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Ruhama Agency ran the Magdalene Laundries: Round 2 of abusing fallen women, or, how sex workers replaced Magdalenes

The government disappointed survivors and Justice For Magdalenes campaigners yesterday by not apologising for being complicit. Perhaps if more people realised that the Ruhama Agency which is currently advising the government on sex work is run by the same people who ran the Magdalene Laundries, they would be even more outraged. The Magdalene Laundries were started for sex workers, then later began preying on unmarried mothers as well, and on women who committed minor crimes like taking a night off work or not paying for a train ticket. Sex workers were abused and died in the laundries, and now those same people are advising the government on policy which directly affects sex workers. And sex workers weren’t allowed into the Dail hearing where Ruhama was giving evidence to the government.

The Ruhama Agency was started in 1989, and its trustees continued to run both Ruhama Agency and the laundries together, until the last Magdalene laundry closed in 1996. Ruhama have refused to meet with Magdalene Laundries survivors and say they can’t pay compensation. Allegedly, they’ve also silenced sex workers online by taking down sex worker rights ads and paying for Ruhama ads that intercept search engine terms used to find sex workers’ activism sites. They also allegedly censored tweets about Ruhama abusing girls from an abolitionist parody Twitter account, which was suspended three times until yesterday when the Magdalene Laundries report came out. On the day when Ruhama feared the parody account would tweet about the report (or that people would be more interested in the parody), the account was suspended for a fourth time. Ruhama also replied to tweets about abuse, saying they were “serious allegations” when we all know – and the Magdalene Laundries survivors know – that it was all too real.

The next sex work hearing will be secret and will not be streamed, according to Pat O’Neary, as reported by individuals who emailed and phoned him. This is wrong – all policy must be made in the open and sex workers must be included as they’re affected most of all.

The Ruhama Agency is still being listened to and valued by the government while survivors are ignored (the Magdalene Laundries investigation was only started because the UN Commiitee Against Torture required it) and sex workers are not allowed to influence policies which affect them the most out of everyone (or even witness the hearing).

Even now amid the Magdalene Laundries controversy, those responsible are still excercising their power over fallen women – just not confining themselves to a few thousand women in the laundries. This time, the whole of Ireland is their playground. There has been little change – this is just Round Two of their state-sponsored attack on fallen women. Only, now sex workers have replaced the mix of sex workers, unmarried mothers and minor criminals who made up the “magdalenes”, and instead of enslaving women in convents, they’re actually lawmakers now.

Ruhama are contributing to making laws about sex workers by advising government. And the law they’re pushing for is the Swedish model which will result in more rape, murder and trafficking in the sex industry and expose sex workers to unsafe working conditions, abuse by police and control by pimps.  And, funded and listened to by a state which excluded its victims from the hearing, they might just succeed.

Interested? Here’s more…

Ruhama won’t meet with survivors of the Magdalene Laundries and claim they can’t pay compensation – even though they’ve recieved over 14 million euros since 2006 from the Health Service Executive alone. http://www.paddydoyle.com/laundry-orders-run-sex-workers-aid-group/

Media reports that Ruhama is run by those who ran the laundries, and is funded by TWO government depts! http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0625/1224299584327.html

A sex worker’s rights blog on how Ruhama are harming sex workers: http://www.stop-the-lights.com/old/times.htm

Ruhama does very little work; last year Ruhama only helped 241 women (some of whom were ongoing cases) and none of which were trafficking victims. (They say a few are “suspected” trafficking victims, but list no figure for women who said they were trafficked). Do they really need all that funding from taxpayers? http://www.thejournal.ie/ruhama-reports-18-per-cent-increase-in-demand-for-support-services-567797-Aug2012/ And last year was already a large increase in the numbers!

Ruhama try to silence sex workers online by taking down sex worker rights ads: http://www.turnoffthebluelight.ie/2011/06/08/ruhama-paying-to-stop-people-seeing-what-sex-workers-have-to-say/

Follow #sexworkhearing, #sexwork and #JusticeForMagdalenesNow on Twitter for live tweets of the hearing and more on Ruhama, the laundries and sex work politics.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Sex work

 

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I blog something Roland told me not to, and whine about abolitionists silencing me

Roland says I’m not allowed to blog about our last phone conversation, but I’m pretty pissed off with him now so I’m totally going to do it (well, I’m going to report 3 things he said – not the whole conversation, because I actually respect people’s wishes unlike Roland.)

Why I’m pissed off with him is that for reasons I’m not allowed to reveal, he’s making me wait ages; he has to, and I don’t mind this. What I do mind is that he doesn’t contact me to establish some sort of plan for how we are going to rethink this and some kind of date/timeframe. Yet, he says he does want to carry on with this, which means I’m not free to seek a contract with anyone else, but must carry on waiting for him to tell me when he’ll be ready to fulfil his part of the deal.

