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.


The Rhoda Grant Consultation (part 1)

Over the next few days, I’m going to try to persuade you that Rhoda Grant’s proposal to criminalise the purchase of sex is misguided at best and dangerous at worst. Those of you who don’t need convincing, feel free to speed read, but just don’t forget to respond to the consultation. Hoping that someone else will do it, may just end up with Rhoda getting her way.

Rhoda states in her introduction:

I believe that prostitution in Scotland is a form of violence against women and sexual exploitation.1 The Scottish Government‟s Safer Lives: Changed Lives which sets out a shared approach to tackling violence against women recognises that prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation. In a modern 21st century Scottish society such treatment and degradation of those who are sexually exploited should not be tolerated. Prostitution is harmful to those who are exploited and impacts negatively on society.

I do not recognise that prostitution is a form of commercial sexual exploitation.

A meeting room full of smug, self congratulatory folk who pat each other on the back for a job well done saving “those poor unfortunate sex workers” with mental images of “drug addled teens” wearing teeny mini skirts and thigh length boots,  leaning through car windows to enquire “Are you looking for business?”. Yes, I’m sure those folk recognise that fact. However, I would argue their right to ‘recognise’ anything related to sex work when the fact is that they probably wouldn’t recognise a sex worker. I mean, most of us aren’t homeless waifs. Damn us with our disguises!

So of course, their next argument is that an independent escort who makes an informed decision to enter the sex industry is ‘not representative’. Now, I can’t (and neither can anybody else) provide you with facts and figures when it comes to the number of women in prostitution (yes, I know there are men as well. One thing at a time), but what I can tell is that the forum at SAAFE has 4002 members. Now that’s just the forum. Just the number of independents who choose to join the conversations over there. However, you may argue that SAAFE has members from all over the UK (and a few from elsewhere), so Adultwork it is then. If I search their site for a female escort in Scotland, then I get  1066 results. These are all indoor sex workers. If you were to believe the figures I’ve seen bandied about in the past, then indoor sex work accounts for only 20% of the UK sex industry. Anyone who believes that must be insane! You’d be scarcely able to step outside your door without tripping over yet another tart. Street corners would be crowded with floozies!

Ok, so back to this exploitation malarkey.

I choose to work in the sex industry. Nobody forces me to do it and whilst I will freely admit that this work isn’t for everybody, I also ask you to consider that there are many jobs which a lot of folk will tell you that they couldn’t contemplate doing.

My jobs suits me just fine.

I am not exploited. I am not coerced. This is my body. These are the services I offer through choice.

Do not tell me that I am not entitled to make that decision.

As for prostitution impacting negatively on society.

What any consenting adults do behind closed doors cannot possibly impact negatively on anything or anyone.

And that’s just it isn’t it.

Consenting adults.

That is who we’re talking about here. There are already laws in place to protect those who are actually exploited or coerced.

As for degradation. The only thing I currently find degrading is being patted on the head by certain feminists and told that they will make my decisions for me. They will tell me what to think and feel because I obviously cannot be allowed to decide for myself… If I could, I’d agree with them.



Please respond to the consultation.


Responses should be submitted by 14 December 2012 and sent to:

Rhoda Grant MSP
Room M1.06
Scottish Parliament
Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Tel: 0131 348 5766
Fax: 0131 348 5767

If you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. You can download a template letter from SCOT-PEP.

And you don’t need to be resident in Scotland.

Do Unicorns Neigh?

I need to know. Horny Horsey

You see, if I’m going to be a mythical creature, then I’d like to get the details right.

I can’t just wander about all horny and neighing, only to discover that they make an entirely different noise. That would be silly. I mean, it’s bad enough to discover that I’m not real, without making some kind of Unicorny faux pas.

I suppose I really should tell you what the hell I’m on about, but be warned. You’ll wish you hadn’t asked.

I was Googling about (as you do) and came across this.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention. All my clients are Unicorns as well.

All happy hookers and all good clients.

So these Unicorns… Common as bloody muck then.

*Swishes mane and trots away*

Siobhan McMahon

I’m more than a little confused by this MSP. I’ll get to the main reason in a minute, but the confusion was deepened when I saw this tweet.


He should hang his head in shame? Why? For being pro-choice? For agreeing that women should be able to choose for themselves especially in cases of rape or incest?

Strange woman.

Anyway, back to the point I was originally going to make:

I have just tweeted Ms McMahon.


Assuming she agrees with that definition of violence against women, then one would assume that if one takes the women out of the equation that Ms McMahon would still agree with this as a definition of violence. That being the case, I would draw her attention to the part which states that violent actions are

actions which harm or cause suffering or indignity, including emotional, psychological, sexual and physical abuse

The reason I want to hear her answer is as follows.

If a man yelled at a woman in a way which made her cry, I’m sure that we all – including Ms McMahon – would consider it to be abuse.

If someone yelled at me in a way which made me cry, I would consider it to be abuse.

So come on Siobhan McMahon, MSP and member of Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee… Explain why you did this:

At that point, Siobhan McMahon yelled at me. Okay, okay, semantics. She might dispute “yelled”. All I can say is, I literally can’t remember the last time someone spoke to me with such aggression. Maybe that’s how they roll in the Scottish Parliament, but in normal adult life, grown-ups don’t speak to each other in such unmoderated tones. I can’t recall exactly what she yelled, because I was so shocked at being shouted at I kind of neglected to pay attention to the details, but it concluded with the observation that “the way that democracy works” is that we can have differing opinions. Um, thanks? For explaining to me how democracy works? I wonder if she so kindly explains the basics of “democracy” to everyone, or only to stupid whores. So then I cried, through a mixture of shock, fury, and, well, sadness I guess. I kind of hoped the debate would be slightly more elevated. Silly me

You can read the full story and many other interesting and thought provoking posts here

I think we can all agree that this particular MPS’s actions would have caused indignity.

