| Arts & Lettres | Poésie | Démocratie, laïcité, droits | Politique | Féminisme, rapports hommes-femmes | Femmes du monde | Polytechnique 6 décembre 1989 | Prostitution & pornographie | Syndrome d'aliénation parentale (SAP) | Voile islamique | Violences | Sociétés | Santé & Sciences | Textes anglais  

                   Sisyphe.org    Accueil                                   Plan du site                       

mardi 17 mai 2005

Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada

par Jacqueline Lynn, researcher

Écrits d'Élaine Audet

Chercher dans ce site


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 Prostitutors
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 ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
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
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

I’d like to begin by talking about prostitution of first nations women in Canada. There has never been a time in Canadian history since European contact that first nations women have not been sexually exploited in prostitution. In its earliest days, when Canada functioned primarily as a military and commercial outpost of Great Britain, the Hudson’s Bay Company prohibited European women from immigrating to Canada. European men demanded sexual accessibility to first nations women, so Canada’s first brothels were established around military bases and trading posts. First nations women were used in prostitution from first contact, and I propose to you today that present-day prostitution of first nations women is a particularly sexual and violent legacy of colonialism.

There are two essential ideas we need to know in order to understand how first nations women are prostituted in Canada today. Firstly, we need to know that the supply side of prostitution requires a devalued class of women. Secondly, we need to know that colonialism, through its powerfully oppressive and interlocking forces, subjugated first nations women and produced such a class.

Most of the urgent needs that first nations people are trying to heal today as a result of being colonized, such as poverty, childhood sexual abuse, childhood physical abuse and neglect, husband violence, family addictions, and alcoholism, are the same issues that render first nations women highly vulnerable to being recruited into prostitution.

A highly organized sex economy

Canadian first nations prostituted women form part of a highly organized sex economy that exploits millions of indigenous women globally. Prostituted indigenous women are the most disenfranchised women in the world.

Article 4 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women recommends that state parties recognize that some groups of women are rendered particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation, such as minority and indigenous women, women subject to racial discrimination, rural women, ethnically and socially marginalized women, and women with disabilities caused by substance abuse.

I’d like momentarily to talk about the essence of this thing called the prostitution exchange. If Canada truly wants to stop the violence—and I believe the committee is here to hear different people’s opinions about how to do so—perpetrated against women in prostitution and particularly those who are most vulnerable, specifically first nations women, then we must understand that the prostitution exchange in and of itself is intrinsically violent.

A bought rape

Putting aside for a moment, but not forgetting, the everyday violence prostituted women experience, such as the assaults from pimps and johns and the social contempt of society, I want to tell you what prostituted women have told me about their experience of being used in prostitution. Women have described what johns do to them as bought-and-sold acts of rape, which are unwanted, violating, and assaultive. The bought rape of prostitution is not just one rape, as in stranger or date rape. Prostitution is continuous rape by multiple strangers day in and day out, year after year. To be prostituted is to be gang-raped over and over.

Johns buy women’s bodies so that they can masturbate on, in, and around them. While they’re doing this, they expect from prostituted women the appearance of pleasure and consent. While a john masturbates in, on, and around a woman’s body, he also verbally assaults her. Almost 90% of the Vancouver prostituted women I interviewed in a recent study reported being verbally assaulted by johns. Verbal assault is a taken-for-granted part of the prostitution exchange.

For a moment I want you to recall, if you will, the last time someone made a remark that embarrassed or insulted you. Think about how that remark made you feel, and remember how you chose to respond.

For another moment, I want you to imagine that you are a woman who is being used in prostitution. Every time a john buys your body to masturbate in, on, or around, he has pornographic vignettes running in his head, and he re-enacts these vignettes on your body. While he is masturbating, he tells you that you are a dirty whore, or a nasty skank, or that sucking is really all you’re good for. You are nothing more than a sexualized, commodified collection of body parts to him.

