Monday, December 11, 2006

Women like me

Women like me, who grew up in the same town and at the same time as me, appear to being picked off by a killer, their bodies dumped in some of the beautiful places that I used to roam. My mother counts her blessings; through that special combination of luck and judgement, her daughters stayed out of trouble, stayed off the heroin, stayed off the streets. But we are still women. Women who sell sex on the street are merely the most vulnerable, the easiest to remove and the women whose situation in life makes violent death seem somehow less shocking, less worrying for the rest of us than if it was nice young women being killed; women like me.

I imagine that’s the only difference in the mind of the person responsible. There ought not to be any difference in ours.


Anonymous said...

We don't know who is doing this, whether male or female, one alone or more. But remember Peter Sutcliffe: he started with prostitutes because they were easy prey, but when he got a taste for it, anyone in the wrong place at the wrong time would do.

I doubt if this/these killer/s are taking a moral stance here.

Sally said...

Initially perhaps there is a kind of moral to the choice of victim, in that they are female, not male, prostitutes, but then the edges blur and the negativity towards females (yes, just females are being murdered) shows it for what it is - an act of murder of females.

And prostitutes, like other victims of society's inequalities, prejudices and injusticies, are my sisters too, whether they think themselves as victims or not.

When the edges in the mind of the murderer do begin to blur, what is the next category of female the murderer will contemplate.

I am always much safer when out with someone else and am treated generally with a degree of respect, or ignored, but I always suffer some slight when out in my wheelchair alone.

It is chilling.

The Goldfish said...

I tend to regard serial killers who prey on women (which is the majority of this thankfully few number of individuals) as people who hate women and street-walkers are simply the easiest to take out. A person might have a particular hatred for sex-workers, but what do sex-workers represent? Sexually cynical women? The impure? Someone who hates sex-workers specifically is likely to have a fairly binary attitude towards women; these ones are good (perfect perhaps?) and these ones are so very bad they deserve death. Whatever twisted criteria such a person is working with, all women are potential victims.

I'm sorry that you feel unsafe, Sally. I guess I have been very fortunate.

Sally said...

I came to wheelchair dependency outdoors when I was OLD-ish, therefore more likely to be dismissed and disrespected by the ignorant of both genders. Age-ism is alive and thrives.
Beautiful young goldfishes swim more smoothly through the waters of life perhaps.

Anonymous said...

People view prostitutes as being disposable. They're objects that exist to be used. So many people don't care when a prostitute is murdered.

The Goldfish said...

Sally, I acknowledge ageism, refute beauty and reckon luck is somewhere in the mix. I hear shocking anecdotes from people my own age, wheelies or sticky crips who have received abuse and unpleasantness, so it does happen and I don't for a moment believe that some people are somehow asking for it or any such nonsense. I genuinely believe I have been very lucky. I also don't have that much experience, if I got out more, I would probably come across more crap than I have so far.

I must say that Whitby is a really very friendly town; there are so many goths and pirates and all sorts that you have to be pretty hard to be an odd ball. But whenever I have returned to Ipswich (although it is a very safe place - it was very rare to hear of violent crime despite the 100,000 odd population), I would be rather disconcerted that you could pass people on the street who would not make eye-contact, let alone say Hello.

Elephant, you are quite right. I always think of that St. Thomas Aquinas quote about prostitution being like a sewer; despicable but necessary. And this is the attitude people take and then they don't like to think any more about it, less of all the women who are little more than the pipework. (Aquinas also argued that it was better for a man to rape a woman than to have consensual sex with a man; one was a crime against a mere woman, the other a crime against God - he really didn't get on with women).

As a liberal feminist, I feel conflicted about the issue of prostitution, but certainly there are fairly slight differences between these women and myself. Should this go on, it would not surprise me to read a name I went to school with. Apart from the fact I have... seven cousins, plus a handful of friends left in Ipswich who are young women, out and about, living their lives.

Not, of course, that this makes any difference, my connection with that town. But I guess that's what has made me so acutely aware of these events.

Anonymous said...

I am old enough to remember the Peter Sutcliffe murders. At one point the Chief Constable (I think) went public simply telling women to stay off the streets at night, as if that would solve the problem (from his point of view it probably would have).

Next stop, purdah. It;s all your fault for being there.

Mary said...

Charles, we're already there. Click on any of the links to stories associated with this on the BBC news page, and Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Sheer - herself a woman - says "My message to you is simple - stay off the streets."

What kind of moron can she be to think that these women would be on the streets, particularly during events like this, if they had any other option? They aren't out there for the fun of it.

Anonymous said...

I have only ever known one prostitute (in the course of my profession, incidentally, not hers, if anyone cares)and that was a lady who had been attacked and beaten up by a client.

During the course of patching up, I did venture to ask if she really felt she had to put herself at such a risk; this wasn't a high-class courtesan, but a girl working the streets for pitifully little money considering the risks.

She just sort of shrugged and said it was part of the job, much as a soldier will shrug off death and tell you it's part of the job, "if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined."


Sally said...

Did anyone see Jon Snow on C4 television news last night, interviewing an ex-prostitute who had founded a support group ?

The points from commentators above were all born out by the interviewees; they go out because they have to .. and if it is their night in the week to work, and they are relying on that income to feed their family, then their choices are difficult. I have been in the situation of NOT having money to buy food and pay the bills, but only for a few short months, not year after year. We live in a society that does not provide a sufficient income for sole parents, as proved by the Child Poverty Action Group.

Then hold in your hearts the old before her time woman who was interviewed on the cold streets in Ipswich last night, who said: I'm a heroin addict, I have to score. What brought her to that, what damage prevents her being able to climb out of it. Goldfish, as always, thanks for bringing to this subject, your slant and view.

BloggingMone said...

No woman should be beaten up in the streets or elsewhere, no matter if she is a prostitute, a drug addict or whatever. But at least in hamburg more women suffer from violence in their own homes that from violence in public. The number of wifes or girlfriends being beaten up by the men they are having a relationship with is much higher (not only in number, but also in percentages) than the number of prostitutes being beaten up by their clients.
That's odd, too.