James Baldwin wrote “The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: she has become a threat.”
I had no idea how threatening my voice was until I started to make it heard. None of us trafficking and prostitution survivors did, until we started to write about the brutality we’ve experienced and these big players within these pimp-dominated ‘sex worker activist’ groups started to do everything they could to silence us and deny we exist. Survivor bloggers are cyber-stalked via Facebook, email, twitter and hateful blog comments. Our email accounts are hacked and private information that could endanger us is tweeted or revealed elsewhere online. Spiteful emails about us are sent to people we work with.
I’d like to give you a glimpse of this intense cyber-bullying, using myself as an example. I’m not asking for sympathy; I want to show you what survivor activists go through when we break the silence.
I came out as a survivor online in March 2011. Almost immediately pro-sex industry men and women affiliated with the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) USA and other pimp-led activist organizations began emailing me and posting aggressive comments on my Facebook wall. As I got bolder I started leaving comments after articles about prostitution in major newspapers and blogs. At this point I did not have my own blog, and we hadn’t yet formed Survivors Connect Network. I was an obscure private person. Nonetheless, members of the “Network of Sex Work Projects” found me. An anonymous email brought me to this creepy thread about me on admitted pimp Maggie McNeill’s blog. Another anonymous email led me to this piece on Bound Not Gagged. Here McNeill implies that I’m a puppet controlled by abolitionists. Norma Jean Almodovar, the executive director of COYOTE LA, suggests that I might not exist. Billie Jackson, the founder of SWOP Colorado, criticizes my language. Maxine Doogan, the leader of the Erotic Service Providers’ Union states that I remind her of another troublemaker. She links to a video created by Michael Whiteacre, a lawyer and filmmaker connected with the pornography industry. The video, called The Devil and Shelley Lubben, slanders Lubben, a survivor who speaks out about abuse in the porn industry. It includes an interview with an actor who was in a pornographic movie that depicts Lubben with six men. He discusses her sexual performance. The message is clear: Make waves and this could happen to you.
These invasive tactics have only amplified as time passes. There have been numerous other creepy comment threads and blog posts which pick at me and make false statements written by people I’ve never met who are affiliated with these ‘sex worker activist’ groups. They are a constant background noise and the volume keeps increasing. Most survivors who write or speak about prostitution go through this.
Continue reading (with links to source material) here.