Remembering the murdered women erased by the pro-sex work agenda

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Eva Marree Smith Kullander, a Swedish mother of two, was stabbed to death by her ex-husband during a supervised visit with her children on July 11, 2013.

A few years prior to her murder, Kullander (known professionally as Petite Jasmine) lost custody of her children when a family member reported her to social services.* Despite telling social services that her ex-husband was abusive, the state gave primary custody to him, and he refused to let Jasmine see their children. Jasmine fought hard to regain contact with her children, even though her ex-husband continuously threatened her with violence. After two years of court battles, social services finally began working to reunite Jasmine with her children. It was in a social worker’s office, during the first visit she’d had with her son in over a year, that Jasmine’s ex-husband stabbed her to death (the attending social worker was also stabbed, but survived).

In response to this vicious murder, the English Collective of Prostitutes, the International Committee for the Rights of Sex Workers, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), the Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) and many other sex worker rights organizations staged protests, demonstrations, and rallies in cities all over the world.

Jasmine was “stabbed to death by stigma,” they claimed. “End violence against sex workers,” they demanded. “Full decriminalization now.”

According to these sex worker rights organizations, if prostitution in Sweden were fully decriminalized, Jasmine’s ex-husband would never have killed her.

“NSWP (Global Network of Sex Work Projects) condemns the ‘Swedish Model’ that claims to protect women involved in sex work by criminalizing clients. This paternalistic approach fundamentally denies women’s agency and marks a state stamp of approval on the stigma attached to sex work, a stamp that cost Jasmine her life at the hands of her ex-partner.”

Unlike New Zealand, which is praised by sex worker rights organizations for fully decriminalizing prostitution, Sweden has adopted the Nordic Model, which decriminalizes women like Jasmine, but continues to criminalize pimps and johns.

But are prostitutes in New Zealand really safer than prostitutes in Sweden, as sex worker rights organizations claim?

Since the Nordic Model was adopted in Sweden 16 years ago, not a single prostituted woman has been murdered by a john. Not one. Jasmine is the only one to be murdered during that time, and that was a murder committed by her abusive ex-husband.

New Zealand, with only half the population of Sweden, has lost several prostituted women to gruesome murders committed by johns since full decriminalization was implemented in 2002.

And yet not one of the sex worker rights organizations that protested so vehemently against the murder of Petite Jasmine saw fit to protest the murders of these women in New Zealand. Their murders didn’t fit the pro-sex work agenda, and so their murders were erased.

Here are a few of their stories:

Ngatai Lynette Manning was 27 years old in 2008 when she was stabbed, strangled, raped, and beaten to death with a metal pole.

Manning, more commonly known as Mellory, had a difficult childhood spent mostly in foster care, and was pulled into the vicious cycle of drugs and prostitution at the age of 14. After her sister committed suicide, Mellory fought successfully to break out of that cycle, fearing she, too, would die young. Mellory was able to get clean, enroll in a polytechnic school and study art. She and her partner, Kent Gorrie, talked about getting married and having children. But when Mellory’s poverty and unemployment made her unable to afford Christmas presents, she decided to return to prostitution for “just one night.”

On December 18, 2008, Mellory was walking down Blenheim Road and was picked up at 10:35 p.m. by Mauha Huatahi Fawcett, a 21 year old man who went by the gang name, “Muck Dog.” Fawcett had not yet received entry into the Mongrel Mob gang and had been ordered to take part in the killing of Manning to gain membership. As part of his gang initiation, Fawcett was ordered to stab Manning but claims to have backed out. He testified that as loud music blared, Mellory was strangled, stabbed, raped and beaten with a metal pole while gang members “barked like dogs” and gave Nazi salutes. Mellory died from her injuries and Fawcett dumped her body into the nearby Avon river.

Catherine Healy, national coordinator for the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective, says her organization is a huge supporter of New Zealand’s decision to decriminalize sex work, which makes it easy and legal for johns to purchase sex from women working at home, on the street, or from the web.

