I had a little meltdown on twitter lately in relation to a series of ads that have been running in The Mercury. I’ve been reflecting on it over the weekend and this is my more considered response.
This is the ad…
For a bit of back story on the Family Protection Society this is not a new thing for them. In 2010 they were forced to apologise for running a different ad claiming sex work harms women and breaks up marriages. I’ve also seen another of their ads with “sex work harms the whole family- especially children” and there are others, you can see the theme.
However this ad really bit me hard. They can think what they like of me, in fact I think a voice of dissent can be a healthy thing in society and I don’t begrudge them the right to their own opinion although I don’t think running these types of ads in the paper, with no facts, references or follow up information, are particularly conducive to a robust discussion. All people I’ve talked to outside the industry aren’t swayed by this shallow argument but it does contribute to the stigmatised stereotype of sex work.
But what really upset me is the inference that my clients, clients with disabilities and people with disabilities in general are so weak and fragile that they have no ability to consent or to protect themselves from harmful influences. I think this is incredibly insulting. Just because someone may have different levels of abilities to you does not mean you must treat them as children.
So yes, I was upset. But then I thought what kind of life must these people be living to have this type of mindset. What troubles must they have seen and what fears drive them to reach this conclusion? I can’t conceive what stress they must be under and so to the people of the Family Protection Society I give you my pity. I am sorry you are living in a world of fear and mistrust. And I hope you can manage to find the road to peace and solace.