The Child Abuse – Prostitution Continuum

This article is about connections between child abuse and prostitution – about how the sex industry eats (mostly) women and children who have been damaged by child abuse and how prostitution conditions men to abuse children. I draw on personal stories that you may find upsetting. You should find them upsetting. This stuff affects real people. It is happening all around us. Today. This minute. As Rebecca Mott said in her moving speech at Feminism in London 2015, shutting your eyes doesn’t make the bad stuff disappear.

Willow’s story

This is how Willow* told me her story.

“When I was nine, I was sexually abused by an adolescent neighbour. Let’s call him Jake. It wasn’t the first time I’d been abused. Three adults had been there before him. But what was different with Jake was that it went on for nearly two years and sometimes I initiated it. Looking back, I can see that I went to him because I was so deprived of love and healthy attention that that shameful contact seemed better than no contact, better than never being touched, never being treated with affection. From the outside, it would have looked like consent. But what does that mean? I wanted love and affection. I wanted to be held by safe arms. I had no wish for genital contact. It was several years before I even began puberty.

Continue reading “The Child Abuse – Prostitution Continuum”

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My Speech at Feminism in London 2010

This was my speech in the closing session at Feminism in London on 23 October 2010. 

5118778214_de9399d516_b-300x200I am here as the chair of the committee who organised this day to thank all those who have helped to make it happen.

A year ago when we started to plan this event, we faced the choice of booking Conway Hall again in the knowledge that it was too small even last year or of taking a leap and booking this bigger and significantly more expensive venue.

We decided to take that leap and soon realised we needed to build a bigger and stronger committee, which has now grown to about 15 women. And I don’t think you could find 15 more resourceful and generous and passionate women if you tried. We range in age from early 20s to late 50s, we are lesbian and we are straight, we are black and we are white. Some of us are mothers and some of us are not or not yet; one of us gave birth this summer. All of us have fitted this work around day jobs, families and personal crises. Rather than list all their names, I thought I would randomly tell you about a few of us. Continue reading “My Speech at Feminism in London 2010”

1 in 10 UK Men are Punters? I Don’t Buy It

It is generally claimed that about 1 in 10 men in the UK have paid for sex. For example, according to research collated by The John’s Chart, between 7 and 9% of men in the UK report having paid for sex at least once in their lifetimes. But the maths simply does not add up to such a low percentage.

According to a 2009 US government report, the number of people in prostitution in the UK was estimated at 100,000. That’s a lot of people and the majority of those are female, so for simplicity I will refer to them as women. At least 99% of the punters are male.

Now let’s assume that each of those women in prostitution “sees” five punters a day, five days a week, 40 weeks a year. That’s 1,000 punters a year.

5 * 5 * 40 = 1,000

Of course, some women will have fewer punters, but we also read reports of pimped and trafficked women being forced to have 10 or even 20 punters a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. So 1,000 punters a year seems like a reasonable estimate of the average.

Continue reading “1 in 10 UK Men are Punters? I Don’t Buy It”