“It’s really important to have as many options as possible and to be able to work wherever one wants — we’ve avoided a monopoly scenario and it keeps exploitation in check,” Healy claims. New Zealand’s policy of full decriminalization has “been just fantastic, really,” she said.

When Mellory was murdered, sex worker rights organizations did not call for a “sex worker uprising” as they did following Petite Jasmine’s murder. In fact, there was not a single protest, rally, or demonstration organized on Mellory’s behalf. Not one.

“Suzie Sutherland was a petite woman who is said to have hated violence,” the New Zealand Herald reports. In April 2005, Jules Patrick Burns picked her up on the street to buy sex, strangled her, and left her naked body propped awkwardly against a wooden fence in a vacant lot. Her family described Suzie as a “very beautiful young woman, well-spoken and gentle.” They said she had been a good student as a child, and could play the piano and cello. A “happy and cooperative” girl, she adored animals, was artistically talented, and loved singing and acting. Her dreams for the future included travelling the world and pursuing her education. Sadly, as a young adult, Suzie started using drugs and became addicted to morphine. At 20, she attempted to get sober and entered rehab, but left before finishing her treatment. Suzie’s family hoped she would try again to break free of her addiction, but instead she moved away to Christchurch and shut them out of her life.

The john who murdered Suzie, Jules Burns, told the jury she seemed “very professional.” At the start, he said, she was “enthusiastic and talkative”, but became irritable after a while, and angrily told him he was “taking too long”. Burns claimed the sex had been a “satisfactory experience” for him, and that when he was finished he drove Suzie back to the corner where he had picked her up. According to a police statement, Burns approached several prostitutes on the morning of the murder. He was convicted of strangling Suzie and sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison.

There was not a single protest, rally, demonstration, or “sex worker uprising” called for by sex worker rights organizations on Suzie’s behalf. Not a single one.

In December 2005, 24 year old Anna Louise Wilson, mother of a four year old girl, was picked up for sex by Peter Steven Waihape. He drove her to a carpark, where an argument broke out when he refused to use a condom. Waihape then partially strangled the young woman, removed her clothing, bound her hands and raped her. He then pushed her out of the car and ran her over. When Anna became trapped under the car, begging and pleading for her life, he ran her over again. Witnesses to the murder reported hearing Waihape laughing as he repeatedly ran her down. This was not the first time he’d assaulted a woman.

Justice Lester Chisholm shared damning witness testimony at Waihape’s sentencing hearing: “You were then seen to get out of your car and kick her at least twice. She managed to free herself and sat up. She pleaded for her life. Then you drove at her a number of times, smashing through a concrete wall.” Waihape then dragged the young woman back into his car, drove her to the Avon river, and threw her half-naked body into the water.

“The ultimate indignity,” Judge Chisholm said, “was that you used her as a stepping platform to get out of the river. It couldn’t get much worse, Mr Waihape.” Anna’s semi-naked body was found in the Avon River about 3 p.m. on Thursday, lying in mud on her back with her wrists bound in front of her and her head submerged under water.

At the sentencing hearing, Anna’s father described the heartbreak he felt at his daughter’s funeral, watching his granddaughter “stand next to her mother’s coffin… rubbing her dead mother’s stomach.”

Despite the viciousness of the murder, there was not a single protest, rally, demonstration, or “sex worker uprising” called for by a single sex worker rights organizations on Anna’s behalf. Not one.

Nuttidar Vaikaew was a Thai prostitute living in New Zealand who went by the professional name, “Sky.” She was strangled to death by one of her “regulars,” Gordon Hieatt, in her own home. After murdering Sky, Hieatt continued to visit other prostituted women. His computer records showed him engaging in online chats with one prostitute in Thailand while still living in the apartment with Sky’s decomposing body. In the messages, Hieatt admitted to murdering Sky and “said he read jokes all day to cheer himself up.” When the police found Sky’s body, it was on a bed in the lounge, heavily decomposed, and holding an ace of hearts playing card. Hieatt was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

There was not a single protest, rally, demonstration, or “sex worker uprising” called for by sex worker rights organizations on Sky’s behalf. Not one.

