The other day while sitting with Justin on a patio taking advantage of the plus 25° weather and drinking dehydrating beverages I became alerted to a woman who was shouting. As I wasn’t certain if the woman was shouting for help or not I turned my attention towards her. The approximately 5’ foot woman with a scarf wrapped several times over her head and under her chin was shouting obscenities to herself (or perhaps someone else that could only be seen by her) was clearly not in any immediate danger and so I, relieved, went focused my concentration back to what I was doing and the conversation Justin and I were having (which was interrupted by his bladder demanding that he visit the men’s room), when my attention became tuned into something extremely disturbing and overtly annoying.
Several tables, with people ranging in ages from about 20 – 45 were laughing hysterically at this woman, and making jokes about her ‘craziness’. Looking around I seemed to be one of the very few people not partaking in this spontaneous giggle fest.
As I sat there and waited for Justin to come back from the washroom I could feel the heat begin to rise in my face. I bit my lip, and placed my hands on my lap to keep myself from getting up and telling these people off (which I would have/should have done if I wasn’t so selfishly afraid of being asked to vacate the premises by the staff of the establishment). I had the incredible urge to get up and ask these people in my loudest, most intimidating voice if they would still be laughing this hard at this woman had she been in a wheel chair, or strolling along the street with a seeing-eye dog.
Seriously, why is society generally sympathetic and understanding when it comes to people with different physical abilities (although many people do try to avoid others with physical differences), yet become completely prejudiced and – at times – down right hostile and/or standoffish against people with mental health? Both are defined as a disability under the Human Rights Code, yet I’m sure if this woman had been in a wheelchair that people’s funny bone would not have been tickled by the sight of her, and if someone’s funny bone WAS tickled I’m sure that the other patrons would not have joined in the laughter and teasing but, would rather admonish that person for their prejudice.
Mental health is like the poor foster kid when it comes to tolerance in our society, for too long mental illness (such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc) has been seen as a deviation from what is considered normal, even some people who work in the field of mental health been known to look at people suffering from mental health issues with scorn and condemnation.
And why should this be so? Mental health issues are extremely common. One out of ten people will face a mental health issue during their lifetime. Most people think that a person with mental health issues must hallucinate and/or is not in touch with reality, but in reality mental health issues are much broader than that. They include a range of issues from attention deficit disorder to severe depression and anxiety disorders. Many people with mental illnesses are highly successful and make significant contributions to society. Here are the names of a few: Mike Douglas, Walter Cronkite, Ted Turner, Robin Williams and me.
Today, the sex worker rights movement can be credited with changing the way we view everything from sexual exploitation to a women’s right to choose. And although many Canadians are unaware of the sex worker rights movement (or even downright hostile to it), the sex worker rights movement in Canada has established such big gains that its impact cannot be denied: the Toronto Police have since established a Special Victims Unit that is dedicated to solving crimes against sex workers; the NDP noted in their Action Plan: Fairness for Women that the laws governing prostitution need to be reformed; a safe house for sex workers is being built in Vancouver; and the validity of laws against prostitution are now being challenged in court. From evidence like this it is clear that the Canadian sex worker rights movement is a force to be reckoned with.
But as the movement continues to step forward to end the criminalization, stigmatization, and violence against sex workers, a new problem has emerged: infighting within the movement – and this infighting is slowing down any progress towards ending the criminalization, stigmatization, and violence towards people involved in sex work. The more I get involved in the sex worker rights movement the more I see of this divide between activists and organizations (and YES, I do I admit that I too have fed into infighting), and the cliques that evolve.
Sometimes I wonder if all the infighting between sex worker activists stems from our experience in sex work—since as sex workers we had to compete with other sex workers to get and maintain clients. All of this competitiveness between us in sex work seems to have bled into our activism work and, as a consequence of this, has led to a hindrance in our ability to advance the sex worker rights movement, as well as playing directly into the hands of anti-prostitution supporters. Competitiveness between sex workers has led to a few sex worker rights organizations dissolving. Evidence of this can be found in the many sex worker organizations that are no longer around, or in the groups which have less than 5 active members.
Another possible reason for the infighting and competitiveness in the sex worker rights movement may be the continuing struggle for an identity. One way to secure an identity is to mark a place for oneself in an area that is taboo, rebellious and not overly populated. Another way to secure an identity is through ego – pushing others aside to get one's message across, and saying who can or who can be a member of an organization based on being threatened that attention would be turned away from them.
