Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Prostitutes & Politicians.

I was in and out of the Tavern at times all last week. Not only was I out challenging the Law, but also lunching with ladies who make the Law. For despite the seeming need - so the ladies claim - for having more womyn in legislative power, and therefore having a more empathetic, nurturing and communicative society, so they claim - Tasmoania has had and still has many women law-makers. 

Unfortunately the few right-thinking ones such a Jaquie Petrusma are well outgunned by radical feminists like the awful Michelle O'Byrne and Lala the ex Premier and their erstwhile heroine the super-awful Judy Jackson. Even the conservative Christian ones seem to lack that militant and righteous spirit needed to fight back against their vociferous and nasty sistas.

The Feminist lady politicians here are just as hypocritical and frankly evil as Nancy Pelosi is in the more influential USA. They are practicing for their long time next posting where they will legislate in Hell. These feminists have left a trail of misery established in our legal code that will take great courage and many years to repeal.

Michelle - with her kindred evil spirits - was the prime mover behind the wicked new laws in Tas about abortion and free speech. "Kill babies - forbid people to protest'. But now in opposition, having been thrown out and leaving their misery to continue without them, they are intent on driving a new stake into society's soul with the Prostitution Law.

I had lunch (not in my own fine dining rooms) with a pleasant lady staffer last week to discuss the intent she has in recommending the 'Nordic Model'. My credentials for speaking about prostitutes are little known in the Tavern but at one time before taking up the towel and apron and after taking off the armour and sword I did spend a considerable time in the depths of the vice industry working with what I termed my 'Rude, Nasty Girls'.

Talking with such girls - and women - was as instructive to this old male psyche as it was to theirs, because I was able to develop a profound understanding of them, as human beings, someone's little girl once, and they allowed me to show a vision of chaste, masculine - even Fatherly ! - Love that they sought. I can say that with considerable help from deep within I was able to grab a lot of mud-caked hair and haul many a little girl's soul up from the pit wherein it had been suffocating.

I tried to get some of it across to the pleasant and thoughtful Amanda-Sue, over a ham and salad sandwich. But she seemed fixed on the idea of the 'Nordic Model'. Give a horror a name and people will bow before it. Anyway, who listens to a mere man. I do hope she did.

I am pretty sure she would have got a better view had she lunched with a friend of mine. Mishka  came by yesterday and was talking to some of the crowd in the Oz Room.  She put comprehensively what the sandwiches interefered with when I tried.

Let me introduce Mishka Gora. I have no doubt at all that she is one of the most intelligent women I have in my circle of acquaintences. And a Good one too.  This old Knight does not tip a hat often nor raise the sword from beneath the bar in order to give a proper Knight's Salute very often. I do here.

She started by referring to a party of  what passes for Politicians from the ACT. For our American friends, that is like Washington DC's governance - crooks and pillocks. They too are enamoured by the 'Nordic Model'.  As usual some phrases caught the ear of a busy barman and I emphasise them here.

Four low-profile Australian politicians briefly hit the headlines last month when they announced they would be spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a study tour to Europe. The subject? Prostitution reform using the Swedish (or Nordic) model. 

This came on the heels of the February 26 European Parliament resolution that EU countries should “punish the clients, not the prostitutes”. 
The leader of this tour, Giulia Jones MLA, said she hoped it would “start a conversation” on the sex industry: “people will say what they need to say and I’m comfortable with that”. Accordingly, I hope this commentary will provide a discerning voice in what has thus far been a polarised and facile dialogue.
Allow me to begin with the ‘m’ word: 
Prostitution has always been and always will be a moral issue. Morality should not, however, be confused with criminality. 
Even the Catholic Church’s greatest moral theologian St Thomas Aquinas did not advocate secular laws prohibiting prostitution, arguing that authorities “rightly tolerate certain evils, lest … certain evils be incurred”. More history later….

