Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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Justice for Jasmine

We don’t plan things, not in an editorial sense, we both write about what catches our eye, or makes the fires of rage burn. So there is nothing but a strange synchronicity that means both of our first posts about listening to the victims.

One of the beauties of twitter is you encounter people you never would have under any other circumstances @jasminepetite was one such person. A swedish sex worker she fought with every breath in her body against the laws that criminalized her work and the stigma that refused to listen to sex workers. She had suffered hugely from this stigma, a victim of domestic violence, not only was she not believed, but she was directly told that her real problem was being a sex worker. She is dead, lying in a morgue somewhere, murdered by the partner she reported, the partner who was given custody of her children, because sex workers cannot know their own lives, cannot be active agents, cannot choose sex work in whorephobic Sweden.

The Rose Alliance statement on Jasmine’s death 

“Our board member, fierce activist and friend Petite Jasmine got brutually murdered yesterday. Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker. The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine. They told her she didn’t know what was good for her and that she was “romantisizing” prostitution, they said she lacked insight and didn’t realise sex work was a form of self-harm. He threatened and stalked her on numerous occations, she was never offered any protection. She fought the system through four trials and had finally started seeing her children again. Yesterday the father of her children killed her. She always said “Even if I can’t get my kids back I will make sure this never happens to any other sex worker”. We will continue her fight. Justice for Jasmine!

What did Carter write this morning while I was sleeping after a late night of tears and anger? We have to listen to the victims, even those we might not like. Sweden not only refused to listen, they decided what the story really was. They decided that because of a job choice they morally disapprove of that a sex worker must be self harming, that a sex worker who doesn’t spout the anti line is deluded, I wonder if the term false consciousness was also trotted out?

Which is where the tears turn to rage, because of course Jasmine could have been listened too, could have had custody of her kids, could have been flying off to international conferences and doing TV shows, instead of being prepared for burial, all she had to do was lie. There is a whole industry around survivors, be the sort of victim people want, swallow the crap about not really choosing sex work, tell a few stories about bad clients and pray with the fervour of a convert at the altar of end demand and all the support you want is there, on their terms.

Those opposed to sex work have constructed a narrative that only allows sex workers to parrot theory, be good little puppets who trot out the party line like defendants at a Stalin era Russianshow trial and then the doors of rape crisis centers, domestic refuges and conferences open wide to you. Dare to say no, I have choices and I choose sex work, but this bad thing happened to me because bad things can happen to anyone and you are “romantacising sex work”

It is the radfems who claim all men are potential rapists, it is feminism as a whole that says a woman does not invite assault by her dress or behaviour, except it seems when she chooses sex work, then she is simply a faceless, mindless, cipher whose own story is not worth listening too. Listening to the victims means throwing out your beliefs and prejudices about who can be a victim and how a victim should behave, not demanding they fit into your box of acceptability.

A woman, Eve Marie,  lies dead today because Sweden is a feminist country. Yes, her ex was the one who directed the fatal blow, but the guiding hand was that of the Swedish state, a state that wants to make sex work so intolerable no “sane” woman would choose it. A state that sees not a victim of domestic violence but a dirty whore who can be ignored, a state that prefers dead sex workers to live, campaigning ones. A state that sees the death of a woman as a price worth paying.

The last words go to that woman, that mother, that sex worker, who refused to be a victim, who refused to give up, and in whose name the fight will continue. On her blog Jasmine wrote about seeing her children;

After one year and three months finally see her standing in front of me. The feeling when she runs into my arms and hug me, to get sniff her hair immediately becomes soaking wet of my tears, drag your finger along her small nose and chin, stroking her little hand and hold on her tiny body hard in my embrace and kiss her eleven thousand times in the forehead. To finally get to see her in the eye and say seventeen thousand times how missed and loved she is. And never want to let go again, but must. Created by my body when we two have been and we are part of each other forever. The love for my children is indescribable. (And justice system as said joint custody and half the time, where were you when everything was going on?)

47 comments on “Justice for Jasmine

  1. aformersexworker
    July 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on The Sex Work Brief and commented:
    RIP Eva-Marree Smith Kullander we will MAKE THIS COUNT I promise…it is all we can do now.

  2. Pingback: Sweden Swedish sex worker murdered. By the radical feminist government.

  3. LS
    July 12, 2013

    Man kills the mother of his children, moron blame feminists for the man choosing to kill the mother of his kids.

    • jemima2013
      July 12, 2013

      No, we blame a country that didnt listen to her and said a sex worker was not worthy of having a voice. If she didnt live in a country with end demand as its goals she would have been treated with the consideration any victim of DV deserves.

      Oh and “moron” disablism as well as being a twat.

    • Wendy Lyon
      July 13, 2013

      Of course if Jasmine wasn’t a sex worker, anti-SW feminists would be the first to hold the state accountable for ignoring her pleas for protection from this man.

  4. deb lah
    July 12, 2013

    Words for once fail me. She was so wonderful. Thank you Jemima.