Due to sex work being an extremely stigmatized and taboo issue in society, it’s no wonder that sex work activism attracts some very competent (and sometimes very competitive) people. As a result, other people (especially marginalized sex workers, like those who work the streets) may feel intimidated, or that they won’t be listened to, or that they have no place in the movement—which may cause them not to get involved.
This is not to say that sex worker rights organizations cannot work or get along, Stella (a Montreal based organization), PEERS, PACE, (both in British Columbia), and the B.C. Coalition for Experiential Women (again in British Columbia), are prime examples of sex workers organizing and working together, but instead, that sex worker rights organizations should focus on ways to get along, work together, concentrate on the goal of decriminalization (and not who had the most influence over it), share the work, and actively try to recruit new people whose voice has not been heard. Until this happens the sex worker rights movement will not only be led by a few privileged groups, but more importantly it will be leaden with corruption due to a lack of cooperation with other sex workers, and the goals of the movement will not be advanced.
Hello, my name is Wendy and I’m from the Bad Date Coalition of Toronto, which is an organization that advocates for the rights and safety of people who work the streets. Street sex workers. One of our main functions is producing the Bad Date Book. The Bad Date Book is a 16 page booklet that we put out monthly exposing men who have harmed sex workers. The reason that we put out this book is because crimes against sex workers rarely make it to the attention of the police, and when they do they often are not taken seriously, which leaves these men free to attack again.
The reason why I wanted to speak tonight is because a lot of the reports that we get from sex workers are from this neighbourhood,
The amount of violence directed towards women who work the streets is horrendous. Statistic’s
As most of you woman are aware, reporting a sexual assault to the police can be a very difficult and traumatic experience for any woman to go through. Now imagine going through that experience and risking jail time as well. This is the harsh reality faced by many women working in the sex industry if they become a victim of ANY crime.
Women who admit to engaging in prostitution when the assault occurred can, and do get charged with a prostitution related offence. I’ve seen this happen all too often, and it’s one of the biggest reasons these crimes are rarely reported.
Any law that prevents a woman from reporting an assault is a law that needs to be removed. There is absolutely nothing more abhorrent then jailing woman who have been raped or assaulted.
The laws against prostitution need to be removed immediately, these laws weren’t constructed to protect society; they were constructed to harm sex workers.
By not allowing women who work in the sex industry to work from their own homes, to work with other sex workers, to hire security personal, or being able to negotiate with potential clients in the safety of the public, we create a situation where women who work on the streets become easy prey for predators seeking to act out their violent, misogynistic fantasies on women.
Laws against prostitution result in violence against women. As a society we need to demand that the federal government remove the laws against prostitution.
But it’s not just the laws, or the police, and law enforcement that need to change, we need to change too.
Just last month a woman who was working at Shuter and
The stigma against women who work in the sex industry is so strong that even when a woman is being assaulted in the streets, no one stops. This kind of apathy towards the safety of women working in the sex industry is what allows this violence to flourish, and tells predators that what they’re doing is okay. Sex workers have been for far too long seen as expendable, or less than human, we need to change our attitudes towards woman working in the sex industry, we need to stop isolating women in the sex industry, we need to stop trying to run sex workers out of our neighbourhoods, and pretending that they are not a part of the community. We all need to unite, sex worker or not, against this violence. We need to let men know that raping sex workers will no longer get you a get-out-of jail free card, that violence against sex workers is not acceptable, nor will it be tolerated.
Violence against one woman is violence against all woman, it’s time we all stand up and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
I read a Cosmo magazine today; I didn’t mean too, it just kind of happened. Oh the shame. I was sitting in a health centre today waiting to get that cotton ball that got stuck in my ear flushed out, and while I was waiting a headline caught my eye “A New Kind of Date Rape You Must Know About” (which I also managed to find online) from an old September 2007 issue. ‘This looks like a good way to kill the next 5 or so minutes’ I thought to myself as I picked up the magazine and began perusing the article. In retrospect I should have resisted. I thought that by now Cosmo would be a little bit less sexist, but apparently I thought wrong.
Halfway through the first sentence I realized that the author of the article didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, and the content she was spewing out was not only absurd but blatantly misleading and harmful. The article was about “Grey Rape” which was defined as “sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial” and where it is impossible to tell if a woman consented or not. The author, Laura Stepp, uses some real-life experiences to explain “grey rape”.
