Male pattern violence is the problem: CountingDeadWomen

In our records of #CountingDeadWomen in Australia this year, we have listed 31 women suspected to have been murdered by alleged, probable or likely male violence in less than 4 months.  Another 3 women are missing, and 3 more women have been murdered by other women.

male female ratio

We started CountingDeadWomen this year in Australia along with Destroy The Joint (DTJ), who began counting All women murdered last year. Our focus is specifically on Male Violence Against Women (MVAW), following on from the original UK campaign of #countingdeadwomen, in order to get a clear picture of fatal male pattern violence against women in Australia. On this basis our records and numbers and those of DTJ will differ, but we do feel both records are important for these differing reasons. We are also keeping record of missing women, we now know a couple of these missing women are suspected to have been murdered.

Karen explains on her website why she started counting all known and suspected MVAW:

“My list doesn’t just include women killed through domestic violence, I count women killed through male violence.  I want us to stop seeing the killings of women by men as isolated incidents, to put them together and to see the connections and patterns.

The murders of some women barely cause a ripple, some don’t make it into the national media. If the press take this seriously, there’s more chance of people seeing what is going on, of understanding the implications of male violence and to say ‘no more’.” Karen Ingala Smith

As with the UK, our issue of MVAW is not confined to women who have been killed by their former or current partners in ‘incidents of domestic violence’, we also extend our records to all women known or suspected to have been killed by men. Karen noted “Even if a mugger or burglar causes the death of an elderly woman, if there is a pattern of that man targeting vulnerable women it arguably puts him in the same category as a domestic abuser”. This is femicide

We also want to end the myth that domestic violence is a “gender neutral” phenomenon. As Women’s Aid state, who have united with Karen Ingala Smith in founding the UK femicide census, “Gender is fundamental and the relationship between gender roles and violent behaviour is obvious in the data. Unless we accept that this is a fact, and that it’s a fact we no longer want to tolerate, we will get nowhere.”

We would like to note that though our focus here at REAL for women is addressing and challenging our very masculinised culture and MVAW, therefore only recording MVAW in Australia, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the 3 women and the child murdered by other women this year. Extending this also to the many men’s lives, and other children, that have been taken by violence.

The extent of this problem of our heavily masculinised culture and MVAW has been addressed in more detail here, which is why, knowing statistically that 90% of murderers are male, we are including unknown murderers on our records at CountingDeadWomen. Until, and if, we ever know more, it is more than likely that these women were murdered by men.

Regarding this statistic from Victoria Police during the reporting year of 2013/2014, that 87% of murderers in Australia were male, more analysis is needed for a holistic understanding of this figure. Noted by Jane Gilmore on her recent research into these particular police statistics: “94% of rape victims and 84% of other sexual crime victims are women, 51% of assault victims are women and 36% of homicide victims are women”. So men are indeed the recipients of violence, but mostly by other men.

Publicly released crime statistics most often tell us various details about the victims, but gaining access to details about the perpetrators, Gilmore tells us,  requires the process of paying $700 and waiting 9 weeks to obtain (incomplete) statistics on the perpetrators of violence for the requested period. Gilmore also noted towards the end of her article that “violent crime is predominantly committed by men, sexual crimes are predominantly committed against women, and both men and women are almost equally victims of physical assaults almost always committed by men”.

What do we know about the 10% of female murderers, or according to Victoria’s statistics above – 13%? When the victim was male, why did these women murder them? 

“We actually do not know how many women are imprisoned for defending themselves against their abusers. No agency or organization seems to keep track of this information. Prison systems do not. Court systems do not. The U.S. Department of Justice has some data on intimate partner violence, but not about how often this violence is a significant factor in the woman’s incarceration. In California, a prison study found that 93 percent of the women who had killed their significant others had been abused by them. That study found that 67 percent of those women reported that they had been attempting to protect themselves or their children when they wound up killing their partner. In New York State, 67 percent of women sent to prison for killing someone close to them were abused by that person. But these are just two specific studies; no governmental agency collects data on how frequently abuse plays a direct role to prison nationwide.” How many women are in prison for defending themselves against Domestic Violence?