    • jemima2013
      July 12, 2013

      what can i say, we are all jasmine

  5. everydaywhorephobia
    July 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on everyday whorephobia and commented:
    There is too much raw pain right now for the post I hoped to write, about the wider implications of Jasmine’s death, and the way the Swedish media seems already to be rewriting history to make her story fit their narrative, so for now I am simply reblogging this.

  6. Zenitha
    July 12, 2013

    My lovley daughter, they did you so wrong – they stole you from your children, they stole you from me. I will do whatever I can to fight your fight. And I promise i will do whatever it takes to see your children, my grandchildren safe with me.
    I know who held the knife, but they might aswell have put it in his hands!
    My love – you will live on forever in our hearts and souls – and we will keep your candle burning

    • jemima2013
      July 12, 2013

      What can I say…your pain is something I can barely comprehend, if there is anything we can do for you, please let us know, i know women and men across the world are aching tonight and wish we could take away a fraction of your pain

      At this moment, thank you so much for commenting, we will all keep a candle burning and never forget your brave beautiful child

    • Pye Jakobsson
      July 12, 2013

      Zenitha, we are all there with you. For the rest of you: I’m keeping Zenitha updated with all the love we have in the sex workers rights movement. Jasmines legacy will live on.

    • Laura
      July 13, 2013

      Dear Zenitha, my condolences to you. Here’s a link to the group Parents of Murdered Children: They provide support/information for the surviving family/friends of murder victims. I hope this info can help you.

    • aformersexworker
      July 13, 2013

      Zenitha, we cannot bring Jasmine back, if only we could, but we can make this count, as she would do if it was any one of us, and can keep her spirit alive in our hearts, always…

  7. WanderLocks
    July 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on WanderLocks.

    • jemima2013
      July 12, 2013

      oh my, thank you

      • WanderLocks
        July 13, 2013

        Thank YOU for writing it.

        What has happened Her and her surviving Family is nothing short of tragic.

        As a current ally & former Adult/Sex industry worker in Las Vegas, the section about the radfems hit home. Nail right on the head. Thank you.

        The Women I’ve known in the Adult/Sex industry have been some of the most confident, powerful and HAPPY Women I’ve had the opportunity to meet.

        I fear whats to come from this incident for those Women, the ones I know and the ones I don’t. I HOPE Women & Feminists realize soon that we shouldn’t be on opposing sides splitting hairs over whos & whats.

        There is still nearly nothing in the news on this.

  8. Matthias Lehmann
    July 12, 2013

    Thank you for this post and thank you for the passage you translated from Jasmine’s blog. My thoughts are with her friends and family and with all who live in fear because of the same laws that contributed to her death. #JusticeforJasmine

    • jemima2013
      July 12, 2013

      yes, we all have to fight on for those who still live under these laws

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  12. Laura
    July 13, 2013

    My condolences to the family and friends of Jasmine. Here’s a link to a message board providing free support/information to the surviving family/friends of murder victims: Most of the posters there are survivors also. I hope this info helps.

  13. suicide_blond
    July 13, 2013

    Godspeed jasmine … when the system fails one it fails for us all … #justiceforjasmine is justice for all

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  16. Pingback: RIP Petite Jasmine – Eve's Temptations

  17. Toya
    July 15, 2013

    I think people need to open there eyes and brains and stop being predijust against sex workers as we are not victims nor abusing our self. These laws don’t help us the make work more dangerous for us and pushing it under ground. Well these people will just have more blood on there hands.

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  23. Lorraine
    July 20, 2013

    I’m afraid I don’t get your post! Does Sweden criminalise sex workers? Buyers of sex? In either case why wouldn’t the state listen to a woman complaining of abuse and how on Earth is that the fault of feminists who certainly don’t claim it’s ok to abuse any woman? Are you asking that sex work be considered a valid career choice? I guess I’m just confused! If you mean that being a sex worker is considered a dangerous environment for kids and it shouldn’t be then that’s an arguable contention. But as far as ignoring domestic abuse or children with an abusive parent are concerned I don’t understand why feminists would want either!

    • jemima2013
      July 27, 2013

      I am not sure why you are asking these questions when they are all answered in the post. Sweden said Jasmine was an unfit mother becasue she was a sex worker, they refused to listen to her reports of domestic violence, because she was a sex worker, they define sex work as violence against women, but do not listen to women whn tey report violence.

      I dont understand why swedish feminism decided the ideology of opposing sex work matters more than women’s lives, I dont understand why Ireland is going the same way, but it is happening. Ask them not me.

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  25. Pingback: #JusticeforJasmine, sex work and the Swedish model « Cis white female

  26. mselenath
    September 22, 2013

    I don’t know Jasmine, I’m not from Sweden and I’ve never been a sex worker. I am, in fact, a feminist and though I have identified this way for many years I am only recently coming to define what that means to me.

    Not long ago, when in debate with another feminist I was told, sneeringly, that I was a ‘sex positive airhead’ and dismissed. I did not know what this term was let alone how it meant that this other woman could dismiss me so easily. Looking up the term I was quite shocked to see that this term, which apparently was a branch off of ‘real’ feminism was in fact the way that I saw feminism.

