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.”

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19 responses to “Well, shit

  1. I’m so glad you touched on this. I actually got really emotional when i found out , i can’t believe it’s happening in my country. I wish we would finally just adopt the swedish model

  2. I thought Canada was awesome for these kind of things 😦

  3. 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?

    Prositution is now a completely normal job, remember? So pimping out women, most of which are highly vulnerable and would not do their job if given better choices, is a right. I now want to officially club everyone over the head who has helped to make this just-normal-nonsense mainstream. Here we have a whole industry, nay institution, whose existence depends on limiting women’s liberty, practically saying they are discriminated against for not having the freedom to exploit. Yes, I know, there are women who like being prostitutes, without a doubt well-to-do middle class women with an university degree who can choose the men they want to fuck and suck off. They are not the face of the industry. If only these women exchanged sexual services for money men’s demands could never be satisfied.

    • I can’t stand this “sex work” doublespeak. I highly doubt any aboriginal women testified, despite their disproportionate numbers in prostitution. (I believe a study from the Canadian government itself documented this) It’s also interesting none of testifying women still worked on the street.

      I’ll join you’re clubbing club. This is such shit.

  4. Now, more than ever, I am ashamed to be a Canadian.

  5. Thanks for speaking out about this. I have been a massive state of shock, for I cannot bear the push to get prostitution shove indoors. It is highly dangerous, for behind closed doors the profiteers of the sex trade will police themselves.

    I am sickened that this was done under the pretence to care about prostituted women and girls safety.
    How they safe when they have to be a porn-toy for any and all men who buy them.
    What is safe about be left alone in the room with men who could be a rapist, a sadist or a murderer.
    If it so god-damned safe, why do they need all those checks of johns, drivers, bodyguards, alarms, camera etc etc.

    Indoors prostitution is hell for the vast of prostituted women and girls – and it mustn’t be hidden away.

  6. So I understand that no one else read the part where “Finding the laws unconstitutional, Justice Susan Himel called on the Canadian parliament to regulate the sex trade.”

    Am I to also understand that no one else caught these remarks:

    “What is safe about be left alone in the room with men who could be a rapist, a sadist or a murderer.”

    ” If only these women exchanged sexual services for money men’s demands could never be satisfied.”

    ” Here we have a whole industry, nay institution, whose existence depends on limiting women’s liberty, practically saying they are discriminated against for not having the freedom to exploit.”

    Exploitation is different from self-exploitation. Welcome to the world of sadomasochism, bondage, exhibitionism, and voyeurism.

    Because not every prostitute is a defenseless woman. This self-victimization is just appalling. I would ask you to move to Sapphos, but I think its inhabitants would think you a nuisance.

    “Perhaps the Canadian court should consider the economic structures and patriarchal society that force women to chose between being prostitutes or having a livable income.”

    Excuse me, but what do you know about the economic structures and the patriarchal society when you made the distinction between being a prostitute and having a livable income? Forcing women to choose? By way of coercion, by physical means, through use of duress?

    See how you reinforce the conservative (and illicitly misogynist) mindset that hinders the agency you advocated? The government isn’t forcing women to make the choice so much as it’s trying to protect the women who’ve already made the choice.

    • Excuse me, but what do you know about the economic structures and the patriarchal society when you made the distinction between being a prostitute and having a livable income? Forcing women to choose? By way of coercion, by physical means, through use of duress?

      Um, quite a bit-take a fucking sociology class. Not all women have access to jobs, let alone jobs that allow for a decent standard of living-this is especially true for runaway girls, and those who lack a formal education. It’s no accident that the majority of prostitutes are women, and that a disproportionate amount of prostituted women are not white.
      And yes, women are actually coerced using physical means into prostitution. If you only count holding a gun to your head as “force,” and discount everything else (such as, say, needing to feed your children or pay your bills), there’s no hope for you analyzing social structures. If it were an expression of freedom, men would be the majority of prostitutes, just as they are the majority of political officials, CEOs, and other powerful positions.

      If the government wished to “protect” the women making that choice, they would not permit pimping, pure and simple. They would target the men who create the demand for the sex trade, as Sweden did. Regulating the sex trade does not work: it didn’t work in Amsterdam or New Zealand, and it most likely won’t succeed in Canada. Where the sex trade is legalized, the illegal trade booms, and women as a whole suffer. I fully support the decriminalizing of prostitutes-but I don’t think that pimping or brothel-running should be legal, and I think there should be harsh penalties for the johns. Look into the motivations of the women who filed this suit: they are/were pimps. This is not about protecting women, not in the least.