“It’s been just fantastic, really.”

“Often sex workers are really envious that sex workers have rights in this country that are the same as anyone else in the work force,” Healy said.

New Zealand has half the population of Sweden. Half. And not one prostitute has been murdered by a john in Sweden since the Nordic model passed in 1999. Not one in 16 years.

Surely anyone who cared about the lives of prostituted women would call that “fantastic” — much more so than the gruesome realities faced by New Zealand’s prostitutes.

But let’s not just pick on New Zealand. In Germany, 55 prostitutes have been murdered since 2002 when prostitution was legalized. There have also been 29 attempted murders.

The Netherlands has almost the exact same overall murder rate as Sweden. But 28 prostituted women have been murdered in the Netherlands since the year 2000, when prostitution was legalized.

Let’s review those numbers.

Germany: 55 sex workers murdered by johns in 13 years. The Netherlands: 28 sex workers murdered by johns in 15 years. Sweden: Zero sex workers murdered by johns in 16 years.

Zero.

“We demand an end to stigma, criminalization, violence, and murders. “ the NSWP declares.

But if that’s really what they want, why aren’t they supporting the Nordic Model? Perhaps it’s because the Nordic model cuts into the profits of the more privileged women in prostitution, pimps, and brothel owners. What’s a few murdered women when there’s so much money to be made?

Mellory, Suzie, Anna, and Sky. Say their names. Their lives matter. And they were viciously murdered by johns in a country where prostitution is being normalized.

Please do not erase them.

*Editor’s note, November 4, 2015: Initially this article stated that Petite Jasmine had lost custody of her children because she was selling sex. It turns out there is no evidence to support this claim, but rather is yet another attempt by the pro-sex industry lobby to manipulate the narrative to push their agenda. It seems, in fact, that Petite Jasmine was reported to the authorities by a family member who claimed she was drinking and using drugs (it is not confirmed that Petite Jasmine actually was abusing drugs or alcohol). This article has been amended to reflect this information.

Penny White is a radical feminist freelance writer living in San Francisco. She has a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis on childhood sexual trauma, and has worked for over 10 years as a case manager/peer counselor for mentally ill people living in poverty. Penny is currently a volunteer at The Gubbio Project in San Francisco, which serves people of all ages and abilities who have no homes. Follow her @kindsoftheart.

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  • Florence Farr

    Thank you for researching and writing this article. I have never been able to get on the “support the sex workers” bandwagon for full legalization, and recently articles like this one that show the success of the Nordic Model have given me a voice in the discussions.

  • Anon

    Send this article to Amnesty International. They need to read it!

  • This is why I do not trust individual centred, personal experience stories. It is not that I think Kullander’s story is untrue, it is that it does not provide proof of any broader trend. In the same way that one study does not prove anything, the story of one individual (no matter who that individual is) does not prove anything either.

    Liberals need to learn that sometimes you need to put data together in order to understand what is really going on. Personal stories are fine, if they illustrate a claim that has already been substantiated by data. The story of one victim (yes, I used the word “victim” and I did not mean it as an insult, deal with it) can evoke empathy for the many other victims, but using the story of one person (or even a few people) as your entire case against a particular law is manipulative.

    This article, however, does a good job of mixing sound data with personal stories. It evokes empathy, while still enabling readers to make rational, well informed comparisons. Good job!

    • Meghan Murphy

      Totally. While the personal story is important and relevant, we can’t reply on ONLY personal narratives when it comes to political movements/advocating for change/implementing laws, etc.

  • Tangelo

    I googled around a bit for more details about the murder of Eva Marree Smith Kullander. I was looking for the name of her ex-husband or partner. I couldn’t find a single one (in English, anyway) that named her ex-partner. Why not? Her ex murdered her. He is the reason she is dead. Name the problem.

    Penny White, good article, thank you.

  • cynicalleftist

    What an incredibly powerful article. I hope it gets shared widely.

