The Rhoda Grant Consultation (Part 2)

Onwards, to the second part of Rhoda’s introduction.

For clarity I shall tackle this one outlandish statement at a time.

The majority of those who are involved in prostitution are unwilling participants.

I notice that there is no reference for this statement. The reason for this is that Ms Grant made this up off the top of her head. It’s a statement that radical feminists often make.

When questioned about the source of this pile of crap “fact”, they will puff up their chests, glare at the person who dares to question them and dig into their collection of emotive arguments, usually pulling out the kind of reply which will leave them looking like Florence bloody Nightingale and you resembling Attila the Hun. Something along the lines of “The poor, broken women who have spoken to me have made this fact all too clear. Are you denying their experiences?”. Cue a sweeping look around the assembled throng, who by now would like to see your head on a spike.

However, on this occasion. We are talking about the law, so Rhoda, please show me your proof.

A number of UK studies provide useful background information in this area.

Yes they do. However, don’t think for a second that I’m agreeing with you.

Many of the findings are disturbing. For example 75% of women in prostitution in the UK became involved when they were children; 70% spent time in care and 45% of women in prostitution report experiencing familial sexual abuse.

75% of women in prostitution in the UK became involved when they were children? She then cites ‘Ties that Bind –Young people and the prostitution labour market in Britain” by Margaret Melrose as her source. Now I’ve read through that and I can’t figure out for the life of me where she found the 75%. Feel free to look for yourself, there’s a link to the paper at the bottom of the page. However, the biggest problem I have with this is that (in the words of Ms Melrose) “The research upon which this paper is based was a small-scale retrospective study of people who had become involved in prostitution when they were juveniles”.

Yes, you read that right. It was a paper on child prostitution. All of the women in the study became involved in prostitution when they were children, because that’s what the paper was about!

Now two questions remain:

  1. Does Rhoda Grant know this and is hoping to palm the statistic off on folk? Or does she genuinely not realise? In which case one must assume that she is a tad dim.
  2. Where the hell did she get 75% from when 100% of the women in that paper entered prostitution as children? We’re back to that dim thing again aren’t we…

And so we move on to the “fact” that 70% spent time in care and 45% of women in prostitution report experiencing familial sexual abuse.

Well, if we dig back through to ‘Paying the price’ we again see that the studies from which they have concluded that 70% spent time in care are for the most part, studies which have concentrated on young people and in the main, were looking at street prostitution. Again, just a small sample of people. Just one small part of the sex industry. I can find the part in that document where it states that

abuse – as many as 85% report physical abuse in the family, with 45% reporting familial sexual abuse

However, it doesn’t cite a source that I can see and as Rhoda Grant would say “Where’s your proof?”

Did you know that 35% of women are said to be victims of familial sex abuse? That’s another random government statistic for you and as most of the stats they trot out for prostitution are gathered by talking to young, vulnerable street workers, I’m actually surprised that the 45% isn’t higher.

The only conclusions that I would draw from this part of the consultation are that the care system needs an overhaul, child abuse is still far too commonplace and this urgently needs to be addressed, child prostitutes1 enter the sex industry as children and that Ms Grant needs to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest as opposed to copying and pasting from the Violence against Women website.

 

Melrose 2002 [pdf]
Paying the price [pdf]

 

1. I do not believe that there is such a thing as a ‘child prostitute’, only victims of child abuse and I do wish they’d stop calling it that.

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