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vendredi 4 mai 2007
Subcommittee’s report on the solicitation laws
A Trip Into the Absurd
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
What can one think of a society where the worst crime is not the exploitation of human beings, but the judgment that one could pass on the exploiters ? Is it really impossible in the ‘best country in the world ? It is therefore on this basis that the Subcommittee’s report on the soliciting laws, mainly in favor of the legalization of prostitution is articulated. It could have been titled : A trip into the Absurd.
I’ll never be able to express the demoralization and immense disgust I experienced when I read this report, particularly when I respect so much the role of the members of the parliament. My first reaction would be to put the work of Jacques Grand’Maison, titled Quand le jugement fout le camp ! (When judgment falls apart !) at the disposition of the representatives of NDP, BQ and PLC ; but would they read it ?
How can they claim on this subject that « prostitution is, above all, a public health issue » ! That the members of the parliament refuse to see the evidence indicating prostitution as one of the worst manifestations of the domination of one group over the other, an extreme proof of the inequality between women and men, that’s what goes well beyond comprehension ! Other flaws compromise the report as a whole and make it despicable to bear the official seal of the permanent Standing committee on Justice and human rights (!).
The absence of analysis and coherence
A report should normally specify the object of its analysis. Now, chapter 2 which is meant to be a description of prostitution in Canada leaves out a major point : a first-hand description of prostitution or, according to the newspeak used by our members of the parliament, what they would call sexual services. Here is how a prostitution survivor describes them :
I didn’t see a single word about that in the report. If the defenders of the decriminalization/legalization are willing to discredit those opposed to their position by refusing their right to express themselves on the argument that they’re not practicing prostitution, I admit that I myself felt compelled to demand those who signed the majority report to offer such services for several weeks, before having the right to promote such activity...
In addition, the report barely touches upon the fact that prostitution is a system in which, mostly men buy « sexual services » from women. To avoid a deeper analysis of this dichotomy between men and women in the prostitution system would be like stating that apartheid in South Africa could have been analyzed while ignoring the differences between the status of ‘Blacks’ and ‘Whites’.
It’s with beautiful unanimity that the subcommittee members decided against the prostitution of minors. Please note, they speak of « prostitution » when referring to minors, and they seem to admit that they are forced to prostitute themselves at earlier ages each time. A recent book by Michel Dorais on prostitution of minors (2) shows quite clearly the mechanisms used to suppress every choice for the minors exploited by the prostituters (both users and pimps) as well as every obstacle encountered to escape from prostitution. Then how can they allow themselves to overlook the links between prostitution of under-aged people and that of legal-age people ? How can they even ignore these links even when the report itself states that it takes years and years to heal these wounds and move on ?
One must highlight that the subcommittee has chosen to overlook that which might have altered its conclusions, as one perceives it in anticipation from the first pages by the choice of words (sex workers, sexual services, etc.).
Two weights, two measures
Moreover, throughout the report, one perceives a tendency to discredit the information provided by those men and women who denounce prostitution as a human rights violation. Each time a well-researched and supported demonstration is made to reveal the dark side of prostitution, the report quotes one or two discrediting testimonies and gives them as much if not greater credibility.
It is, for that matter, more blatant in the section concerning the Swedish legislation on which the special counselor of the Swedish government, Gunilla Ekberg, came to testify. She presented several official documents (clearly identified in the report) which evaluate the effects of the Swedish abolitionist law. However, in the eyes of the committee, this just wasn’t enough to counterweight the words and the « documents » presented by the pro-sex work community, of which several aren’t identified in the report and which therefore the credibility is questionable.
As for the (amply documented) negative effects of prostitution, ranging from women in general, to the communities and people involved in prostitution, the report sweeps them away with few words, such as « some witnesses have characterized this speech as sanctimonious »... There again, no definition or arguments to support the subject. That about says it all...
We already know what they say : those incapable of conceiving the idea of someone being able to choose freely to sell their body or paying someone else’s, are self-righteous people ! As, according to those in favor of the decriminalization/legalization, there is nothing immoral in exploiting the human body, but quite the opposite ! And the deputies start to believe that the commercialization of the female body is an individual right ! Then, what are they waiting to legalize organ-trafficking ? Just like poor women who choose prostitution, poor people from all over the world will at last be able to profit from this new interpretation of individual rights. Pimps and other traffickers will have finally prevailed, thanks to human rights (!).
Whoever thinks this crosses the boundaries of absurdity please just shut up and avoid any judgment. The deputies will enforce order : they’re not there to pass any judgments. Moreover, it is clearly stated in writing : « To attain equilibrium without any judgment ».
All judgments on pimps and flesh-merchants profiting from human exploitation shed. After all, all these people are « consenting adults ». Never mind yesterday’s minor who has changed her status and ability to choose overnight ! Never mind the young teenager who has led herself to be recruited by a pimp who takes as much advantage of her as he wants ! Never mind native women, to whom a few (insufficient) paragraphs are dedicated, as in the end, the only problem is simply a public health problem.
All the same, isn’t it weird our deputies claim the right not to use their own judgment ! And I thought judgment was « at the very core of that which defines us as humans : intelligence and conscience. » (3) Then, on which basis do they perform their parliamentary role ? Without judgment, how can one evaluate if some action is prejudicial to human dignity ?
New values to promote ?
Law plays an essential role : « to regulate liberties and educate into certain values » (4). The proposals of the members of the parliament in this report, in the end, are the following new values :
Women are just another type of merchandise.
One can just as easily imagine that women receiving aid from the State will be invited to turn to this booming, and from now on, authorized and de-stigmatized profession. But let’s not allow ourselves to be fooled : the only ones who shall raise their social status, if ever, should this decriminalization/legalization come to be, are the pimps, exploiters and users, and certainly not the women who must be subdued to their fantasies and despise.
All things considered, maybe it’s The Emperor’s New suit that I should send to the members of BQ, PLC and NDP... while waiting for something better (or worst ?), I dare to dream of a great mobilization (5) to comfort myself.
To read the whole Report.
Translation : Yolanda Bello Olvera
On Sisyphe, April 30, 2007.