By Chris Hall
Mon., Dec. 17 2012
December 17 is one of the few times that you’ll see the deaths of sex workers mourned publicly and sincerely. For the rest of the year, sex workers who die at the hands of clients, police, or pimps are reduced to punchlines or object lessons in one morality or another. One thing that liberals and conservatives share, even in this very polarized era, is that both are much more comfortable speaking for dead whores than talking with live ones.
This year will mark the 10th time that the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers has been observed since 2003, when Annie Sprinkle and Robyn Few organized the first one in memory of the victims of Gary Ridgway, also known as the “Green River Killer.” Since then, events have been held every December 17 in memory of the sex workers who have been murdered that year.
I’m not a sex worker, nor have I ever been one, but I’ve attended these events for years, not only because my friends have always included escorts, porn models, and strippers, but because I write about sexuality, and my work would be dishonest and incomplete if I didn’t value theirs. The lives of my friends are important, but so is their work.
By their nature, the events organized around the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers are a mixture of emotions. All have an inevitable core of grief. Often the focus has been on reading the names of the dead out loud, and those reading or in the audience sometimes break into tears. People die in all walks of life, but these names are inevitably the names of those who died because they were considered disposable.
“The people who are most at risk for violence are people working on the street,” says Sandy Bottoms, co-director of the Bay Area chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP).
Continue reading at: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/exhibitionist/2012/12/end_sex_worker_violence_dec_17.php