When mom and dad are your roommates

I have returned to my Mother's nest twice in my life. The first time was right after college, when I stayed there for three months to search for my first job. The second time was when job situations caused me to live apart from my husband and I was pregnant and no one wanted me living on my own. I was fortunate that both times my Mom and Step-Dad were there to take me in and take care of me....more

Are trafficking survivors delusional liars? The “Honest Courtesan” says yes.

Maggie McNeill, a retired escort and pimp, calls herself the “Honest” Courtesan. She admits to having earned money from the sale of sexual access to other women’s bodies, and has a financial interest in deregulating the sex work industry. Two of the biggest threats to full deregulation of the sex trade are: 1. The success of the Nordic Model, which decriminalizes prostituted women, but continues to criminalize pimps and johns, and 2. The painful stories that survivors share about their experiences in the sex trade. McNeill has made it her mission to discredit both. A successful “sex work” blogger, McNeill has had articles published in the Washington Post, Reason magazine, and Cato Unbound. She fiercely defends prostitution as a legitimate business, and condemns the Nordic Model for interfering with the sex trade’s profits: “This is, of course, the whole Swedish strategy: Concentrate on busting as many men as possible so as to scare the rest and decimate prostitutes’ business, thereby forcing many of those without an established client base out of the profession without having to arrest a single one and thereby demonstrating their outrageous sexism.” https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/something-rotten-in-sweden/ Yes, being forced out of business through lack of clients really sucks. But I’d say being forced out of business through rape and murder sucks quite a bit more. And prostituted women in Sweden are not being murdered like prostituted women in The Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, and New South Wales. http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/11/03/remembering-the-murdered-women... In Norway, where full decriminalization was recently replaced by the Nordic Model, rapes against prostituted women decreased by half, and hospital emergency room visits decreased by 79%. http://www.feministcurrent.com/2013/01/22/new-research-shows-violence-de.... McNeill does not oppose the Nordic Model because it harms sex workers. McNeill, like most sex work lobbyists, opposes the Nordic Model because it harms profits. It’s simply bad for business. There is no massive sex tourism industry in Sweden like there is in countries where sex work is fully decriminalized. There are no multi-story mega brothels open 24/7 in Stockholm like there are in Sydney and Berlin. There is no thriving red light district with naked women on display in shop windows. There are far fewer prostituted women walking the streets in Sweden than there were prior to the Nordic Model’s passage. Sex trade lobbyists argue that most sex workers have been driven indoors, and that this endangers them. But according to most statistical evidence, working outdoors is twice as dangerous for prostituted women than working indoors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11230067 The Nordic Model is saving lives and decreasing sex trafficking. For years now, the sex work lobby has fought to deny any link between sex work and sex trafficking. But because evidence is overwhelming that the two are deeply intertwined (http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2012/12/Legalised-prosti...) the sex work lobby has had to resort to denying that sex trafficking happens at all. Here’s McNeill claiming that most trafficking survivors are delusional: “Next time you see one of these “survivor” narratives, compare it to the now-discredited accounts of Satanic ritual abuse and the widely-ridiculed tales of alien medical experiments.” https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/imagination-pinned-down/ McNeill describes trafficking survivors as FPP’s or “Fantasy Prone Persons”: “…traditionally-religious FPPs are likely to believe they’ve been possessed by demons or sexually abused by cultists; those with a strong interest in science fiction or UFOs are likely to identify their imaginary tormentors as aliens; and women with an unhappy history of sex work, or who become too immersed in “sex trafficking” porn, remember lurid experiences of vast pimp networks and over a dozen clients a day, etc.” So, trafficking survivors who report “lurid” experiences of “over a dozen clients a day” are probably Fantasy Prone Persons who watched a little too much sex trafficking porn. Abusive pimps and johns are no more real than demons or sadistic aliens from other planets. Please be aware, that when the sex work lobby says “listen to sex workers” what they really mean is, listen