The point I want to make upfront is that the end does not justify the means, and one form of wrongdoing may not be permitted in the hope of eliminating or ameliorating another. 
To criminalise male purchasers while simultaneously exonerating female vendors (of sex) is a violation of natural justice and (Judeo-Christian) morality. 
This is something even my six-year-old daughter can grasp. As she put it, “that’s not fair”.
Procedural justice is only the tip of the iceberg, though. 
For a model that is supposed to help prostitutes and improve their lives, it shows them remarkably little respect.  
Dr Laura Agustín, an international trafficking expert and author of Sex at the Margins, identifies this as a “denial of consent”. She explains that those keen to “rescue” prostitutes “claim to Know Better how they should think and feel” instead of “listening with interest” to what prostitutes have to say for themselves. They rely on the “classic idea that prostitution is a patriarchal institution that must be abolished”.
I might add here that one needs to listen with 'disinterest' too: and with Love. It is a deep skill, I can tell you, to manage to juggle all three at once. 
This refusal “to believe in the consent of women who sell sex” fails to understand the motivation of women who would rather not be prostitutes but nevertheless prefer prostitution to the alternative. 
“Few sex workers are attracted by ‘exit strategies’ or ‘diversion programmes’. They hate being low-paid, disparaged, disrespected cleaners, nannies and maids. They don’t want to return to their countries as failed migrants. 
They don’t want to be poorer again. 
The sex act may be something they adapt to, learn to enjoy or close their eyes and endure, but if doing it provides more freedom, autonomy, flexibility or hope then it can be preferred…. 
The majority have consented to sell sex, somehow or other, to some degree…. The consent of adult women is denied en masse.”
This silencing of the voices of prostitutes whose stories don’t fit the feminist narrative is profoundly dishonest and disrespectful. 

Cherry picking is an exploitation of the illicit and precarious situation of prostitutes in society, and it has also translated into a deafness to claims that the Swedish model endangers them by hampering risk assessments and creating a disincentive for clients to report abuse or trafficking to the police. 
Prostitutes themselves reject the idea that they are victims. 
Some assert their autonomy in the very act of tweeting #NotYourRescueProject. Others rely on reputable academics such as Ronald Weitzer… or the 560 NGOs and 86 researchers who wrote to the European parliament to discredit the shockingly erroneous report by MEP Mary Honeyball.
The farce of the prostitutes-are-victims dogma is perhaps best illustrated by the prostitution trial in 2012 in which the alleged pandering “victims” not only testified on behalf of their pimps but stood outside the New York courthouse shouting “we are not victims”. 
On home turf, this farce has manifested itself in “Australia’s most experienced brothel madam’s” offer of “a complete guide to the sex industry”. It seems that the politicians, in their eagerness to confer with their counterparts overseas, neglected to even visit brothels in their own electorates. 
Janelle Fawkes of the Scarlet Alliance (Australia’s peak sex worker organisation) added that the politicians’ agenda is “based on the fact that, as sex workers, we cannot make choices about our own lives”.

From a Christian viewpoint (which all four politicians claim to represent), it is not charitable to lie to the sinner. Telling women mired in grievous sin that they are victims and have committed no crime communicates to them that they need not repent – to say otherwise is contradictory. 
This is arguably one of the nastiest things one can do as a Christian as it removes the catalyst for repentance and thus threatens the sinner with eternal hellfire. 
Admonishing sinners is a Christian duty, an act of mercy prescribed by the Catholic Church (to which I believe three of the politicians actively belong). Sweeping serious and repeated sins under the carpet and furnishing excuses for a life of vice is fundamentally opposed to this creed.
From a non-Christian viewpoint, the duplicity and irrationality of wanting to eliminate prostitution as a blight on society while simultaneously denying the moral agency of prostitutes as consenting adults is mind-boggling. 
The contortions of the mind needed to support this feminist narrative have, according to Dr Jay Levy, also led to patronising claims of “false consciousness” in which prostitutes are perceived to have failed to “see through apparent patriarchal subjugation and oppression” and become “unreliable” witnesses. 
Some are further undermined by their portrayal as women who “put on a brave face” and are ultimately liars and actors. But if these women are “worth standing up for” (as Mrs Jones has so fervently asserted) surely they should be listened to and taken seriously.
This contempt for prostitutes, which treats them like children incapable of taking responsibility for their actions and which offends their human dignity by eschewing their testimonies, carries over into the demonising of their clients.  

