Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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Gang Rape and Consent; An open letter to Mary Honeyball

This post discusses v graphically being raped, please exercise self-care. 

I have been avoiding the story of the woman who has been gang raped by village elders in India. As some of you know I was gang raped whilst back packing, I wrote here of the corrective nature of it, it was a way of punishing me, they beat my partner, but raped me, to put both of us in our place. The story came on Radio 4 pm just now though and I can feel those old familiar triggers, the racing heart, the churning stomach, the dryness in my mouth. They took away my consent, and I still live so many years later with what they did, those few hours, that they probably never remember brought to the front of my mind by the story of a sister thousands of miles away.

There is anger though today, not at them, I laid those ghosts to rest, but at other, powerful people who wish to take away my right to consent. Today you were on the radio too Mary,   gloating as your campaign against sex work is gaining support within the European Parliament. You claimed that because I am paid for sex I do not consent to it, that because I wouldn’t have the sex without the money it is rape.

Really Mary? You want to tell me what rape is? You want to say that choosing to exchange sexual services at a time and place of my choice, with the content pre negotiated and agreed if the same as being grabbed by a group of men and pulled screaming into the undergrowth. Sometimes I still feel the branches sticking into me as their weight bore down on me, I can feel them now. Scratchy, pricking against my skin. I think perhaps I focused in on them to distract from the weight of the person raping me, their breath, their cock pushing into my vagina, the laughter of the others, the taking of turns, the orgasm of my body betraying me. Focus on the discomfort instead, of the prickles sticking into me, think about that and you might make it through the next minute, then the next, and the next.

When I stumbled away, unable to cry, unable to scream or shout unable to do anything but wonder if it was over I don’t remember thinking, well that was just the same as if they had paid me. I had lain on those branches, the ones I can feel now, in my warm safe home, long after my attackers had gone. I couldn’t move. Of course thats just the same as popping for a shower after meeting a client and wondering if we shall have chicken or pork for tea.

Then in the months afterwards, as I had HiV and other std tests, and waited for the results, that is just the same as only ever using condoms, of choosing to practice safe sex and choosing to get myself checked regularly at a friendly and supportive GUM clinic. I mean someone pays me for that condom covered sex, so it’s just the same as those men who left their spunk over and in me, those men who choked me and laughed, those men who took turns and drank beer and laughed, how they laughed.

So thank you Mary, for reminding me that my consent doesn’t matter, that just like the men who raped me I don’t get a say in when I have sex, or with whom. Constn, something it took me years to reclaim is being stolen from me again, this time by women who want to punish me for having a job they don’t like, thanks a bunch for that

Jemima

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17 comments on “Gang Rape and Consent; An open letter to Mary Honeyball

  1. Wendy Lyon
    January 23, 2014

    It somehow doesn’t seem right to show my appreciation for this by clicking a button that says “Like”, but I’m a bit at a loss for words. An astonishing piece, Jem. ❤

    Like

    • jemima2013
      January 23, 2014

      that means a lot, I am so angry after hearing Honeyball, and I fear all the facts, the research, the evidence will be drowned out by their hatred

      Like

  2. KbJohn
    January 23, 2014

    Have to humbly echo what Wendy said – as a man, it feels a bit above my station to even dare to respond to your frightening piece ,but i can only imagine the anger at a politician to manipulate your barbaric experience for an ideological end. Powerful.

    Like

    • jemima2013
      January 24, 2014

      thank you, I understand your reservations but male voices matter too in this, after all its you men Mary is calling rapists for the simple act of exchanging money for a service

      Like

  3. cartertheblogger
    January 24, 2014

    I’m with Wendy, this is such powerful writing….

    Like

  4. Stephen Parkin
    January 24, 2014

    A really good piece. It must have been hard to write it, but I’m glad you did. Thanks.

    Like

  5. drewdog2060drewdog2060
    January 25, 2014

    Thank you for such a moving and honest post. I feel humble having read it as I can only imagine what you must have suffered when you where raped. There are, of course people who are forced into prostitution and this is, quite obviously abhorent. However there are many, many others who voluntarily enter into the profession and to claim that they are raped when engaging in consensual sex with their clients is, quite obviously not the case. How would the introduction of a Swedish style law which punishes men who pay for sex work in practice anyway? It would, I suppose be rather easy to apprehend people who offer to pay for sex in a public place. However I can’t see how such legislation would apply to men who use the services of escorts as the encounter takes place in a hotel room or a home. The authorities are not present so how, exactly would it be proved that the client had paid for sex? Even if the authorities became aware of the transaction escorts do, as I understand it provide companionship so, I asume the escort could claim that her client paid for company but, finding themselves attracted to one another they decided to have sex (I.E. the payment was for companionship, not for a sexual service). You have an interesting blog.

    Like

    • jemima2013
      January 26, 2014

      The problem with the Swedish Model is 2 fold, (well its more but I only have an hour or so to reply)
      First you are assuming that sex work is the problem, no, rapists are the problem, they will exist whether sex work exists or not. Why should sex workers be punished because some of them are raped…surely that is the worst, and least compassionate response to rape possible?
      Which brings me to the second huge issue with the Swedish Model; it makes sex workers lives more dangerous. Its common sense if u think of it, when the selling of sexual services is legal then people who would not normally break the law buy sexual services, the average client in the UK (and Sweden before the law was passed) Clients are not a separate group, just normal men and women. Once sex work is made illegal, which is what the Swedish Model does, then only clients who do not care about criminality will visit sex workers. These are obviously more likely to break other laws and care less about traffickling.
      The research from Sweden bears this out, sex workers have less time to negotiate safe sex or weigh up a client, and are more at risk of assault and rape, but since the police are anti sex work are less likely to report a crime against them. The Swedish model was intended to make the live of sex workers so hard “no sane woman” would chose sex work…

      Like

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  8. leftstream
    February 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on Leftstream.

    Like

    • jemima2013
      February 21, 2014

      thank you

      Like

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  12. Brian Precious
    August 12, 2015

    Well done for a moving statement which highlights the crassness of the prohibitionist case.

    Like

    • jemima2013
      August 12, 2015

      thank you

      Like

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2014 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .

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