It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
He who spares the wicked injures the good.
All you need is love.
To’o’ much liberty co’rrupts us all.
Self-co’nceit may lead to’ self-destructio’n.
Any valid points “allies” to trafficking/prostitution survivors otherwise make in articles like this one in Huffington Post, are fully negated by calling crime victims (trafficking survivors) “prostitutes.”
How we are labeled and named determines how we are treated by everybody else—for the rest of our lives. Because what was done TO us was used to define us and STILL is many years later, even into our 40’s and 50’s (if we live that long and have not died from unrelieved abject poverty and total social neglect in a country where the middle class/rich refuse to provide any real, decent non-discriminatory and uniform social safety net for the unemployable/jobless poor whom no one will hire)
Over 75% of the adults in prostitution were initially trafficked into it as minor children between the ages of 11-14, which means they are trafficking victims—victims of a crime. No magical Choice Fairy pays you a visit on your 18th birthday after you’ve been trafficked into prostitution since age 12 or 13, and gifts you with all the options and access to opportunity that middle class privileged NON-trafficked people get.
in 44 states here in the US, 12, 13, and 14 yr old trafficked girls are still arrested for prostitution, and that automatically slaps a 99-year “sex offender” status on them, rendering them unemployable for life. In other words, a 14 yr old trafficked child arrested for prostitution won’t be able to pass the background checks and be able to get a job, rent an apartment or even get food stamps (in many states) if she manages to exit and get any education or build any “in-demand” marketable skills in order to make herself “worthy” of a chance for a job. (Gee, ask me how I know this.)
In other words, in most states in the US, that 14 yr old trafficking victim won’t be able to get even a minimum wage job at McDonalds until she reaches the age of 113 years old—if she lives that long.
Which is a joke, considering that plenty of unemployed, NON-trafficked/prostituted women over age 40 with years of work experience and employment references to put on their resumes can’t get jobs because no one will hire them due to age discrimination.
So what chance does a poor marginalized 48 yr old woman who’s a trafficking survivor have after she was unable to get ANY job at all when she was younger due to her un-expunged/vacated prostitution record? The US only pays lip service to helping poor trafficking survivors.
When you refer to an adult trapped in prostitution, operating under the control of brutal pimps/trafficking rings, who initially got trafficked into prostitution as a homeless 12 or 13 year-old child, as a “prostitute”, that very damning and deeply stigmatizing label harms ALL the victims/survivors, everywhere.
It perpetuates oppression through the imposing of “middle class values” and top-down paternalism. And it puts the onus of responsibility for abject poverty on the individual poor marginalized woman instead of addressing the systemic and structural causes. (And let’s be honest here: Middle class/rich women can be victims of incest and have drug addiction issues, but they’re not usually trafficked into prostitution as a result.)
Especially in countries like the US where 12 yr old trafficking victims get arrested for prostitution and that prostitution arrest record results in them getting slapped with a 99-year “sex offender” status which renders them unemployable for life—IF they can ever manage to escape their trafficking situation alive (as opposed to leaving “the life” in a body bag only to lay unclaimed in some morgue).
The language used to describe us, whether in front of us or even when you think we’re “not in the room”, dictates what kind of helping hand up we get to rebuild our lives (if we get ANY help at all, since the majority of American trafficking victims in the US don’t get anything while all these anti-trafficking charities are making bank off of this trendy ’cause’).
For far too long, the voices of poor women and girls who always were traffickers’ and johns’ primary targets, have been ignored and once again, our voices are being shoved aside in this ‘movement’ for some long overdue justice for us.
Too often, poor women and kids who are trafficked are pathologized. As in, “there was/is something wrong with us.” And it was the very damning label of “prostitute” that caused that.
I was a human sex trafficking survivor DECADES before the term “human trafficking” became part of the public lexicon. The human sex trafficking of poor, disposable women and children was always a problem in the US and across much of the world, even during the “better” economic times.
But abusive social and economic policies (like Welfare Reform here in the US) caused it to reach a crisis level because NOBODY ever gave poor, marginalized women a fair shot in life. Instead, they blamed the poor for being poor and refused to take any responsibility for unequal opportunities and lack of enough jobs for all. Why? To preserve their own privileges and status by eagerly serving as “gatekeepers” to economic opportunity.
Fact: Human trafficking was not made an issue and concern for trafficking victims was non-existent until: (1) it started happening to middle class women and girls, and; (2) upper-middle class white Christian males were able to monetize this ’cause’ via Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” which he signed into law by Executive Order #13199 on Jan 29, 2001.
