SEXY / ARTICULATE
Unfortunately, rape centers and survivor advocacy budgets have been raped here in Illinois. Doing as survivors do, they do what they have to and have worked the system how THEY need now to survive. And they serve a large number of women whose assaults happen on the job, in the clubs. So it's not "if your rapist hadn’t been to a strip club earlier, he probably wouldn’t have raped you". That rapist likely raped before leaving the club. It's that lap dance that goes too far and the club owners who don't protect the women working there and allow a culture of sexual assault to thrive. How can the next generation of men become repulsed by rape if the culture in the clubs (I mean the vast majority of clubs not the few elite ones) just continue on as they do? I agree wholeheartedly that it's not a woman's fault for owning her sexuality and putting it on display, and that power and control is at the heart of the matter. Strip clubs, by and far, serve to give men the artificial feeling of control, which does them and the women they relate to an antiquated/out-dated disservice. The new "skin tax" is not perfect, but in the meta-narrative of political corruption clashing with the idyllic world we all want to be in, the real work is in altering the culture in the clubs. And until the world wakes up one day magically a new and perfect, I fully support rape crisis centers raping strip clubs for a piece of their pie. Lawmakers don't give a shit, clearly, about either side. It's all just one nasty mess they like to have out of sight and out or mind. This is a total band aid solution to the larger cultural crisis and narrative you laid out, but the services provided by organizations like Rape Victim Advocates here in Illinois, on the street level are critical. When women come there, either immediately after an attack, or years later, they've lost the ability to feel safe. A very primal and raw wound needs major healing, and they need to be around others who get exactly what they're going through. God bless the women who dance in clubs and have never been assaulted, and triple bless responsible club owners who care about their women. I'd like to see them form a coalition and lead the way to bettering the industry and setting examples for their peers, and even partnering up with rape centers to do so. Find one willing to that kind of work and who understands the importance and implications of re-framing the entire structure on which their business was built. Seriously, know any? Know any cattle farmers who would choose to sit in awe and wonder at the cattle's beautiful animal form all night long rather than sell their cows to be eaten? No, so we support free-range farming at the very least. Free range stripping... the way of the future? Sorry for the crass comparison, but having served in a number of the worst hell holes on earth, all I remember is feeling like a piece of meat. I really don't mean to be offensive, it's more of a auto-biographical comparison.Thanks for bringing light to an important topic.
If a man rapes in a club, it’s not because he is in a club. It’s because he is a rapist. Period. He may, because of our cultural climate, think he is MORE entitled to a woman because he has paid for something, and she is (in many people’s eyes) a lesser human for having sold sexual services. But a man who rapes is as likely to rape his date as he is his lap dancer.I agree that the club owners need to be held responsible for protecting a woman’s right to her boundaries in her workplace. And I understand the need for survival, and for rape crisis centers to do what they need to survive. But I disagree that clubs are somehow responsible for furthering a culture of sexual assault. That is a huge generalization. No doubt it happens – just like it happens in ANY workplace where women do not have proper protection. But that is a reflection of our general cultural attitude towards women and their sexuality, rather than a reflection of the culture of strip clubs alone.It’s interesting that your perception of strip clubs is that it gives men a feeling of control. So often I see women who feel in control and not the men. I agree that the culture in the clubs needs to be altered in the sense that women need to have their boundaries protected. I also fully support the work that rape crisis centers do, and the services they offer to victims. I’m not trying to diminish their value at all.I think where we differ in opinion however, is that there IS a possibility to reframe the way we look at clubs and stripping. It is possible to pay for a sexual service, such as a lap dance, and have it not be a demeaning experience for either party. I know plenty of dancers who feel that way. I like to think it is possible that women who have sexual talents, whether it is dance, or sex, can offer these services, for money if they like, and still be respected. It’s a job. It takes skills. There are women who enjoy it tremendously.I don’t think club owners care what the environment is as long as they are making money. That’s a problem. But it’s a problem because our culture diminishes your value and status as a woman the second you chose to be involved in any kind of sex work or sexual display. No one cares what happens to whores and strippers. And that should not be the case.I don’t think you are being offensive at all – I think you are speaking from a very personal place about your own experiences. But you see, I don’t believe that the solution is to reign in female sexuality, or stop paying women for their sexual skills. I think the solution is to recognize those skills as legitimate, honorable, human and worthy and to afford the women who freely choose (and by that I mean the women who go into sex work not as a last resort, but as a real choice) the respect, dignity and protection that every other woman in a workplace has. And, when a piece of legislation is introduced that reinforces the idea that sexual entertainment is somehow responsible for sexual assault, those opportunities are diminished. The responsibility of a rape falls squarely on the shoulders of the assailant, and those who do nothing to protect the women or, in the case of clubs, those who hold the belief that a woman does not deserve protection if she sells sexual services. These are the attitudes that need to be addressed and changed in order to reduce violent crime against women. This law only serves to reinforce a stereotype that contributes to the ongoing justification of rape.At the same time, I recognize that you and I are approaching the topic from two very different perspectives: Yours is on the micro, day-today- level, and mine is on the macro big-sweeping-change level. Neither one is better or more valuable than the the other and it is always interesting to me when a bigger version of policy is in conflict with what actually happens in daily life. I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, and share your experiences and thoughts. Clearly, there are no simple answers.
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