Monday, 13 June 2011

Did I Mention It's About To Get Bad? Because It's About To Get Bad.

Well, as of today Ontario's prostitution laws go back under review and I have little to no hope that things will be altered for the better, or even left as they are now. The proposed changes serve to decriminalize communicating for the purposes of prostitution, allow one to live off the avails of prostitution (while being taxed legally, of course) and legally run a brothel or bawdy house.

Any pause in my writing can be attributed to me running to the toilet and vomiting furiously.

There are a whole bunch of folks clamoring for the change in these laws, crying about how Canada has been a puritanical, prudish "Nanny State" for far too long. These folks will tell you that prostitution is the worlds' oldest profession, that it's not going anywhere anyways, that what happens between two consenting adults is their own business and blah blah blah. The same lines of repetitive rhetoric that get sloshed around in the early minutes of any defense of prostitution conversation. When pressed a little harder, these  people will tell you that these "new and progressive" laws will make things safer for prostituted women! Ah ha! So it's the safety of the women that we're worried about! Of course, how fucking stupid of me. I know, as most people do that prostituted women live a life of extraordinary danger. Rene Ross, the executive director of Stepping Stone in Halifax, a sex trade support and advocacy group knows that, too. Quoth Rene:

"Countless attempted murders, a few murders, rapes, forcible confinement — we need to come together and realize sex workers are people and are entitled to have some safety just like everybody else." 

A few murders? A FEW fucking murders, Rene? I guess there've been a few casualties of war since that started, too? Fuck you. But, the point is made. The life of a prostituted woman is in near-constant danger. A level of danger that surpasses the already unacceptable level of danger in most women's lives. Knowing that, one may come to the conclusion that being a prostitute is dangerous. So, to help with that danger, these new laws will get women off the street! Away from the dark alleys and cold street corners! Close to telephones and panic buttons so that the authorities, who are always on the side of these unfortunate women can be alerted if need be. That's how these laws will protect prostitutes, by getting them off the mean streets and indoors where they're safe.

But no one has ever been killed or beaten or raped by a street.

Prostitutes get beaten by cops. Prostitutes get killed by pimps. Prostitutes get raped by johns. Prostitution is abuse of women by men. To decriminalize prostitution would be to legalize this abuse. To say to the johns and the pimps and the traffickers "Come on and flock to Ontario! You need not fear here!" But the women would still need to fear. Legal prostitution would mean an increase in demand. Which would mean an increase in supply. Which would mean more trafficking, more kidnapping, more forced women. Women who lost regular jobs could be denied employment insurance due to the fact that there is viable, legal sex work for them to do. Men would become more brazen, more violent as their appetites turn towards ever more perverse acts and situations, just as they do with the pornography they use with intention of acting it out on the prostitutes they buy. Amsterdam is working to reverse the damage done by legalization. We're about to make the same mistake.

The Swedish model, adopted also by Iceland and Norway, criminalizes the johns, the buyers of women. With the men as the criminals, they are reluctant to purchase. This makes traffickers stay away and keeps women safer. If there is no demand, there need be no supply. The best way to keep prostitutes safe is to make men not want to rape them in the first place. And if the only way to do that is to threaten men with jail time and fines, then so be it. Women will truly be safe(er) when there is no more prostitution whatsoever. Until such time when men stop selling women to other men, we should be looking for the most effective ways to keep said women, indeed all women safe. Ontario's proposed law changes do not do that.

This has the potential to be one of the most frightening decisions made in the province of Ontario during my lifetime. And I feel as though this decision will be made to look like a women's rights issue. Like legalization will grant women some sort of freedom they've been clamoring for. Like so many little girls dream of growing up to be prostitutes and who are we to tell them no? This is bullshit of the highest grade. This decision is being made for men, by men and I feel I already know what the outcome will be. If these law changes pass it will be no exaggeration to say that Ontario hates women. I can only hope that not all provinces will follow suit. Canada can't even keep up with the level of human trafficking that's going on now. What would that future hold for us?


  1. If this is what "freedom of speech" is now, then I want no part in it when all it does is silence victims - especially Aboriginal women who are the most vulnerable.

    This is just sickening and I am sick and tired of hearing this idiotic rhetoric from those pornstitution apologists. This decriminalization is fucking useless; and reducing the number of beatings and rapes from 40 times a day to 20 times a day doesn't improve anything. I mean, look at what that approach has done to the Netherlands.

    If Ontario becomes a hot spot for those sex tourists, then it's only fair that they allow me to carry a gun so that I can shoot their dicks off.

  2. "Oldest profession" - well, it's old so it's above criticism!
    "Puritanical" only because it doesn't provide men with constant easy-access to the bodies of women.
    On CBC this morning, on the Current, there was a debate on the subject. I only caught the end of it - but it got me curious and so I googled it. All I am getting is shit about this domanatrix. This woman is a domanatrix, first of all, she doesn't fuck men for money and yet she is the official spokesperson for women who do? I am totally baffled. This is a "serious talk about prostitution" that will only benefit the pimps and johns. The women will not be further protected, now they will just have LESS protection from the police - more men will feel inclined to purchase and possibly harm these women because they will know they won't be arrested. It is all so fucked up. I want to move to Sweden. I am serious - this country is turning into a true, right-wing capitalist, male-supremacist country. Really saddening, truly is...
    Also, I wish these prostitution advocates would realize it is not the law that is killing them, it is the johns and the pimps. The law will not change how men treat these women - it will not lower murder rates.

  3. @Owl Eyes: That dominatrix does not speak for me, or women in general - and especially NOT for Aboriginal women. And I wish Andrea Dworkin was still alive today.

    And I really do want to go to Sweden too.

    So now, Canada = anti-choice, anti-woman, and pro-pimp/john/rape.

  4. You guys aren't the only ones considering moving to Sweden these days. Sounds like we'll all be in good company. This Terri-Jean Bedford, this dominatrix is so outspoken, so suspect I really believe she's a plant by some other organization. If she really is what she says she is, well then I just can't believe her stance on this issue. She says she runs three brothels in three cities (which under current law is illegal, so why isn't she getting arrested?) and is something of a 'Madam', which is just a female pimp. If these new laws get passed, as I believe they will, this country'll go to hell in a handbasket faster than anyone can fathom. If that happens, I don't intend to stick around to see the outcome.

  5. Female pimps may not be as violent as their male counterparts, but they're not any better because they're still making profits and commodities out of women's bodies and humanity. They're not challenging the patriarchy at all. And they're just joining the opressor in order to not be oppressed... yeah, as if that's empowering.

  6. "
    But no one has ever been killed or beaten or raped by a street."

    Great point!

    It's nice to find that there are some people out there who see this for what it is. And it's not like the wealthy,popular johns with status can't get away with raping or killing prostituted women once it's legalized. Money in a patriarchal society can be used to hide the violence men subject women to.

  7. Came across this site while doing some research. That quote was in response to what happened in Halifax in a ONE year span. We have actually had 19 murders in Halifax since 1985. But thanks for the "fuck you." Great way to engage productive dialogue.

    Rene Ross

    1. What exactly is the point you're trying to make here? My beef was with making it sound like there's only ever been a few prostituted women murdered here and there. It happens all the time. To say "a few murders", even if one is just quoting the statistics of one year in Halifax makes the problem sound less severe than it actually is. Hence, my 'fuck you'. Which I stand by.

      Looks like the dialogue's been pretty productive up until this point, too. You're welcome.