He totally knows that I expected it to be over in the summer, because in the Tower restaurant where we made the arrangement I was hesitant about my avaiaibility after the consummation, saying I might be travelling. So although our contract did not specify a time frame, he is still sort-of in breach of contract.

I’d sue him for breach of contract but I don’t have the money and verbal contracts are hard to argue over.

I don’t like admitting that I’m having these obstacles to my plan, but this blog is, after all, a documentary (one much more organic and real than the sexual attitudes documentary programme which involved the virginity auction of Catarina Migliorini and that guy who was bought by a woman called Nene B.) So I must only write the truth.

I apologise for my absence from the blogosphere; Tor (an anonymizing browser) doesn’t work since WordPress began changing a couple months ago. I’m now using a VPN thanks to a link by The Slutocrat who blogs over at http://slutocracy.wordpress.com/ . (It appears I can’t add links while using a VPN and Ghostery.)

Anyways, I really wanted to post this stuff Roland says, so here goes. I mean what’s he gonna do, sue me for libel? But he can’t cos it’s all TRUE! He really is a disgusting pervert! I told him this once and he seemed flattered; he said sex is all in the mind and that’s why I feel that he’s slutty and therefore special and desirable compared to other men.

You know, as a kid I loved the thought of suing – to me it was funny, and a just thing you did in revenge to nasty bullies who were hurting you and who deserved it. But now I concur with a tweet I saw an hour ago (I’m writing this in the middle of the night, to be scheduled for the evening) that the libel system is fucked up. I’ve said this before to someone – that even if you win a libel case, you’ve still spent loads on your defence so really it’s a great way for the rich to harass the not so rich. And there’s no Legal Aid for most non-family Law civil lawsuits so if you can’t afford a defence, you’re screwed. If you win, you gain absolutely nothing and will have lost loads defending it.

I unknowingly put myself in danger of being sued on the internet. Not for libel or anything bad, but for something I didn’t know was sue-able. Of course, I can’t be sued since I’m anonymous, which looks like a blessing but really it’s not because it would mean that I could be outed and sued simultaneously. The person who would have sued me is a well off middle aged misogynistic religious type, and that is all I can say without being sued. So I’ve spent time thinking about what would have happened. By the way, from the would-be suer’s point of view (had this person known) it was a very ironic situation of the person he would’ve hated most (if he knows about her) indirectly helping him by stopping me doing the thing that would have been bad for him and given him the ground to sue me.

I did not reveal much about this before because the person who stopped me putting myself in danger told me something in confidence and I was afraid that by telling this story, people might guess the secret or guess her identity. (Which of course is extremely unlikely if I didn’t say precisely what she told me – unless they were watching Twitter like a hawk-, but I’m paranoid when it comes to stuff like this. Though I’m pretty lax about my own security as I’ve blabbed all sorts of details on this blog.) Anyway she’s said it publically now so that’s ok.

The other reason was I didn’t want to create another thing that radfems could criticise the person who helped me for. Because they seem determined to make accusations against her on the basis of a single sentence or retweet, and I’m sure they could turn a good deed into something to criticise, maybe saying that she’s protecting a misogynist or maybe the opposite, that she told me how to harm someone without being caught. (I’m following so many on Twitter now that for the 10 people I actually want to follow, I have to go to their profile page. So, I see all the radfems’ tweets on this person’s profile page, and it’s really annoying reading even though it’s not aimed at me.)

This story of me being almost sued would make a great blog post as it’s dramatic and ironic, but I won’t do that because I think that even if I don’t post this person’s name, the radfems will feel brave enough to publicly infer her identity if I make it too obvious. For now, even if they guess who I’m talking about, it’s a bit of a stretch for them to claim an identity for this person.

Well, that was a huge tangent. But I do think of nearly being sued quite often. I hate the idea of losing money, especially to a nasty person like the would-be suer.Though obviously people get sued all the time with disastrous consequences, even if they win. Just saw a tweet that libel cases can bankrupt companies and someone lost their job. Roland’s company was sued and it was a million just to go to court.

Maybe I think of it because he would’ve been likely to sue, if he had been able to find my identity. He can pay for a private investigator, he’s from a sue-happy culture, and as a sex-positive female sexworker, I’m exactly the kind of person he hates. And maybe because I’d have been shocked to recieve a letter saying I was being sued. I’m already appealing against a government body and have been trying to sue a group for defamation/libel since I was still a kid; they’re powerful people. So I have enough of this court stuff to be getting on with, and if I was sued I might not be able to afford to sue those who libelled me for years.

