Radical Feminists and the “Wrong” Kind of Sexual Abuse Survivors: Or Why We Should All Just Slit Our Throats

Satsuma, a radical feminist minion/smelly sockpuppet, has really, really made me mad just now. Satsuma, for those of you lucky enough to have been shielded from her radioactive stupidity up until now, hangs out over on the website of one Cheryl “Heart” Seelhoff (don’t try to leave comments over there, like, ever, they’ll be censored or deleted).

Wise minds have suggested that Satsuma is an invention of Heart. While we cannot verify such claims at this time, we do have our own suspicions.

Now, I’ve already spoken about radical feminists and the “wrong” kinds of women: the “wrong” abuse survivor, the “wrong” PTSD sufferer, etc.

So I am not altogether surprised to see comments like this one, containing statements  that reduce us all to pathetic caricatures, even going as far as claiming that any sort of intimate contact with a man “taints” a woman (boy, that’s a “new” one. Kind of like those Victorian rape survivors who could never been seen in polite society again, eh?).

What Satsuma is suggesting is that all women who have ever been in sex-work or have ever supported sex-work in any way, shape, or form – are all survivors of childhood sexual abuse. And that these survivors cannot think for themselves, they cannot be responsible for themselves, and that they should not be taken seriously.

There are several things going on here:

1) The assumption that all sex-workers and sex-worker rights supports have an identical personal history. We’re like the Borg, really. Minus the badass laser-beam thingies over the eye.

2) The assumption that sexual abuse survivors are dirty, disgusting, broken, and should probably be locked up for their own good – considering the suggestion that most of the time, we can’t even think straight.

3) Women who have come into contact with men are just gross – an idea that several varieties of religious fundamentalists have certainly helped keep alive throughout the centuries.

This kind of attitude is actually pretty common, and it ensures that sex-work forever remains stigmatized, and it also ensures that people like me will also spend the rest of their lives looking over their shoulder, wondering if admitting to having been abused as children is ever going to cost them a job, a promotion, a friendship, etc.

It’s pretty damn important to speak about abuse. Silence is an enabler. But if you do speak about it – congratulations and welcome to your new place under a microscope.

People will now reserve the right to gently whisper – “but you WERE abused as a child, so are you sure you’re fit to make this argument/take on this project/watch this movie/hang out at this location/fall in love/have a family/raise a child/?” They are disturbed by your presence, you remind them of what can happen to their own kids – so they want to erase you.

Satsuma and her enablers are no different, really. Same shit, different day.

You know what, Satsuma & Co.?

Hell yeah, I was abused. Hell yeah, I support sex-worker rights. I’m not going to be shamed for either of these things. Is there a link between abuse and my views? Most certainly. If you know what it’s like to have someone attack you, you generally want to help others avoid such a fate, or at the very least help them move on. I believe that one of the best ways in which to help is to de-stigmatize sex-work, so the abuses that go on within the industry are no longer swept under our collective carpet.

So while you’re reaching for the smelling salts at the mere sight of “tainted,” icky women, you might want to think about what it is that you are essentially enabling.

See more from Ren.

13 thoughts on “Radical Feminists and the “Wrong” Kind of Sexual Abuse Survivors: Or Why We Should All Just Slit Our Throats

  1. “What Satsuma is suggesting is that all women who have ever been in sex-work ……. that these survivors cannot think for themselves, they cannot be responsible for themselves, and that they should not be taken seriously.”

    Interestingly Sheila Jeffrey’s has made the same argument as has Betsy Worrier in the UK

    Satsuma goes on and on about how many books she has read I suspect she is just parroting them…..

    Sb

  2. I’ve been abused. I know you’re 100% correct. I am cautious who I tell anything to, and have lost relationships because of it, and being a man, it is quite a bit more difficult than I think for a woman, though in truth there is no way to ever measure it, and in all reality who cares since it isn’t a competition.

