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Friday, August 17, 2012

Common Nightwalkers, Disabled Escorts, & Massachusetts Law Enforcement

If you ever want to lose your lunch, check out some of the popular escort review sites. This will be an effective way to make yourself sick, and test your stomach's strength. Sites such as USA Sex Guide are forums in which clients can discuss their experiences with sex workers of various types. USA Sex Guide states on their site "The purpose of this Forum is to facilitate the exchange of information between men who are looking for sex with women.”

Okay, fair enough. From a business model, it makes sense that these sites exist so that customers can make informed decisions about the sex workers that they choose to spend their money on. Unfortunately, many of the reviews are extremely crude, offensive, and degrading. While this is not always the case, I have come across many postings that made my stomach turn. Listen fellas, here’s a word of advice- RESPECT YOUR HOOKER AND PAY THEM WELL! Lots of ego stroking going on in these forums...among other things.

Yesterday, I spoke to two of my friends who were very upset and alarmed by what they read on USA Sex Guide. Here are some screen caps of men discussing their experiences with an escort who goes by the name Kathy, in the Fitchburg MA forum. Before I say anymore, I will let you look at the screen caps, and form your own opinion. Have fun! 

Well, isn't that pleasant. Oy vey. Now, here we begin to hear about her possible disability...

Okay, so what do we have here? A disabled escort who may or may not be able to give consent. There are many questions still unanswered; what is her disability? Is she able to give consent? Is she being sexually assaulted? If she really has the mindset of a child, as one client suggested, how is she posting advertisements on Backpage and seeing clients? Is she receiving help from somebody; is she possibly being coerced by somebody?

The forum messages were found in the Fitchburg Massachusetts forum, but we learned from other postings that Kathy has moved to Leominster, MA. Both of my friends called the Leominster police station, concerned over what appears to be happening to Kathy. Oh…we are such silly activists, aren’t we? Assuming that the police will care about a sex worker?

My friend spoke to a male police officer who informed her that Kathy has been arrested several times for being a “common nightwalker,” and that she is not disabled. This is paraphrased: “Kathy is dumb and stupid, but not mentally disabled. She knows what she is doing. She is not a victim, she is a criminal and we have been arresting her for years.”

Oh my. That didn’t go so well, did it? So, the next step was to call Adult Protective Services, and there is now a case open and an investigation that is supposedly going to take place. So far, no word back on that.

I finally got fed up and decided to call the Leominster police station myself. I was calm and articulate, and opened by stating that I am a sex worker rights activist as well as a therapist and doctoral student. Yes, I was waiving my credentials around because I knew that perhaps it would help me to be taken seriously. That is the world that we live in, and it worked. I spoke to a female cop for at least 10 minutes, and she was polite and willing to listen. However, her perspective on the matter was just as disturbing as the male cop's perspective.

Paraphrase (this is a conversation that I will probably never forget): After I told the cop my concern about a developmentally disabled woman being abused, the cop said “Oh, she’s not a victim, she’s a prostitute and we have arrested her several times. We are very familiar with Kathy.” Okay take note of the language used- SHE’S NOT A VICTIM, SHE’S A PROSTITUTE.

I managed to keep my cool on this one, and informed the woman that anyone can be a victim, and that it is in fact possible for a prostitute to be raped/assaulted. She stammered a bit, and went on to explain that Kathy is not disabled in any way. Okay…now we are getting somewhere! Next, I asked her which psychological evaluations have been conducted to determine that she is not disabled, and where these were done. The cop said that none had been done, but that the police have had enough interactions with her to know that she is not disabled. Whoa…wait, what? I wasn’t aware that cops receive mental health and assessment training. That’s news to me!Why am I even bothering to get my doctorate in psychology? I could just be a cop.

She continued to repeat that Kathy is choosing to post herself online and is engaging in illegal activity. Therefore, she is not a victim. I attempted to reason with her, telling her that I understand that prostitution is illegal, and that I am not disputing the arrests. I am merely concerned that this may be more than just a case of prostitution, but of a woman who is not able to consent; a woman who is being taken advantage of. The cop offered to send police officers to Kathy’s home to “check on her and ask her if she needs help.” She called me back a couple of hours later, and reported that Kathy told the police officers that she did not need any assistance. Yeah, no shit. I would not want to deal with a group of cops that have repeatedly arrested me and referred to be as “dumb” and “stupid.” That was that, and it was the last that I heard.I was appreciative that the cop took the time to send officers to Kathy's house, and called me back. That is more than I expected.

My friend has been in touch with another Leominster cop who has been more helpful, so we are still waiting to see what the outcome is.

So, there you have it. Another fucked up story involving a sex worker and law enforcement. Is anyone surprised? I'm not.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Psychology Has Taught Me About Love & Sex

DISCLAIMER: If you’re looking for real expert-ish type advice on love and sex, run. QUICKLY. This is merely a list of things that being a graduate student of psychology has taught me about love and sex. Or rather, it’s more of a look inside the demented dating life of a psychology graduate student. I am currently single, with a string of bad relationships in my wake, so I obviously haven’t learned much. Actually, it’s more like a list of my failures, and of things that idiotic men do to piss me off. 

Target audience: Psychologists, therapist, graduate students, and other cynical like-minded bastards (such as myself).

Perhaps some of you will find my revelations witty. They came to me while I was driving home from the liquor store. Here we go:

Five out of ten potential suitors will say the following when they learn of your graduate training: “Oh, so does that mean you’re going to try to analyze me, or something?” The answer (that I say in my mind): “No, you idiot. You’re not paying me. Also, most women are going to try to analyze you, regardless of their graduate training. Dolt.”

Beware of arguments with significant others. The following WILL take place:

  • Scenario 1: You’ve screwed up (well, he thinks you’ve screwed up). Either way, you will hear the following: “Wow, how could you not know better? Aren’t YOU supposed to be the therapist?”

You will never be allowed to make a mistake in your relationship, because you are a therapist, and this means that you are an all knowing, all seeing, all powerful master of love and empathy. If you do not live up to this expectation, you will be hearing it from your partner.

  • Scenario 2: He screwed up, and you are trying to figure out how this could have happened. You will hear the following from him: “I’m not your f!@king patient, stop trying to be my therapist!”

Wait…am I supposed to be a therapist…or not? Shit, now I’m all confused!

Important lessons:

Just because you are working with substance abuse patients does not mean that you need to date an addict. That is NOT part of the training. (LOL, oops!)

Similarly, just because you are working with patients that have personality disorders does not mean that you need to date an Axis II fella. That is NOT part of the training. (LOL, DOUBLE OOPS!)

Giving an assessment (for shits and giggles, let’s say the SCID-IV) to a partner seems like a fine idea at the time. You’ll get practice, and maybe you’ll get to learn some new stuff! WARNING: It seems like fun, until you learn things that you cannot unlearn. It’s all fun and games until someone comes up positive!

Your family warns you that if you spend another 34827637246 years in graduate school, you may never find a husband. Turns out, they may be right. Also turns out, I don’t give a shit.

When you hate the guy but the sex is great, you may end up dating him. Why have you convinced yourself that he’s so wonderful?  Look to cognitive dissonance for answers.

Your partner will likely be bored to tears when you tell him about your dissertation. UNLESS (and this likely only applies to me, and a select few) it’s on the sex industry. Or related to sexuality. Or they think they hear the word “sex” somewhere in there. Now, all of a sudden, you are assumed to be “slutty,” and possibly an ex-stripper.

That’s all for now. I will continue to update this list as I continue to go on more bad dates and/or get into dysfunctional relationships.