Today is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
I’m sure when you hear this, images of sex workers being raped, accosted by police, and pushed around by pimps enter your mind. I would like to hope that this day represents solidarity for sex workers who have experienced all of the violent encounters mentioned above.
On a deeper level, I would like to address the violence that occurs on a daily basis as a result from societal oppression, stigmatization, and silence around the topic of sex work as a whole.
Violence is also this:
- The failure to recognize and even omittance of sex workers as a marginalize community within popular culture, educational programs, and government agencies.
- Failure to recognize sex work as an actual occupation or condemning sex work as a whole simply because it is not socially acceptable or considered “normal.”
- Speaking in hushed tones around an “out” sex worker when talking about his or her work.
- Breaking friendships or cutting ties with sex workers because you are uncomfortable with his or her profession.
- Assuming that sex workers are sex workers because they have a history of trauma or abuse.
- Drawing conclusions about a sex worker’s sexuality or sex life solely based on his or her profession.
- Thinking that sex workers don’t deserve to be loved or be in committed or noncommitted relationships simply because they trade sex for objects of value.
- Adopting a code of silence around a sex worker’s occupation when he or she has made it clear that they are open to communicating.
- Failing to recognize the emotional capacity of sex workers – people who hold space for some of the most intimate of human expressions.
- Perpetuating the shame and invisibility of sex work by choosing to stay silent.