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It’s your right to speak out about exploitation

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Diary of a Mothering Worker - Entry 102

Reporting government ministers to the police is something few women do.


There are always risks. Your sexuality is tried in the court of public opinion, and judgment inevitably reflects a sexual double standard that more greatly punishes women. 


Your respectability is questioned as if only the wrong kind of woman would find herself in that kind of position or the kind of woman who wants to vengefully victimise a man. 


If you got a car, job or house, and sexual transactions with more powerful men were involved, you have to prove you didn’t cause it or manipulate the situation or can even be believed. Rarely, will you entirely escape blame.


The press gets into your business, your beliefs, your past and your vulnerabilities instead of turning the lens on the wider issue or the legislation or policies that can create change, or the institutions or associations that knowingly enable or turn a blind eye. 


Don’t mind these things are happening everywhere, the story is reduced to the individual woman, isolating her from other women, the quiet ones, the respectable ones, the grateful ones, the ones who know better than to make front page news.


You can be the wife or the outside woman, rich or poor, a “gold digger’ or a flight attendant (or both), a lesbian, a sexually active teenager, a sex worker or a CEPEP worker. 


Whatever the mix of consent and coercion or power and powerlessness, it’s your right to speak out about exploitation, harassment, discrimination, violence, intimidation or any other treatment you feel you did not deserve, especially from someone more institutionally, politically or economically more powerful than you. It’s your right to go the police for justice. 


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