenny is attacked at 4pm, she will be wearing a suit and will be seen as a victim (unless she knows the attacker). But if her attacker decides to lie in wait for her until 5pm and stalk her, by the time he attacks her she might be wearing a ‘revealing’ outfit. So it’s her fault for being dressed that way. And if the rapist instead chooses to follow her home and then break in, she’ll be wearing her mumsy outfit and be seen as a victim. Women have no control and no choice over when they are attacked or what they’re wearing when they are attacked. We don’t dress in the mornings or change our outfits in the day thinking that we might be raped, any more than men dress to be raped. We don’t think that men are dangerous animals who will leap at the first chance to attack us; we’re not paranoid. Neither are men. Judging women and victim-blaming on the basis of dress puts victims under the power of their rapist. The attacker chose when to attack; he has that control. The victim doesn’t. By victim-blaming, you are giving the rapist the power to make his victim endure shaming and make her testimony less believable. You are giving him the power to negotiate and influence the wider disourse around rape, as well as the opportunity to escape prison if the victim isn’t believed. By assuming womens’ dress causes them to be raped, we might even end up with a society in which men try to attack women who are dressed a certain way, so that they will get away with it – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And if men are biologically compelled to rape if they catch a glimpse of cleavage, leg or belly button, how are they able not to rape when they see women in bikinis on the beach? Or naked women in nudist colonies? Or topless women on the beach? When I was 8 I once saw a naked woman at the beach, pulling her two young children in a rubber ring and covering herself with her other hand. Nobody tried to rape her or even noticed her or cared. In fact, I, an eight year old female, was the one who was staring the most.

This final argument comes with illustrations (yay!). In Britain, it is ILLEGAL to wear clothing in public that would display nipples or genitals. Strip clubs, nudist colonies and BDSM club nights may have different rules, but when you step out of these establishments onto the street, you will be charged with public indecency if you aren’t covering those areas. So how revealing can revealing clothes even be?

This woman is wearing a bralet and short skirt, but all she is revealing is a little of her belly.

This is the most revealing photo I could find of people who appeared on Snog, Marry Avoid. However, the two womens’ outfits, while being as revealing as possible without being illegal, are actually less revealing than a bikini. And neither of them are revealing their nipples or private parts, so the most sexual parts of their bodies are covered. So they aren’t revealing anything at all – the erogenous zones are covered up, leaving only the mundane non-sexy bits showing.

Really, anyone who believes that men are so weak, violent and bestial that they would attack these two women just because their tummies, legs and decolletage are revealed is an idiot.

A man wouldn’t be compelled to attack a woman walking down the street naked any more than a woman would be compelled to attack a naked man, or an adult of either sex would be compelled to attack a naked child.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Feminism

 

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Marriage: priveleged in public discourse on rape, emotional health and childrearing

This is another post I’ve been wanting to write for a while.

Marriage. Sure, we accept it can cause problems, especially that the definition of marriage is problematic. We accept that domestic violence and rape occurs in marriage more than it does in relationships where the partners aren’t living together. But marriage is priveleged.

I’m going to start off with the example of rape, then move on to emotional and mental health, and finally childrearing. For this post, I’m only going to be talking about heterosexual women because it seems like most of the discourse and marriage-privelege is centered around this group. This post will assume some knowledge/sympathetic views (will not have references, statistics or attempt to prove points).

Rape/sexual assault

When a woman experiences sexual assault outside her marriage – especially if she is a young single woman – she may be blamed for it. She was out late, she was walking alone, her clothes were a certain length, cut, or showed a certain amount of skin, she wasn’t sober, she shouldn’t have trusted that man, she shouldn’t have hung around with those guys, she was flirting, she should have realised she was in danger earlier, she shouldn’t have led him on…

So, the social norms of socialising, drinking, flirting, dating, and even shopping (a shop sold her the clothes, why not criticise the designer or the retailer if you think the outfit is too short/tight?) are out of bounds for raped women. It’s okay to go out for a drink with your friends, but if you get attacked coming out of the bar, you shouldn’t have been out so late. If you don’t go on dates you’re a loser, snob, frigid or ugly, but if you go on a date and things go wrong in the car or at his place, you have only yourself to blame for being stupidly naive or a flirt who led him on. It’s always okay to do those things – until you get attacked. Then it’s your fault for being a normal person with a social life, errands to run, a life outside your kitchen, and clothes that aren’t hand-me-downs from Granny.

