Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Anxiety.mortality, and stigma.

I was leaving work(non escort related) the other day, and said goodbye to our receptionist as I headed out. I noticed she was talking to someone, who I did not recognise. I heard a voice call my name, as I walked through the car park. I turned round, and it was the woman who had been talking to the receptionist. As soon as she spoke I realised who she was. We had worked together last year, but she looked different.

She is probably in her mid to late forties, but had gone grey overnight. That is why I could not recognise her, and she had cut her hair. What was to follow, was very distressing. She has been diagnosed with Cancer , and has been given eighteen months to live by the oncologist. I was fighting back the tears, as she told me her story, and the rest of the day, I felt low.

My philosophy in life, is that death is inevitable, however we never know how we are going to go, or when. I have had a number of friends and relatives die, over the past few years, including my father. Some of them have died in accidents, had heart disease or cancer. I have friends and family who have cancer, too.I am feeling emotional as I write this, because there is a part of me that feels that I should be able to come to terms with it. I remember how I felt when I got the phone call, saying that my father had died, and how everything became a blur, thereafter.The flight back home. I will always remember the day I went to the morgue to see him.

However, when I saw my ex colleague a few days ago, it shook me up in a big way. A number of issues came up for me, around how uncertain life is, and it is something that I grapple with daily. The fear of losing those close to me, which has happened and continues to happen.

Then I watched the news yesterday and felt for the women who were missing, and dead.

Paul Lewis of the guardian newspaper writes:
Don't go out alone women told.

One sex worker, who gave her name as Suzy, who knew at least one of the murdered prostitutes, said neither she nor her colleagues would heed the warning to stay off the streets. She said they were unlikely to approach police. "With Christmas coming up we don't have the choice to stay off the streets," she said. "The police make it sound like it's our fault if we get attacked."

She added: "Two women I know recently reported attacks. One was hurt badly, but police did nothing. They told her there was no chance it would come to court. That attitude gets around and so other women don't come forward. You have to ask how many women have reported violence and nothing was done?"

A serial killer is on the loose, yet these women still feel that they need to go out and work. I cannot believe it.

Why are they not concerned about their safety?

Another article by Paul Lewis of the Guardian newspaper.

Police warn prostitutes to stay off the streets.

He believes the killer uses his local knowledge to conceal the body for long enough to destroy forensic evidence, but still ensure that his crimes will be discovered, which could be an important motivation for him.
"He is clearly organised and clever. He is unlikely to be obviously weird because the prostitutes are getting into the vehicle with him."

Prostitutes made easy targets, he said, because of the nature of their work. "If a guy is smooth and hands over the money and she is comfortable, she is likely to take him somewhere away from cameras, nearby. She will protect him by doing this. That's when he kills her."

The murderer is likely to be white, because killers tend to select targets within their own racial group, he said. He is also likely to have a history of violence, but not necessarily convictions.

"It is not at all an impulsive crime to pick someone up and kill them and drive a distance away with a body. He would have to feel comfortable and not panic. There is also a drive he has got - to kill in such a short space of time."

Karen Mcveigh of the Guardian newspaper writes:

Killer is probably white, in his late 20s or 30s with local links.

The murder of one sex worker rarely makes headlines. Two within days, and in the same part of the country, will begin to attract the attention of the press, but it is only when the magic words "serial killer" can be used that the story is likely to make the front page. Those conditions were fulfilled at the weekend when police announced the discovery of the body of a third woman in woodland in Suffolk. Yesterday two more women were reported missing.

Deep-seated prejudices are at work. The press can never quite decide whether murdered sex workers are tragic victims, like any woman targeted by a serial killer, or have chosen a lifestyle that means they are partly responsible for their deaths. It is a mindset which actively gets in the way of tracking down the killer, and one simple point needs to be shouted from the rooftops: most men who kill sex workers do it not because they hate prostitutes, but because they loathe women full stop.

Joan Smith of the Guardian newspaper writes:

Prostitutes deserve as much sympathy as any murder victim.

The parents of the two girls who are dead were not aware that they were prostitutes. This does not come as a surprise to me. What upsets me is having to take that on board,as well as their children being murdered. I am aware that the type of death an individual is faced with complicates the grieving process. It becomes more complicated when the bereaved cannot talk about the death, because of the stigma attached to it.

The majority of us are not open about what we do. The last thing I would want, if I were to die in these circumstances, is for my mother to be given that information.

I have clients who have heart disease, who are all under forty! Some who have had numerous strokes, and I worry about something happening to them, while they are with me. I have had a conversation with one of my client's and asked him what he would like me to do if anything were to happen. He told me that he wanted me to call an ambulance, and then leave. I see him, when his wife and kids are away.

