Most women enter prostitution because of lack of choice and many are coerced by pimps or traffickers: it is the men who buy sex who are exercising free choice. It is well documented that the vast majority of women in prostitution are poor, homeless and have already suffered violence and abuse throughout their life. 70% of those involved in street prostitution have a history of local authority care. Nearly half report a history of childhood sexual abuse.
How much would you need to enjoy sex in order to want to do it 20 or 40 times a day? Apart from the risk of STDs, the human body is not designed for the level of sexual activity that women have to endure in prostitution. It causes physical harm, which has been exacerbated by increased demand for anal intercourse, threesomes and double penetration, which in turn is driven by pornography,
Many men are violent when they are stone cold sober. Others never touch alcohol, yet regularly abuse their partner. Blaming drink or drugs is an excuse, a way of denying responsibility. Both may be the trigger for a particular attack, but they are not the cause.
For too long domestic violence has been allowed to happen behind closed doors. People think that what goes on in the home is private, and not their problem. However, domestic violence is a crime. It is against the law. It is the repeated, random and habitual use of intimidation to control a partner. The abuse can be physical, psychological, financial or sexual. Anyone forced to alter their behaviour because they are frightened of their partner's reaction is being abused. Domestic violence is male abuse of power, no one deserves to be abused. We all have a responsibility to speak out against it, only then will we end it.
There are many reasons for staying with an abusive partner. The abused woman may fear what her partner will do if she leaves, or she may believe that staying with him is better for the children. There are also practical considerations to take into account. She may not have access to money, or anywhere to go. She may not know where to turn to for help, particularly if English is not her first language. And when she is emotionally and financially dependent on her partner she can be very isolated. Women from different cultures can find it particularly difficult to leave an abusive man as this would bring shame on both themselves and their family. They may feel they are betraying their community if they contact the police.
An abused woman's self-esteem will have been steadily worn down. She may not believe she will manage on her own, or that she has any other options. She may have been brainwashed into thinking she is worthless. She will feel ashamed of what has happened and perhaps convinced it is her fault. She hopes her partner will change. She remembers the good times at the start of the relationship and hopes they will return. In emotional terms she has made a huge emotional investment in the relationship and she wants it to work.
Answer: Recent research suggests that approximately 1 in 4 LGBT people will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives. This parallels the experience of straight women in Scotland, where between 1 and 4 and 1 in 5 will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime.
A clear difference must be made between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. An arranged marriage is one in which the families of both spouses are primarily responsible for choosing a marriage partner for their child or relative, but the final decision as to whether or not to accept the arrangement lies with the potential spouses. Both spouses give their full and free consent. The tradition of arranged marriage has operated successfully within many communities for generations.
A forced marriage, however, is one where one or both parties are coerced into the marriage against their will and under duress. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure, ranging from emotional pressure exerted on victims by family members, to more extreme cases involving assault, being held captive, rape, and in some cases the threat of murder. Forced marriage is a violation of internationally recognised human rights provision and a form of violence against women; it cannot be justified on any religious or cultural basis.
Pornography creates the culture and conditions where violence against women can thrive. Pornography results in a broader cultural harm by dehumanising women, reducing them to body parts seen to enjoy pain, humiliation and subordination. The links between pornography, prostitution, trafficking of women, paedophilia, desensitisation and sexual exploitation are clear. We know that women involved in prostitution are frequently used to make pornography and research into the methods of human traffickers indicate that pornography is used to "teach women how to act".
What was once regarded as extreme in the porn industry has now become mainstream, which is leading to distorted images about gender among young people and will ultimately have an impact on their ability to form healthy, respectful relationships. By normalising uncommon sex acts, pornography legitimates sexual violence, gender inequality and rape myths.
Mainstream media outlets glamorise the "porn star" life and focus on the media friendly story of the "Belle du Jour" fantasy of a successful and glamorous call girl. Instead of showing the realities of lap dancing, page 3 or prostitution, the media focuses on discussions on women's choice to participate in the sex industry. More focus must be placed on the actual harm experienced by individual women as well as the broader cultural harm of normalising an industry which thrives on gender inequality and the objectification of women. Empowered sex "workers" represent the minority of women involved in the sex industry. Most of those involved in the industry are struggling with addiction issues, poverty, mental health issues, abuse from a partner or childhood abuse. It is survival behaviour. It is these women who form the true invisible majority.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of any part of the female genitalia. This includes the removal of the clitoris, labia minora (inner lips of the vagina) or the stitching of the labia majora (outer lips of the vagina). The origins of this practice are masked in myths, religious beliefs and socio-cultural ideologies in different communities. It is a human rights violation. Most of the FGM procedure is carried out by older women in the community using implements such as razor blades, knives, broken bottles or sharpened stones. Undoubtedly, FGM is an abuse of the female child and is clearly against their best interests. The procedure violates a girl's right to good health and protection from pre-meditated infliction of grievous genital harm. FGM is an assault on young African girls and a denial of their rights to sexual enjoyment when they become women. Despite legislation passed by the UK Government making it illegal to carry out the practice in the UK or take their children abroad for the procedure, so far no one has been prosecuted for carrying out FGM in the UK.
The majority of trafficking victims did not engage in prostitution in their home country and come here under the illusion of their trafficker that they are going to undertake legitimate work. For the minority of women that are aware that they are going to become involved in the sex industry, they usually have no idea of the slave like conditions that will be imposed.
Trafficking in persons is the use of coercion, force, deception or exploitation of vulnerability to move a person from one place to another, and then to exploit the person, generally for gain. Trafficking is not the same as smuggling. Smuggling involves assisting someone for a fee, and once the individual has arrived in the country of destination, there is no further link between the individual and the smuggler. Trafficking is for the purpose of exploitation and the exploitative relationship between the trafficked person and the trafficker continues in the country of destination.