In one situation a woman was making out with a guy and after telling him straight up that she didn’t want it to proceed to sex, he pushed her down and penetrated her anyway. While the man was penetrating her she repeatedly told him to stop.
In another scenario a woman was pinned down on a bed after inviting a man into her hotel room, and according to the woman, was sexually assaulted and had to struggle to escape.
And in another scenario a women passed out only to awaken to a man on top of her.
According to Laura Stepp what makes these assaults “grey rapes” instead of “rape” is that none of the women were forceful enough in making there objections known. As I finished reading the article I found it difficult to contain my rage as I thought to myself: “That’s not ‘grey rape’ you dickless misogynist pig that’s rape!”
And how could it not? It was clear from the women interviewed in the article that they were forced into sex, each said no, and each one was physically overcome – with the exception of a woman who was unconscious. Now, I’m not a lawyer but, from what I read it sure sounded like "rape" to me, not "sex," not "grey rape", but rape.
Let’s look at it this way. If someone was attempting to murder you, but you blacked out from shock before they repeatedly bludgeoned you, would that be “grey-murder?” Or does this whole grey area only exist when it comes to sexual assault against women? I was under the impression that regardless of whether you’re drunk, already making out, on a date, or whatever, saying “no” means just that. Logic like this “grey rape” just aids in exonerating men from their culpability in violent sexual crimes, as well as perpetuating the kind of silence and denial that helps foster rape and abuse.
That’s the what condominium owners, who are calling themselves The Homewood-Maitland Safety Association, a group of residents have recently moved into the area of Homewood and Maitland Street in Toronto are shouting every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night starting at 11pm in an effort to drive the transgender sex workers who work there away. I found their ad on Craigslist which reads:
The Homewood-Maitland Safety Association is meeting on the corner of
We are asking every concerned and/or victims of crimes and prostitution to join us for a meeting and an evening of community action to fight this plague that is Prostitution in this neighbourhood.
JOIN US !!! Come Friday evening at - Bring a Flashlight!
Thank you for helping your community! HomewoodMaitlandSafety@gmail.com
I’m going to the “meeting” (which apparently isn’t a meeting at all but a group of yuppie condominium owning thugs intent on ridding there neighbourhood of street prostitution by harassing, and assaulting women involved in street based sex work), with my partner in crime, sex worker activist and zero-shit-taker Carin. We’ll be armed with a mega phone to try and educate these ignorant people who have so much money between their ears it affects their ability to learn.
I think this issue has to do more with the morals of prostitution rather than the nuisance of prostitution. As a person who has lived in downtown Toronto for more than half my life I have resided in many neighbourhoods that were popular strolls for prostitution and found that the women standing on the corner waiting for a “date” were no different than the women standing around in their skin tight, skimpy outfits and high heels waiting to get into a dance club. The only difference between the two is that the women involved in prostitution weren’t drunkenly yelling and screaming in the streets and/or puking on my front lawn like the women going to the night clubs were, plus the women going to the clubs hung out with drunken club going men who also puked and pissed on my front lawn, making me want to start up my own Anti Nightclub Association.
Besides, Homeland and Maitland has historically been a transgender stroll, if anyone should move out it should me the yuppies who have recently immigrated there, either that or they should just live with it just like I have learned to live with their Starbuck trash that often “misses” the garbage can.
Until prostitution is decriminalized sex workers will have to work the streets, lest their homes or indoor establishments get seized by the government under the Bawdy House offences. And to all the condo owners: harassing women who are most likely poor and marginalized does not to promote community building and solidarity but, instead perpetuates and legitimizes hate crimes against sex workers. NIMBY-ism also promotes pushing women involved in street based sex working into dangerous areas that are isolated -- such as truck stops, highways, and alleyways – increasing crimes against sex workers.
What the condo owners SHOULD be doing is connecting with the sex workers and creating strategies that would promote the safety of sex workers in the neighbourhood, while ensuring that the property value of the precious condo’s don’t go down.
Monogamy is defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as “the practice of marrying only once during a lifetime, or the state or custom of being married to one person at a time or, the condition or practice of having a single mate during a period of time,” while the definition for ‘promiscuous’ is being “not restricted to one sexual partner”.
When it comes to monogamy and promiscuity, it is often said that women prefer to be monogamous, while men prefer to be promiscuous.