Anyways, after that massive derailment, here’s what Roland said:

“We are potentially dealing with a lot of ignorance. I don’t want this to come back and bite me in the bloody arse” – that last bit TWICE! Dunno if he was purposefully fuelling my fantasies or not, but it worked!

I was going to blog a wonderful public humiliation anecdote, but I won’t to protect his identity.

I can’t do this. I might take all sorts of liberties with my own anonymity, but when it comes to his or anyone else’s I can’t. There is an abolitionist org with good reason to dislike me, and I’m painfully aware that Stella Marr outed a sexworker/sex activist blogger just for disagreeing with her online…and, like, I just wrote a post totally slamming Stella. Somehow I doubt they would go out of their way to spare Roland if they turned their technology on me – and, guys, the abolitionists have good tech which the Ruhama Agency used today to silence a parody Twitter account (@RescueIndustry) which tweeted against them. (The screenshot of individual tweets by the parody and Ruhama suddenly appearing as protected – something that should be impossible – was retweeted a few times). Not surprising really – they’re well funded by government, donations and American Christian organisations, so why wouldn’t they have techies on their staff or specialist software at their disposal? Strange that I now fear other ‘feminists’ more than journos, huh? I guess I’m learning. So I’ll just report other more boring stuff he said:

He asked if I’d give him the passwords to this blog and the Twitter account and I said yes; he said “And why would you give me them?” to which I replied “because you asked me to.”

Yeah, this post is boring, but it’s necessary to be vague right now because I know I have enemies among the abolitionists – I’m not being paranoid, they have tried to silence me a couple of times, though I can’t talk about that either without giving out more information about myself to them.

When you’re anonymous it’s hard to call out those who oppress or silence you. Though sometimes of course it’s easier, e.g. anonymous whistleblowing.

I should’ve written this blog as memoir not a diary. Diaries go off on tangents and anonymity is even more important. Memoirs can be zingy highlights of the most important bits.

Roland said “the internet is the ultimate blurring of fantasy and reality” but everything I post here is true. He says he thinks I’m not even doing it for the money any more, but for a fantasy. He thinks me tweeting and blogging is dangerous to our anonymity, and that I have fantasies of “public humiliation and to an extent exhibitionism” so that makes me flirt with the danger of having my identity revealed (which is absolutely true).

But apparently the danger is very very real, or so he says, and I know that now. I told him that if my identity was discovered and I was in a position to choose which of us would be outed, I’d have myself outed.

“But if that became necessary, it would mean we had failed,” he said.

I hope me blogging this makes him cancel the contract and then I can move on to a new client who won’t ignore me and leave me hanging for ages. Or maybe it’ll instead remind Roland that I exist. I really do not care. I sometimes question why I’m even doing this now, (since I’m no longer aiming to make this blog famous or be the next Belle, because even if I did get famous I’d be the first and only Kalika, as Belle isn’t a commodity or brand you can be, but a real actual person). Why did I even do his in the first place, anyway? It’s brought me nothing but surveillance, silencing and (possible) hacking by other “feminists”. I’ve tried to find out what exactly they’re doing but I’m useless at tech so I don’t know. What I do know is that due to their own unimaginativeness, they do not know my identity and are unlikely to ever find out. They’re barking up the wrong tree entirely, and I don’t think they are that interested in outing me, just silencing me.

Yeah, this is a negative post because it’s a diary not a memoir so it’s more raw (well that’s my interpretation, some memoirs are raw). Is sexwork a thing that makes you unhappy? Yes, when you’re constantly being silenced and maybe under threat of outing by feminists or journos! I’m even effectively silenced on my own blog because to tell you what happened would only let them know more about my identity – they know nothing so far – and would just make them more pissed off. Though I probably will give them good reason to be pissed off in the future anyway.

And I don’t really want Roland to go away, I think it’s just that I’ve been annoyed with him for a while and I’m scared right now. Not that I’ll be outed, but because I know what I’m up against and how far they’ll go.

Since I created this blog and started being active online about selling sex, feminists have: told me I’m a victim, stopped me from communicating twice, appear to be closely watching what I say, hacked or otherwise used technology to silence me and told me lies to get me to stop selling sex. Journos have been oblivious. Conservatives left exactly one comment. Seeing the shit that other sexworkers and sexworker allies take daily on Twitter is kind of depressing, too. Funnily enough, I’m left alone by the radfems on Twitter; they never bother me there at all.

On a more positive note, I don’t think the radfems and abolitionist orgs will ever succeed in silencing sexworkers, no matter how hard they try. They might be incredibly well funded, well staffed and well organised, and better able to speak as they’re not anonymous. But we have evidence and facts on our side.

And I do know why I’m doing this (selling virginity) – for me. For the experience, the unique experience of it all. So I can say I’ve done it. It’s something nobody can ever take away from me. This is worth everything.

 

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