What that did was redirect any public tax dollars earmarked for “welfare” to private “faith-based” charities instead of giving that money directly to the poor who need it.
Being a trafficking survivor who gets referred to as a “prostitute” and who sees other victims of human trafficking labeled as “prostitutes” reinforces the message from society that I don’t deserve a chance for a good job, a chance at love, the experience of being treated like a princess (even if only for ONE night—like the prom I never got to have since traffickers don’t let their victims go to school, never mind go to the senior prom), to be treated like I mattered, to be wanted and to be socially accepted.
Calling women like me “prostitutes”, “child prostitutes”, or even “former prostitutes” reinforces the message so often said by pimps and traffickers: “Once a ho always a ho”—which calcifies the gutter and an early grave as the ONLY place in society we’ll ever be allowed to have.
Language matters. Make NO mistake about it: it is NEVER acceptable to refer to human trafficking victims/survivors as “prostitutes”, “child prostitutes”, or “former prostitutes.” There is only ONE acceptable accurate term for us: CRIME VICTIMS. You blame the victim, you become an accomplice.
Poverty is the worst form of violence. And systemic discrimination to ensure a permanent underclass is force added to that violence.
When society collectively denies poor women any real equal job/economic opportunity and refuses to provide a livable Guaranteed Basic Income and universal healthcare as an adequate safety net for those who’ve been shut out or pushed out of the economy so that NO woman or girl is forced to “choose” between dying from unrelieved abject chronic poverty, or death from prostitution, the entire society is collectively guilty of democide against the poor and guilty of human sex trafficking by proxy.
When vulnerable, disadvantaged women are forced into prostitution and homelessness due to chronic abject poverty from which escape has been made impossible due to the politics and policies chosen by middle/upper class “gatekeepers” who shut poor women out of jobs while blaming the poor for being poor, compounded by job discrimination against women with POOR women bearing the brunt—that makes this entire society guilty of human sex trafficking. Just as guilty as armed, dangerous gangs of traffickers, predatory “Romeo” pimps and their predatory middle class/rich male customers (the “johns”) whose money drives the $32 billion/year global sex trade.
Almost immediately after LBJ (who created anti-poverty and welfare programs which mostly helped poor women who’ve always suffered the most and the worst effects of sexism and discrimination) left office and Nixon got elected, there was an immediate backlash against LBJ’s Great Society social programs for the poor. In fact, it began even before that—resistance was mounted by well-heeled interests, and led by professional middle class academicians while Johnson was trying to get his poverty relief measures pushed through during his 1963-64 Poverty Tour.
In the early 1970’s, lawmakers in the state of Nevada where prostitution is legal and “regulated” and most of the brothels are owned by members of the Bonano crime family, passed a law forcing poor younger women who applied for welfare to first take “work” in the legal brothels (since prostitution is legal there, it is a “job just like any other”).
The National Welfare Rights Union, which was a grassroots org spearheaded by poor single mothers receiving a paltry welfare benefit under AFDC, launched a massive protest right out in front of Nevada’s infamous Mustang Ranch brothel to protest poor women being forced into prostitution by the state (which essentially made the state of Nevada guilty of human trafficking). Several feminists, including Gloria Steinem, joined in and protested with the National Welfare Rights Union.
The protests forced the state lawmakers (many whom were brothel owners themselves) to back down because the public outcry was tremendous.
As a poor older woman who is a survivor of child sex trafficking, I never got a chance for a job after escaping my traffickers 31 years ago no matter what/how hard I tried in order to be “worthy” of a chance for a job. I was shut out of any and all jobs my entire working age life due to the visible conditions of poverty and an unfair prostitution record that held me back and rendered me unemployable—a record I incurred from when I was trafficked into prostitution as a homeless orphaned child from age 12/13 -17.
After I managed by sheer dumb luck to escape that hell, I never got a chance for a job no matter what hoops I jumped through in order to be “worthy” of a chance for a job—while getting told by smug, arrogant middle classers that I “have it made compared to the poor in other countries”, and that “no one owes you a job” and that if I was poor and not making it, it was my own damn fault for “not trying hard enough.”
While middle class and rich women get 77 cents to every male dollar, POOR women from the permanent underclass who’v been shut out of any chances for jobs all our lives get ZERO to everyone else’s dollar.
I never in my entire 48 years of life had access to adequate medical and dental care and some semblance of a stable life. Ever since I was trafficked, and throughout the past 31 years since escaping my traffickers, I have never known what it was like to be able to experience one full year of not having one or more basic utilities cut off for lack of any money or income to afford the bills. I have never known what it was like to be able to get decent medical, dental, and (very badly needed) vision care.