    I really liked how you told a little bit about each of the women that were murdered. These are people murdered by other people. Yet the people doing the murdering virtually always fall into the group called “men,” while the people being prostituted and thus at substantially high risk, are majority “women.” Because of this very gendered nature of the sex trade, because what johns want are access to certain body parts, prostitution is never going to be a “job like any other”

    • Sally

      Exactly, it always amazes me how many people can’t seem to understand this. I always run into the argument “but men, too!” and its like, ya, so what? They are the minority victims in all of this, and many of them are trafficked children who are being victimized by MEN as well. The issue here is that men are hurting women and children because they are often the most marginalized and vulnerable people in society. No amount of “empowerment” is going to change that until we destroy patriarchy.

  • Sara Ungar

    This article is incredible. It brought me to tears. I have tried to argue in the past that the sex workers rights groups are motivated by profit only to have cries about stigma thrown at me. After reading this i won’t be so easily silenced.

  • Lucia Lola

    Everything laid out wonderfully here.

  • It’s unlikely that legalizing prostitution would have prevented Jasmine, or any woman in a similar situation, from being murdered. Her ex-husband didn’t kill her because of her work. He killed her because he couldn’t get his way. That is an all-too-common occurrence no matter what the woman’s circumstances. Further, legalizing prostitution does not magically erase the fact that sex workers are exploited, abused, and exposed to significant danger. Criminalizing pimps and johns puts the stigma where it belongs – on the abusers.

  • Misanthropia

    It’s so sad and heartbreaking that we have to hear these stories and people still think we’re exaggerating the violence that is perpetrated against these women. There is such a sinister aspect that these stupid brainless ungrateful neo liberals do come across these stories but they prefer to ignore them because they are so busy sucking the dicks of men to notice. It’s bad enough that this trade exists, but it’s even more angering to know how vulnerable a woman becomes when she is in the sex industry. It only strengthens my conviction that it is an industry to terrorise and keep women complacent and it should be burned to the ground. And if you don’t agree with this. I hate you. You have blood on your hands.

    • Sally

      I wholeheartedly echo your outrage.

  • mistressmax

    Are you saying Jasmine’s murder doesn’t count?

  • mistressmax

    And the women in christchurch was killed in conjunction of drug use, not by a customer of prostitution.

  • damagereport

    Please don’t try to co opt these women. Eva Maree is a woman I relate to very well, in my own personal experience, although I lived in the US. I’m for decrim, and so was she. Sex worker rights are human rights. The legalized model you seek contributed to her problems and she spoke about this, often.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I’m not sure who you’re responding to, damagereport? We don’t support a legalized model… We support the Nordic model.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    No, it’s not stigma that kills it’s actually men.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Have you been advocating for the Nordic model in the US, Kate_Chicago?

  • Meghan Murphy

    Or by ‘stigma’.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That’s absolutely not true. Maggie’s Toronto is government funded. And they are little more than a lobby group. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/investigate-maggies-of-toronto-for-possible-use-of-government-funds-in-the-promotion-of-child-sex-trafficking?source=direct_link&

  • Meghan Murphy

    Right. It decontexualizes and erases ‘society’ as a concern or factor. It makes the focus solely on personal experiences/identities. Perfect for creating a neoliberal world!

  • Meghan Murphy

    You think fighting male violence against women and trying to hold men accountable for abuse and murder is a ‘lame narrative’? I am continually amazed at the lack of compassion pro-industry folks have.

    • Lucia Lola

      Exactly.

  • Meghan Murphy

    You think it’s acceptable for pro-industry groups to co-opt her life to support their agenda but not to point out that her death had nothing to do with the Nordic model or with ‘stigma’? Ok.

    Also, I’m told that the information put out there by sex industry lobby groups — that she lost custody because she was selling sex — is actually not true. We will be editing the piece to reflect this information. Can I assume you will be contacting these lobby groups to communicate your anger at their lies and at their cooptation of Petite Jasmine’s death to push their agenda?