In contrast to the absolution given to women in descriptions such as “desperate”, “addicted”, and “seduced”, male clients under the Swedish model are criminals and apparently do not suffer from desperation, addiction, or weakness. And they’re not petty criminals either. 
They are “sex offenders”, 
punished under the Penal Code along with rapists and child abusers. 
Like the simplistic and skewed portrayal of prostitutes as victims, the picture painted of men is that of perpetrators and oppressors. According to Dr Melissa Farley, upon whose dubious ‘research’ seemingly every justification of the Swedish model is based, they are “predators”. 
Andrea Dworkin adds that all men are guilty: 
“Every man in this society benefits from the fact that women are prostituted whether or not every man uses a woman in prostitution.”
The Swedish model ignores the consensual contractual arrangement clients have with prostitutes, doesn’t even attempt to understand the motivation behind their purchase of sexual services, and at best reduces them to an economic factor in a demand-supply scenario. 
It aims to reduce prostitution by criminalising demand, but sexual demand does not simply disappear when made illegal, especially when supply remains legal. It is difficult to see how any progress can be made in addressing the problem of prostitution ... 
if we ignore the real and complex motivations of both prostitutes and clients.
So how did this ideologically-based legislative model gain such traction worldwide?
Unlike the ‘world’s oldest profession’ which it seeks to undermine, the Swedish model is barely a quarter-century old. One of its many proponents, Equality Now, explains how it came about: 
“Sweden understood that gender inequality and sexual subordination could not be fought effectively by assuming a gender symmetry that does not exist…. Exploitation in the commercial sex industry is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality. It is a form of violence against women….” 
In the years leading up to Sweden’s adoption of the 1999 sexköpslagen (sex purchase law), a parliamentary committee recommendation that both parties in the transaction should be criminalised was dismissed in a media flurry that claimed punishing both parties would obscure what prostitution was really about: male power and sexuality. They argued that criminalisation of the client would mark a “historical turning point in relation to that double standard which always has permeated the patriarchal society”.
Mrs Jones echoed this interpretation of the model, saying that it was designed to minimise prostitution by putting “the onus of responsibility for the harms of the industry where they belong onto the men who buy sex”. She said the tour would visit countries that take “seriously the structural disadvantage to women”.
This ideological assessment of prostitution is key to any advocacy of the Swedish model. 
Dr Jay Levy, author of the forthcoming book Criminalising the Purchase of Sex (Routledge), highlights the background: The sexköpslagen “is justified by a backdrop of a ‘radical feminist’ discourse which constructs prostitution as a form of patriarchal violence against women…. According to this understanding, female sex workers are seen as passive, disempowered victims of violence, their clients as male exploiters.”
Appropriately, the Australian tour will include meetings with French officials from the Ministry of Gender Equality and, notably, the Stockholm Prostitution Unit. This is the Unit which Levy found to have “hampered” efforts to gather information on the views of prostitutes and which asserted that all the prostitutes had difficulties with sex work. 
This Unit is expressly not interested in women who “feel well, and like to be in this situation”: “in Sweden, we are here for people who feel bad in prostitution”. A social worker Levy interviewed from the Prostitution Unit in Malmö concurred: “there’s never been nobody (sic) who asked the sellers about what they think… we don’t in Sweden. We assume.”