So, a woman’s lifestyle or even career (in the case of sex workers) is blamed for ‘causing’ the rape. You got raped because you were flirting/drinking/socialising/outside your home after dark, or because you are a sex worker. Your behaviour or your job is the culprit.

Yet, when a woman experiences sexual assault in her marriage, the institution of marriage is never blamed. (Note: I’m not saying victims of domestic violence are not blamed; sometimes, people and courts might not take them seriously compared to a woman who is assaulted by a knife-wielding stranger, because domestic abuse sometimes doesn’t seem ‘rape-y’ enough.) What I am saying is: women aren’t usually* blamed for marrying. People don’t say ‘it was her fault she was raped, she was living in the same house as the guy so it was really easy to rape her’ or ‘She should’ve realised he was a rapist before she married him’ or ‘What was she wearing?’ or even ‘She was alone with him in the bedroom at night, what did she think was going to happen?’.

Even though the fact that you’re living with a man makes it very easy for you to be sexually assaulted – close proximity, less chance you’ll call the police, etc.

But marriage is never seen as the culprit. Nobody ever says, ‘You were raped because you are a wife’ or ‘See, marriage causes rape,’ ‘Marriage is dangerous and degrading to wives’. But it’s not that uncommon to hear or see victims blamed: ‘She was raped because she is a sex worker’ or ‘See, sex work causes rape’, ‘Sex work is dangerous and degrading to sex workers’. Nobody tells wives to “Stop dressing like sluts” in front of their husbands (the comment that inadvertently launched the SlutWalks) or that they must restrict their freedom of movement and be on their guard against rape.

Some of this is because of practicality – it’s hard to be on your guard in your own home. But being on your guard in your own home is no more ridiculous than being told to be on your guard in your own neighbourhood,. And there’s no reason why bigots couldn’t tell wives to watch how they dress.

 

Emotional/mental health

Marriage is still thought of as a stress reliever, especially in the case of parenting. We all know marriage can be stressful, but if a woman has emotional problems, it tends not to be attributed to her marriage unless she tells us so. We tend to think of work or family issues as the culprit. Whereas a single woman having a breakdown is often asked about boyfriends or sex partners, and we more readily assume that her sex life is causing the distress, before we think about her family or career as possible causes.

Sometimes it is still assumed that a single woman is looking for that special someone to eventually marry, and only then will she find true happiness. Some people still assume that a string of casual boyfriends is not true happiness, or is just the prelude to a long-awaited union with Mr Right. Marriage is still, in some circles, seen as the key to a woman’s happiness. Womens’ dating and sex lives are reduced to a lengthy search for Mr Right.

 

Childrearing

 

When kids misbehave, get into trouble with the police or don’t do well at school, parents and not teachers are usually blamed. That’s a subject outwith the scope of this blog, which only deals with issues surrounding my Diary (a young single polyamorous woman selling virginity to a rich open-married polyamorous guy for fun and thrills). What is within the scope of this blog is the fact that, although all parents of criticised children and adolescents are blamed, marriage is never seen as the cause of the child’s failures. Divorce, single motherhood, polyamory, parental dating and problem marriages where the parents argue continually are all blamed. But a marriage where the parents don’t argue is never seen as a cause for the child’s problems. Why not, if single motherhood is sometimes blamed – especially in the media – for juvenile delinquency? If a one-parent or separated/nonmarried/divorced background can be a cause, why not a two-parent/married background? Studies show that single parents’ children do as well as coupled parents’ children (when poverty and educational status are controlled for, which wasn’t done in earlier studies – see my post ‘Lone mothers: the Government, the media and the law hate you. Get married!’ for references and statistics.)

 

*Usually, in media representations and other forms of public discourse. I’m not saying family members don’t do it, ‘Oh you should never have married him, I told you he had shifty eyes! Isn’t that right, Doreen? [nudge] Eh?’

 

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Feminism

 

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