      There’s nothing conservative about wanting men to stop buying women for sex. Conservatives use porn, conservatives fuck prostitutes. Marriage as idolized by them (stay at home wife, bread earning husband) is essentially prostitution with only one john. The idea that women are not property and can never be bought or sold is the furthest from conservative and “liberal” ideology, because it’s completely outside of male philosophy.

  7. s verchla,

    You sir, are an ass.

    Exploitation, whether ‘self induced’ or not, is still exploitation. Also, please read up on conservative political ideology before continuing to make such an ass of yourself by comparing radical feminism to it.

    Kthnxbai.

    • Ms. Wuornos,

      Aren’t you supposed to be dead?

      Disregarding the fact that mscitrus’ and the majority of comments’ ideologies share more in common with second-wave feminism than third-wave (and if you’ve a shred of intelligence you’d see that with the exception of pushing for de facto equality, second-wave maintains a conservative and strongly essentialist ideology), would you like me to show you the difference between self-exploitation and exploitation?

      One is consensual and the other is not.

      But thanks for assuming I’m a sir. I try ever so hard to be masculine.

      @mscitrus,

      I do agree that were the government fully aware of the ramifications, it would restrict the conditions of prostitution; however, what route, other than through self-management, can sex workers take for employment?

      I’d like to differentiate between coercion, an act that forces a party to involuntarily act by way of force or pressure, and circumstance. You seem to be talking about circumstance, as in “most prostitutes are lower-class women who were victims of circumstance”. No, I do not go by a narrow definition of the word, but how can you attribute poverty, of all things, to coercion? If you can, would you say that poverty is forced onto people? Where is the line drawn?

      I’d also like to point out that the motivations of the plaintiffs are purely speculation on your part, and an ad hominem to boot. Take a logic class.

      Even if the motive were not about protecting women, regulation still provides protection as a fringe benefit. This means that there will be a prescribed method for clientele selection, STI/general protection, and employee benefits. Being managed by a pimp or madam isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be detrimental to the prostitutes (unless you assume every pimp is a lowlife scumbag with a heavy hand, and every madam is a cynical ex-prostitute who smokes too often), at least now that the government has stepped in.

      And forgive me, but I’m under the assumption that the social conservative also follows one of the Abrahamic faiths. Don’t those religions scorn pornography and prostitution, instead stressing fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse? Seems pretty conservative to me. Marriage as a form of prostitution? Sure, I can understand why you would say that- aristocratic marriages before the contemporary age was purely for social/political gain, and the wife often never had a choice in who she married. If we lived in the time of Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen, then you would be completely in the right. But alas, here we are in the present, where men are not as misogynistic as they were and women, not as innocent or persecuted as they were.

      And really? Have you never heard of egalitarianism? Cause that’s kind of a social philosophy stressing equality and the decentralization of power. Which they do teach in Sociology. And it was conceived by male philosophers/political theorists (and female philosophers/political theorists, too).

      But I don’t think you would advocate a meritocratic system. Such a system would not be favorable for anyone who associates with a form of leftism.

      p.s. when will you post my other comments?

      • Please explain how second-wave feminism is “essentialist” and “conservative.”

        I’d like to differentiate between coercion, an act that forces a party to involuntarily act by way of force or pressure, and circumstance. You seem to be talking about circumstance, as in “most prostitutes are lower-class women who were victims of circumstance”. No, I do not go by a narrow definition of the word, but how can you attribute poverty, of all things, to coercion? If you can, would you say that poverty is forced onto people? Where is the line drawn?

        It seems as though, from what you said, you only have a problem with prostitution done through physical force. You don’t seem to consider the need for food as force, and I take issue with that for obvious reasons. I don’t differentiate between physical force and social forces (lack of jobs + need for income, for example) in circumstances like this-it all leads to a lack of choices, and thus its all force to me. Poverty is forced onto people, in the sense that it’s not a choice. And sometimes through coercion-say runaway teenage girls, for instance, who leave home because they’re being sexually abused. Like I said, it’s ridiculous to only look at coercion. And even when you do look at only that, many in prostitution are there because of it.

        I’d also like to point out that the motivations of the plaintiffs are purely speculation on your part, and an ad hominem to boot. Take a logic class.

        God forbid anyone question the motives of people, because that would be an “ad hominem”. Next are you going to defend lobbyists when someone points out they benefit from the lack of restrictions on campaign spending? It’s called a conflict of interest, and it’s ENTIRELY relevant. Unlike, you know, you saying that I hate men and am a bigot.

