DO SEX WORKERS DESERVE TO BE ABUSED?



Disclaimer: This post has lurid details of sex.

I was scrolling through my timeline on Facebook when I stumbled on a post which, under other circumstances, would have thrown me off. The thumbnail was a naked black girl on all fours with what I could deduce was cum on her face. Normally, I wouldn’t watch such videos and would report it to Facebook to be taken down for sexually explicit content but the caption stayed my scrolling fingers.

‘Ghanaian girls are suffering abroad.’

Lot of thoughts ran through my head; was this a rape video? Did it talk about human trafficking? Was this a human rights issue that we should be talking about? And so I knew I had to see the video.

So I clicked.

The video was roughly five minutes long and it was the most chilling thing I had seen in a while. From what was said in the video, I can summarize it thus;

The girl saw an ad asking for adult film (porn) actors who could deep throat. She went to the film makers and they agreed to shoot. The scene required that she has sex with two white men. The video started with the girl choking on the penis she was trying NOT to suck anymore. It was obvious watching it that she was in grave pains. This was expressed in the tears running down her face and the sheer look of sadness in her eyes. This was the point where the person with the camera started talking.

‘You said you could deep throat. Did you think you could just waltz in here and collect our money when you couldn’t do what we asked? You have just wasted our time you fucking bitch.’

It wasn’t what he was saying that got me angry. It was the condescendingly calm tone with which he was talking that nearly broke me. You could tell that the man didn’t think he was talking to another human being on equal footing. It is the same tone you would expect a member of the Ku Klux Klan to take when addressing a black person. I knew at that moment that the girl’s underperformance was not the issue. These were full blown racist men who wanted to demean and dehumanize a black woman.

As if to punctuate that thought, the men started slapping the girl. It didn’t end there. They spat on her face and other parts of her body. They were doing all these while still penetrating her from behind and trying to get her to suck their penises.

When the girl tried to hide her face in the pillows – something I think was a mix of shame and pain – the man behind the camera asked that she look into the camera. In a classic good-cop-bad-cop move, one of the other men slapped her face and the third guy slapped her buttocks. She looked at the camera, crying, and the camera man zoomed in on her face just as a large plop of saliva landed on it. She flinch but maintained her gaze on the camera.

The man behind the camera continued to talk, asking her why she thought she could just come in and take their money. When she didn’t respond, one of the other men slapped her again to prod her into speaking. She spoke, through her tears, in what was the only words to come out of her mouth. ‘I don’t know.’

At this point, it finally dawned on the men that she couldn’t suck their penises anymore. So they decided to, for lack of a better word, ram her as roughly as they could.

Bad cop 1 told her to touch her toes and started pounding her as hard and as roughly as he could. My spirit broke when I saw her move an inch away each time the full length of his penis entered her vagina. He taunted her, asking ‘where are you going you cunt?’ When he was done, the other guy – who was now wearing her wig – took over. He tried to get her into a position that had her buttocks jutting out at him but she kept falling; from what I would think was exhaustion. Angry, bad cop 2 removed her wig from his head and tried to force her to wear it while simultaneously slapping and pushing her.

And the video came to end.

I was so ashamed at what I had seen. Not ashamed because it was sex but because I just witnessed the dehumanization of another woman – A BLACK WOMAN – by men who thought it was okay to do so because they were offering her money. I was ashamed at the conditions that made a woman believe that this was the only way out. I was ashamed at being unable to do anything to improve the straits of the woman whose shame I had just witnessed.

I went into the comment section, hoping there were many people who were as outraged by the video as I was and were willing to do something about it. I was shocked by most of the response I saw. While many agreed that it was barbaric to have kept on ‘sleeping with her’ when she was in pain, many pointed out that it was hard to feel pity for her because she chose to the ‘job’. Others even said she deserved it because of her ‘lack of morality’. Some people asked why she continued to shoot when she couldn’t take the pain and that was the point that caught me.

Why did she continue to stay? Why didn’t she end the shoot?!

Whatever answer you choose to look at, one thing is clear; she NEEDED the money. And that there is the problem. I agree that she chose to do the work, but staying when she being abused, demeaned and forcefully penetrated showed that her need for the money far outweighed the pain she was going through.

Many scenarios went through my head until a new one took over. What if she was a victim of trafficking? Since the caption talked about Ghanaians suffering abroad, it was not hard to come to that conclusion. What if the girl in the video is a victim of human trafficking and needs that money to give her pimp/Madame? This thought stuck in my head for a bit. Not just because of the girl, but because of the many stories I have heard of human trafficking. Stories so savage it begs to ask if the traffickers are human. I wondered.

I have come to the conclusion that she didn’t deserve that poor treatment. Nobody does! But I know there will be no outrage. There will be no trending hashtag. There will be no anger. These men would walk the streets safe even though what they did was forced sex. What would happen to the girl? It may just be a continued cycle of racism and abuse for her.

People believe that sex workers are the dregs of society and so when bad things happen to these sex workers, these people show no empathy. When sex workers are raped or murdered for example, most of us just sigh and deep down, think they deserve it. I have heard people say prostitutes CANNOT be raped because they are already sleeping with many men. Even when these ladies – and I can imagine some people balking at that term – go to the police when they are in trouble, the police takes advantage of them because of their occupation. No one seems to be in their corner but themselves.

I think this is wrong.

Most of us don’t know the underlying reasons that push people to sell sex for a living. While it is a choice for many women, it is forced on others by poverty, domestic abuse and human trafficking and the extent to which this happens would shock most of us.

I think we have to reorient our minds. Sex workers are as human as we are. They deserve the same rights that we do. They need to be protected by the system. No one deserves to be abused; whether we agree with their work or not. So can we stop the violence against sex workers?! It is high time we also stopped contributing to this violence with our silent voices and judging eyes.

So do sex workers deserve to be abused? I say NO! 

What do you say?

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