  • radwonka

    “Why would removing a woman’s RIGHT ever be a plan in reducing murders.”

    But how is giving pimps/men’s right to buy women (call it “service” if you want to use a capitalist/neutral language) going to reduce murders exactly?

  • Sally

    “I am utterly amazed as to why the abolitionists don’t seem to care if the women can pay their rent and feed their kids.” Actually, we do. Constantly. It’s why most of us are socialists/Marxists. We believe everyone has a right to a job, affordable housing, equal pay for equal work, a decent standard of living in general, etc. This is also why we strongly advocate for programs that help women get out of prostitution and on track to affordable housing, education and a job that affords them more dignity than prostitution ever will. Clearly you haven’t really been reading up on what we do. Women’s and children’s rights are our priority, which is the exact reason we want to end prostitution and dismantle patriarchy overall.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Gross. This is my guess? http://chezstella.org/stella/en

  • Meghan Murphy

    Oh gawd. Heather Jarvis is the anti-feminist who started slutwalk. She is pro-industry, pro-BDSM, pro-everything. She is naive as all hell and has zero understanding of how systems of oppression work. And how depressing that SHOP statement is!

  • Meghan Murphy

    During my undergrad I took a course called, “Sex, Work, and the Law.” They brought in various ’empowered sex workers’ to talk to the class. Because it has been a criminology class and they were only that year trying it out in Women’s Studies, there were an equal amount of men in the class as women and few students had a Women’s Studies background (except for me — not coincidentally, I was one of two students out of 30 or 40 who questioned the legalization/prostitution is empowering narrative, though back then I was still new to the debate and not yet fully confident in ‘taking a side’.). It all felt very voyeuristic and creepy. You could tell the dudes kinda got off on the whole thing. (The Crim dept at SFU is notoriously pro-sex work….)

    • Marion Wallace

      What happened when you “questioned” it?

  • Sally

    There is a really good fictional movie I watched recently on Netflix (not sure its still on there) called ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (2011). I think it did a pretty good job of showing how degrading even being an high-class call girl can be, and it showed the whole recruiting on campuses thing as well. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in the topic. It’s quite disgusting whats going on at every level and the end is just horrifying. not to scare anyone, (personally i think its actually a tame representation of what actually goes on, but I could be wrong) but its worth watching.

  • Sally

    it’s almost like universities are turning into brothel training grounds… I can’t believe universities are allowing this to happen. it’s so disgusting, beyond reprehensible.

  • We support the New Zealand model, and that of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee.

    Sex Workers Rights ARE Human Rights.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Why do you support the New Zealand model and not the Nordic model when women are clearly safer under the Nordic?

  • THANK YOU for acknowledging that sex workers are aware of sex worker murders. Since 1998 I’ve been producing creative non fiction on the topic, though – until recently – my writing on the topic was only accepted to publish in Canada and England. My Goddard College 2003 BA Senior Study dedicated four years to the conversation re: feminism, commercial sex and forced prostitution. We HAVE been aware of OUR needs for years: ANTI DISCRIMINATION LAWS & DUE PROCESS!

  • Kathi Hardy

    It is a crying shame when all you think you can do to make a living is suck a dick or lay on your back. What a horrible example to give to children. We are made up of mind, body and spirit and created to do so much more that cater to the whims of horny men. Yes, I am an “Ending the Demand” abolitionist and a survivor of the sex industry. I was a victim of a serial killer, but by the grace of God I was able to escape. He killed 45 women in the San Diego, CA area from 1985 to 1993. I have been beat up, raped, kidnapped, harassed and all of that. Is this something I would want my children to do? HELL NO. If half of society – the male half – would learn to be sexually responsible and not have to pathetically pay for sex; if they would learn to respect the female half of society, we would all be in a better place. Sex is not work and it’s not the oldest profession – it’s the oldest oppression! Really, is that all you think you can do in life?