The forward of a publication for the Australian Institute of Criminology, Killing the beloved: Homicide between adult sexual intimates, by The Director of the South Australian Domestic Violence Prevention Unit notes:

“Dr Easteal’s study confirms our anecdotal impressions that the background circumstances are usually different where women kill their partners. It would be a rare spouse killing which does not feature prior abusive or controlling behaviour by the male perpetrator against his victim. Dr Easteal has found that for male offenders there is often a prior history of violence towards their deceased partner. Females who kill their partner usually do so to stop a long, and frequently escalating pattern of violent conduct against themselves and in some cases their children. Killing the Beloved shows that when women choose the most obvious way to end a violent relationship, that is, by leaving it, they in fact place themselves at an increased risk. Thus, women victims are in a no-win situation. If they get out their chances of being killed escalate. If they kill their oppressor they will almost certainly find that the legal system is illequipped to understand the forces which have led to their predicament. It has become clear that women have been, and are continuing to be, treated differently to male offenders by a supposedly ‘gender neutral’ legal system.”

Related reading: HOW MANY WOMEN ARE IN PRISON FOR DEFENDING THEMSELVES AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? by author and freelance writer, Victoria Law

We also know that VicHealth “Using burden of disease methodology, determined that domestic violence was the leading risk factor contributing to death, disability and illness in Victorian women aged 15 to 44 years.[148]“, One woman is hospitalised every three hours from domestic violence across the country, and that most Domestic and sexual violence is highly under-reported and highly gendered.

34 women pie chart

Why are we also including suspicious deaths of women? As we collate this picture of MVAW it becomes clear that the problem is broader than the clear cut cases, when we also have the ‘suspicious deaths’ of women, and even some of those ruled suicides.

Australian writer Davina Squirrel noted, after the murder of heavily pregnant Kris-Deann Sharpley and her 7 year old son by her father Derek Sharpley, March 1, that “the autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death of 7 year old Jackson” and “although the cause of death could not be established for Jackson, the two probable causes were either suffocation or strangulation”. 

She also noted that “the Courier Mail reported:

“Family members said Kris-Deann had spent time caring for her dad after her mother Elizabeth died in 2011 in bed next to her husband. She [Kris-Deann] left her life in Toowoomba and moved back in with her father to support him.”

Which led to her delving further and discovering a transcription of Elizabeth’s obituary (her emphasis):

“SHARPLEY, Elizabeth Roslyn “Beth”nee Gainey Late of Biddeston and formerly of Garah, N.S.W. Passed away unexpectedly on 24th July, 2011, aged 54 years….” Notices | Publication: Toowoomba Chronicle | Published 30 Jul 2011

We have the same questions and curiousities as Davina does:

“Passed away unexpectedly. In bed, next to husband, who years later, is likely to have smothered/murdered his grandson in the same manner. Was there a coroner’s investigation into this “unexpected death”? Probably not, but I would be curious as to what the cause of death was determined as, and also, if extended family members had suspicions.” What is the real toll 

january 19 woman dead crime scene established*UpdateJune 16, a woman has been charged with her murder [On January 19 a 57-year-old woman was found deceased in her bed in Vineyard, NSW. A crime scene was established and inquiries continue. Limited information.]

People die all the time and it makes the obituary columns not the headlines or police media reports. People die all the time and crime scenes are not established nor is public assistance called for.

– On January 23 a 50 year old woman died after being located unconscious in a unit at Botany, NSW. She had severe bruising on the left side of her face and neck and a substantial bruise on her right thigh. Police said early inquiries indicate her death is suspicious. One woman claims to have heard yelling during the night. Limited information.

These two women will remain on our records so they will not be forgotten or until we have information stating otherwise.

Tina FangOn January 1, Tina Fang was stabbed in the throat, murdered, by a man who paid to have sex with her. Inspector Hutchins said there were “signs of ­violence which made it quite clear we were dealing with a murder”. 27 year old man Chunguang Piao was arrested for her murder

Tina Fang was murdered by a john this year in Australia’s legal prostitution industry, she is one of the #FacesOfProstitution. So was Mayang Prasetyo, transexual ‘sex worker’, murdered by current partner Marcus Volker, found October 4, 2014, Brisbane. So was Tracy Connolly, murdered by a john, still on the streets and most likely still using and abusing prostituted women, July 21, 2013, Melbourne.

