Not For Sale: Rebecca Speaks Out Against ProstitutionApril 5, 2008
I read Not For Sale by Rebecca Whisnant and Christine Stark recently and truly it is a powerful book. For me it highlighted the necessity of looking at prostitution with a race-based lense as well as a gendered lense. I always believed that to support prostitution you are supporting women-hatred and violence against women, but I hadn’t really thought about it as racialised woman-hatred until I read Not For Sale.
But anyways, it is a powerful book and it gave me heaps to think about, but of course it does not live with me in the same way as it does for Rebecca. Almost every time I visit Rebecca’s blog I am blown away by the strength and clarity of her writing, the rawness of her emotion. Even still, her most recent post has hit me harder than many of her other pieces. I have never met Rebecca, but she holds a very sacred, special place in my heart. Her courage, survival and integrity are truly incredible to behold and I am very, very privileged to call her my sister.
“not all women are prostituted, and that is a good thing. Not all women, that is, turn tricks for money, five times a day, thirty-five times a week, with two thousand men a year, while suffering at least the usual incidence of incest, rapes, beatings, and sexual harassment that other other women do. The prostitution is on top of that. Many women have to endure only pieces of prostitution, Many women are subjected to unwanted sex from men who objectify us, but not typically from two thousand men a year. Many women suffer serial battery from husbands or lovers, but not typically also at the hands of hundreds of relative strangers. Many women recieve money from a harassing boss in the form of a paycheck, but not typically in a context where the harassment is the job. Each of these transactions shares something in common with prostitution, but none of them is prostitution…. Rape is one thing, domestic battery another thing, sexual harassment another, prostitution another. All of these, nevertheless, involve some expression or manifestation of sexual ownership.”
Margaret A. Baldwin, “Strategies of Connection: Prostitution and Feminist Politics”.
This means a lot to me, for it makes sense of why the language of prostitution makes sense of my teenage years and early adulthood.
I call it incest, and it did not fit my life.
I call it rape, and it still would not fit.
I call it battery, and it still refuse to fit.
Then out of exhaustion, I named it prostitution, and my life made a horrible sense.
I knew I live through all the rapes, child sexual abuse and battery. They are deeply connected to being prostituted, but there are differences, and those differences need expression.
Rebecca Mott, Not For Sale
Please read and support her writing. Her voice is so incredibly important.