Sunday, February 24, 2008

Monster locked up but how many more women have to die?

The life sentence handed out to the vile Steve Wright for his murder of 5 prostituted women last year is welcome to say the least but as Rmott asks, far more powerfully than I ever could, what is actually going to change for the tens of thousands of women in this country, and the many millions across the world, who find themselves in an industry where life is cheap and where bodies are bought and sold like pieces of meat? Wright got into the news because he was a serial killer, because the papers saw money-making opportunities from yet another 'ripper' story, but where are the stories of the dozens of other women who have disappeared off the streets over the last decade, largely ignored by a male dominated legal system and a male dominated media who see them as worthless 'whores' who deserved what was coming to them?

Proponents of prostitution have typically, including several days ago in The Guardian, used this terrible case to argue that legalisation is the answer and that as soon as the industry gains legitimacy it's going to cease being any more dangerous or more exploitative than any other. This idea is wrong on so many levels - it is wrong because it assumes that most so-called 'clients' are decent people and that violence against prostituted women is a rare exception which can somehow be legislated away. The truth is that men who pay for sex do so because they want a feeling of power over women, her body becomes nothing more than an object to be invaded and controlled, he pays his money and gets to do whatever he wants to her.

It is also wrong because it assumes that prostitution has always existed and will always exist in our society. Am I the only one who's sick of hearing this 'oldest profession' crap? I mean really, do these people think that early humans didn't have more pressing things on their mind such as finding the food they needed to survive on perhaps? The question we need to be asking ourselves today is whether or not we accept the buying and selling of women's bodies by men as normal or whether or not we want to abolish it. We should be asking whether or not men's violence against women is natural and unavoidable because if it is then we may as well start dividing the world up into a male and a female half.