        Even if the motive were not about protecting women, regulation still provides protection as a fringe benefit. This means that there will be a prescribed method for clientele selection, STI/general protection, and employee benefits.

        Regulation does not work. Legalization of prostitution causes the illegal sector to flourish. Johns will not be forced to wear condoms and women will not receive benefits. Pornography (essentially prostitution) has been legal for decades, and it hasn’t helped the women in it one bit.

        And forgive me, but I’m under the assumption that the social conservative also follows one of the Abrahamic faiths. Don’t those religions scorn pornography and prostitution, instead stressing fidelity and loyalty to one’s spouse? Seems pretty conservative to me

        What people do says more about their ideology than what they say. Social conservatives also divide women into two groups, virgins and whores. They marry the virgin and fuck the whores on the side, as revealed by all the instances of republicans getting caught having affairs and spending money on strippers. Just because they stress loyalty doesn’t mean it’s a true value-fidelity is only important for women.

        Marriage not prostitution as much nowadays, true, but the form of marriage idealized by conservatives IS.

        I’m fine with a meritocratic system, k thanks, so long as even those who aren’t deemed “with merit” (which is culturally determined/subjective) are protected and provided food, shelter, and other necessities for well being. But the system we have now doesn’t do that-it’s not even meritocratic. So yes, I am so socialist/left I’m damn near Marxist. (if not already that)

        I didn’t post your other comments mainly because of shit like this: “It’s sexist to even draw an association between men and rape, considering rape is not a gender-exclusive act” and your clear lack of reading comprehension. I’m tired of arguing with people who spout random shit related to the general subject, irrespective of what I actually said. That and the “oh you’re only passionate about women’s lib because DEEP DOWN you feel they’re truly inferior!” I mean, what the fuck, seriously.

  8. “Please explain how second-wave feminism is “essentialist” and “conservative.””

    Certainly. Just examine the portrayal of the masculine archetype and the double-standards attributed with female non-supporters of feminism, as well as the generally myopic ideology that excludes women of color- it’s all aimed at the middle class white woman. Examine the attitude that feminists exude when faced with contrarian ideology and their stubbornness to reconcile with contradiction and hypocrisy.

    “It seems as though, from what you said, you only have a problem with prostitution done through physical force. You don’t seem to consider the need for food as force, and I take issue with that for obvious reasons. I don’t differentiate between physical force and social forces (lack of jobs + need for income, for example) in circumstances like this-it all leads to a lack of choices, and thus its all force to me. Poverty is forced onto people, in the sense that it’s not a choice. And sometimes through coercion-say runaway teenage girls, for instance, who leave home because they’re being sexually abused. Like I said, it’s ridiculous to only look at coercion. And even when you do look at only that, many in prostitution are there because of it.”

    So you would say that the majority of criminals have only their environment to blame for their actions? It’s a form of compliance, not a form of coercion. But I digress.

    “God forbid anyone question the motives of people, because that would be an “ad hominem”. Next are you going to defend lobbyists when someone points out they benefit from the lack of restrictions on campaign spending? It’s called a conflict of interest, and it’s ENTIRELY relevant. Unlike, you know, you saying that I hate men and am a bigot.”

    My assessment of your character doesn’t reflect on my critique of your posts. At least, it shouldn’t.

    “Regulation does not work. Legalization of prostitution causes the illegal sector to flourish. Johns will not be forced to wear condoms and women will not receive benefits. Pornography (essentially prostitution) has been legal for decades, and it hasn’t helped the women in it one bit.”

    I think you should try to call an escort service. You’d be surprised how strict they are with regulations. And you should also (as I stated in another comment) do more research on the porn industry. It is not “essentially prostitution”; there are guidelines followed with scrutiny in the industry. It’s nice that you’re so convicted, though.

    “What people do says more about their ideology than what they say. Social conservatives also divide women into two groups, virgins and whores. They marry the virgin and fuck the whores on the side, as revealed by all the instances of republicans getting caught having affairs and spending money on strippers. Just because they stress loyalty doesn’t mean it’s a true value-fidelity is only important for women.”

    Several instances make an absolute characteristic? Goodness, you’re just all over the place with logical fallacies, aren’t you?

    “Marriage not prostitution as much nowadays, true, but the form of marriage idealized by conservatives IS.”

    And didn’t you just tell me that what people do says more about their ideology than what people say? Hmm.

    “I’m fine with a meritocratic system, k thanks, so long as even those who aren’t deemed “with merit” (which is culturally determined/subjective) are protected and provided food, shelter, and other necessities for well being. But the system we have now doesn’t do that-it’s not even meritocratic. So yes, I am so socialist/left I’m damn near Marxist. (if not already that)”

    Sorry; you obviously don’t know what a meritocratic system is. You’re not arguing for equality, just pity. Calling yourself Marxist is just insulting. The system we have now- this is embarrassing.