to sex workers who promote their industry and dismiss those who don’t as “fantasy prone” lunatics. McNeill not only believes most trafficking survivors are delusional, she also believes many of them are self-serving liars. Here’s what she had to say about teenage girls who report their traffickers to the police: “Imagine yourself a teenage streetwalker hauled in by a group of brutal thugs and thrown into a cell, …and then a detective or social worker comes in to play “good cop”, telling you that they know you’ve been “trafficked” and are willing to drop all charges – maybe even get you some goodies like a place to live and medical care – if you’ll just tell them the name of the bad men who “forced” you into prostitution. Faced with such a choice, do you honestly believe you’d hesitate to name somebody – anybody – in order to get the deal?” https://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/under-duress/ So you see, teenage trafficking victims are liars. They’re just after “goodies” like medical care and a place to live. Selfish little bitches. You just can’t trust those sneaky little brats when they tell you they’ve been forced into prostitution. Never mind that prostituted teens are usually so traumatized they’d die before sharing the names of their abusers. “Traffickers are master manipulators and employ tactics to create trauma bonds with victims. Traffickers often use the threat of violence against victims or victim’s loved ones to secure their submission.” http://sharedhope.org/the-problem/faqs/ But in McNeill’s world, trafficked teenaged girls are the real manipulators who lie about being victimized by grown men. McNeill knows those little girls really “wanted it”. And she wants to protect innocent pimps and johns from the Nordic Model, which would decriminalize and provide exit support to trafficked girls, but would prosecute the men who exploit them. She and the rest of the sex work lobby just can’t let that happen. The Nordic Model must be stopped to keep the profits flowing. Trafficking survivors must be silenced by any means necessary to protect the image of the industry. But what I find so impossible to understand is why many mainstream “feminists” are helping the sex trade to do this. Yes, prostitution has been sold to us as glamorous. And yes, it feels so much better to believe in the “happy hooker” myth than that millions of women and girls live in misery and degradation. I get that. I really do. I don’t want to believe it, either. But at what cost do we deny the reality of genuine human suffering? When I sat in the circle of my incest survivor groups, I hated hearing the stories told by prostituted women. I hated seeing the raw pain in their eyes. I hated witnessing the compounded trauma they held in their bodies. When I sat with my peer counseling clients, I hated hearing the horror stories from those who’d been prostituted; the rapes, beatings, humiliations, and betrayals they’d suffered. I hated hearing about the nightmares and the PTSD. At the homeless program where I volunteer, I hate seeing the suffering of homeless women who’ve been prostituted for decades, some since they were children. I hate hearing their stories of rape and numbness (“I hardly even care anymore”). I hate seeing their hands tremble so badly they can’t hold a cup of water, the bruises on their faces, the open sores on their legs, the dazed lost look in their eyes. Who told them this was all they could do? Who told them there was nothing better for them? Who told them this was just “work”? I understand denial. I get it. It’s so much more fun and comforting to believe that “sex work is work”, and that it’s all just a party. But rape is real. Incest is real. Sex trafficking is real. As feminists we have a responsibility to believe survivors of sexual violence. Don’t we? If we don’t believe women who’ve been sexually abused and exploited by men, who will? Not Maggie McNeill. Not the sex work lobby. As H. L.Mencken said, “It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. “ If I were a pimp or a pornographer, the last thing I’d want is a bunch of rotten little trafficking survivors screwing up my business. So I’d discredit them. I’d paint them as insane or liars or both. I’d discredit anti-trafficking activists who threatened my financial interests by calling them prudes or man-haters or SWERF’s or TERF’s or whatever else it took to bury their message – and to distract people from the fact that my interests are financial while theirs are humanitarian. But we all tend to see what we want to see. And I understand the appeal of being “sexy” and “edgy”. I get it. I understand the appeal of being liked by the boys. I get that, too. But is it really worth the loss of your own integrity? Sadly, for many neo-liberal feminists, it is. So they will continue to support a sex work lobby that erases the pain of marginalized women, and vilifies those who speak out against it. Penny J Adrian...more

