Monthly Archives: September 2010

Some “Sex Workers” Aren’t Just That…

So, someone got to my blog recently by searching for “terri bradford” + prostitute.  If I see a search term where I don’t understand how the hell someone could get to my blog by googling something, I google it myself to see what’s up.  (Unless they’re looking for porn-then I’m happy and sad at the same time.)

I had no idea why that search combination would lead someone here.  So, as per my usual habit explained above, I copy and pasted what they searched and put it in google.  And oh my, I think I found a slight conflict of interest regarding at least two of the plaintiffs on this case.

I would like to warn everyone reading this that this post is super long, so much so that I’m getting lost in it myself, trying to edit and everything.  I’m not sure if that’s because of all the citations I’m making, how long this post is, or if it’s simply poor writing on my part.   Apologies if it’s the latter.

According to the article I posted, “Ms Bedford said she hoped to work as a dominatrix.” According to a few BDSM sites and the official court document, however, she already was a dominatrix, as far back as 1993.   The court documents confirm this, as well as that she’s been charged on various prostitution-related offenses (more on that later).  The articles make it sound as if she is currently a street prostitute-which is not true, and it hasn’t been true since the early eighties.  She hasn’t even been in “sex work” since 2000, and maintains that this is due to illness.  [52]

Interestingly, the BBC article (or any other I could find) makes no mention that the exact portions of the anti-prostitution laws challenged by the plaintiffs are those same ones for which she stood trial for breaking.  More than once.  There was no mention that she had been convicted of operating a “bawdy house” in 1998 had been mentioned in any of the news articles covering the ruling that I found.  [30] This is the arrest and prosecution for which she claims was the “financial and emotional toll” was “devastating.”  Interestingly, she doesn’t mentioned being similarly devastated by her several arrests for being an inmate at a bawdy house.  This is one of many things that suggest to me she doesn’t wish to merely return to working indoors as a dominatrix, but to run an brothel or an agency herself.

On the “bawdy house” Bedford operated, she contested that the acts performed were not sexual, despite the testimony of “Princess” in that trial which suggested that they were.  In the case of where acts were sexual, her defense argued that the men were “guests,” not clients, and thus did not constitute prostitution.

When it was suggested that the activities were limited to personal guests (rather than clients) Princess was clear: They were clients.  It was a business.  Whatever they wanted , if they wanted something like that, it was done.

I found it interesting that one who claims to stand for “sex workers” went against the testimony of her own “employee” to try and save her skin in court-but that’s a bit irrelevant to the present.  Princess’ testimony, as well as the presence of a “training video,” provide evidence  that she trained the dominatrices there on how to perform in this bawdy-house.  Which obviously to me that she was more than simply a protector of “sex workers,” and was the person who ran the joint.  Most importantly, she never did contest that the “bawdy house” existed for profit and under her ownership:

It is obvious from the testimony of Princess, which the trial judge accepted, that the pain and humiliation resulted, and was intended to result, in sexual arousal culminating in orgasm.  That the operation was commercial and the keeper of the house was the appellant was uncontested.

Speaking of commercial operations-reporters have also failed to mention she ran an escort agency in the mid-80s, and had even served time in jail for doing so.  Although, it is important to note that in this case she only served the time upon returning to face the charges-she had fled and avoided prosecution for two years.  [28]

There’s something else I find especially odd, considering she claims to want to protect “sex workers” and people who make a living off of the industry.  If as she contests, the “work environment [at her agency] provided the escorts with a sense of security, dignity, and self-respect”, then she would likely know of other women in the industry who support her effort and be close to those she met.  Yet, none of her former “employees” who worked as escorts, or in the bawdy-house she ran, appear to give any testimony for her case or even as evidence that the house she ran was safe.

Ms Scott also wishes to “reenter the sex industry,” as the court phrases it.  However, her wishes are:

If this challenge is successful, Ms. Scott would like to operate an indoor prostitution business. While she recognizes that clients may be dangerous in both outdoor and indoor locations, she would institute safety precautions such as checking identification of clients, making sure other people are close by during appointments to intervene if needed, and hiring a bodyguard.

Oh goodie, how kind of you to implement some precautions!  Does anyone ask why the hell so many precautions are required in order to reduce the vulnerability of prostitutes to violence?  Maybe that kinda shows that the men who do the buying are violent?  Or that the trade itself is violent, if these precautions are that necessary to people ont being murdered?  You don’t see mailpersons or hot dog vendors having to hire bouncers to protect them on the streets, do ya?