It needs to be noted here that we mostly find out a prostituted woman has been murdered when a body is found. When we look at the backgrounds of the majority of women who have entered prostitution, a lot have run away from homes where they suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse, the ‘families’ or ‘homes’ they escaped from probably wouldn’t care enough for their welfare to report them missing, and many women’s real names get lost among their time in the prostitution industry. Some prostituted women are deliberately ‘disappeared’.

Homelessness is a vulnerable position to be in as a woman, and along with other factors it is one of the reasons a woman enters prostitution. Being in love can also be a vulnerable position to be in as a female.

We do not know the full extent of women murdered while inside the prostitution industry, but along with the above, we also know johns pay to push prostituted women’s bodies to the limits, like they couldn’t with ‘other’ women, we know the contempt johns hold for prostituted women. We do know that like all male violence against women, most of it occurs indoors and is highly under-reported.

This is Male Violence Against women. “Being a prostituted woman means you are always in the wrong place at the wrong time”This is the relevance of the FacesOfProstitution hashtag to our records of CountingDeadWomen.

“The #FacesofProstitution hashtag sprung up in response to a post republished on an Australian news website/online women’s mag, Mamamia… The post was in response to the 25th anniversary of the release of Pretty Woman. In it, Laila Mickelwait of Exodus Cry criticized the way in which the film promotes a fantasy that bears little resemblance to the reality of prostitution and trafficking… The backlash was swift. #FacesofProstitution took off on Twitter, promoted — of course — by those supportive of the sex industry. Within a few days, Mamamia published a response piece which pushed the hashtag, (and) downplayed any issues of trafficking…” #CountingDeadWomen in the #FacesOfProstitution

A lot of people, groups; including feminist, and media gave great support to this ’empowering’ FacesOfProstitution hashtag, giving great voice to this minority of a whole. A few people started using the hashtag to remember prostituted women murdered by a john in response, to show that the prostitution industry for most women is not empowering. That being murdered by a john in the sex industry was not empowering for these women. This was met with abuse from sex trade unions, individual women and men, along with a whole lot of myths about why we should have full decriminalisation of prostitution in Australia, here.

Our pictures don’t paint as glamourous a light on the realities of prostitution. Tracy Connolly’s life, like so many others, does not fit this ’empowered by and loving prostitution’ image, and if Tracy was still alive today, living in her van with her boyfriend, parked near a community centre and safe haven for ‘sex workers’, where they can cook meals, just trying to break even to support their drug habit, I don’t think she would be tweeting selfies for #FacesOfProstitution and claiming how ’empowering’ ‘sex work’ is. “She tried to survive without sex work, but needed the money.”

Staff at St Kilda Gatehouse – safe haven for sex workers, claim “say two or three of the sex workers they assist die each year. Drug overdoses mainly.” Two or three that they know of in St Kilda alone. In her report on Tracy Connolly, ABC’s Kerri Ritchie notes:  

“While on Greeves Street, Scott the cameraman and I are approached by a sex worker. She’s just been speaking to detectives. She wants to be known as Tiffany and asks us to disguise her voice “because her mum watches the ABC”.

Tiffany was friends with Tracy and says she was a beautiful person and very street smart. Tiffany says every day there’s violence towards sex workers on Greeves Street.

She tells me that a week ago she asked a man to wear a condom during oral sex. He turned to her and out of nowhere punched her in the face. Tiffany says like a growing number of clients, he was high on the drug ice.

