Community members respond to Mary Mitchell’s Sunday, September 13th column questioning whether sex workers could be raped and should have access to the criminal justice system and victim services:
Here is a charming article that calls the rape of a sex worker “theft of services” and actually includes the line, “for law enforcement to put what happened to a Backpage.com prostitute on a par with rape victims like Schuster is an insult.”
This is what sex workers have to deal with on the daily. They are considered un-rapeable, and held in a different regard than “innocent women.” It’s this kind of victim blaming that makes people think it’s okay to consistently other us, laugh about our deaths, and treat us as if we are less than human. “Innocent” women, you are the ones who should be screaming most loudly against this, because if lines between innocent and wicked women can be drawn so easily and arbitrarily, you could be next on the naughty list.
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This argument of “a prostitute cannot be raped” is one that is repeated over and over, made the butt of jokes (‘is it rape or theft’; haha, fuck you, because it’s actually both!), and made the topic of shitty op-eds by ignorant victim-blaming women who speak (or in this case, write) before they think–and this IS victim-blaming, however you justify it.
By Mary Mitchell’s logic, a whore cannot be assaulted, much like a police officer can never be assaulted while on duty; after all, that person put themselves out there and knew that there was potential for them to get shot, otherwise injured, or even killed. Cops can’t experience violence under Mitchell’s premise, so perhaps we should call it a “workplace accident” instead of “assault”– don’t want to make a mockery out of real assault victims–ya know, the ones who weren’t “asking for it.”
But wait, that’s not how it goes at all! You raise a hand to a police officer (someone whose life is more valuable than that of a lowly Backpage whore, of course), and you will be charged with assault. Yes, I forgot, it’s because cops are humans, and whores are not. People like Mary Mitchell believe that by mere virtue of a prostitute’s ‘work,’ they cannot be brutalized because they have already ‘sold themselves,’ and with that their basic human rights; the work being morally illegitimate dictates that the ‘person’ doing said illegitimate work is therefore invalidated as well. Hookers are therefore sub-human, or better yet, non-human, non-victims, and deserving of none of the protections and rights of a “real rape victim.”
I can guarantee you this as a fact: being raped feels just as much like rape whether or not you were expecting payment before the perpetrator began raping you. The only one minimizing the act of rape here is Mitchell and others who think like her, perpetuating this backwards idea that there are “good” girls-who-are-real-rape-
Melissa Schuster is Mitchell’s ideal rape victim. Apparently a “real” rape victim has certain criteria that must be present when applying for victimhood status. You must be: 1) stabbed 17 times 2) suffer a fractured nose 3) broken bones 4) eye injuries 5) be at home 6) have money demanded of you 7) by a stranger 8) and be raped* (*and not be a prostitute. That will COMPLETELY nullify requirements # 1-8). Unless you are almost murdered in your own home, and also not a whore, you are not a rape victim, apparently.
“For law enforcement to put what happened to a Backpage.com prostitute on a par with rape victims like Schuster “is an insult.”
No. For you to dehumanize someone who has been BRUTALIZED because she doesn’t fit your perfect rape victim archetype (because remember, some people are tooootally asking for it) is an insult. It is an insult to any woman who has ever been asked, “well what were you wearing?” or “were you drinking?” or “why were you out so late?” or “why didn’t you fight back harder?” instead of “how are you feeling”, or “what do you need?” or “how can I help?” It is an insult to any woman who has ever been blamed for her own rape (rather than being treated like a victim, and having blaming the rapist for actually doing the raping).
But don’t worry guys, Mitchell is “not one of those women who believe rape victims are at fault because they dressed too provocatively or misled some randy guy into thinking it was his lucky night.” But she is one of those women who believes that an entire class of women (and men) is un-rapeable: “…When you agree to meet a strange man in a strange place for the purpose of having strange sex for money, you are putting yourself at risk for harm.”
So, Mitchell’s not saying you’re asking for it if you’re a hooker. What she’s saying is, you’re totally asking for it if you’re a hooker. Because, you see, you cease being human when you sell sex. Can we just be out with it and fucking say it? Stop dancing around this shit like that is not the message people like this are trying to send. If you are a woman who either decides to or is forced into sex work, you forfeit your right to humanhood and all the rights therein. Because you didn’t stay home. Because you didn’t keep your legs closed like a good girl. Because there is this pervasive idea that the more sex a woman has, the lesser she becomes, and if she decides to put a price tag on her sex, we might as well treat her like the garbage she is, or just shoot her in the head.
