Anti-violence campaign can only do good

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Published 19/05/2015 | 00:00

Deborah Coleman.
Deborah Coleman.
The late Jill Meagher.

Sex workers in Australia have reportedly asked Tom Meagher, husband of the late Jill Meagher to drop his support for the 'We don't buy it' campaign.

The Irish campaign was launched to call on all men to stand against sex trafficking and prostitution.

A number of prostitutes sent an open letter to Mr Meagher outlining their views on the campaign saying that the only way to stop the stigma and violence against sex workers is to decriminalize prostitution.

How can anyone expect a man whose wife died at the hands of a violent male predator to be anything but intolerant of any situation that puts women in a vulnerable position.

The man who killed Jill Meagher has previous convictions for attacks on sex workers so it is not surprising that Tom Meagher sees this as an important issue.

Since his wife's death he has been admirably outspoken on women's rights issues and lobbying for increased awareness about violence against women. It is concerning that sex workers feel that they would be safer if prostitution was legalised, which it is in Australia but associated practices are not.

They made the argument in their letter that the campaign does not do any favours for those women who make a conscious choice to work in the sex industry.

I must admit that I don't believe that they are in the majority at all, and that there is probably a minuscule amount of women who work as prostitutes by choice and not due to circumstance.

For every one woman who sells sex there are dozens more coerced and bullied into it and who face constant rape and violence as a result. These are the women who need protection and whether prostitution is legal or illegal there will always be abuse of women due to the nature of the industry and the product which is for sale.

The campaign that Tom Meagher is supporting is about calling on men to stand up against violence towards women and make it an unacceptable practice within society. A significant amount of regulation is badly needed to clean up an industry that is still a tremendously dangerous place for women to work in.

For those who wish to do so of their own free will proper regulation would help but how can we regulate violent men because it is too late once the damage is done.

Wexford People

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