Tony says he hated what his partner did for money to pay for their heroin. Staff at Gatehouse say Tracy Connelly told them recently she wanted a house in the suburbs. She’d recently seen a job for a kitchen-hand in the newspaper and wanted to apply.” St Killda’s daily violence cost Tracy Connolly her life

Our government has legalised prostitution to regulate it, and let’s face it, profit from it, simultaneously increasing sex trafficking into Australia. And business is booming, particularity in Queensland mining towns, where a worrying increase of mostly Asian women are entering the Australian prostitution industry legally via working visa’s. A worrying increase of vulnerable women, as well as “some regions reporting an eight-fold increase in the number of sexual assaults“. Local police inspector Paul Biggin: 

“A lot of these young women, they are vulnerable, they have very poor education, they’re putting a lot of pressure on legalised brothels in Queensland. (mostly arriving legally)… It’s then when they’re working illegally, or being controlled through, you know, organised crime… A lot of females do come from Asian countries and they’re the types of ladies that certainly do get exploited because of their poor education or the fact that they’re easily tricked… They do have an issue with authority so far as trusting law enforcement because of their experiences overseas.” Inspector Biggin has been awarded the Donald Mackay Churchill Fellowship, allowing him to travel overseas and meet with international sex trafficking experts. He’s hoping to learn more about strategies to empower women who are being exploited in mining communities. (on being asked – Have any of the women you’ve spoken to explained to you that they’ve been mistreated?) “A lot of times they don’t because there is a fear factor involved. And once again, you know, a number of girls do have exposure to the sex industry overseas. Also the fact that because they’re poorly educated, some of them, and they don’t speak very good English, they are more vulnerable and more exposed to being targeted by organised crime.” Sex trafficking increasing in QLD mining towns

Reporter David Lewis then notes that the union representing sex workers disagrees with that assessment. Jules Kim, migration project manager at Scarlet Alliance in response stated, “I think it’s very dangerous to use those as indicators of exploitation.” she continued,  “Using ‘doesn’t speak English’ as an indicator would not be applied to any other profession and it seems like it’s being used as an indicator in the sex industry only.”

This has been addressed further here by Lateline: Interview: The scarlet Alliance’s Jules Kim – Lateline ABC (transcript and video). There doesn’t seem to be a lot of care for these legally and illegally trafficked women by Scarlet Alliance’s Jules Kim at all.

Queensland, of course, is not the only state to be affected by increased sex trafficking due to a legal prostitution industry: 

It’s time to get serious about sex trafficking in Australia – Legalising prostitution has not made the women working safer.

A Submission from the Australian Federation for the Family Against the Legalisation of Houses of Prostitution in Tasmania.

Prostitution and trafficking.

Legalising prostitution is not the answer: The example of Victoria, Australia.

Asian slaves to the Australian sex trafficking industry

10 Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution.

Global trafficking in women.

Legalising brothels and other sex industry establishments, while still criminalising street prostitution has certainly cleaned things up nicely for those concerned, cleaning things up on the outside, while pushing all prostitution indoors. Men are still paying to use women as sexual goods, now it’s just all neatly behind closed doors (mostly). Nicely convenient for the government, the neighbourhoods and the johns. Just like the use of the term ‘sex work’ – cleaning things up nicely for men.

“If a brothel application ticks the right town-planning boxes, and the council area has more than 25,000 residents, the application must be approved. No ifs, no buts and no community input. The community can’t lodge objections and the application is shepherded through the system by town planners without even coming to a council meeting.

It is not lawful for the council to consider the social cost of brothels or to protect young women from the government-backed sex trade’s illusionary promises of easy money, glamour and empowerment.” Queensland brothels approved in secret through legal loophole

We now have an abundance of brothels with outcall services (excluding Queensland). It’s Still Not Safe For Women

“…Ms (Tracy) Connelly had been charged several times for street sex work.

St Kilda Legal Service lawyer Vanda Hamilton said an unintended consequence of a police crackdown on street sex work clients could mean only those not concerned with being caught still crawled the red light district. These risk-taking clients could be more likely to be violent, she said.