    However, I will say, that I have learned in my life, and especially in North America, that keeping my mouth shut about things which happened to me, is more to my benefit.

    Because only those whom I’ve known for my entire life truly can appreciate the difference in my heart, mentality and attitude, as well as my approach to situations, then and now – more than anyone else, who are/is busy looking down at me, to get away from whatever dysfunction they’re avoiding or living in denial regarding.

    But even in that. If it helps them feel better about themselves to put me under a microscope? Awesome. Glad I could help!

    (yes that was subtle sarcasm)

  3. I think it’s true that male abuse survivors face a set of unique challenges. Where a woman is “tainted” by abuse, a man is practically “erased” by it. And other men police you – making sure you either deal with it silently, or else find yourself cast out.

    It bothers the hell out of me – the way that we respond, or rather not respond, to male abuse victims.

    It’s really disturbing and it feeds into a cult of this fake masculinity that’s damaging to both men and women.

  4. Thank you!

    I’m so fucking sick of being told that my mental illness and my past abuse have rendered me devoid of agency and incapable of making my own (healthy!) decisions.

    On the contrary, those experiences have made me one strong, determined bitch.

  5. There is one problem with this argument:

    There are plenty of survivors of physical and sexual abuse during childhood who do not work as sex workers, and never have. By this argument, THESE survivors “cannot think for themselves, they cannot be responsible for themselves, and that they should not be taken seriously.”

    This is a very dangerous line of thinking, because past abuse can serve as an excuse to take civil and human rights away from anyone.

    These so-called radical “feminists” are nothing but useful idiot foot soldiers for totalitarianism.

  6. I only just discovered your blog today, Natalia, so I don’t know the nuances of your positions, but I’m confused how you advocate against sex trafficking and for normalization of sex as a trade at the same time. If you feel like going into it, or if you already have a post somewhere around here explaining your position, I’d be interested.
    I agree women in sex work and victims of sex abuse are stigmatized and don’t deserve to be – but abusers, pimps, johns, traffickers, and pornographers (not pornographees) deserve all the stigma that can be heaped on them.

  7. Well, first of all, I don’t think the word “pornographer” is automatically synonymous with the word “abuser,” just like the word “trafficker” isn’t automatically synonymous with the word “john.”

    I think that while there is a lot of overlap between the sex industry and the trafficking industry, I think that we can’t adequately tackle the latter while the former is severely stigmatized. As I was telling Trinity here, I think we can afford to be impractical in regards to sex-work for as long as our attitude toward it can be summed up with “DISGUSTING!”

    I don’t know if that’s sufficient explanation for my position, you can tell me.

  8. You’ve got a terrible habit of just personalizing every single thing a radical feminist happens to say.

    For one, Satsuma never said any of the things you’ve spouted up here. Her comments about being ‘tainted’ by a penis were from a lesbian friend of hers, so minus points to you for reading comprehension.

    She also never said that ALL sex workers were abuse victims, she did however suggest that a mighty high proportion of them are. Her exact words were:

    “As I said before, women who so passionately defend this trash are highly likely to have been the victims as children of childhood sexual abuse themselves.”

    I think her comment is well worth examining, and it’s a shame that you would rather take it as a personal attack and as a statement that you and all other abuse victims should be ‘locked up’ and ‘protected from themselves as they do not know any better’. It is easy for extremely intelligent and good-natured people to be socialized into believing that there is nothing insidious about pornography and prostitution, that was her point.

    I expect that my comment will be censored or deleted anyway, something that you chastise Heart for doing. Ah well!

  9. For one, Satsuma never said any of the things you’ve spouted up here. Her comments about being ‘tainted’ by a penis were from a lesbian friend of hers, so minus points to you for reading comprehension.

    Actually, Satsuma routinely lauds herself for being better than anyone who has ever slept with a guy. And talks down to poor wee wittle women who would all be lesbians if they’d just get their heads screwed on straight. So minus points to you.

