We are proud to announce that we have signed the VictimFocus charter pledge. Set up by Jessica Eaton, the charter is “the first set of standards for professionals, organisations and individuals to combat victim blaming in abuse and trauma.”
As a campaigning group, some aspects of the charter are not applicable to our work – we don’t do case work, for example. However, as a whole it is directly relevant, because trauma, abuse and crime are rife in the sex trade.
We are passionate about Jessica’s work and it has helped us understand that the “choice” narrative that is so often used to justify prostitution – and even to advocate for the decriminalisation of the entire sex trade – is often a form of victim blaming. It leads to the exploiters and abusers, the profiteers and punters, being let off the hook. The consequences of this are catastrophic – both to individuals and to society as a whole.
We frequently hear reports from women attempting to exit and recover from prostitution that they get little or no help from health workers because they see prostitution as just another job, which they “chose.” One woman told us that her GP would not refer her to trauma counselling on the basis of her many years in the sex trade but would on the basis that she was raped as a teenager. This is shocking and needs to change.
This is something we are planning to explore and write about over the coming months. Watch this space!