…The County Court heard in 2007 Ms Connelly had been robbed and assaulted during her work. She was appearing as a witness in a trial involving a prospective client who had allegedly run over her minder when he tried to stand up for Ms Connelly.” St Kilda prostitute brutally murdered

Scarlet alliance and supporters, as well as those of us who instead support the Nordic model of prostitution, want the full decriminilalisation of women selling sex, so no more women are punished like Tracy was. This is the desired outcome for women here by all. And this is where our politics diverge. Scarlet alliance and supporters also want the full decriminalisation of men who buy and sell women for sex, in other words – full impunity and access to women’s bodies as sexual goods for johns and pimps. With no focus on exit programs for women wanting to leave prostitution.

This is the second fundamental difference with our records of CountingDeadWomen Australia and that of DTJ. DTJ support the full decriminalisation of the prostitution industry and support Scarlet Alliance sex workers union. We support the Nordic model, As Meghan Murphy so succinctly puts it:

“…a number of women’s organizations, activists, experts, feminists, Indigenous women’s groups, and frontline workers who believe that the sex industry harms women — as individuals and as a class — …support the Nordic model, which decriminalizes prostitutes and criminalizes pimps and johns. The model is a comprehensive feminist and socialist one that incorporates systems and services to help women exit the industry and works explicitly towards gender equality. It is, in these ways, the only model of its kind.” Meghan Murphy

The full decriminalization of prostituted women and girls, is not the only positive impact for women with the implementation of the Nordic model. There is also a large focus on supporting women while in prostitution, supporting women to exit prostitution and supporting women who have exited prostitution. Which includes support programs for these women and girls and giving them options other than prostitution. Access to well-funded social and educational programs, including advocacy, physical and mental health care, job training and placement, legal services, and adequate welfare.  Increased funding for transitional and long term housing for women seeking to escape prostitution, with survivor specific training for police, emergency and social services in order to develop better relationships between prostituted women and police for better assistance, treatment and safety nets for women reporting of crimes against them in the prostitution industry, so they know they won’t be punished for their own exploitation.

“Women and girls who are trafficked and exploited to satisfy the demand for commercial sex are treated as commodities to be bought, sold, exploited and abused. An estimated 98% of sex trafficking victims are women and girls ii and the vast majority of commercial sex “buyers” are men. Buyers often have specific preferences regarding the women and girls they buy – including “young” or “fresh” girls, specific races/ethnicities, and body shapes and sizes – but most importantly, they want on-demand sexual access to a diverse supply of women and girls. Exploitation of women and girls in the commercial sex industry is both a cause and consequence of gender and other inequalities. It entails numerous human rights violations, including of the right to equality and non-discrimination, dignity, health and to be free from violence, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. It perpetuates the idea that it’s acceptable to buy women’s and girls’ bodies as long as a buyer can pay for it. The Nordic model challenges this construct and tries to redress these inequalities by promoting women’s and girls’ right to safety, health and non-discrimination, and by challenging men’s perceived – but nonexistent – “right” to buy women’s bodies for sex. Unsurprisingly, 3 of the top 4 countries with the highest level of gender equality have adopted the Nordic model. iii” What is the Nordic model?

A friend long lost, many many years ago, told me that despite how horrible it was, and the men, that she thought she was keeping the real perverts and child molesters off the streets, that she was helping prevent some rape, while reiterating how perverted these men were. Her new boyfriend, who soon became her pimp, within about 6 months of his abuse ended up kicking her teeth out. She moved to a mountain far away back with her mum and became a recluse, that’s all we know from her closest friend. I think of her often and wish i knew more then, we were both so young, just two women trying to survive through male abuse and poverty.

“I think that in Australia this is hard to understand, it’s a very masculinist culture, and I think that prostitution and the sex industry generally and the privileges men have to abuse women in this way is so accepted that people are outraged to think that there actually might be other values, but believe me there are, and in fact Australia is quite low, very low in the index of OECD nations on gender equality, and it’s because there’s a very masculinised culture”. Sheila Jeffreys

I wish we were raised with herstories. I wish I knew earlier in my life that prostitution does not stop rape. And i wish I knew how to voice at the time, that certain women shouldn’t be socially accepted to be rapable by perverts and violent men, so that other women of higher means or stature aren’t. I wish i knew then that men’s rights to buy women for sex should not even be a phrase in our current terminology. That this legally and socially accepted sexual entitlement of men, with the power and the means, to buy vulnerable women as sexual goods, should not even be a thought in a gender equal, egalitarian society. Why are we still throwing women physically and emotionally under the bus for men’s sexual fun?