Both Bedford and Scott claim to have quit “sex work” due to illness, and express an interest in returning to the trade only if it is allowed indoors and the provisions against pimping removed.  Because it seems that both of them have a chronic illness (from 2000 for Bedford, the 1990s for Scott)-an illness that’s lasted this long likely will not recover.  Because of this, Bedford’s history of pimping, and the stated intentions of the women, I feel that they aren’t likely to return to the prostitute-level of the sex industry.   Instead, they are most likely to establish (or return to owning, in Bedford’s case) a brothel or escort agency.

To me, it seems as if the plaintiffs involved in this case used their pasts as street workers to gain credibility on the issue, simply because they wish to make money.  I believe I’ve heard of similar things happening in other countries, where prostitutes will sort of “rise in the ranks” and become madams themselves.  Although the press does not report this, let’s call it like it is: two of the three plaintiffs in the case are not currently prostitutes. They want to be pimps.

C’mon, journalism.  There’s more in depth coverage in an article from a 19 year old girl who’s never read a real newspaper or taken a journalism class in her life.  That’s just pathetic.  Hopefully this article doesn’t totally suck, despite my inexperience with this sort of thing-I’ve been working on it on and off since yesterday afternoon, and I’m fucking exhausted.   Phew.

——

A little aside for those interested in what other prostitutes were heard by the court:

The applicants submitted affidavits from eight witnesses who described their perceptions and experiences of working as prostitutes….to provide “corroborative voices” to demonstrate that the applicants’ experiences are shared with many other women…..The affiants recounted that they entered into prostitution without coercion (although financial constraints were a large factor) and most reported being addiction-free and working without a pimp.[7]

The respondent tendered nine affidavits from prostitutes and former prostitutes, whose stories painted a much different picture. The respondent’s witnesses gave detailed accounts of horrific violence in indoor locations and on the street, controlling and abusive pimps, and the rampant use of drugs and alcohol.

What a convenient sample for the sex industry, eh?

Court case: From the Canadian Legal Information Institute

Some details on Bedford’s bawdy-house: Same place

Well, shit

From the BBC:

Ontario judge overturns Canada anti-prostitution laws
The judge found the laws force sex workers to choose between safety and liberty

A judge in Ontario has overturned key Canadian anti-prostitution laws, finding they force sex workers into the streets at risk to their safety.

She ruled with three prostitutes who had challenged bans on brothels, pimps and solicitation.

The ruling applies to Ontario province but could, if upheld on appeal, allow the rest of Canada to follow suit.

One sex worker said she no longer had to fear rape, robbery and murder. The government is weighing an appeal.
‘Emancipation day’

Finding the laws unconstitutional, Justice Susan Himel called on the Canadian parliament to regulate the sex trade.

“These laws… force prostitutes to choose between their liberty, interest and their right to security of the person,” she wrote in a 131-page ruling in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Plaintiff Terri Bedford, described in court documents as a prostitute who had been beaten and raped while working in the streets of Windsor, Calgary and Vancouver, said: “It’s like emancipation day for sex trade workers.”

Ms Bedford said she hoped to work as a dominatrix.

“The federal government must now take a stand and clarify what is legal and not legal between consenting adults in private,” she said.

Justice Himel found national laws banning brothels, forbidding solicitation of clients, and banning Canadians from managing sex workers as pimps or madams violated a provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing “the right to life, liberty and security”.

Supporters of the overturned laws fear the ruling will make Canada a haven for human traffickers.

The ruling will not go into effect for 30 days, giving the government time to appeal if it chooses.

Street prostitution in Canada has been under increased scrutiny in recent years following the trial of Robert Pickton, a Vancouver pig farmer convicted in 2007 in the killings of six sex workers.

Pickton is suspected in dozens more killings. A Canadian court this summer denied him a new trial.

—————

Various thoughts and comments I had, besides just sheer horror at the implications:

Emancipation? Really? Again we see the language of freedom adopted by those defending the sex industry.

One sex worker said she no longer had to fear rape, robbery and murder.


Oh yes, because now you’re absolutely immune to everything. No prostitute who works indoors has ever been raped. Just as women who don’t walk alone at night no longer have to fear rape, right?