I don’t know what it’s like to be able to afford three meals a day. I often can’t afford just one meal a day and when I can afford food, it sure isn’t poached salmon, filet mignon, or whatever else that privileged people can afford so they don’t end up malnourished and fat (therefore socially unacceptable) in their 40’s and 50’s even though they certainly got a lot more to eat than I ever did.
I don’t have the luxury of being able to afford basic things such as a hot shower to bathe properly when I need one, or the ability to afford the “right image” of having all my teeth so I can smile with confidence without revealing evidence of my extreme poverty for which I will be judged and punished by those who are better off—just like I always had been throughout my entire life.
I don’t have the privilege of being able to afford professional clothing that flatters my fat, older lady figure so I can try my best to look as good as I can for any kind of professional setting.
Physical attractiveness, beauty, etc. is a luxury that I’ve never been able to afford—and lacking it meant getting nothing but abuse, and heaps of scorn, personal value judgments and ridicule from the professional middle class who never let the jobless poor have a chance no matter what impossible hoops we jumped through, while those with privilege have the pustule-infested balls to then blame the poor for being jobless and poor.
The ability to afford to be well-groomed enough to “pass as middle class” in order to be socially accepted by the upper-middle class in order to have any chance at all for getting a job—as slim and elusive as that is with barriers of age discrimination, sex discrimination and vicious classism—is a luxury that is out of reach for me as a poor older marginalized woman who was never able to win at the whole getting hired at a job thing. No matter what I tried or how hard I tried throughout my life, it was never good enough to make me “worthy” of a chance for a job. It doesn’t even pay to try when you’re from the very bottom of the social heap—nobody else will ever accept you or cut you a break anyway. I’d have gotten just as far in life with a lot less pain and aggravation NOT trying.
Getting a job—after struggling to get an education and teaching yourself computer programming around hunger, cold and utility shut-offs and life-threatening health crises without access to medical care—is a convoluted middle class ritual of secret passwords, mannerisms, and life experiences that the poor have been excluded from. And THAT is by deliberate intent on the part of class-privileged gatekeepers who feel it is their “divine right” to bar poor marginalized women’s entry into the middle class fold.
I may not have any middle class “soft skills”, but I’m not so stupid that I don’t see just how rigged the system is. I experienced and observed this classist, sexist, misogynous “Me First” male-dominated society in its shit-stained underwear—not its fancy lecture suit.
The very short-lived Great Society programs “failed” because they were sabotaged by the servants of privilege and power: privileged academicians from elite universities, policymakers, Congress and every president after LBJ. The sabotaging of anti-poverty programs began almost immediately after LBJ implemented them, thanks to the middle class/rich white male dominated political climate that has always been deeply entrenched in this country.
Upper-middle class academicians deliberately stood on their privileges to lead the War on the Poor, particularly against poor women, starting with the Moynihan report. The Moynihan report not only racialized poverty to the point of pathologizing female poverty (especially white female poverty—we’re just “poor white trash”), it also dehumanized ALL of the poor in general.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report was influenced heavily by Harvard urbanologist, Edward C. Banfield who was a “leading scholar of his generation.” Banfield was also one of Moynihan’s drinking buddies. According to Banfield, “the poor have no interest in the public good” and are “pre-occupied with having sex.”
Banfield held that the only way to ensure that the poor got chances for jobs was to abolish the minimum wage. He also suggested that the only way to get rid of poverty was to get rid of the poor—preferably by “auctioning off poor women’s babies to the highest normal class bidder.”
Banfield not only influenced Moynihan’s report, he also served as an advisor to former presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Since Ivy League academia as a bastion of privilege produced “scholarship” claiming that poor women couldn’t keep their legs shut because of the lower class’s “pre-occupation with having sex”, it’s no wonder that America’s privileged classes decided that prostitution was the only thing poor women were good for.
When Clinton “ended welfare as we know it” in 1996, nothing was done to ensure that this country’s poorest women would be welcomed into middle class jobs during those “better times” when there were a lot more jobs to go around than there are today.
Nothing was done to remedy the problem of sex discrimination in hiring/firing/ promotion/pay.
Nothing was done to ensure that poor women being thrown off of their measly $4K annual AFDC aid, which never was enough to live on, would have access to advanced educations, apprenticeships, and have any legally enforceable and protected right to a toehold onto even the lowest rung of the middle class jobs ladder.
