Today is December 17th, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. There have been many days related to sex work and violence over the last month or two and many days that remember a myriad of other causes. The danger of days of rememberance is that each special day obscures the next. Will we remember today tomorrow? Is a day sufficient for such an important subject? Don't other causes have awareness months? Will violence against sex workers have ceased by tomorrow?
It's been quiet around here, and for that I apologize. Things have been unusually busy for me. Much of that is good, and some is regular end-of-semester chaos, but it has meant less time here and I regret that.
The winter solstice is the darkest time of the year, and it is the moment when things start getting brighter. In the spirit of the solstice I want to highlight sex worker solidarity, writing and activism all of which represent efforts toward constructing that brighter future.
We are exactly 9 days away from December 17, International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers. I’d love to suggest that we dub December “Sex Work Awareness Month,” and spend as much of our blogging time in December focusing on the violence and stigmatization that sex workers face, and also on the good that sex workers do in the world. And just as there is much of the former, there is also a great deal of the latter.
At Sex In The Public Square this month Rebecca Deos told her story about being outed as an escort, and discussed the harm done emotionally and financially not just to herself but to her husband and kids, and she also talked about how the experience brought them together as a family. We also posted a brief piece about the Women’s Institute Lady’s Guide to Brothels. We’ll be posting more this month about legislation in the UK that will increase the stigma on sex work rather than decrease it and about the banning of “extreme” pornography in the UK. And of course we’ll certainly be highlighting the December 17 events.
Sex work is a pretty common theme at Sex in the Public Square, and there are sex worker blogs that address the issues of sex workers in their own voices and with great power and eloquence. But equally important is the support that comes when people who are not necessarily sex workers speak up on their behalf. Not to talk over sex workers’ own voices but to support them by adding many more. Audacia Ray, in a post on Bound, Not Gagged, wrote about the Sex Work Awereness fundraising calendar project:
I posed in that calendar along with some pretty amazing writers. I’d like to ask you each to consider adding your voices to ours by helping to promote Sex Work Awareness this month. Here are some ways you can help:
The vast majority of the people who posed for the calendar and are buying the calendar are not sex workers, but they are expressing solidarity with sex workers and putting their faces, names, and dollars on the lines to support the efforts of a sex worker advocacy organization. And this is a great thing.