    It is easy for extremely intelligent and good-natured people to be socialized into believing that there is nothing insidious about pornography and prostitution, that was her point.

    And she made it by employing generalized statements about both abuse victims and sex-workers. Minus points to her.

    I expect that my comment will be censored or deleted anyway, something that you chastise Heart for doing. Ah well!

    Assuming makes an ass out of u, me, and ing! (Ok, whatever, lame joke, but it’s late over here)

  10. Natalia – because this is an issue that is apparently very important to you, you must have considered the rates of human trafficking in Sweden versus those in the Netherlands?
    In Sweden, where prostitution is illegal, their rate of trafficking dropped 40% in five years after they revamped their prostitution laws to prosecute pimps and johns instead of prostitutes. In the Netherlands, where prostitution is legal, 70% of prostitutes are foreigners with no immigration papers, which suggests that most of them were trafficked there. The Netherlands is one the most popular trafficking destinations in Europe of women from Ukraine and Russia.
    And I still don’t understand how police and judges are going to be less likely to view rape of prostituted women as ‘non-payment of services’ in a fully legalized system – or how they’re going to suddenly start giving a fig whether a woman or girl was coerced or tricked into prostitution if it’s ‘just another job.’

  11. I think the problem with the Netherlands originates with us – and by us, I mean Russia & Ukraine. Well, obviously blame must be placed on the Dutch government for going “oh, it’s just Eastern European whores, *shrug*,” but we also have a problem in our societies with the way we view sex-work. It’s ever-present, and yet we think that if we can just cover our ears and go “lalalala can’t hear you,” it will go away. When people get “shipped” abroad, government officials rejoice – “yay, not our problem anymore.” Except that really isn’t the case now, is it?

    Then everyone is surprised when women from our countries turn up in the Netherlands. And then what do we do? We go ahead and blame the women. They’re “sick and dirty”, and we can afford to turn away when we dehumanize them thus.

    Sex-work is tied to poverty and corruption, always has been. But other jobs get tied to it as well. There’s a reason why miners in the East of Ukraine risk their lives daily – because they too live in a corrupt, poor country where most people can only do reasonably well for themselves if they take risks. At the very least, we mourn our miners when they die in unsafe working conditions. Prostitutes do not even get any dignity in death.

    I think the Swedish model is good in the short-term, but I don’t think it solves any longer term problems. Sex-work, in all of its forms, is not going away, and I think the best we can do, across countries, is to make sure that people within it have basic protection.

    If law enforcement allowed sex-workers their dignity, they would not be blamed for suffering rape or abuse on the job. If you talk to most E. European law enforcement today (and I’m not talking about the people who sit up high and take bribes), most of them already agree – “these women are just trying to earn some money.” But because of the way society in general treats them, no steps can be taken to help those in need.

    Prostitution itself is not a monolith. Women in extreme poverty do it to feed their children and themselves, or to feed a drug habit, or work off some sleazy guy’s “debt,” etc. A middle-class woman from the city might do it to supplement her income so she doesn’t have to take a shift at McDonald’s. Not everyone out there wants to be rescued from the trade. Some women just want to be able to earn their wages, without having to “belong” to pimps if only for a measure of protection. They deserve that right as much as the miners have rights to safer working conditions and better bosses.

    Sex-work is not, I believe, just another job. There are jobs that aren’t “just other jobs.” Like the mining thing, or being a journalist in a country with crazy leaders, or a forensic pathologist, or a firefighter. There are jobs out there that few of us could take – but others do take them. And I think we need to make sure that all of these people are adequately cared for by society.

    I mean, as I mentioned to someone else yesterday, a friend of mine who moonlights as a hooker (her words, not mine), recently told me:

    “I’d never be a journalist. It’s too dangerous.”

    She thinks I’m the crazy one for having the kind of job that I do. Who knows? Maybe she has a point.

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