However, this study tour isn’t some radical feminist junket. Those on the Australian tour are known as and supported by social conservatives. The Swedish model has been embraced by Christians in what has been termed an “unholy alliance”, and not just in Australia. I won’t speculate as to the motives of the politicians considering Swedish-style legislation but allow readers to draw their own conclusions from the words of the tour’s leader: 
“It’s putting the burden back on to those who purchase sex because of the toll it takes… It really comes from a feminist perspective about the violence that gets perpetrated on women in this industry…. This is a matter of gender equity.” 
Levy assessed it thus: the “structural violence apparently inherent in prostitution means that violence and abuse are always present, even if not physically visible, measurable, or empirically demonstrable”. 
In short, the Swedish model meddles with the criminal code based on modern feminist ideology rather than empirical evidence and natural (or divine) law.
This is just one of the peculiarities of the Swedish model. Suffice to say, anyone with an internet connection can summon up enough articles on the subject to satiate the greediest of information gluttons. 
Academics like Levy have written entire books on the subject. I won’t try to duplicate this work. However, there is a niggling question that remains unaddressed in this body of work: 
how does Christianity fit in with this radical feminist characterisation of prostitution?
The answer is: it does NOT
For Christians, promiscuity has been the defining aspect of prostitution throughout the centuries. 
According to History Professor Ruth Mazo Karras, “it was not the exchange of money, nor even multiple partners, but the public and indiscriminate availability of a woman’s body that was the defining feature of prostitution....The modern Western notion of a prostitute as a woman who takes money for sex is a creation of particular understandings of sexuality and money. It is not a category that is automatically meaningful in any other culture.” 
Professor James Brundage provides example after example of this perception of prostitution. Indeed, at least one canonist concluded it was only right to compensate the prostitute for her labour. Building on Gratian and St Jerome, medieval canonists agreed that although it was wrong for a prostitute to practice her trade, there was no wrongdoing in her receipt of money for her 
Conversely, while financial need was seen as a root cause it was not viewed as in any way mitigating: “No matter how hungry she might be or how desperate her situation, a woman was not justified in turning to prostitution in order to earn even the necessities of life.”
The crux of Christian morality on this subject is that any sex outside of marriage is sinful. 
St Ambrose noted this included sex with a prostitute and that both parties were guilty. 
St Thomas Aquinas categorised prostitution as fornication, a sin that secular law necessarily leaves unpunished. 
It is therefore hypocritical and inconsistent to criminalise only this one form of promiscuity, especially given that more people are engaged in unpaid illicit sex than paid. 
Nor does it make sense. 
It is not a criminal offence for a woman to have a different sexual partner each night. Nor is it a criminal offence for a man to buy his mistress an apartment, clothing, etc. 
The singling out of prostitutes’ male clients is, in short, discriminatory. 
Crucially, St Thomas Aquinas observed that “paying a prostitute for fornication involves money given for something unlawful, but the giving itself is not unlawful”.
Of course, there is a valid argument for the prohibition of prostitution, but integrity would demand that such a prohibition apply to all illicit sex, such as adultery, sex before marriage, and sodomy. Such a prohibition is, of course, utopian. It was ludicrous in Catholic medieval Europe, and it is even more so in a modern western democracy. The phrase “we are all sinners” springs to mind.
Whatever one’s opinion of prostitution.. 
the Swedish legislative model is an immoral imposition of radical feminist ideology that cannot be justified. 
Its effectiveness is neither here nor there. One may not do evil so that good may result from it.

