The Women who are arrested

Lets take away all the labels.  Lets stop using labels like “victim”, “prostitute”, and “sex worker”.   Lets look at what is really involved here, WOMEN.

We can argue all day about the choices women make,  but let me assert this, I believe it is a woman’s choice. More often than not, it is the circumstances of life that have led the woman to make this difficult decision.  Single mothers who need to support children, daughters who need to help with medical payments for parents, women who want to pay for college education, all different reasons for a woman to choose to sell her body.  I know that a woman would not do this work if it was not financially beneficial.

A man, he is making a pretty easy choice when he chooses to buy sex, yet we basically ignore him.

In RI, with only street prostitution being illegal in 2006 the rate of women to men being arrested was not 10 to 1.  It was not 20 to 1 or even 50 to 1, it was 107 to 2.  We put 107 women in prison and only 2 men.  107 women who made the difficult decision, 2 men that made the easy one.

Now, please, don’t take this out of context.  I actually think the situation in RI where only indoor prostitution is decriminalized is good.  Indoors is safer for the woman, and residents don’t have to deal with the “industry”.    I am just pointing out the irony of the situation.  How can the legislation say they are trying to stop prostitution when only the women are arrested?

I attached a clip I put on youtube about the raids on the spas in Rhode Island.  Also, lets keep in mind these are raids on women who are working indoors where they have the legal right to do what they want to do.  Some people have said that they have to change the prostitution law and make prostitution illegal indoors too.  I disagree with that.  How can we expect anything else but more women to get arrested?  People who say we must change the law say we have to “help” the women.  How are we helping the women by arresting them and putting them in jail?

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3 responses to “The Women who are arrested

  1. Just saw Donna Hughes review on her Dignity listserve. I think she misreads some of what you did. She says that the women you interviewed were not the ones doing the sex acts, but they were brothel owners.
    I know you talked to a lot of women other than those on the film.
    What I got from the film is that while there is a whole cultural imbalance behind their ‘choice’, the main motive for the women involved is money.

  2. Thank you Tara for your quick and detailed response to Dr. Hughes’ post on her listserve Dignity, which I posted on Kmareka.
    I will vouch that in all our conversations you expressed deep concern for human rights, and especially woman’s rights. I hope your documentary will inform us and keep us from harming the women we propose to help.
    We also discussed the impact on a neighborhood when a ‘spa’ opens, and I know you are aware of that and respectful of the rights of city dwellers to feel safe on their own streets. The nuisance of ‘johns’ cruising people’s kids on their way to school was what prompted the law against streetwalking. I drive all over Greater Providence, and notice more spas opening, and concentrating in certain areas, and I’m sure there are people who just want them to go somewhere else.

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