Rules never serve the interests of the poorest and most downtrodden and vulnerable. Be it “The Rules” of local, state and federal law, “The Rules” of qualifying for help from a charity or social service agency, or “The Rules” of qualifying for a good job, or “The Rules” outlined in a social justice/political activism movement, or “The Rules” of discourse in a Facebook group.
Like the very last radical feminist group I retained membership in but was just kicked out of per the “No Blocking of Other Members Rule” for refusing to unblock another member, Terri Strange—one of several prominent Internet radical feminists who spread libelous lies about me and completely trashed my fundraiser by calling me a “con artist” who was “running a scam” for being a poor sex trafficking survivor in desperate need of some financial help and support.
Ms. Strange was REPEATEDLY abusive, and one of the main parties that viciously slandered me all over social media for several months, ensuring that NO ONE would donate any badly needed money so I wouldn’t lose my home over being financially unable to comply with an order and a citation from the City of Erie Code Enforcement.
It didn’t matter that this same Facebook group also had a rule that said ALL women would have their right to participate in a safe and inclusive group and NOT be subjected to abuse or harassment and stalking/doxxing by other members. (Apparently, that doesn’t apply to women who are disprivileged sex trafficking survivors even though there are laws against slander and harassment.)
“The Rules” are completely circumvented by the privileged in their treatment of the poor marginalized woman who is a sex trafficking survivor who shows up on feminist groups’ doorsteps, expecting to be able to walk through the front door of the feminist movement and be treated like a full human being with unmet needs and concerns that actually matter. She gets told she is unwelcome because “We don’t serve your kind.”
“The Rules” in my state hold that a 13 yr old child who is raped by grown ass men are crime victims with a right to restorative justice and every conceivable social support imaginable. But “The Rules” did not apply when it came to protecting me because I was trafficked and forced into prostitution as a homeless orphaned 13 yr old. Instead, “The Rules” ensured that I as a trafficked homeless teen—NOT the grown ass men who bought rape tickets—got criminalized, ostracized and stigmatized FOR LIFE, and consequently being rendered unemployable for the better part of 30 years no matter what I did to improve my situation.
And now that this society is finally starting to see that women like me were actually crime victims and my record is finally being expunged at age 47, I am “too old” for ANY employer to want to hire at a good job with a stable salary and the health benefits I desperately need (but never EVER got to have). Gee, how convenient.
If I would have been a wrongly convicted male felon that got wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years before finally winning vindication and freedom, “The Rules” are that I would have legal right of redress. I would be entitled to sue the state of Pennsylvania for those 30 years of my stolen life, and anything I suffered as a result of it. Three decades of ALL job opportunities denied, and ALL the social opportunities and life experiences that middle class non-survivors take for granted as “normal” are things I was DENIED—things like being able to get my actual high school diploma at the same age as everybody else or go to the prom, get a toehold on the jobs ladder, build/establish credit, and prepare for a home and a partner and a family.
These are ALL things I never got to have because “The Rules” NEVER protected or served poor marginalized and unwanted women like me—they only ever served and benefited people with privilege.
If you didn’t have a life that entailed having to eat out of garbage cans for YEARS, getting your hands cut up foraging for scrap metal for salvage money just to NOT die from abject poverty, and DECADES of no access to medical and dental care due to total social/economic exclusion from even a chance for a job at McDogfood’s over a prostitution “past”—you’re privileged and NOT truly poor and oppressed compared to the destitute trafficking survivor with no family, trapped in chronic abject poverty, that never got a chance for anything after escaping commercial rape hell.
Because no matter how hard we work at rebuilding our lives and no matter how long we keep trying, people with privilege keep pulling the rug out from underneath our feet to KEEP us from ever getting a chance, and “The Rules” let them get away with it while punishing us for trying to speak out when they step all over us.
“The Rules” are nothing more than a mechanism of privilege transfer payments—a wealth and power protection racket that serves the haves at the expense of the have-nots.
One thing that being from generational poverty and being a trafficking survivor has taught me about ANY rules was this: Exclusions Apply.
Because “The Rules” NEVER serve the interests of the poor, disprivileged, and marginalized. They are never written to benefit us or protect us, and they are not enforced to do so. Instead, they are set up to keep us “in our place”—under the middle and upper class designer jackboot.
“The one thing I can tell you: when I was branded, when I was stabbed, when I was chained in a closet like an animal, and when I was held at gunpoint to dig my own shallow grave—all of those happened at the hands of the purchasers of sex.” ~ Christine McDonald, sex trafficking survivor and author of Cry Purple
Except for the branding part, I had experienced similar horrific torture and abuse from johns, too—and these johns ALL were men old enough to be my father, and even my grandfather. They had kids older than me who were in college, for fucks sake. And they were/are also those who make and benefit from “The Rules.”
And in my case, ALL of them were white and middle to upper-middle class and “respectable” members of society (most were police officers!), and they ALL knew I was under-aged and did NOT want to be where I was. They knew that “The Rules” make it illegal to force or coerce sex on someone else—including sex with 13 year old girls. But they didn’t care. Their money and their privileges entitled them to buy rape tickets and go on with their lives, enjoying their careers and expensive toys and nice homes and families as if nothing ever happened.
And the majority of these socially shielded rapists were married—they were NOT “lonely and just looking for some company.”
And yet WHO do their rich white wives/ex-wives hate, resent and blame and wish death on because of what their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons were doing to poor throw-away and trafficked women and kids upon whom this unwanted outsourced sex was forced upon?
Me. And not just me—ALL the VICTIMS of commercial rape (which is exactly what prostitution really is).
And it’s not like these smug privileged handmaidens—these john protectors and enablers—didn’t know what was being done to us by their men. They knew because we are the ones whom they knowingly had the luxury and privilege of outsourcing unwanted sex onto.
And yet these trick wives hate us—the VICTIMS of sex trafficking—who were the unwilling recipients of that outsourced sex. They resent us just for being there for their precious Nigel to abuse, humiliate, rape and degrade in exchange for money we weren’t allowed to keep.
WE are the ones who did not have the privilege of having boundaries and a right to the language of “NO!” and a right to refuse.
Yet they hate and blame us for it. At best, they look down on us as “fallen women”, as children of a lesser god, while holding their noses far above the trafficking victims they “minister to” who were unjustly condemned to the brutal realities of street life and torture without any due process—something else that “The Rules” say all American citizens, including poor trafficked women, are entitled to.
No one can ever convince me that the johns, these filthy rapist scum—AND their handmaidens, their supporters, protectors and enablers—are not the biggest part, if not the entire cause, of the problem here. Because not a single pimp or human trafficker would be in business if not for privileged people’s dollars enriching them in the first place while the victims of this crime against humanity are stigmatized and repeatedly punished and ostracized, FOR LIFE.
A pox on all their houses!