I could say quite a lot here, but this is a time for Mishka to have her view put forward. I agree with virtually all, but recognise that just a few of the salient points can be expressed over a drink in the bar. Much else could be said, regarding both the 'commercial' aspect as it affects men, and the individual personal agency of the women, especially the quite young ones.

But for now, it is for the customers to continue while I pull more good ale from the taps.

Mishka Gora is a writer and home educator based in Tasmania, Australia. 
Her particular interests are conscience, justice, war, and the former Yugoslavia. She holds degrees in American Studies, Philosophy, and History from Monash and Brown universities, and her doctoral work on conscience won the 2007 George Yule Essay Prize. 
She is the author of ‘Fragments of War’ and blogs sporadically at 
Eyes of the Mind.

I Salute the Lady.

Drink deep of Grace if you are to reach into the Pit. Especially when it is on a taxpayer-paid junket to the fleshpots of the Nordic lands.



  1. I think there is more to the opposition to prostitution than feminist ideology. Most women have a sort of visceral abhorrence of any alternative outlet for male sexuality that cannot be controlled and feminists are capitalising on this.

    For most of history, men controlled the bulk of the resources, but women controlled something that men wanted. Most people lived in relatively small communities. Therefore if some women were "giving it away too easily", they would be shamed by their female peers. They were called cheap and the word was meant literally. The were literally undercutting the prices of the competition. They were lowering the market value of the most valuable female resource.

    When feminists complain about "slut-shaming" they are describing the shaming of a woman who is expressing her sexuality too freely. They miss the point that "slut-shaming" is almost always something that is done by other women, and always has been. It is women who have always attempted to police female sexuality in order to keep its value high by limiting the supply.

    Every granny has at some point admonished her daughter with some form of the following - "Don't give away the farm to easily." "He won't buy the cow if he can get free milk." Mothers wanted their daughters to marry the local squire's son, not the guy who looked after the goats, and the local squire's son was unlikely to want to marry the girl who had a reputation for running around with goat guy. So female sexuality was also guarded in order to secure a good marriage.

    Most of all though, it was about peer pressure; keeping the value of the female resource high so that women could extract a higher price from men in terms of resources and commitment. That is why most women are instinctively against prostitution, porn etc.

    1. Indeed, and I did point out at the closing that the points raised are just some of the salient issues that can be discussed. Thank you for your observations.

      The main feature of the drive toward the 'Nordic Model' IS Feminism however, as illustrated by the quotations Mishka brings us.

      By the way Lana, I am sure you and she would find kindred intellect and perhaps even some similarity of experience on the 'international conflict' observations.

  2. I clicked onto Mishka's blog after she commented here a couple of days ago. I was quite blown away by her writing. I bookmarked her blog for more in depth reading when I have more time particularly as 'Yugoslavia' as it was, seeped into my heart when I had the privilege to visit on more than one occasion.

    Now getting to the point of your post. Prostitution is a moral issue and the women are not exploited by the men who choose to pay for those services. Choices are made by each party for different reasons.

    The women who choose prostitution as career path can however be exploited by others (male of female) who promote their services.

    There are underlying reasons for all of these actions. The reasons are the start point for making changes rather than criminalising those who are involved in the sex industry, be they a promoter, provider or partaker.

    1. Agreed, on each point, cherie. The industry can be very dark and dirty. One rarely asks if the men are exploited though. Have you noticed that? By focussing attention on women as victim and men as perpetrator, the Nordic Model seeks to ignore that men pay in an unconscionable contract and seeks only to punish them.

  3. The 1960's sexual revolution solved that didn't it? Free sex was everywhere. I knew VERY few men who paid for sex. I've always wonder why men paid for sex when any decent man could, with a bit of effort get sex for free.

    And there's another questions, about the morality of one night stands. In the eyes of the Christians, that is a sin. And there is good reason for that too.

    I've known a few prostitutes, and they came from absent fathers, and sex to them, was the ONLY power they felt in their lives, and the money was great. One of them I know, has two vipers, a farm...but a son who is in prison.

    Now that she is older she wants to marry, but no man, despite all her riches, wants her.

    Maybe you can explain that to me.

    But, I agree. You cannot punish the man and not the prostitute. I think a bigger issue is the sex trade of the children, which is kept very secret.

    It's all politics, isn't it?

    You did a lot of deep thinking on this one...good sort! .

