Today the Governor held a press conference on the bills before the Senate to basically put women in prison. The press conference was at 1:30. At the same time I was going from spa to spa to ask women who were working in them if they wanted to come and defend themselves to the accusations that were being thrown around in the media.
I went to four spas total, spoke to a bunch of women. But it is difficult to get women to come forward and say they participate in this work. It is especially difficult to talk to them when I don’t speak their native language. But I was able to get five of the actual workers to come to the state house, and one former worker to testify too.
When we got there, a translator was provided by The Family Life Center. Thank God for that.
Donna Hughes had some propaganda poster of women in 8 stages of their life in prostitution. I think it sort of worked against her argument, because the women who came to testify did not look like any of the women in the poster. The reason is because they do not use drugs. Also because they have not been in prison. Prison and putting these women in the legal system does not effect these women positively, if any thing it effects them negatively. If the woman who is doing this work wants to get out and get different job, she will be less likely to be able to if she has a criminal record.
More people testified against the bill than for, The ACLU, NOW, DARE, Family Life Center, “Chris” from my film (who gave his real name and address on the stand) and some local residents all testified against the bill.
One man who shared a building with a spa, Donna Hughes, and 2 Christian women, testified for the bill.
When we got there to testify, the Providence Journal was there and wanted to take pictures of the women from the spa who were there to testify. I asked them not to take pictures. I understand she was there to do a job, but I asked to have some compassion for these women. These women were really putting themselves out on a limb to testify, and exposing their names is one thing but putting their picture out in public is another. I don’t think that their picture was taken but we will see what happens in the paper tomorrow. Just the thought of having their picture taken scared away 2 of the women and they didn’t testify at all.
When one of the women did testify did a great job, she testified in English and when she was done many of the people in the audience applauded.
For those who are hoping that the bill doesn’t pass, the only thing to hope for now is that it doesn’t come out of committee.