“When you see things as isolated incidents it is easier to sympathise. But when you see it everyday, at a global scale you realise something: that it is ingrained within society, within the media that glamorises women not as sentient human beings but as mere sexual objects to be used; and within a society which still thinks that a woman can be responsible for being raped. It is institutional and it is epidemic.” Why women’s rights, what about men’s rights?

The prostitution industry has been recognised globally by leading women’s organisations, even former US president Jimmy Carter, as inherently being MVAW and the sexual exploitation of vulnerable women. Male violence and sexual entitlement should be of a great concern for our country and lawmakers, and this needs to be rigorously addressed and changed for the betterment of all.

In a gender equal society there would be better options for women than being sold as sexual goods for men. We not only want better options for women, but I ask again – When our country has a flourishing industry that prostitutes vulnerable women, by and for men, and advertises it on billboards and in media! Where it is not only culturally and legally accepted, but endorsed for men to treat women as sex objects via this industry, even by mainstream media, are we still really wondering how all this ‘mysterious’ male violence against women is happening?

This is not about the fact that you as an individual man might respect and value women, this is about men as a class.

This is not about the fact that you as an individual woman are doing okay in life, this is about women as a class.

This current paradigm of masculinity is hurting everyone. Women, children and men.

I feel quite certain that the reasons feminists oppose prostitution and pornography are clear. We have gone over the arguments many times and left little room for confusion.

In short, the sex industry exists because we live in a capitalist patriarchy that places men, as a class, in a position of power over women, as a class. Within this system women’s bodies are seen as and treated as existing “for men” — for their use, for their pleasure. Men’s desire is prioritized above women’s well-being. Men will often hire prostitutes to do that which they “can’t” do to their wives or girlfriends, thus creating a class of abusable women, dividing us into worthy or “good” women and unworthy or “bad” women. At the same time, these systems make all women into things that are publicly accessible — we are to be groped, looked at, cat-called, fucked. Pornography serves to sexualize inequality and the degradation of women. It turns violence, gang-rape, and abuse into masturbatory tools. It teaches the viewer that male power and female subordination is “sexy.” It sexualizes incest and pedophilia. Both prostitution and pornography are deeply racist — creating, sexualizing, and perpetuating racist stereotypes about women that are then attached to misogynist practices. The prostitution of women of colour is, as Alice Lee explains to Chris Hedges, “an extension of imperialism” and “built on the social power disparities of race and color.” The prostitution of Indigenous women and girls, in Canada, is directly connected to our history of colonialism.*

Despite all that, when liberal feminists or leftist men who have chosen to avoid criticism of the sex industry in favour of “women have agency,” “sex work is work,” or “my body my choice” -type arguments, they tend, more often than not, to erase our actual critique, instead creating caricatures that can more-easily be dismissed or trashed.” Read more HERE

“Prostitution – We Don’t Buy It”, launched by Jill Meagher’s husband Tom, as well as the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Sex trade survivor and activist Rachel Moran. Short Video

* For a glimpse of the daily male violence and sexual violence committed by men against women in Australia this year, see #ManAssaultsWoman

* For a record of women who have been murdered, suspected to have been murdered or died suspicious deaths in Australia this year by suspected male violence, see #CountingDeadWomen

Who does the International Union of Sex Workers really represent? Not the majority of prostituted women and girls.

Reaching out to sex workers – Project Respect, Australia (transcript and video) – applying the Nordic approach

“Radical means “root.” It means to address the fundamental nature of something. Within the feminist movement, “radical” refers to women’s fight against patriarchy – the root of women’s oppression. Feminists who are called abolitionist take a radical approach to the sex industry that is comprehensive and seeks to move beyond superficial “solutions” that fail to address the reasons why women enter into and become trapped in prostitution. We see prostitution as something that exists because of, perpetuates, and exemplifies male power — that is, “patriarchy.”

