Do Not Steal

I want to write about some acts done mainly by those who call themselves allies of exited women, but by these acts prove they have no respect for us.

It is the act of stealing our work, and making it their own.

It is the act of making us into your pet exited woman, only to throw us away when spoke for you.

It is the act of deciding what you think is a “real” exited woman, and ignoring that we can and will never fit that stereotype.

It the act of holding us back by constantly imaging you have invented how to do abolition, or have discover that the sex trade may be a bad thing.

It is the act of using our concepts, our histories and our deep knowledge to further your career or to make you like you are on the side of the angels.

I want to say that many exited women have had enough of your patronising disrespect.

You are acting to control us. 

You are erasing the centuries of exited women leading the revolt towards abolition by your acts.

You are showing you view exited women as having feelings that can be betrayed by your acts.

Your acts are a remainder of how pimps and punters treated us.

If you erase, ignore or steal our work – you do so because you like a pimp/punter refuse to see exited women as fully human.

We can never be human enough to have your respect.

Never be human enough for our words to belong us, for it must be filtered through you to be heard.

We can never be human enough to lead the way to true freedom for the prostituted class.

Know that I write to say that exited women are sick of being made sub-human.

If you steal our concepts, histories and knowledge then you see as just intellectual goods for you to consume.

We become nothing but statistics, case studies, or token speakers.

It is like being in a line-up in a brothel – we are never seen or known just consumed.

I want all allies to look deep inside themselves – whether you in the anti-trafficking movement, radical feminists, Leftists, or religious types – and ask yourselves –

Do you read or listen to exited women only as an example or material to use later?

Do you decide that I know all the factors that drive girls/women into the sex trade, and will not hear if an exited does fit in the boxes you have made?

Do you think you are the only generation that knows that prostitution/porn may be a human rights issue?

Do you still think exited women are too damaged to be able to speak without you sheltering them? 

Do in your silent moments think that the prostituted class are outside of what it is to be human like you are?

I know you will reject these questions, or take the easy route of saying it those other allies not us.

I believe a true ally of exited women would not be afraid of these questions or angered by – but would feel the pain and grief that makes me asks so bluntly. 

Allies that can be trusted have no issue with knowing exited women must lead the abolition movement.

Allies who can be trusted will always credit our words and works.

Allies who can be trusted understand that exited women are a massive source of knowledge of how and why male violence is so normal.

There are many trusted allies, that we very proud to work alongside with – for they know that all the prostituted class are fully human.

Being fully human we have multiple ways or reasons that enter the sex trade.

Being fully human we survive being inside the sex trade in both similar and varied ways.

Being fully human we may all have PTSD, but we may react in multiple ways.

Being fully human we cannot be forced in a box made of your stereotypes.

Give us respect.

The respect of knowing we speak from our own pasts – but are also deeply connected to centuries of the lost voices of the prostituted class reaching for  freedom.

The respect of hearing us speaking from our own culture and experiences – but are deeply connected to all the prostituted class known or unknown to us.

The respect of not seeing us as victims or tokens – but that we are warriors and have leadership inside our skin.

The respect of learning to humble enough to truly listen and hear the multiple voices of the prostituted class.

Then you could imagine stealing our words. 


3 responses to “Do Not Steal

  1. Great post!! The ONLY experts of the sex trade are ***survivors***! Non-survivors MUST defer leadership to survivors because you guys are the only ones who know what the hell is really going on and what questions need to be asked/what issues need to be raised, etc. It is an act of insanity and ignorance and selfishness and stupid power plays and gawd knows what else to NOT treat survivors like experts and leaders. Really, there is NO excuse or reason for non-survivors to not privilege and prioritize and defer leadership to survivors! If any allies care to argue this point, they need to get the hell out of activism around this (and any) issue ASAP because not only are they wasting everyone’s precious time and energy, including their own, but they’re creating even more problems and barriers than already exist. Activism is not a popularity contest or club or a hobby, sex trade harm (and other activist issues) is serious life and death shit that non-survivors need to take a **supportive** role in, NOT a leading role (unless survivors themselves say otherwise) — non-survivors lack insider knowledge of the sex trade that is critical for leadership. It’s that simple. If non-survivors don’t understand this, they need to do some personal work before engaging in activism.

    I personally have some confusion around some disagreement that exists among *survivors* themselves, for example, Ruth Jacobs’ Dec.17th blog post and your reply to it in your last blog post. You’re both experts in my eyes and I respect the hell out of you both — there are obviously some divides and differences as far as the roads taken to abolish sex trade harm. I am confused about some issues the Nordic Model poses that Ruth brings up (and we all know she is not just a mouthpiece for the sex trade, she genuinely cares about and is coming from the same place abolitionists are, and she makes some very compelling points backed by tons of her own research), and I would be really interested in hearing survivors of all stripes talk through the wrinkles and divides that exist. It seems to me that abolitionists are so set on the Nordic model (understandably so given that not many other favorable options exist) that they don’t/won’t/can’t (?) give due consideration to the serious problems it poses. This is where my head is at these days and I hope that these kind of difficult convos can one day be had between everyone, and especially survivors themselves, in the name of solidarity and education; it would also be really informative for non-survivors to understand where/how/why divides between survivors exist so they can make informed and effective decisions and actions. As an ally/supporter, I go towards what feels right and truthful and I want to support what makes sense, and right now, things aren’t making a whole lot of sense to me around the Nordic model. I’ve only just grazed the surface of the problems the Nordic model poses in my talks with Ruth, and I have much more to learn, and the more I learn, the worse this model sounds (with very little of it being issues that sex trade lobbyists bring up when trying to discredit it). In general, the more I learn about the sex trade, the more I realize I have to learn/the more complicated I realize it all is…

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. I hope my words did not offend, I truly care about this issue and I’m trying to understand the divides that exist among survivors and what the most effective and sensical path(s) are.


  2. Hi Rebecca,

    Just saw your christmas post–I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    I think for some of the items you have named, it might help for readers to have examples. Examples of behavior your have found hurtful and demeaning and perhaps also examples (or ideas) of words/actions that you have found not to be that way from allies.

    Merry Christmas.


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