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The Forum > Article Comments > Whose rights are we talking about: legalised prostitution > Comments

Whose rights are we talking about: legalised prostitution : Comments

By Mary Lucille Sullivan, published 25/6/2007

Governments must be prepared to challenge the presumption that men have a right to purchase and use women sexually for their own needs.

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There are no alternatives in Victoria. Women have no choice but to take matters into their own hands. The justice system has failed women.
Posted by vivy, Monday, 25 June 2007 10:45:56 AM
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The importance of this article is that it alerts us to a reality. Things are improving in the western world, anyway. In Charles Dickensís time, one in 4 women in London was a prostitute. The going rate was 4 pence - which was the cost of a nightís sleep in the dosshouse.
Posted by healthwatcher, Monday, 25 June 2007 10:52:20 AM
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While I agree that many in the sex industry are being exploited, i think its dangerous to make a blanket generalisation about it. My friend is tertiary educated, drug-free and stable. She was working in the community services field and therefore making a very poor wage. She now works as an escort. In two nights she makes more than she used to in a week. It is entirely a matter of choice for her, and she feels empowered rather than exploited.

I also wonder about the effects on society if prostitution was somehow magically erased. I live in WA, as state which has thousands of mining and construction workers doing fly-in/fly-out work. For many it is almost impossible to maintain a meaningful relationship because they are away 4 or 5 weeks at a time and only "home" for 1 week. Many of these men use the services of prostitutes because it is simple, easy, uncomplicated and meets their basic biological urges. I believe that if there was no way for this to happen there would be an increase in sexual assaults.

I have been surprised by my friends experience - she enjoys her job and many of her clients are young, cashed-up blokes who just want uncomplicated, no-strings attached sex. She works when she wants, she has the choice to refuse customers she does not want to work with, and she makes 3-4 times as much money as I do in a hard graft professional full-time job. As she said to me - "which one of us is really being exploited?".
Posted by 1340, Monday, 25 June 2007 11:45:39 AM
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Sex is not illegal. Like everything else in our society, many people place a monetary value on it. Since it is not illegal, its sale should not be illegal either.

This article assumes that women are unable to make rational choices and that they must have them made for them. It's patronising and unfair.

Yes there are problems in the industry, but that's what the focus of reform and criticism should be leveled at, not the industry as a whole.

It is not a man's right to purchase a woman and use her for his needs. It is a woman's right to provide a legal service and be paid for it. It is a private contract between two people. You and I may find it unappealing - and I can assure you I do - but it is a private matter for the people involved.
Posted by StabInTheDark, Monday, 25 June 2007 12:09:07 PM
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What little is heard about such state-sponsored terrorism against women!
How many people are suffering at the hands of such injustice!
Thankyou Leigh for the article.
As a young married woman, due to have my first child, my own lovely home is far removed from such savagery. And yet, my heart suffers because I lament the loss of freedom and the violation suffered by my sisters. I also believe that the men are not assisted by 'stranger-sex' either. Whilst carnal impulses may be granted release, their capacity for intimacy is harmed.
I wonder what we can do to overturn the terrible state of affairs?
Posted by Renee, Monday, 25 June 2007 12:27:26 PM
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Leigh touched on a really important point in her last paragraph; that, despite the fact that we have reached new epochs of intellectual and technological enlightenment and progress, no real progress has been made sociologically in the realm of what Leigh calls "the male sex right." We still live in a world burdened by the destructive perception of male sexual entitlement and, based on the conduct of my peers (I'm a 19 year old male), it's a perception that only seems to be increasing in popularity.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, and I'm definitely not a Bible-basher concerned about the death of morality - quite the contrary. I'm extremely permissive and open-minded and I'm borderline dogmatic in my atheism. But there's a certain point where a little moral outrage should be expected; when working girls are raped, injured and abused on the job, concerns need to be raised. There have been some probing books written recently, such as Ariel Levy's "Female Chauvinist Pigs," that place a lot of blame for the rise of "raunch culture" and the death of true sexual liberation squarely on the shoulders of women themselves. I personally think a long, hard look needs to be taken at a culture that by implication expects men to be leering, moronic animals interested in only one thing, and that the onus should be on women to protect themselves. Maybe, just maybe, men need to grow up and learn some God-damned self-control.
Posted by Jonathan Crane, Monday, 25 June 2007 12:45:22 PM
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