On 7th August, 2015 Amnesty International will have their congress meeting in Dublin, Ireland, my home town. At this meeting they will take a vote on whether to endorse decriminalising pimping and brothel-keeping. As a survivor of prostitution, I wrote this to remind Amnesty of the harsh realities of the sex trade from a very personal place. You will understand just how personal when you read it.
The Last Insult
In December, 2005, my friend and I were bought and brought to a hotel complex. We were paid by a group of eight men, to “entertain” them on their Christmas night out. That “entertainment” evolved into mayhem, the result of this held to the gang-rape of me and my friend. The events of that night were to change the way I saw the world forever and they took the life of my friend, a 27yr old woman named Jenny who had a beautiful young son whom she adored.
Jenny was a friendly, bright, kind person and an extremely loyal friend. And although heroin had controlled her life for some years, she had been making positive steps to get her life back. She had moved out of Dublin, she had stabilized on methadone and most importantly (and something she was so proud and happy about) was that she had regained visitation rights to her only child. That night before the men took us to the hotel, her whole face lit up, whenever she spoke about her son. She had only come down to Dublin to make some money to buy him some special gifts for Christmas. That Christmas would turn out to be her very last.
I have spoken publicly about the rapes that were committed that night on many occasions. I can find no justification for those crimes and; I believe that no one is able to justify such human wickedness. Amnesty would agree with me I am sure, and would fight alongside me to find justice if I asked. This is confusing to me and it makes no sense because on the other hand they are prepared to sanction the behavior that led to this crime. They are prepared to endorse the purchase of human beings for sex and they are fully prepared to ignore the conditions which are present in all cases; the conditions under which rape, beatings, torture and murder occur. Those conditions can never be policed and those who are purchased can never be offered any protection as there is no way of knowing if or when it is going to happen. The only right and humane thing to do is to stop these conditions being set up in the first place and that is by banning the purchase of human beings for sex.
But maybe you have to be present. Maybe you have to witness the rape of another with your own eyes, be in the same room, be less than ten foot away from your friend as she is being violently abused and you can do nothing to help her because you are held down. Because your own body is being mauled at and violated by others in a heinous way. You plead, you beg, you cry, you offer yourself to the few that are attacking her in the hope that her pain will cease. You watch as her eyes sink into the back of her head, as the last shred of her dignity is removed. Jenny didn’t die that night, and yet she did, because she spent the next couple of months in a drug haze until she overdosed and died all alone.
The largest human rights organization in the world, Amnesty International, is about to take a vote on prostitution policy at the very same Dublin hotel complex Jenny and I were taken to and tortured; Citywest. The proposal they apparently intend to endorse would bestow a life sentence of sexual exploitation and rape to many around the world.
My call is to the Amnesty members who have come to the same conclusion as I have, members who joined an organization to help improve the lives of others, and who would appear to have no voice or they are choosing to remain silent. Remember, Amnesty does not belong to the elite board members, it belongs to you and its reputation and name is in your hands also. Martin Luther King stated that history will recall not the actions of our enemy but more the silence of our friends, he was right, because out of the eight men that were present that night in 2005, one of them never laid a hand on either of us and his is the only face I can recall.
Those Amnesty members must stand up and speak out, even if you are the only one standing. You will then be able to leave the Citywest complex; knowing that you took no part in sanctioning the heinous crime which happened there, and you will be able to hold your head high knowing that you actually stood on the side of human dignity and, despite objections, you were prepared to fight for its protection. Amnesty, a human rights organization, is in danger of committing a grave act of cruelty. They will also be handing out an extremely painful last insult to my friend Jenny.
In Loving Memory of my beautiful friend Jenny xx