  • Sally

    100% echo your thoughts. these people are separating prostitution from its historical foundation and trying to convince us this warped version is somehow “empowering.” meanwhile, real sex workers are coming forward and explicity saying its NOT (yes, even the males) and they get trashed. they’re used to it, though, no one taking their concerns seriously. just more of the same. utterly depraved.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Safer how?

  • Nick Empire

    Actually, there is a direct connection between Swedish law and Petite Jasmine’s death.

    The courts granted her ex partner – a former client with a prior history of abuse – full custody of their children entirely because of her status as a sex worker, and refusal to admit her ‘self harm’. Her legal fight for access to her children resulted in threatening behaviour by this man. The social worker was stabbed during a supervised meeting with Petite Jasmine’s son.

    So, feel free to pick and choose whatever will most conveniently fit your narrative.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Nope. Apparently, the “sex work” lobbyists invented that narrative because it was convenient for their purposes.

  • Tera

    The Swedish (Nordic) model criminalizes sex buyers, therefore acknowledging that they are what is driving & funding the trade. Authorities put their efforts into making sure these men are held accountable and that their actions are criminalized. There is no licensing or tolerance for brothels or massage parlours etc. This approach has been shown to be incredibly effective to all other approaches.

  • Chelsea Tornade-Hoe

    New Zealand has a lower over all homicide rate compared to Sweden actually, we’re just killing more prostituted women here.

    • Grope_of_Big_Horn

      Comparing NZ to Sweden is not the comparison to make. The point of interest is what is the effect of changing the law on safety of sex sellers and safety of society in general?
      So we want to compare SWE before the law change to SWE after the law change.
      And we want to compare NZ before the law changes to NZ after the law change.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The point is that the Swedish law had absolutely nothing to do with the murder of Petite Jasmine. She was murdered by an abusive man — her ex. And she was not granted custody, supposedly, because she was accused by a family member of using drugs in her home, not because she was prostituted. I don’t think any of this is ok, of course. It’s horrible. But to blame feminists for her death is ridiculously misguided.

  • Meghan Murphy

    I don’t understand what point you are trying to make. Abolitionists don’t believe that laws kill women, we believe that men kill women and that, therefore, men should be held accountable.

    • Nick Empire

      Absolutely. So, why are we reading a lengthy blog post about New Zealand law, and its role in five womens’ murders?

      • Meghan Murphy

        The post isn’t about New Zealand law. It’s about the way in which the sex work lobby covers up the violence men perpetrate on women in prostitution in order to suit their agenda. All that said, the problem with decriminalizing men who buy sex is that it enables men to perpetrate abuse and normalizes male entitlement/gender inequality. We advocate for the Nordic model because it isn’t simply about legislation.

    • Nick Empire

      Or rather, I am glad we can agree that New Zealand law had nothing to do with these crimes.

  • Meghan Murphy

    The reason the pro-prostitution lobby was criticized in this post was because they go out of their way to disguise male violence and to protect abusive men from accountability.

    • Nick Empire

      As I noted, if you read my comment, this is in fact not the case. (If, by “pro prostitution lobby”, you mean sex workers rights advocates.)

      • Meghan Murphy

        By ‘sex workers rights advocates’ do you mean ‘pimp and john advocates’?

        • Nick Empire

          Clearly not. My time and mindspace is concerned with advocating for sex workers.

          Being snide and disingenuous doesn’t win you a debate.

          • Meghan Murphy

            This isn’t about ‘winning’ a debate, Nick. This is about creating world free from male dominance, violence, and entitlement. It is about creating a world wherein men do not have the right to buy access to women’s bodies. The fact that you believe this is simply about ‘winning a debate’ is significant.

          • Nick Empire

            Yes. And as I have stated in my last comment, and my comment before that, in no uncertain terms, that this is what I believe. How can you read my comments and then say I think the entire conversation about sex workers rights is point scoring, after this is the very thing I just accused you of?

            Why are you even replying to me? At this point you are just throwing platitudes, which sort of proves my point about you not being willing to even consider sex workers’ varying experiences.

            Just keep covering you ears, screaming lalalala.

