Daily Archives: August 16th, 2015

Misogynist academic working for neoliberal think tank thinks decriminalising the sex industry will lower rape rates

The academic in question is Catherine Hakim, who is evidently still trying to push her bizarre and misogynistic theory of ‘erotic capital’ onto the world and has teamed up with the right-wing neoliberal think tank Institute of Economic Affairs to try to do it.

Hakim’s theory is basically this: men want sex, women don’t, so women should sell it to men (or something like that, her ideas don’t seem to be very well thought out).

Hakim must think rape is about men not being able to control their sexuality, rather than it being a premeditated act of dominance – why else argue that a ‘sexual outlet’ in prostitution would help lower rates? The argument here is contradictory, she claims that porn and prostitution do no social harm, porn is freely available, so why still all the rapes?

Hakim/IEA are obviously trying to ride on Amnesty’s coattails to publicise their report. The quality of the research must be dire, Hakim claims that rape has gone up in Sweden post-abolitionist model, it hasn’t, reporting has gone up, plus the legal definition of rape is wider in Sweden, so more things get recorded. There is an estimated reporting rate of 20% in Sweden, which is poor, but still twice the reporting rate in the UK.

Hakim also claims that Spain has very low rates of rape. I have downloaded her report from the IEA, searched through the document for the term ‘spain’ and found no source for her claim, she also says in the same paragraph (on p27), that Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have “exceptionally low rates for rape and sexual assault” she doesn’t make it clear whether she is talking actual numbers of rapes (which can be estimated by crime surveys) or reported rapes, neither does she acknowledge that rape is vastly under-reported everywhere.

In the same paragraph she blames Sweden’s high number of reported rapes on Sweden having “a profoundly sex-negative politically correct culture” and emphasises that the increase in reported rapes are what she calls “date rapes” – she is insinuating that it is all prudish women ‘crying rape’.

[EDIT: Re-reading this, she is saying that Sweden’s abolitionist approach to prostitution and ‘sex negativity’ is directly responsible for date rape – so she is saying that men are committing rape because prudish, repressed women aren’t putting out they way they should, and men then just can’t help but rape them.]

Hakim was disowned by the LSE after the publication of Honey Money, she’s obviously found her level among the neoliberals.

Hey, Amnesty International, and other sex industry advocates, these are your natural allies!

Why are sex industry advocates so dishonest?

I just came across this article in the Guardian, by two members of the “International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe”, which not once even acknowledges that those who oppose the decriminalisation of the entire sex industry, actually support a legal model that involves the decriminalisation of the prostitute her (or him) self, and that any abolitionist approach worthy of the name will also include funding for exit services.

What is dangerously missing from opponents’ arguments is that criminalisation itself reinforces both the social stigma and the material conditions that put individuals at risk. Sex workers as well as men who have sex with men, trans people, people who use drugs or migrants – different identities which often overlap – are all made much more vulnerable by being criminalised. Repressive legal frameworks force sex workers to operate underground or in isolated areas where they are vulnerable to rape and murder. Even worse, stigma means that sex workers are viewed by many people as “deserving” of abuse. Changing cultural values and norms so that sex workers are less stigmatised will take decades or centuries – but decriminalisation can be achieved in our lifetime.

This is what Amnesty did, insist that decriminalising prostitutes, while criminalising the pimps and johns was just the same as criminalising prostitutes.

There is also the very dishonest, and, frankly, homophobic, conflation of ‘sex work’ and homosexuality – are all gay men ‘sex workers’? Is decriminalising the sex industry a necessary prerequisite for decriminalising homosexuality?

Is decriminalising the sex industry a necessary prerequisite for having a sensible legal approach to drug use?

Is decriminalising the sex industry a necessary prerequisite for treating migrants well?

And again, there is this nebulous ‘stigma’ argument (which Glosswitch tackles so brilliantly here) – they are even admitting now (as Germany has shown), that decriminalising the sex industry doesn’t actually do anything to tackle this ‘stigma’ – and there is the entirely dishonest implication that those opposing decriminalisation think prostitutes deserve to be abused; there are many johns who think this, the number of abolitionists who do is zero.

The real ‘stigma’ here is misogyny, decriminalising the pimps and johns and the commodification of women’s bodies and sexuality and legitimising male entitlement does not challenge misogyny and patriarchy at all, it just reinforces it.

What sex industry advocates are saying – when it’s not all the magical choosy choices of already privileged women – is that woman are poor, so they ‘need’ ‘sex work’, rather than any other route out of poverty (and poor women and girls aren’t good for anything else anyway), so let’s paper over the cracks, round them all up into flat-rate brothels and out of town (and out of sight) ‘sex boxes’, and hand out condoms and lube, because that’s all we can do, that’s all those women are worth.

QotD: “Sex trade ‘was asked to join Amnesty and lobby internally’”

From a Feb 2014 report (found via DGR):

A leading sex trade figure who claims credit for Amnesty International’s new draft policy on legalised prostitution asked associates in 2008 to join the organisation in order to press for decriminalisation from within, he said.

Douglas Fox, of the International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW), is a [pimp] whose civil partner runs an escort agency in England.

In 2008, he unsuccessfully proposed a resolution at the Amnesty UK AGM calling for backing for legalised prostitution. But in Saturday’s News Letter, he claimed credit for Amnesty’s new draft policy in favour of legalised prostitution, saying he started the internal debate and research.

Yesterday, he confirmed he wrote a report in 2008, telling his supporters that Amnesty’s internal “violence against women campaign group” was the key opposition to a legalisation policy, adding that he had “caused a rumpus” at their AGM stall.

He confirmed that in the 2008 report, he asked his supporters to join Amnesty and lobby this group from within.

“Getting Amnesty on side will be a huge boost to our morale… we need to pursue them mercilessly and get them on side,” he said.

However Amnesty responded yesterday that Fox has not been a member in some years and had “zero” input regarding their new draft policy on legalised prostitution.

His 2008 AGM resolution led to discussions in its global governing bodies, but was later dropped; the recent draft paper came out of a 2012 review at Amnesty’s International HQ, a spokesman added.

There is a comment under the post, from pimp Maxine Doogan, saying:

I remember when Douglas proposed the idea and it happened, He gets all the credit!