Monday, 30 January 2012
Belfast 30/01/12 - I'm fed up with alliteration
Finally, it's come to me. After years of deliberation, I've ended the internal war on what to say to a guy who approaches you in the hotel bar after a hard day's touring - "I'm a serial killer". Simply inform him that your patio is heaving at the seams for space and suddenly he'll decide that a game on his PS2 in his room is the better option.
You'll have gathered by now that I am indeed back in my hotel room, having shaken off the man who thought that wearing his jeans half way down his arse was not only cool, but attractive to the opposite sex too. Sorry, maybe it's my age but - GET. A. BELT. While you're at it, read "Women are from Saturn and Men are from the Lunar Ring", or a title to that effect anyway. It never did me any good but if it helps you shed your dreadful dress sense and handbag dog then it has to be a good thing, right ?
Meanwhile, I came across an article in the Irish Independent, link here.
This article caught my attention for a number of reasons, not least because I started my working life in Dublin and worked there for many years.
The first quote to jump out for me was from the author -
"But the author, known only by her pseudonym Scarlett O'Kelly, is far from alone. She is just one of a growing number of Irish women from respectable backgrounds who are selling their bodies to make it through the downturn."
How many times ? The women who choose to work in the sex industry are not "selling their bodies", they are renting their skills, there is a HUGE difference. As I said recently, if I decide to sell a kidney, you'll be the first to know. For those of you who think that our job doesn't involve any skills, I'd invite you to meet the client of an under trained dominatrix, it ain't pretty and that's for sure, because I've had to mop it up, more than once.
Moving on to the next quote that caught my eye -
"No matter what side of the tracks they come from, I have never met a happy prostitute in my 12 years working in this business," says Linda Latham, of the Women's Health Service on Dublin's Baggot Street, which has seen a dramatic increase in middle-class women coming to its door.
"In the '80s and '90s, we saw mainly heroin addicts but now across the board we are seeing educated women who are so strapped for cash they are resorting to it out of dire economic need."
Ah, right. What the IE neglected to inform you of here, is that the Baggot Street project deals primarily with street sex workers. So, whilst I absolutely applaud their work ( and I know they do a van based outreach service too ), nevertheless they are not in a position to make a statement about the sex industry in general, quite simply because they haven't had the experience with the ( and I hate the term ) "upper echelons" of the industry to make an informed statement.
Before I was about to put pen to cyber paper and give the IE a piece of my ever fragmenting mind, I read this part of the interview -
"It's not always the case that women are forced into prostitution," says Dr Paul Ryan, sociology lecturer at NUI Maynooth and a member of the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI), a representative body for Irish prostitutes opposed to the criminalisation of sex workers and their clients.
"Some make a choice to do it. It is something women enter and leave all the time depending on whether they have a First Communion coming up or another financial pressure.
"I did research which showed that some women prefer to do sex work than resort to shoplifting. It is actually a moral choice for them and there is a lot of decision-making based around it. That notion is often brushed under the carpet with the attitude that all prostitution is violent, all prostitutes need to be rescued. . . end of. That's far too simplistic."
A senior garda detective based in Limerick, a city that has become a magnet for sex workers, backs up this claim.
"None of the women we have caught has been trafficked. A lot are coming over to make money and they are certainly not always under the control of a pimp, especially the Romanians and Brazilians. They make more in a week here than they would in a year in their home country. Sadly, it's a lifestyle choice for them and they can make very big money out of it."
Niamh claims to be a prime example of this new class of sex worker. A strong-minded, opinionated, single woman, she operates as a sole agent, squirms at the idea of having a pimp, and claims she has never put her life in danger."
Whilst I don't appreciate the equation of sex work to shop lifting, I am very much encouraged by a sensible and truth founded statement from a member of the Gardai.
I have to be honest, it's something I never thought I'd see in my life time.
Maith an fear.
( English translation - good man. )