“Sex work”, capitalism, and the politics of self-absorption

Sex work is a big fat multi-billion dollar global industry. Sex work is HUGE. And it has a big fat powerful lobby, too. Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), International Union Of Sex Workers (IUSW), International Committee for Sex Worker Rights in Europe (ICRSE), (SWOPUSA) Sex Workers Outreach Project USA, The English Prostitutes Collective, and many other organizations advocate for the full decriminalization of the sex trade. New South Wales, Australia, and New Zealand are held up as utopian examples of how great it is when “sex work” is fully decriminalized. By contrast, Sweden is demonized by the sex work lobby for “endangering sex workers” with its implementation of the Nordic Model, which decriminalizes prostituted women while continuing to criminalize pimps and johns. But is the Nordic Model really more “dangerous” for prostituted women than full decriminalization? There is contradictory anecdotal “evidence” on both sides. But only one side has an actual body count.In New South Wales, Australia, which has only three-fourths the population of Sweden, eight sex workers have been brutally murdered by johns in the past 16 years.http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/man-accused-of-murdering-sydney-sex-worker-ting-fang-to-apply-for-bail-20150113-12n1or.htmlhttps://countingthewomen.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/rebecca-apps-30/http://www.news.com.au/national/bandali-debs-bragged-about-killing-woman/story-e6frfkvr-1226220397801http://www.news.com.au/national/crime/has-rachael-campbells-killer-finally-been-unmasked/story-fns0kb1g-1227566122034http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/man-used-white-paint-to-cover-up-prostitutes-murder-sydney-court-told/story-e6freuy9-1225838727557http://www.smh.com.au//breaking-news-national/sydney-escort-having-fun-before-death-20101206-18mea.htmlhttp://www.smh.com.au/nsw/brothels-ignored-warning-on-neurosurgeon-sures...http://www.theaustralian.com.au/archive/news/police-baffled-by-prostitute-murder/story-e6frg6o6-1111118716217 In New Zealand, which has only half the population of Sweden, four sex workers have been murdered by johns since they fully decriminalized sex work in 2003.http://www.feministcurrent.com/2015/11/03/remembering-the-murdered-women... Since the Nordic Model passed in Sweden 16 years ago, there has not been one prostituted woman murdered by a john. Not one. Zero. Prostituted women are clearly less likely to be murdered by johns under the Nordic Model than they are under full decriminalization. So, if the Nordic model saves the lives of prostituted women, why is the sex work lobby so against it? The answer is simple: it’s bad for business. If you’re a privileged sex worker, the johns won’t risk coming to see you as often. And it’ll be a lot more risky to switch from sex worker to madam when your butt starts to sag. Bummer. You won’t be able to open up a brothel and fill it with desperate women from Asia who must work off their airfare by letting white men ejaculate on them. The state can be so darned oppressive. The sex work lobby will deny this, of course. They claim to care about women’s lives and to oppose sex trafficking. Yet they put much more effort into preventing laws against sex trafficking than they do in supporting them (I’ve never seen a sex work organization come out in favor of any anti-trafficking legislation).Melissa Gira Grant has made a career out of promoting the sex work industry. She claims to be a former sex worker, but by “sex worker” she doesn’t mean she walked the streets at night and climbed into cars with strange men. She doesn’t even mean she had any physical contact with johns. Melissa Gira Grant was a cam girl. This required a web cam, internet access, and a computer. Grant never had to worry about being raped, beaten, or even groped on the job. She never had to worry about being forced to have sex without a condom or risk being beaten up for requesting that a client wear one. She didn’t have to put Vick’s Vapor rub up her nose to avoid a client’s smell while giving him a blowjob. She didn’t have to risk pregnancy, HIV, hepatitis, herpes, or crabs. She didn’t have to experience the overwhelming risk of murder that less privileged “sex workers” are exposed to every day. In other words, Grant never experienced prostitution as most “sex workers” throughout the world experience it. Grant is opposed to criminalizing any aspect of the sex trade. She even opposed the anti-sex trafficking measure, Prop 35 that passed in California in 2012. Leading up to the vote on the proposition, she wrote this about its potential harms: “Under Prop 35, anyone involved in the sex trade could potentially be viewed as being involved in trafficking, and could face all of the criminal penalties associated with this redefinition of who is involved in “trafficking,” which include fines of between $500,000 and $1 million and prison sentences ranging from five years to life.” (emphasis mine) http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/11/01/prop-35/  Who is likely to “be viewed as involved in trafficking” and fined for “$500,000 to $1 million dollars”? Is this something a young woman on the street has to be concerned about? Or a young woman who advertises her sexual services on Backpage? Who is Ms. Grant worried about in this situation? When she refers to “people in the sex trade” she is clearly not expressing concern for the most vulnerable.  