So maybe, Siobhan, you should be the one to hang your head in shame.


The Good Shepherd Sisters (called also Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd) are a Roman Catholic religious institute for women. In addition to the standard vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Good Shepherd Sisters take the following fourth vow of zeal for souls [to save souls], particularly of women and girls: “I bind myself to labour for the conversion of fallen women and girls needing refuge from the temptation of the world.” [1]

Magdalene asylums were institutions which ran from the 18th to the late 20th centuries ostensibly for “fallen women”, a term used to imply sexual promiscuity.

Asylums for these girls and women (and others believed to be of poor moral character, such as prostitutes) operated throughout Europe, Britain, Ireland, Canada and the United States for much of the 19th and well into the 20th century. The first asylum in Ireland opened on Leeson Street in Dublin in 1765, founded by Lady Arabella Denny.

Initially the mission of the asylums was often to rehabilitate women back into society, but by the early 20th century the homes had become increasingly punitive and prison-like. In most of these asylums, the inmates were required to undertake hard physical labour, including laundry and needle work. They also endured a daily regime that included long periods of prayer and enforced silence. In Ireland, such asylums were known as Magdalene laundries. It has been estimated that up to 30,000 women passed through such laundries in Ireland.

The last Magdalene asylum, in Waterford, Ireland, closed on September 25, 1996

The Magdalene movement in Ireland was appropriated by the Catholic Church following Catholic Emancipation in 1829 and the homes, which were initially intended to be short-term refuges, increasingly turned into long-term institutions. Penitents were required to work, primarily in laundries, since the facilities were self-supporting and were not funded by either the State or the Religious denominations.

As the Magdalene movement became increasingly distant from the original idea of the Rescue Movement (finding alternative work for prostitutes who could not find regular employment because of their background), the asylums became increasingly prison-like. Supervising nuns were instructed to encourage the women into penance, rather than merely berating them and blocking their escape attempts.

As the phenomenon became more widespread, it extended beyond prostitution to unmarried mothers, mentally retarded women, and abused girls. Even young girls who were considered too promiscuous and flirtatious, or too beautiful, were sent to an asylum by their respective families. This paralleled the practice in state-run asylums in Britain and Ireland in the same period, where many people with alleged “social dysfunction” were committed to asylums. The women were typically admitted to these institutions at the request of family members (mostly men). Without a family member on the outside who would vouch for them, many incarcerated individuals would stay in the asylums for the rest of their lives, many of them taking religious vows. [2]

Why am I telling you this? Surely it’s all ancient history, right? Except it isn’t. Read back. The last of the asylums closed in 1996, a mere 16 years ago.

Why is any of this relevant?

Because, right now, in Ireland. They are fighting the same fight as we are in Scotland. The anti-prostitution lobby is trying to make the purchase of sex illegal. Who are the biggest anti-prostitution lobby group there? The ‘rescue’ organisation who shout that all prostitution is exploitation and abuse?

Let me introduce to the stage, RUHAMA.

Ruhama was founded as a joint initiative of the Good Shepherd Sisters and Our Lady of Charity Sisters, both of which had a long history of involvement with marginalised women, including those involved in prostitution.  [3]

Yes. They certainly did. Just look how that turned out.

I can’t believe they have the gall to stand there now.




Related Links

May You Live In Interesting Times…

Whoever wished that one on me had better watch out, because if I find out who it was, I’m going to stand on their bunions… HARD!

My life over the last six weeks or so has been eventful, to say the least, but it seems to be settling back to something almost recognisable as normal now, which means (fingers crossed) that I can start to catch up on my email. Well, I already have started, but if you’ve been expecting to hear from me and haven’t, feel free to prod me with a reminder.


Having changed my tune and started providing domination as a service, I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and can’t wait to get in a bit of practice in 2012. Which reminds me.

Naughty flatmate! Belated Merry Xmas and I look forward to giving you a good thrashing in the new year!

In case you hadn’t noticed (Yes you! pay attention at the back!), I’ve had a new field report.  So there you have it. Further proof – if you needed it – that I aten’t dead. Not only that, but that I am a sex goddess and social chameleon *preens*. Oh alright then, no I’m not, but I’m not half bad. In fact, as not bad goes, I’m really rather alright. Smile


Interesting times or not, I was alternately amused and irritated to see that the Highland News seem to have appointed themselves the moral guardians of Inverness. Their article on the dating website for married folk who fancy a bit on the side may have been intended to stop such shenanigans, but the cynic in me wonders whether it wasn’t just a sneaky bit of advertising for the “security company” mentioned. Ooh! Yes, we’re all terribly impressed that they’ve just taken on two ex policefolk, but really? You’re going to hunt down all the adulterers who fancy a bit of light entertainment because of the recession? Then what? Burn them at the stake outside the town hall? You’ll just cause a traffic jam and then nobody will be your friend. Or are you planning to tell their unsuspecting partners?

Excuse me Madam, I know you think that you are perfectly content with your life and you have a good relationship with your husband, but I feel the need to inform you that he’s been having it away with her at number seven!

If I’m not mistaken, you can’t just start randomly following people. You’ll end up being sued. People have been having affairs and quick knee tremblers when nobody was looking since time began. Right or wrong, it’s none of your business.

Whether or not the articles in question boosted business for the professional nosey parkers, I’m absolutely certain that they will have resulted in a dramatic leap in membership applications for the no strings sex site. So, yah boo sucks to you!

And just don’t get me started on the letters page where two Inverness residents were allowed to spout homophobic bile to a wide audience… Just don’t!