Justice Himel found national laws banning brothels, forbidding solicitation of clients, and banning Canadians from managing sex workers as pimps or madams violated a provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing “the right to life, liberty and security”.

I can understand, at least, where the argument that prostitution is safer indoors is coming from, thus denial of  “security” argument, however much I feel it’s a load of crap.  But seriously-how in the hell does not being allowed to pimp, have brothels, or solicit deny the right to any of those three values?

“These laws… force prostitutes to choose between their liberty, interest and their right to security of the person,” she wrote in a 131-page ruling in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Perhaps the Canadian court should consider the economic structures and patriarchal society that force women to chose between being prostitutes and not having a livable income.  In fact, considering the dangers of the sex industry, it seems that the real “choice”  is between prostitution itself and “liberty, interest and their right to security of the person.”

Sex-Positive Bingo

Until I finish the posts I’m working on, I figure I might as well share a “bingo card” I made quite a while ago modeled after similar cards for racism, sexism, rape-apologism, et cetera.   (Don’t look forward to new posts-the one I finish will most likely be the one on fanfiction, pffft.)

It would be more aptly called “sex-industry apologism bingo,” but that’s too fucking long of a title so I just went with “sex-positive,” although the term is problematic.  Suggestions on what to change or anything else are welcome, of course.  Click for full size!  Sorry the preview is so blurry.

Calling Out Feminist Men

I worry a bit that posting this makes me as creepy as Hugo, who seems to have an obsession with FCM’s posts while not actually understanding or replying to them at all.  (Have you noticed they never quote FCM radical feminists in general?  Makes it much easier to misrepresent what they say.)  But I don’t think it does, because there are a few major differences.  Firstly, the major reason this needs to be pointed out is to say with big neon letters that even “feminist” men can be creepy rapist motherfuckers. It also is a sort of case study on what FCM said in On Crediblity.  And as to why I’m motivated to this, Hugo is essentially going back on his word, where he invited to reopen comments on his posts describing the affairs, since I might have a “new take.”  Only if he believed my analysis of his past to be irrelevant to the topic does my ban really make sense, since calling his “affairs” outright rape is obviously a “new take” on them.  But since he didn’t mention me being off topic, I can only guess I analyzed his past a little more than he would have liked.

Alternatively, I was banned because I was “arrogant and entitled,” and “threw the word rape around” for nearly any sexual act, by calling Hugo a rapist for fucking his students.  It’s interesting to me they say these things, because the rationalizations of these commenters are the same ones I have seen from rapists and rape apologists I’ve encountered (or been raped by).  The general lack of seriousness with which they treated my judgment of his actions also says quite a bit about “feminist” men’s definitions of “consent” and how they react to women accusing men of misogyny, in this case manifesting as rape and an abuse of power.

One of the most frightening responses was from someone who said I had a “right to my opinion” that he had raped his students, but that I shouldn’t apply labels based on it.  Which I assume translates to: You can think he raped those women, but don’t call him a rapist because that’s mean and irrelevant.  Thanks! But more so than this guy’s concern for Hugo’s fee-fees, the analogies that followed this are incredibly frightening, considering the subject matter.

Ms Citrus – No one that I’m aware of is saying “that liberal men don’t consider a professor sleeping with student rape, or even predatory”.

If I had several accidents caused by drunken driving where I injured or killed others – I would clearly be a “murderer” or similar to some. To hear that years later would be different from shortly after the last “accident”. (None of this happened.)

There is plenty – if you want to criticize Hugo – related to his past and certainly material he writes of now. There is no need to make things related to Hugo or others as a: “you’re with me or against me” mindset as you are (unfortunately) doing. Thanks!

The key words in his analogy are “accidents.”  This commenter is, yes, comparing accidents that happen while driving drunk to a teacher fucking his students.  As though you can accidentally fuck someone.  The fact of the matter is these “affairs” of his takes intent.  He could have, I am sure, found willing sexual partners in his own age range.  But he didn’t.  He could have even dated people half his age who weren’t his students, or simply waiting until whoever he was interested in graduated.  But he didn’t.