Wanna know the reason men like rapist Roy Akins think that they can get away with this shit? Wanna know why sex workers are perpetually targeted by predators, why we are assaulted, raped, robbed, murdered, and disregarded as humans? It’s because of opinions like these that reinforce this idea that if a woman is having sex, especially in a transactional context, she is tarnished. And if her value is diminished, if even the law does not regard her in the same way we regard other civilians or workers, then of course this is going to make someone an easy victim! The most vulnerable make the most obvious targets for predators.
Accepting a fee for any kind of service does not then open you up to being victimized. Whether she was fucking for free or fucking for a fee is irrelevant. Agreeing to sex with anyone, for any reason, does NOT mean you are consenting to being brutalized. So no, Ms. Mitchell: it is not “tough” for me “to see this unidentified prostitute as a victim,” because no one has the right to commit any non-consensual acts upon your person, whether you are walking down the street in a burka, sitting at home in your pajamas, leaving a bar, patrolling your beat, or spreading your legs in a hotel room.
Civilian, police, or prostitute, none of us are “asking for it”. Ever.
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RAPE of a SEX WORKER is STILL RAPE
I’m a SEX WORKER ~~ If you FORCEFULLY TAKE MY SERVICES, then not only have you ROBBED ME,
but you have also RAPED ME.…
As was the case this past Saturday, when a woman went to the police to report such a crime.
Chicago Sun-Times Columnist, Mary Mitchell, however, seems to think that us Sex Workers all have pimps and that she should have reported the crime to him, as she stated in her article, “I imagine most prostitutes in this situation would have run straight to a pimp. But after leaving Akins’ home in the 1100 block of North Lawler, the unidentified 24-year-old woman called the police.”
Mary, Mary, Mary, oh Mary, I don’t know what 70’s movies you’ve been watching lately but many of us are actually Self-Employed and some of us are Independent Contractors but in reality, very few of us, if any have Pimps.
According to Mary Mitchell, it’s BETTER that he RAPED a Sex Worker than, in her words, “But I’m grateful he isn’t being accused of snatching an innocent woman off the street.” She IS a woman “off the street”, just like you Mary Mitchell, just like me, just everyone else who used that street to get to and from work that day, the unidentified Sex Worker, did in effect, Get Snatched Off The Street.
Mary Mitchell, have you not heard of CyberSTREETS??? In my opinion, Roy Akins committed a premeditated CYBERCRIME. The WOMAN that you speak so coldly of is a VICTIM of not ONE, not TWO, but of MANY CRIMES in this instance. CRIMES THAT HE THOUGHT HE COULD GET AWAY WITH BECAUSE SHE IS A SEX WORKER! Here is a list of criminal acts that I feel he committed: First he hunted for and found his prey, and then he put into action his plan of attack when he called her with the; 1) Intent to Defraud, after he 2) Premeditated these felonies, in which he 3) Illegally had possession of a deadly weapon (a firearm), that he used with 4) Force and Intimidation, to 5) Hold her against her will (Kidnapping), finally he 5), Sexually Assaulted her, HE RAPED HER!!!
HE PLANNED AND THEN EXECUTED THE RAPE OF THIS WOMAN!!!
This woman agreed to an appointment with this man, this “stranger”, to provide companionship just like you, Mary Mitchel, would agree to an appointment to interview with “a stranger” Any sexual act that is not consensual is RAPE. If I agree to meet with you for $200 and then when I get there you instead pull out your gun and force yourself on me then you are are doing something to which I DID NOT AGREE TO and that, Mary Mitchell IS, HAS BEEN, AND ALWAYS WILL BE RAPE.
This brave woman went to the police and reported a violent violation of her body, her heart, and of her soul, in light of the fact that she is a Sex Worker. I WANT YOU TO KNOW, WHOEVER YOU ARE, MS UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN, THAT I THANK YOU AND APPRECIATE YOU AND RESPECT YOU FOR TAKING THAT SHIT STRAIGHT TO THE POLICE AND HAVING HIM LOCKED UP!!!
I FEEL SAFER KNOWING THAT’S ONE MORE DOWN BECAUSE OF A SEX WORKER.
And you Mary Mitchell, I cannot say, but I’m sure you can guess what I’m thinking.
These are just the opinions of a RETIRED, 50 year old, CAREER Sex Worker, what would I know.
Peace and Smiles
-Ms Sassy Sherry