    1. I do not think prostitution was adversely affected by the sexual revolution. If anything it propelled many a woman into the sex trade.for whom it otherwise would not have been the case. The Fatherhood issue is very important in my experience. Perhaps you might elaborate for the rest here. Motherhood is too. In my own personal knowledge of many, many RNGs the active involvement of mothers in their daughter's prostitution is kept even more secret (or at least unacknowledged) as the children (under-aged) issue.

  4. Very good post my dear friend:)

    1. Aha ! Glad to see you have mastered the door, my dear ! hahaha. Thank you, and maybe thanks to Mishka is more in order.

  5. I posted this over at Nourishing Obscurity and was ibvited by your host to repost here; look forward to your comments;

    Thought would jump in with my experience of the flesh trade; I married an Asian bar girl 20 odd year ago and have 3 kids. Many of my friends also married bar girls, with most remaining happily married to this day with almost identical stories as mine.

    Looking back, I was definitely carrying the oft talked of white man’s burden, and I am proud of my decision. Basically, she was young and fruity and at 18 already had a young son with a native who had shipped out to Diego Garcia. The only real employment was a factory, or dancing; and boy talk about a bus mans holiday; they just love to dance ; )

    She told me she had been offered a “modelling” job in Lebanon, which made me feel ill; because one can pretty much guess what it entailed. To cut a long story short, we fell pregnant, and after some 7 months of consideration, I decided to do the right thing and married her. The thought of my flesh and blood running around a slum in Asia was too much to bear.

    After just 16 months in Asia I was married, with two kids, one of whom was 2 years old.

    Next week, my daughter will start at a Russell Group Uni studying law. My stepson is a Lloyds Broker in the city and my youngest is heading to college and plans to head to an Ivy League uni.

    I would think that a large proportion of men that use hookers, would like to “take them away from all this” and look after them. In my case, and dozens of my friends, we have had a major impact on their lives and have been able to provide opportunities that most could only dream of; extreme social mobility if you like.

    I would think my story could be repeated across the world. From Kiev, Bangkok to Managua and San Paolo. Peasants condemned through the accident of birth to running barefoot in the gutter have managed to have the next generations attend some of the world’s best universities, all because of prostitution.

    1. That is an 'experience' brought to the bar that deserves a pint. Or two. There are many men who might find some sympathy with the view that they just want to 'tale away' from that life some particular girl or other. It is inherent in a man- part of his masculine make-up - to provide and protect, and while this is usually in a more 'standard' context, it is easy to see how a prostitute can elicit the response.

      And here is a fine chap who has stepped up with a long term committment. I raise m'glass.

      While experiences such as this - again in context of a foreign waif - can be, as you say, seen in many instances if one cares to look, it is rarer in our western society. Perhaps the behaviour and 'entitlement' demands of young western girls caught in the same single-mother trap deters theat masculine 'instinct' to take them away from that life.

      Thank you for adding to this discussion. The pints are on the bar whenever you want to drop by.

    2. Your comments are appreciated and really glad to know that my little story could help shed some light on an issue that is very much misunderstood.
      It is interesting to note your last line about entitlements, because before my Asia trip I was living in Holland and living with a Dutch heiress; very old money, tall, blond and remarkably beautiful; a Teutonic Amazonian, if you can imagine.....
      I am not sure if she told me the truth because nothing happened, and it could have been a test, but she also said she could be pregnant, but illegitimate in Europe is not the same as Asia.
      I should also say my kids are absolutely amazing; my daughter plays County cricket, played against England women, Wales, and Holland. All five foot of her also plays senior cricket against men and her confidence level is immense. When we lived in the States, her teachers came to me and said they and never met and girl like her, a few were in tears when we left.
      She is going to go far, but it could have all been a lot different if i had not met my responsibility. No regrets. None at all.

  6. Please excuse my occasional typos. Old Khayyam hisself, whose words can be found on the left of the bar, also wrote about the moving finger that writes and moves on. Even I cannot cancel out my own typos.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..