In the largest study done on human sexual behaviours, known as the International Sexuality Description Project led by David Schmitt, an evolutionary psychologist from Bradley University, researchers surveyed 16,288 people (mostly college students) from 52 countries found that men tended to seek sexual variety, while women tended to seek long-term monogamous relationships. In the study males and females women were asked how many partners they would like to have in the next month, while the average response from the males was 1.87, the average response from the females was 0.78. Males and females were also asked how many sexual partners they desired in the next ten years and while the males were found on average to want 5.95 partners, females were found to want about 2.17 partners in the next ten years. David Schmitt, suggests that men are born to be promiscuous and says that,"the results are strong and conclusive -- the sexes differ, and these differences appear to be universal." The reason for the differences between males and females, according to Schmitt, is found in ancient hunter-gatherer societies, when promiscuous males had a better chance of passing on their genes, and females who remained monogamous had a better chance of raising their children.
Some evolutionary psychologists have hailed Schmitt’s study as definitive, indisputable evidence that these sex differences are indeed biological. David M. Buss, an evolutionary psychologist at the
According to some feminist researchers, the responses in Schmitt’s study may have been skewed, suggesting that males may have exaggerated their responses to appear more “virile”, while females may have understated their responses so as not to appear “loose”, or like a “slut”. For instance, feminist researchers, Michelle Alexander and Terri Fisher, conducted a study into how females self-report their sexual behaviours and attitudes, and found that females change their responses depending on whether or not they believe they will be caught out not telling the truth. In another study, researcher Deborah Tolman interviewed high school girls and found that all the girls reported feelings of sexual desire but, that the girls expressed fear over the potential negative consequences of expressing these desires, which included losing respect and reputation, as well as limiting their educational opportunities.
Another reason why David Schmitt’s study may be skewed is due to “volunteer bias”, which means that many people, especially those that tend to be more sexually promiscuous and have sexual attitudes that are more liberal, probably did not participate.
Not only may the Schmitt study be skewed but, it also contradicts other evolutionary research which has found that females have historically been promiscuous. In one study on the evolution of sperm, scientists found that the reason why the testicles of males are the size they are is due to the historical infidelity of females. The study examined the semen of 12 different species of primates (including humans) and found that in the species where the female is promiscuous (such as the chimpanzee) her male counterparts have large testicles, but that in species where the female tends to stay with only one partner (such as gorillas) the male has small testicles. The researchers claim that the reason for this is that in promiscuous species the sperm must often fight those of a rival to be the one that ends up fertilizing the females’ egg, so as a way to increase the chances of paternity these male species have evolved large testicles and sperm counts for their body size. Since human males have rather large testicles and sperm count scientists concluded that females must have been historically promiscuous.
Female promiscuity has also been considered “good for the genes”. According to certain studies females who are promiscuous have a better chance of their offspring surviving because males that are successful in sperm competition also sire healthy offspring.
The idea of women being less promiscuous than men is considered, by some researchers, to be a “sexist double standard” which was socially constructed to permit, as well as encourage, men to be promiscuous by engaging in casual sex but did not allow the same for women. Therefore research that suggests that men and women have different sexual desires, and that men are more promiscuous then women should be reconsidered in regards to the social construction of female sexual identity, and also in how male and females respond to survey’s on their sexual desires and sexual activities, before coming to any conclusions as the findings may be due to the function of gender roles, and not due to any specific evolved adaptations.
There are generally two stances that feminist and women’s groups usually take when it comes to prostitution, the first is the total abolishment of prostitution through the full criminalization of prostitution and its related activities. This point of view is supported by REAL Women of Canada, who recommend that,
“Since the act of prostitution itself is not an offense under the Criminal Code, the latter should be amended to prohibit prostitution itself, as well as prohibit the activities surrounding prostitution; i.e. keeping a common bawdy house, living off the avails of prostitution, etc.” (REAL Women, 2002)
As well, Relais femmes, a feminist organization that rejects decriminalization, stated that,
“Introducing provisions that remove barriers to the trade in women’s bodies and legitimize the fact that men have unlimited access to the bodies of a certain number of women, thus creating two classes of female citizens: so-called respectable citizens and those dedicated to the sexual comfort of men.” (Kurtzman, 2005)The second stance that feminists and women’s groups often take when it comes to the issue of prostitution is that
“The principle behind the Swedish prostitution policies makes clear that prostitution is officially acknowledged as a form of male violence against women, a harmful practice and a serious threat to gender equality and a tangible expression of the belief that in one country, at least, women and children are not for sale”. (Raymond, 2004)Sex worker rights organizations in Sweden have denounced these laws, saying that not only are they discriminatory against sex workers (ex. sex workers can risk being evicted from their homes if their landlords do not want to be seen as earning money from prostitution or operating a brothel), but have also pushed sex workers off the streets and into more isolated and dangerous surroundings.