          • Meghan Murphy

            I’m replying to you because you keep commenting, Nick. You are free to leave any time. The fact that you are unwilling to acknowledge what it is abolitionists believe and are fighting for doesn’t make your arguments any more credible. You just seem like yet another sociopathic, manipulative man, who believes women’s human rights are simply a challenging ideological debate.

          • marv

            I wonder if you would be advocating for sex worker rights if you were taking thrusting cocks up the ass and down the throat for money. You should try being on the receiving end before promoting it as work. Right now you are hollow and incredulous – blowing hot air instead of loads.

  • Meghan Murphy

    lol. I am Feminist Current. And double-lol at your accusations of “abuse.”

    • Nick Empire

      Then, well done for raising the standard of feminist discourse.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Oh thank you for the kind words, Nick! Appreciated.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Oh thank you for the kind words, Nick! Appreciated.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Go away, Nick. Your efforts to shame people into supporting and sexualizing degradation and abuse don’t work here. It just makes you look like a childish misogynist.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Yeah because anyone who doesn’t think sexual abuse is cool is a total prude. *yawn*

  • Meghan Murphy

    Dude. We have responded to your boring-ass arguments soooo many times. Read the site, read my work. I’m not going to just repeat myself over and over again because you are too lazy to read.

  • Meghan Murphy

    But I agree with marv….

  • Meghan Murphy

    So you think that it is the job of a professional writer, who has written about these issues for years, addressed the very ‘arguments’ you attempt to bring up here, over and over again, to cater to one man’s incessantly ignorant, entitled questions? That really says a lot about you, Nick. And no. I don’t exist to respond to thoughtless, entitled, misogynists. That is not my job, it is not a good use of my time, and I don’t owe you shit.

  • Meghan Murphy

    If you have to pay someone in order to convince them to have sex with you, that does not equal ‘consent’. That equals coercion. If a person desires you and wants to have sex with you, you don’t have to pay them. And whether or not you sell sex has no bearing on whether or not you understand the impact of the system of prostitution on individual women or on women as a whole. This is not about your personal thoughts or experiences, this is about ending patriarchy and male violence against women.

    • Nick Empire

      “This is not about your personal thoughts or experiences”
      – and –
      “But I agree with marv….”

      I’m glad everyone can read this nonsense. Take care.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Believe me. Everyone reading this is well accustomed to seeing comments like yours and they are just as sick and bored of it as I.

  • Meghan Murphy

    That is a ridiculous thing to say. Of course some prostituted women have agency. The point of the Nordic model is to fight the system of prostitution, which contributes to gender inequality, and to hold men accountable for their behaviour. All that said, false consciousness IS a real thing, regardless of how unpopular it is to say so.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Who thinks all ‘sex workers have no agency’??

    Stop the strawmen, please.

    The goal is not to “restore agency”, the goal is to end male violence against women and male supremacy.

  • Tomatoface

    Do sex workers with agency stop to think about the effect that treating access to women’s bodies as a commercial commodity has on our culture as a whole? I don’t get why there are feminists intelligent enough to understand why rape jokes aren’t harmless fun but then shut down their brains when it comes to acknowledging the toxic cultural effect of choosing sex work as a way to make a living.

    Sex work ties directly into rape culture by treating women’s sexuality as something that can be bought and sold.

    There are countless women who have been forced by circumstances to participate in sex work. We need to care for, protect and help those women into better situations.

    Women who genuinely “choose” to fuck strangers for a living have no sympathy for me and I’ll spend no energy fighting for their rights to participate in patriarchal oppression.

    • Artemis

      “Sex work ties directly into rape culture by treating women’s sexuality as something that can be bought and sold.”

      I think you worded that slightly wrong. Here’s what I think is more accurate: IMHO

      “Sex work ties directly into rape culture by treating women’s sex ORGANS as something that can be bought and sold. Sex work completely ignores women’s sexuality as though it does not exist.”

  • k.f. morton

    Stigma kills? Fuck that. Men kill.