This is one of my greatest fears, as well as being caught in the act, which I raised yesterday.

Last year I read an article about a client dying after he saw an escort. I hope I am never in this situation, and feel I would be reduced to a giberring wreck. The police and journalist were quite sensitive, and I believe the escort called the client's wife!

I have heard that a lot of men would love to go out on the last stroke.

A related article from BBC news.

Woman quizzed on ex AM's death

I would rather whoever found me, just came up with a story. What story I do not know. If I was conscious I am happy for a client to call a friend or family, if I am unable to do it myself.

I watched the news yesterday, and thought I need to think about what to do, if anything were to happen, and to think about how those close to me would be affected.

What would you like a client or escort to do, if you were to have an emergency during a booking?

How would you want the discretion issue to be handled?

Bear in mind that the person may have passed out, before you can ask them who you can call.

Do you ever envisage a time, when you will have these types of discussions with clients or escorts who you see regularly?

I am happy that I had the discussion with my client, and feel less anxious when I am with him. This does not take away the fact, that I could be reduced to a gibbering wreck if it were to happen.

Make the most of the life you have while you can.

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I agree 100%. Many of us start our careers in paying for sex when we get old enough to see death staring us in the face, and know that as far as unfilled fantasies, it is now or never.

Polioe will never protect prostitutes very much, because the law protects the haves against the have nots, and in this case the haves are the women who have husbands.
Funnily enough, after posting the above, I was listening to the Parkinson radio show, which you can still catch here until Sunday.

At about 86 minutes there is an interview with Clive James, author of the hilarious autobiography Unreliable Memoirs, about growing up and discovering sex in Australia in the 1950s.

James's father had died in World War II. In 1982 James visited his father's grave in China and at that moment realised that his father at the time of his death was several years younger than he (James) was now, and he wept, he said, not for himself, but for his son, and after this experience threw himself into his work with renewed vigor, because he did not know how much time he had left.

Apparently he did not take up mongering, or if he did, he has not written about it.

I can identify a bit, because my grandfather was murdered when my father was a teenager, at an age younger than I am now, and I have felt some of the same emotions.

Anyone who has been in this situation will know how awful the murders of these women in Ipswich will be for their families, who will quite possibly be affected for more than one generation by these losses.

It is hard to read what is happening and not be affected. The impact on me, as I posted was to put myself in their shoes. Scary prospect.
The press rarely attempts to make the dinstinction...Were these girls "street" prostitutes, or girls who worked indoors (and were attacked when they left their homes)?

They were street workers.
It boggles my mind that even in a nation of full legality, there will always be those who think walking the street is a good idea.

I hate that they got killed, but for chrissakes, it's really DUMB to do that.

The fact that these are street prostitutes has been widely reported.

The problem is that most of them are drug addicts and/or have domestic partners who need money for drugs. Needing money for Christmas presents may be a secondary factor here.

The fact that these are street prostitutes has been widely reported.

The problem is that most of them are drug addicts and/or have domestic partners who need money for drugs. Needing money for Christmas presents may be a secondary factor here.

Apparently a lot of these women ARE trying to avoid being on the street, working in massage parlors etc, but probably those who are at the lower end of the scale do not have that luxury.

Ipswich is a coastal town in Eastern England that is close to a major container port at Lowestoft, and apparently there are many truck drivers passing through that part of the world. The port is also a major offshore oil industry service point, so most likely these women are trying to get themselves a few petrodollars.
You only have to drive around the known RLD areas of Leeds to see the average age of the street girl is somewhere between 16 and 20. These girls can't work in parlours because they are not clean.

I reckon most of them started smoking cigarettes and weed at about 11 or 12 and by the age of 14 they were on to other substances. These girls come from the poorer areas of the city. Encouraged by their dealers, they soon find an easy way to earn the money they need for the next fix.

It's not prostitution that is the evil, it's the need for the money, for the drugs, for the dealer "boyfriend"..........

It needs stopping at the beginning when they start to experiment on drugs.

This is every one's problem. Anyone who is a parent knows the danger of drugs. Cannabis is so easy to get hold of now.

Does the buck stop with customs and excise?? If so, why does the government not address this problem properly?? FFS.

Thank you for your comments.

You raise some important points, all the girls had heroin habits.

Every so often, we have serial killers in America (Canada too) who prey specifically on street prostitutes. We have one in New Jersey right now. I don't know if it is because they are prostitutes or because they are in such vulnerable positions. Perhaps both. But when they catch these guys, it usually seems that they have a deep seeded need to kill, and the prostitutes are easy prey. It seems to have less to do with some misguided moral vigilante.

It does not look like we're any closer to "conquering evil" than we were 100 years ago. Perhaps this goal will always be elusive to us. I think so. Best to do what we can to stay safe.
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