International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers in Melbourne begins in St Kilda – ID2EVASW – Rally in St Kilda
Later across town, at a rally organised by individual sex workers, Ryan is speaking again alongside sex workers Nada and myself. I have received a call indicating media will be attending and we find and introduce ourselves to Simon Lauder from the ABC and arrange for him to wait until after the speeches to talk to people, explaining that it is preferred that sex workers who want to talk approach him rather than him going up to those that who may not wish to be approached.
Central points of the speeches that will soon become relevant in terms of our media presense are:
a) that non-sex workers trying to speak on behalf of sex workers constitute a form of violence
b) advocating a regulatory model that harms sex workers is also a form of violence
c) abolitionists or proponents of the Nordic or Swedish Model are engaging in violence against sex workers (as the Nordic or Swedish Model has been shown to harm sex workers)
Immediately after the speeches, a sex worker comes up to me to say “I think two members of Project Respect are talking to the ABC guy”.
Note – ‘Project Respect’ referred to colloquially as ‘Project disRespect’ by many sex workers is a known abolitionist group that seeks to ‘save’ sex workers by eliminating our right to work. I go to investigate… I discover that a man and a woman saying they are Australians – who just happen to have lived in Sweden, who just happen to be back in Australia, who just happen to love the Swedish Model, who just happen to be walking past when our rally was on, who thought they would come and talk to the ABC guy… Yeah right.
What they don’t realise is that the ABC is still recording during our ‘discussion’ (I don’t realise at the time either). What happens next shows proponents of the Swedish model for what they are – people who are actually deeply uncaring, even hostile as to the voices and human rights of sex workers:
But the main point of all this, is that it is sex workers voices – that need to be heard, so in honouring that I have sought permission and reproduce here the full text of all three speeches from the Melbourne State Library – International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers Rally:
Link to the speeches as recorded on Vimeo, due to fading light the videographer (third speaker Nada) has edited herself out, but we’re trying to convince her to reverse this decision…:
When the ABC picks this up nationally (the above link ‘Sex workers take fight against criminalisation to the streets’ is ABC 774) the transcript of the conversation between myself and the alleged Project disRespect member will be edited to remove the section where they start using whorephobic language, but not in the sound file. It does however change the tone of the story if you don’t listen to the sound file. ie in one story you get the context that the guy was a rude whorephobic dick, in the other you don’t.