Harm reduction, on the other hand, does not address prostitution (or anything else, for that matter) in a comprehensive or radical way. Rather, the intent of harm reduction models is to attempt to address the most basic, most superficial issues at hand. What this can look like, in the context of drug addiction, is access to clean needles and crack pipes and safe places for addicted people to use. In the context of prostitution, this can mean handing out condoms to women. While these efforts are not useless, they do not attempt to address the root of the matter. Harm reduction does not question why people are addicted in the first place (the vast majority of female addicts have suffered some form of abuse in their lifetimes) nor does it question why men buy sex in the first place or look at whether or not we want to live in a world wherein this behaviour, from men, is acceptable.

The harm reduction model sees harm in and of itself, in a superficial, non-comprehensive way that does not include a feminist analysis. It does not take into account the psychological and emotional trauma women and girls experience in prostitution, nor does it, therefore, understand the dynamics of abuse.

Abuse (and I speak from personal experience as well as based on what I’ve learned from other women and feminist research on abusive relationships) is not limited to physical violence. While many women do experience physical violence in abusive relationships, much of what they experience is invisible. This is part of the reason why we, as a society, have failed to deal with domestic abuse in an effective way. We don’t understand why women stay, we don’t understand why women enter into these relationships in the first place, and we don’t understand why the trauma of abusive relationships lingers for years, sometimes even for a lifetime. What children in residential schools, for example, experienced, was not only physical and sexual abuse, but also extreme psychological trauma from which many of them never did or will ever recover. What women who have been in prostitution have told me is that what hurt them the most was not the physical abuse they experienced, but the more subtle behaviour from johns — the degradation, the way the men would speak to them, the way the men would look — or not look — at them, the way they would touch them. Women with pimps are, essentially, in a form of abusive relationship with their pimps. If we were to attempt to address domestic abuse through a harm reduction model, our solution would be to clean up cuts and bruises, but, at the end of the day, treat the abuse as something individual women choose, of their own free will and, therefore, refuse to interfere with the behaviour of the abuser. As feminists, we want to stop men from abusing women. Not just to try to approach the issue once it’s too late — not just to put band-aids over her injuries.

And so, as feminists — feminists who take a radical approach to prostitution — we, likewise, want to move beyond superficial, temporary, faux-solutions. We want to address the industry as a whole and the systems that support the industry. We will not clean up prostitution, on the surface, in order for people to feel better about it’s existence or in order to ensure men have easier, safer access to prostitutes.” Meghan Murphy

Related posts:

When murder doesn’t matter

While men decide what they stand for – We women must become warriors

Related articles:

“I paid for her, I can do what I want with her.”Two years ago I read this document from an interview with a man who had repeatedly and very violently raped a number of prostitutes in Australia. His answer to the question, ‘Why did you do this?’ was ‘I paid for her, I can do what I want with her.’ Ten years later that man was out on parole and raped and murdered my wife. Tom Meagher

Yes, men ‘of sound mind’ do commit murders

Not all men? Well actually…. 

Shut your eyes tightly and it will all go away“It is vital when we do know the names and lives of missing or murdered prostituted folks, we must honour and record them.” Rebecca Mott

Minister must withdraw funding for Scarlet Alliance – Matthew Holloway for Nordic Model Australia Coalition (Normac)

If you think decriminalisation will make prostitution safe, look at Germany’s mega brothels – 2015

“It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold.” – Iceland.

Breaking the Porcelain Doll: Underneath male sexual cruelty against women and children

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Rescources on the Prostitution Industry – directly relating to Australia where possible

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Do you need help or want to report male violence? please contact:

If you are feeling unsafe right NOW, call 000

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If you are a woman inside the prostitution industry in Australia and:

– you need help and support contact: Project Respect

– you want to leave prostitution contact: Project Respect

– you want to report a rape, assault, coercion, grooming, contact the:

– you need legal services contact: Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre, Inc.
RILC provides free and full legal services to trafficking victims in Australia.

If you are a woman who has exited prostitution and:

– you need support contact: Project Respect

– you need to talk to a counselor call 1800 737 732, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are feeling unsafe right NOW, call 000

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