A young woman working the streets has no reason to fear being “mistaken” for a sex trafficker and fined $500,000 to $1 million dollars. Only a genuine trafficker –a pimp or a madam – would have reason to fear a penalty like that. So who or what is Melissa Gira Grant truly interested in protecting? Business interests or human beings? The sex work lobby doesn’t seem to care that legalizing prostitution makes sex trafficking easier and more profitable. They don’t seem to care that “in countries where prostitution is legalised, there is such a significant expansion of the prostitution market that the end result is larger reported inflows of human trafficking.”http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2012/12/Legalised-prostitution-increases-human-trafficking.aspx The sex work lobby also doesn’t seem to care that of all the countries in the European Union, Sweden, with its “dangerous” Nordic Model, has the lowest amount of sex trafficking. Only an estimated 400 to 600 foreign women are brought to Sweden each year to be prostituted. But in Finland, which is right next door to Sweden and only half its size, between 10,000 and 15,000 women are shipped in from poor countries to work in the sex trade. http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/criminalizing-the-customers-prostitution-ban-huge-success-in-sweden-a-516030.html And yet, the Nordic Model is as unpopular among sex work lobbyists as gun control is among members of the NRA. Even though there are fewer murders under the Nordic Model and much less sex trafficking, the sex work lobby opposes it. Their “freedom” and profits are clearly more important to them than the effect their industry has on vulnerable human beings. So whose lives matter? Whose interests come first? The sex work lobby declares “I am a consenting adult, and I have the right to buy or sell sex without interference from the state. Sex is a perfectly natural act.” Yes it is. And so is pooping. But you are not being oppressed by the state when it stops you from pooping in a public pool. There are other people swimming in that pool. What you do affects them. Their rights must be balanced against your own. It’s not all about you. As human beings we are more interdependent than any other species on Earth. We need each other and we affect each other. Developing a sense of responsibility toward other people, and concern for how our behavior impacts our community, is a natural outgrowth of emotional maturity. A responsible adult society will always cooperate to regulate behaviors that harm other people. An adolescent society will defy any regulation of individual “rights”.  Vulnerable people are suffering. Vulnerable people are dying. And it’s long past time for our species to grow up.    ...more

The Hardest Part about Being a Woman: There's No One Answer

Poor Caitlyn Jenner.  How quickly the accolades change to attacks, all because of a few poorly chosen words....more

South Asian Women: Bamboo in a Hurricane

It is sometimes hard for Westerners to understand why Eastern women are the way they are. They want to know why we don’t just walk away from what seems like a situation we should just walk away from....more
MichelleG.Lathe hank you! Yes it would definitely apply to them, I think it is most certainly an ...more

Let's Honor Women Veterans By Giving Them Equal Care

As we pay tribute we pay tribute to the people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces this Veterans' Day, did you know that 2 million American veterans are women? I recently had the opportunity to speak over the phone with Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), to find out more about the state of women in the military — and after they exit their service....more
In reading your post one might think there are no available services for women Veterans.  That ...more

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Any woman will tell you that there’s a long way toward equality for women—be it in Hollywood, the boardroom or the art world....more

Unwanted Attention Online..

Online harassment is such a drag. It takes the fun out of social media when it happens. Boundaries seem to be viewed as a choice, instead of a requirement. I try to be kind to everyone, but some guys don’t understand boundaries, and I believe it’s intentional....more

Slow Clap For the Canadian Cabinet -- and Gender Equity

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Absolutely Perfect.more