He deliberately chose to fuck his students-whether that’s because he knew they weren’t in any position to say no, or simply because he had some sort of fetish for student/teacher relationships isn’t clear.  What is clear, however, is that his affairs with students were no “accident” and not due to any spiritual or emotional connection to the women involved, since he fucked multiple students in the same time period.  Despite what “feminist” men like Hugo, my ex, and the commentators who support him might imply, you cannot accidentally fuck someone, nor can you accidentally rape them.   Rape is never a “mistake” on the part of the rapist, to use the same term of another commenter.  Nor is fucking students a mistake that everyone could make.  It occurs when a man wants to fuck a woman, regardless of what she wants.

I don’t think it any different than how people have labeled Andrea Dworkin and may others. Dworkin was obviously Much More Profound an influence on most of us than Hugo is and didn’t have a Past of which she was Ashamed due to things she’d done – as Hugo does, but she wasn’t “perfect” in her visions. Criticizing specifics of her ideas is fine, but labeling her as oft times is done shows More of the limitations of the Labeler than anything about her.

Because labeling someone as a bitch or a “misandrist,” based on their theory, is just as bad as calling someone a rapist based on their actual history of  fucking their students.  Most of the time I’m convinced this is deliberate stupidity, because I don’t see how else anyone could say things like this and not realize how moronic they sound.

I was able to recover one of the comments I believe I was banned for, which *just so happened* to contest his account of those “affairs,” although I added some points and stuff so it fits into the post better:

Of course I’m going to be hostile-Hugo is a fucking rapist as far as I’m concerned, and “feminists” are listening to him.  You cant sleep with someone you have that kind of power over “consensually,” and even if HE says it was consensual, that doesn’t mean it was.  We’re hearing the perpetrator’s perspective, and the sad thing is people are taking it seriously.  I’m not going to take the word of a man who fucks women half his age while in an authority position over them on whether or not they were willing.

He has every reason to lie on whether or not they “consented;” and I’m willing to bet he is.  Since he never says who initiated these relationships, yet lists every other excuse for them imaginable (she wanted it, she was older than me, blahdeblah), I’m lead to conclude that HE initiated some of these relationships, which qualifies as sexual harassment and makes any prospect of “consent” on their part far more dubious, even if you think it’s possible for them to consent.  And even if you don’t think he raped them, he’s still a fucking creep who sexually harassed (past tense?) his students.  And he now teaches classes made up of predominantly women-women in the same age group and social position as others that he habitually fucked.   It’s akin to putting a “transformed” pedophile in charge of an elementary school class so he can redeem himself.  Like hell anyone would support that.

His “past,” as he euphemistically calls it, isn’t exactly the only shady thing either.  He is currently on his fourth wife-which to anyone with a lick of sense suggests that something about the way he treats and interacts with women is off.  It’s just plain pathetic that people are taking what he says about women and other feminists to be true.

My nigel actually pointed out when I was discussing this with him, that I was “warned” in a way by Hugo, that I needed to shut up about his past: he’s made amends publicly, and “grieve[s] the harm [he] did” with” patient and persistence and the complete absence of shame.”  Which roughly translates to: I apologized, you bitch, what else do you want?

Heard the same before from my rapist and his supporters.  When I confronted them and they had the actual sense to realize they were wrong and apologize, if I didn’t immediately drop the issue, I was reminded it was years ago, that I needed to just let it go, and that they apologized.  When I pointed out that them wanting me to just shut up about it meant their apology is just a way to dismiss their crimes, they blocked me or just walked off, depending on if I confronted them on chat or IRL.   So no wonder Hugo banned me!  He made amends and grieves the harm he did, and I was still not letting it go.  What could he do but ban me, right?  It causes him so much pain to be reminded of the fact that he raped his students, and he’s made amends so I should just stop talking about it.  And men should never have to deal with pain or guilt, even if it comes as a direct consequence of their actions.  The fact is, if he lacked shame about his crimes, he would let me post my interpretations of his “affairs” and “acting out years,” as he euphemistically calls them.

This whole episode, their attitude towards going without PIV, and the manipulative mansplaining I feel the commenters did, left me doubting myself.  So I did what I usually do when I feel insecure, and started picking arguments apart and analyzing things.  Eventually I was left with a  pretty big piece of writing, and I figure I might as well make it a post since most of it was already written.

(I have to say though, the comment about me having to be a creationist because I think the idea that the desire for intercourse is socially constructed was hilariously sad, at least.)