I always wanted to give the women a chance to answer the questions and allegations that were being asked and reported by the newspapers and the television stations. It is difficult for someone to come forward to speak out, especially in the Asian culture.
This is “Danielle”. Actually “Danielle” is not her real name. Danielle is actually the name of one of my college roommates. (I changed the names of all the women in my film to women who I had as roommates at the ultra-Catholic Providence College, but that is another story) When I was making the film I wanted to give the women a voice while not “outing” them. Many of these women have children.
A few weeks ago the Providence Journal ran a story about a woman who was working through craigslist and was attacked by a customer. The majority of this story reported how she did not want her name published. I will not put a link to the story, because I do not want to spread the woman’s name even more, but here is a link to Waking Vixen a blog by Audacia Ray. In this blog, the article is reprinted and names redacted.
Now the Providence Journal is the biggest and only paper in Rhode Island. They set the agenda for RI. They have obviously taken the position that they want to publish names of women, how can I work with them to get the message out that the women in the spas are not victims while protecting the identity of the women?
Today I met with one of the reporters who has been following the progress of the legislation. I brought “Danielle” who gave an interview with the understanding that her name would not be printed. Before “Danielle” began the interview, she was told that the story would probably not be printed because she did not want to give her name. She was told that the only paper that could do that was the Washington Post or the NY Times, and that was for political insiders. I sat there thinking it was ironic that newspapers could protect the identity of politicians but not prostitutes. “Danielle” gave the interview anyway, and gave an incredible in depth interview on her own life and the workings of the spas. She said she would consider allowing her name to be released, because she hopes that her truth will allow people to reconsider changing the law.
Before the interview I had “Danielle” dictate a letter to me that I can read when I testify at the next hearing on the bill. I hope that her letter will help a human face on the issue. I will post the letter in my next blog.