Nothing was ever done to guarantee 100% full employment for all who are able to work so that nobody—regardless of age, race, gender or disability—would be socially and economically excluded and left unable to economically fend for themselves.
All of the funding cuts to welfare and the elimination of other social programs for the poor starting with Reagan leading up to Clinton’s Welfare Reform was a real boon for pimps, trafficking rings, and johns—men with middle class incomes who use their money to enrich pimps by buying rape tickets, who are nothing but socially shielded child rapists if we’re going to be honest about it. [According to a 2014 study by the Urban Institute, the average pimp in the US makes $32,000 PER WEEK]
These same rape ticket buyers are also the most ardent opponents of equal opportunity employment laws with teeth and any legitimate welfare social safety net for the jobless poor—things that would greatly reduce (if not eliminate) the number one condition of vulnerability that forces poor women and girls into homelessness and puts them at high risk of being trafficked: Absolute poverty due to structural oppression and systemic economic/job discrimination.
Our domestic sex trafficking crisis in The US is one of the most shameful, darkest legacies of America’s War on the Poor because poor women and girls were not merely collateral damage in these past 40+ years of the War on the Poor—we were the primary target.
Those with the most privileges in this country say “well why aren’t the poor dying in the streets like over in the slums of Mumbai?” without looking at the countless POOR WOMEN who died out on the streets of America that were written off as “No Human Involved” as official police procedure on official homicide reports because of being “only prostitutes” by cops—who often extort money and “free samples” from poor prostituted/trafficked women while these same fascist jackbooted thugs are enjoying middle class incomes, job security plus medical and dental benefits, paid vacations, and pension plans.
And of course, no one questioned how/why so many poor women and girls got pressed into prostitution in the first place, either—they already knew the answer to that. Society already decided long ago that the gutter and an early grave was the only place poor women deserved ans should ever be allowed to have.
I don’t know how many of my fallen trafficked/prostituted sisters’ bodies have gone unclaimed in morgues after their deaths didn’t even make a blip on the news. Nobody has been counting them. Nobody ever cared.
For those tiny few of us who managed to escape and survive, I don’t know of more than two who ever made it to even the lowest rung of the middle class. We’re mostly all poor. We’re STILL treated as sub-humans and denied jobs and looked down on as garbage by everybody else in society—even those of us who are accomplished self-published authors, even those of us who managed to get educations and built high tech skills around the obstacles of extreme, soul-crushing poverty.
You would not believe the degree of danger and the constant threats of harm that are aimed at the few of us who escaped and survived. For speaking our truths, we get doxxed, stalked, threatened, slandered and discredited—by very privileged people with upper-middle class jobs and the luxury of lots of free time to spend attacking poor trafficking survivors who dare to hold personal fundraisers as our only way of getting any money to be able TO survive.
We literally have NO support at all. Not socially, economically, or otherwise.
But plenty of middle class issue tourists have no problem using poor trafficking survivors’ stories and this ’cause’ as a platform for boosting their own upper-middle class careers while those of us who actually suffered and who still are being denied our basic human rights aren’t getting any of the benefits as these privileged status-climbers are padding their resumes along with their wallets at our expense while doing fuck-all for us
Nobody cares about us. They never did. Those who’ve “got theirs” want poor, marginalized women dead. They never let us get chances for jobs, and they won’t even let us survive with just a little bit of basic human fuckin’ dignity—because “their taxes.”
And of course, not a single middle class raindrop ever believed they were responsible for causing the flood.
Systems of oppression do not happen by accident in a fit of collective absent-mindedness; they’re upheld and perpetuated by deliberate intent. And that deliberate intent is all about preserving privileges for some at the expense of others—those without privilege.
Systemic oppression is a privilege transfer vehicle that serves up the human rights of consumable, disposable people in economies of scale. Privilege occupies the space where someone else’s human and social rights belong.
Every poor dead trafficked and prostituted woman and teen who wouldn’t have been trafficked or otherwise forced into prostitution in the first place if not for a real lack of equal opportunity and the absence of an adequate economic safety net—are the dead albatrosses that the Left should hang around every middle class and rich liberal’s necks, starting with both of the Clintons.
As for the misogynist far Right, we already know they’re sexist, racist, fascist, scum—including every boot-licking misogynistic self-propelled shitcannon who supports their policies and votes for them. We got the memo on them decades ago, as we saw liberals and Democrats getting pulled farther and farther to the Right as a result of their political “pragmatism” in every compromise they’ve made with the Right. We now effectively have one political party with two right wings: Republican-Lite and Teapublican. (And THIS is what upper-middle class/rich liberals call “progress.”)
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!