    “I didn’t post your other comments mainly because of shit like this: “It’s sexist to even draw an association between men and rape, considering rape is not a gender-exclusive act” and your clear lack of reading comprehension. I’m tired of arguing with people who spout random shit related to the general subject, irrespective of what I actually said. That and the “oh you’re only passionate about women’s lib because DEEP DOWN you feel they’re truly inferior!” I mean, what the fuck, seriously.”

    Oh I just figured since you love to psychoanalyze men, you might love being psychoanalyzed as well! Wait- was that a double standard as well?

    There’s respect to be given to feminists like Gaspar de Alba and Emma Perez. But this? Antagonizing men and dismissing their arguments (though I admit, some are unbearable) won’t help to achieve equality. Far from it.

  9. oh yes i am so totatally writing this from beyond the grave.
    *cue x files music*

    Seriously though, even if i was the real aileen wuornos, my ideas would still be valid because she was a prostituted womon, so ner.

    Like i said, dude, do yr reading on conservative ideology. For the umpteenth time, radical feminism =/= conservativism. Conservatism is marked by

    1. Desire to conserve traditions and their associated institutions (against radical change)

    2. High regard of aforementioned traditions (social cement and class identity)

    3.Ideas of human imperfection being inherit, or natural. (inherit human irrationality and that institutions keep this in check)

    4.The imprortance of traditional society (traditional social classes and institutions keep people together)

    5. A need for authority (hierachy is normal and needed)

    6. Importance of free market and property (everything can and should be commodified, enthusiastic partaking in capitalism)

    7. An acceptance of social inequality (if hierarchy is natural, so is inequity)

    Got that? Now, get ready, if you are willing to accept that feminism is the notion that womyn are disadvantaged because of their sex, and that this disadvantage can and should be overcome (Heywood, Modern Political Ideologies Fourth Ed., 2007, pg. 230)

    radical feminism on the other hand:

    1. Seeks radical change in all walks of life, private and public, political and personal.

    2. Traditions keep inequity and womyn in non-fufilling, shitty conditions, and thus, everyone else (omg men!)

    3. Humans are made imperfect through stereotyping, disenfranchisment, society etc

    4. Society as we know creates and enhances these flaws and differences, and actually keeps people apart through constant competition with one another (esp. Through gender construction)

    5. The ‘need’ for authority is an extension of the above, and helps to enforce punishments on those who don’t comply.

    6. Commodification is bullshit, capitalism helps in keeping people apart.

    7. Resistance to, seeking abolishment of social inequity and hierachy, especially based on man > womon.

    This bullshit about consent is based on a notion that people, womyn, are accessable to all outside desires, mens, at all times, and whether or not consent is there is just a convienent little ploy to rope womyn, or any oppressed class, to believe that they might be partiatially responsible for what their oppressers are doing.

    By the by, fuck ‘third wave’ libertarian, consumerist, hedonist pseudo feminism.

    • Very good definition. Let’s see if Verschla can counter this (withsources).

      What I personally can say about getting a definition of radical feminism out of academic texts: don’t do it. Or at least only take the ones seriously that actually give proof of their assumptions. In my media & communications lecture we actually got a definition of radical feminism that said we believed in female superiority (of course, it was without a source). Then I searched Google books and found one who was a little bit more humble: it said we often gave the impression that women are superior to men. (the source was another book and I bet 100$ that its sources are comparably sparse).

      • kurukurushoujo

        What I personally can say about getting a definition of radical feminism out of academic texts: don’t do it.

        With which I didn’t want to say that this is what you did. Just a heads-up if anyone should ever get the idea of using academic texts to discuss radical feminism.

  10. Yeah, that Heywood text has some strange ideas about radical feminism, especially seeing as how much liberal feminism has won for womyn (wtf!!) and how disgustingly white washed the whole text is.

    I am so sick of people saying radical feminism is like conservatism as an ideology, it just reeks of intellectual laziness.

  11. also, i think you’ll find there are plenty of black radical feminists and womyn of colour radical feminists. You’re the one who’s talking about middle class white womyn which is another classic technique of removing the focus from where it should be.

    Also, we’re not talking about ‘criminals’ we’re talking about prostituted womyn and the men who pay to abuse and debase them, the men who find the men who pay to debase and abuse them and the token torturer females who are complicit in their and other womyns oppression.

    Pfft, critique my arse.

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