Women won’t be silenced at Australia’s first abolitionist conference

World's Oldest Oppression conference

A campaign headed up by Vixen, a pro-prostitution advocacy group in Australia, attempted to shut down Australia’s first abolitionist conference (which doubles as the Prostitution Narratives: Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade book launch), but failed.

Over the past week, the #RMIT2016 hashtag was overrun by prostitution fans and anti-feminists who claimed that, somehow, hosting voices of survivors and feminists who opposed the sex industry equated to “silencing” and “hate.” Vixen encouraged supporters to harass RMIT University, via Twitter and email, into shutting down the conference, though University representatives refused to comment publicly (because, why?). Feminists were called “cunts” by online protesters and one young woman suggested RMIT University be burned to the ground, as though simply speaking out against a racist, exploitative, abusive industry like prostitution deserves arson in response.

If anything has become (even more) clear in all of this, it’s that the pro-legalization faction has hyperbole, misogyny, and threats on their side, but no actual arguments.

As per usual, these Twitter warriors were all talk, and the World’s Oldest Oppression Conference went on as planned. For those of us not in Melbourne, here are some highlights from the talks happened abroad (will be updated throughout the weekend):

Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.