    I cannot understand women who speak of freedom and act in restriction, either women should be free to make their own choices or not.

    Creating laws against SW’s doesn’t protect them, how could it? It just further creates an atmosphere where they cannot report crimes done to them and are not able to feel safe.

    If feminism is just for middle to upper middle class white women then what is the point?

    As a feminist I want people to go out of their way to listen to women, to hear their point of view and to try very hard to empathise with it and understand it, even if they don’t always agree. How can a feminist ask that of others if they are unwilling to do so themselves?

    I don’t think anyone should say that we should ignore that some women do NOT want to be in sex work and feel they have no other option and those women do deserve support and assistance to change their lives, but what about the other women . . .or men?

    The ones who don’t feel damaged and ashamed by sex work are made to try and feel damaged and ashamed by laws and women that repress them.

    People have accused me of hypocrisy because I have personally stated that I would not be a sex worker, but there are many professions I personally would not choose because the don’t appeal to me. I have no desire to be a lawyer or a doctor, or to be an accountant.

    Maybe I am just simple but if people are willing to buy sex then sex is a commodity and if people are willing to sell sex then there is no moral conflict. Safe, sane, consensual is all I care about, I don’t have to agree.

    Feminism is not supposed to be a hive mind and when we are forcing our views upon other women it is a sad and shameful affair.

    I’m sorry I am rambling, I guess I am just upset. I didn’t know Jasmine but her story has me in tears, for her, her children and everybody who loved her and no longer gets to have her in their lives.

    I’m glad you’re spreading a message, talking about victims that no one wants to hear about and trying to shatter the notion that SW’s bring violence and ruin upon themselves just by DARING to view sex differently to some people.

    Feminism fails when we hate on men, it fails when we turn to ‘slut shaming’, it fails when we ignore women of colour and the unique issues that they face and most of it fails when we want to force women to do something, to remove their choice and replace it with your own ideals.

  27. Matthias Lehmann
    September 22, 2013

    You are not rambling at all. Excellent comment and message.

    • jemima2013
      September 22, 2013

      I agree, thank you for your comment

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  31. Barbara Todish
    September 6, 2014

    Though I am childless, I sometimes feel like I am both “mommy and daddy” to the world, because my experiences including survival sex, have provided me with empathy for others, especially others who feel and/or believe, as I did, that there was no other way TO survive than survival sex. I know now that, if I had to do it over, I would have begged for help from the men that wanted to pay me for sex. But back in 1986 I had lost all trust in people, and my own family refused to help me, so I turned to survival sex. Now, however, when I have tried to put my past behind me, without lying or being defensive about it, I am STILL stigmatized by what I did for 3 months 30 years ago to survive. All my writing about struggling is now considered “triggering” or I am subjected to “Sensitive Content Advisory”. It has made me want to forgo being patient and understanding. I feel like retroactively aborting “ALL MY (virtual) CHILDREN”. I know in my heart that all these “blame the victim” type righteous moralizers that tell me “Well what did you expect when you went public with what you did to survive” are just immature and they are projecting about themselves, but it is SOOO tiring to over and over again have to begin from scratch when it is so hard to find almost anyone that will give someone like me (a former survival sex worker) a second chance to make a first impression. And yes, I have had some great opportunities since my 3 months doing survival sex in 1986, and I am grateful for that. I got an a Masters degree by 1995 and I have been teaching mostly in higher education. (Because of my background, I can hardly expect to even be considered for lower grade education positions. Because of the stigma of my public past, notwithstanding the so-called “forgiveness” given to “Mary Magdalen” types, I am sure, if I even tried to teach in public, etc., schools, there would be numerous voices clamoring “You’re no Mary Magdalen” about me! But now, perhaps it is also due to my age, and so much more competition with those who have their Ph. Ds., as well as perhaps being blacklisted for my openness about my survival sex, I cannot even get an interview! It would be easier to accept being jobless if I at least could get some emotional support, other than what I have to pay for. Psychologists, etc., are few and far between that even have the understanding of survival sex, or they won’t take medicare, etc. Before someone says keep trying, know that I HAVE spent lots looking, with little if any luck.(I have, though recently found “FREE THERAPY”: comedy and improv and a few great friends “to die (and live) for”! Years ago, I was called a traitor to prostitute groups because I had used the term “sex work”, and they maintain that “sex is not work” and I have been called a traitor to sex worker groups because they said I should not use the term prostitute because it is perjorative and “triggering” and it adds to the negativity of stereotyping!.I have been told by various so called “support” groups that I do not deserve support because (they said to me) “You were not a REAL sex worker”, etc. I sure do get real STIGMA! I’m sure someone will comment that: this is not the place to talk about yourself. This is only for RIP comments. But maybe if there was less judgement and more empathy, instead of domestic violence and all kinds of non violent to violent abuse, we might ALL be able to undue especially sexual repression and replace future homicides with love and happiness.

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