  • k.f. morton

    From a post on my blog:
    “Thing is, saying yes to something, and wanting something, are two different things. There are multiple reasons I might say yes to something, but examining what underlies my yes is crucial. Equating “consent” with “saying yes” is an over-simplification of what consent actually means, and of the ways in which coercion operates. A definition of rape which fails to take this into account fails those who are subject to sexual violence. If rape all comes down to saying yes or no, regardless of circumstances, then a lot of unwanted intrusion will take place, because saying yes doesn’t presuppose you have the power to say no, or that your yes is not subject to multiple constraining factors. Coercion operates in insidious ways, on a cultural and not just an individual level, and the eroticisation and cultural acceptability of coercion obscures it’s true nature and our ability to identify and resist it. At its core, this is about what meaningful consent means for an oppressed class with limited options, and, moreover, whether the exploitation of another human being is ever acceptable. I don’t hear people arguing that if certain people, past or present, chose to remain slaves, that means the slave trade represents a legitimate platform for the exercise of choice and agency. We ask questions about their options, the colonization of their minds, the way in which their oppression has been normalized and how this affects their ability to perceive their own worth and possibilities. Yet when it comes to sexual violence, there is no such nuanced conversation. We simplify the meaning of consent in a society where the violation of consent is sexy, and where the ability to provide a consent unfettered by various social and economic considerations, is a privilege…
    “This is where the myth of agency comes in – the idea that we can neatly detach individuals and their choices from the cultures and social structures within which they operate, so that the burdensome task of analysing our choices, our desires, our feelings, can be neatly swept away, leaving only words – simple yesses and nos – rather than the painful, complicated forces that shape them. It is a myth that is failing us…
    “The idea that “agency” is the sole relevant determinant of whether sex is abusive leads to some very dark places – such as the sex industry and it’s presentation of exploitative sexual relations as “empowering” and “sexy”. Moreover, because the women in sex work have “chosen” to submit to them, traumatic sexual experiences within the industry aren’t deemed rape, just “occupational hazards”. Thus rape must be “qualified”, not only on the basis of whether a woman said yes, but on the basis of whether she was paid for her abuse. Porn star Belle Knox, in the documentary “Becoming Belle Knox”, states that, “People are probably going to get mad at me and say that I’m being exploited, but porn is like any other job. It’s labour, and I think that liking it is irrelevant.” (This, by the way, after she describes how her experiences in the industry have aged her and made her cynical, and how having sex for hours causes vaginal tears. She describes having sex with a vaginal tear and how she just wanted it to come to an end. Sounds mighty empowering). In other words – not wanting to have sex (on a particular day, in a particular way, with a particular person) is “irrelevant ” to the ethics of a sexual act, and is “irrelevant” to a woman’s experience of sex ( or is it the woman herself, and her experience, which is irrelevant?) . She may find herself not “liking” it, feeling humiliated by it, feeling empty and hollow and even physically injured by it. As long as enough dollars are thrown at her, she must consider herself placated and simply regard the use of her body, and her most intimate faculties, as “labour”. But a human body is not simply a tool of labour, nor can the act of sex be reduced to a mere economic exchange in which feelings and emotional experiences are secondary to capital. To do so is not only supremely cynical, but removes from sex any trace of authentic humanity, let alone authentic desire. If sex is just labour, then having sex is just another way in which we prop up the values of capitalism and consumerism, reducing our own bodies – and our own selves – to the objects of consumption. In this scheme, money is necessarily accorded a higher value than those it is used to “remunerate ” (i.e., placate, deceive, enlist in their own exploitation)…
    “I think Belle Knox inadvertently demonstrates precisely why “yes” cannot be the be all and end all when it comes to defining rape, because it means we must tolerate unwanted intrusions on a massive and shocking level, as long as the terms of exploitation are agreed to by the exploited. I’ll say it again, saying yes to something is not the same as wanting something. So we can either deify a woman’s yes in and of itself, or choose to scrutinise it and challenge the structures which warp, necessitate and restrain it. Not both.”
    The full piece is available at cliticalperspectives.blogspot.com