“Sex workers also report that the networks between sex workers that existed before on certain known streets for prostitution have disappeared or weakened as a result of the sex-purchase law. Earlier you could warn each other for dangerous customers, fake cars, etc. … The "normal" clients have almost disappeared from the streets. Those who remain are the ones with a twisted mindset and street prostitutes today are more exposed to robbery, assault and rape than before.” (
The result of the laws targeting adult prostitution is that we have more women in jail then men who have harmed them. To me, any law that prevents a woman from reporting rape or an assault is a law that needs to be removed. It is for this reason, among others, that I advocate for the complete decriminalization of the laws against adult prostitution, as well as support the Safe Haven Initiative. I believe that by allowing women to have complete choice over what they do with their body and sexuality, and by ensuring that all women have the freedom to report an assault against them to the police (without risk of facing prostitution-related charges), the Canadian will have made a huge leap in both advancing women’s rights and decreasing violence against marginalized women.
We all have them (at least most of us), they are the underwear that we least care about, the ones with the rips, the loose elasticity, the granny panties, and the ones that already have –…get ready for the “EWWWWWWW” factor…— stains. These are most commonly used as our ‘period underwear’ – the ones we don’t mind if our maxi pad slips and we leak on them. My personal favorite are my yellow and red tie-dyed briefs (that way if my “wings” let me down no one will know).
Anyways, since period-underwear has been untapped in the fashion industry I thought it would be a high time it become stylish. Every month I have a “beautifully” large flow of blood – one that resembles the bloody mess of a crime scene, as well as one in which you don’t want another to enter – which is where the first design comes from. The second design (the “red alert” panties) are more practical for everyday period use, as they are not only period friendly – meaning that they are red and thus won’t show up blood stains – but they also alert your partner that, unless they want a crusty red goatee, they may not want to go down there.
So to get to my point, I wanted to know what y’all thought. Should I market them?
I’m trying, I really am. If I understand this correctly, an organic compound is a large (…well as large as microscopic biology can be) group of chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon, and an inorganic compound is any substance in which two or more chemical elements other than carbon are combined. – Fuck, I’m reading this shit, I’m writing this shit, but I’m still not learning shit all. It’s as if I’m immune to biology and all its components.
About a month ago I decided to spend a lot of my money on a college biology course (which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately), and so far all I’ve learned is that I don’t know much, accept that my brain has a hard time retaining atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, and all that stuff that I own and use everyday. No wonder some people would rather believe in Creationism – it’s a lot easier to think that ‘magic’ is responsible for human life instead of these microscopic organisms that we can’t even see with the naked eye.
If anyone knows a good tutor or website that I could go to that could help me understand the functions of life that would be really sweet….
In what could become Canada’s first human trafficking conviction in history, four people (3 men and 1 woman) have been arrested for a variety of charges including human trafficking and forcible confinement after two women who were brought over here under the false pretences of working as models went to the Toronto police seeking help. But contrary to what most of us would like to believe, that these women were rescued by police – there attackers going to jail – and that everyone lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, that is not the case, for if you read the newspaper article closely you’ll notice that the two victims are currently being held “protective custody”, which is a polite term for saying that they are in jail but, unlike the rest of the population in jail, these women are in private cells rather than with the other women.
I don’t know about any of you, but personally I feel really gross about victims going to jail for reporting a crime – especially since the offenders will be out in a few days due to bail. I just can’t wrap my head around putting “sex slaves” into jail – which treats them like slaves – and how that could possibly help an exploited woman. Jailing the victim confuses the fuck out of me, especially since the Canadian government poured millions of dollars into a human trafficking campaign to get victims to come forward.
There is absolutely no reason to hold a victim of human trafficking in jail, for it neither benefits the police (as holding a victim in jail, even for a short time, will more than likely deter her/him from cooperating with the investigation), nor the victim who is suffering from enough anguish (especially since many organizations have opened safe houses for trafficked women). What our anti-human trafficking laws essentially do is punish the victims – mostly women –as there have been numerous deportations of migrant women believed to have been trafficked in
With “rescue” options like these it’s no wonder more victims don’t come forward as you can’t feel freedom while wearing a pair of handcuffs.