While he is sexually and verbally assaulting you to achieve his pleasure, you have to listen to his verbal degradation. You have to spread your legs, you have to open your arms, and you have to open your mouth. You have to seemingly invite and embrace this continuous onslaught of sexual and verbal assault. This is the so-called work of prostitution. It demeans, it humiliates, and it devastates the women in prostitution who are used this way.

A sexualized male violence

If we are to intervene effectively in the lives of Canadian prostituted women we must educate ourselves to understand that prostitution is sexualized male violence. We must then create public policies, programs, and service delivery that reflect this knowledge.

If we viewed prostitution as violence, we would know that no matter where it takes place, whether a prostituted woman is on the streets or in a decriminalized prostitution zone ; whether she is being sexually exploited through online prostitution or on a strip club runway ; whether she is in a private room in a massage parlour or in a house ; or whether she’s being prostituted from reserve to city or across international borders, she is being bought. We would understand that the process whereby a prostituted woman comes to view herself as product and merchandise is the worst form of dehumanization imaginable, and that prostitution in all its forms is sexual assault against all women and a violation of their basic human rights.

Sweden’s reform an inspiration

If we legislatively recognize prostitution as violence toward women, we would stop men from buying women, and we would stop men from profiting from the sale of them. Canada needs to look to Sweden concerning solicitation law reform. In Sweden, prostitution is officially acknowledged as a form of male violence against women and children. One cornerstone of its policies against prostitution is its focus on its root cause : the recognition that without men’s demand for and use of women and girls for sexual exploitation, the global prostitution industry would not be able to flourish and expand.

Sweden penalizes men who exploit women sexually, and penalizes men who profit from this exploitation. Sweden does not penalize women who are prostituted, because the government recognizes it’s not reasonable to punish a person who sells a sexual service. Sweden’s law reads, "In the majority of cases at least, this person is a weaker partner who is exploited by those who want only to satisfy their sexual drives".

The desire to quit prostitution

Most of the Canadian prostituted women I have spoken to, half of whom were of first nation ancestry, voiced several needs in terms of making their lives safer and better. One of their first and foremost needs is to leave prostitution. Women have also said there are virtually no programs or services that can help them do so.
I believe that we Canadians have confounded the issue of prostitution, and we have also confused ourselves. While we are busy touring nationally and perhaps internationally seeking answers from other countries, some of which have normalized and legally sanctioned prostitution, Canada’s prostituted women remain trapped. I am deeply concerned that Canada will legislate for decriminalization of prostitution to all parties concerned. If this occurs, we will offer no hope for a better future ; a future in which women are free from the sexual exploitation that is prostitution.

Sweden defends the principles of legal, political, economic, and social equality for women and girls because it rejects the notion that women and girls, mostly girls, are commodities that need to be bought, sold, and sexually exploited by men. To do otherwise is to allow that a separate class of female human beings, especially women and girls who are economically and racially marginalized, is excluded from these measures, as well as from the universal protection of human dignity enshrined in the body of international human rights instruments developed during the past 50 years.

I would like to end with a quote from Kathleen Barry’s work entitled "The Prostitution of Sexuality" :

    Strategies to confront sexual exploitation should be as global as the economy is international, and as the dimensions of women’s subordination are universal, and as radical as is the rootedness of the prostitution of sexuality. As domination produces despair, struggle for liberation is the act of hope. Hope shatters the conviction that domination is inevitable, especially in a case of sexual exploitation, particularly in regard to prostitution.

 French Version/Version française


March 30th 2005, audience of the Subcommitte on Sollicitation Laws.

On Sisyphe, May 17, 2005.

Format Noir & Blanc pour mieux imprimer ce texteImprimer ce texte   Nous suivre sur Twitter   Nous suivre sur Facebook
   Commenter cet article plus bas.

Jacqueline Lynn, researcher

    Pour afficher en permanence les plus récents titres et le logo de Sisyphe.org sur votre site, visitez la brève À propos de Sisyphe.

© SISYPHE 2002-2005
http://sisyphe.org | Archives | Plan du site | Copyright Sisyphe 2002-2016 | |Retour à la page d'accueil |Admin