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a) sexual harassment|
d) verbal abuse
e) domestic violence
f) a racist practice
g) a violation of human rights
h) childhood sexual abuse
i) a consequence of male domination of women
j) a means of maintaining male domination of women
k) all of the above
The commercial sex industry includes street prostitution, massage brothels, escort services, outcall services, strip clubs, lapdancing, phone sex, adult and child pornography, video and internet pornography, and prostitution tourism. Most women who are in prostitution for longer than a few months drift among these various permutations of the commercial sex industry.
All prostitution causes harm to women. Whether it is being sold by one’s family to a brothel, or whether it is being sexually abused in one’s family, running away from home, and then being pimped by one’s boyfriend, or whether one is in college and needs to pay for next semester’s tuition and one works at a strip club behind glass where men never actually touch you – all these forms of prostitution hurt the women in it. (Melissa Farley, paper presented at the 11th International Congress on Women’s Health Issues, University of California College of Nursing, San Francisco. 1-28-2000)
"The everyday life of prostitution is distant from most of us. And here, our imagination is a poor assistant. Negotiate a price with a stranger. Agree. Pull down one pant leg. Come and take me. Finished. Next, please. It becomes too ugly to really take it in. The imagination screeches to a halt." (Cecilie Hoigard and Liv Finstad, Backstreets: Prostitution, Money, and Love, 1992, translated by Katherine Hanson, Nancy Sipe, and Barbara Wilson; first published as Bakgater in Norway, 1986, Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, Pennsylvania).
Men call up the image of the ### when they are abusing their partners. The accusations in between the kicks and slaps: "You slut....###...." Historically, the words mean "subhuman," "having no rights," "invisible," and "wicked." As recently as 1991, police in a southern California community closed all rape reports made by prostitutes and addicts, placing them in a file stamped "NHI." The letters stand for the words "No Human Involved." (Linda Fairstein, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, 1993, New York, William Morrow.)
"[The prostitute] is a victim of every bad thing men do to women: physical and sexual abuse, economic oppression and abandonment." (Mick LaSalle, "Hollywood is hooked on hookers, " San Francisco Examiner, December 3, 1995).
Women in prostitution are purchased for their appearance, including skin color and characteristics based on ethnic stereotyping. Throughout history, women have been enslaved and prostituted based on race and ethnicity, as well as gender (Kathleen Barry, 1995 ,The Prostitution of Sexuality, New York University Press).
We usually don't see prostitution as domestic violence because it is just too painful: "...the carnage: the scale of it, the dailiness of it, the seeming inevitability of it; the torture, the rapes, the murders, the beatings, the despair, the hollowing out of the personality, the near extinguishment of hope commonly suffered by women in prostitution." (Margaret A. Baldwin "Split at the Root: Prostitution and Feminist Discourses of Law Reform" in Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, 1992, Vol 5: 47-120)
"Male dominance means that the society creates a pool of prostitutes by any means necessary so that men have what men need to stay on top, to feel big, literally, metaphorically, in every way;..." (Andrea Dworkin, Prostitution and Male Supremacy, in Life and Death, Free Press, 1997).