Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Well, this is...interesting: platform shoes with built-in alarms for sex workers.

Given that more women are assaulted by husbands, boyfriends or family members than strangers on the street, ideas like this always make me scratch my head a little. It seems more appropriate to give them to women who’ve filed restraining orders against stalkers.

Plus, how long would the time lag be between a sex worker signaling that they were in trouble, and someone getting to them? I would imagine it’s going to be long enough to get hurt rather badly, if that’s what the other person’s intent was. (Handheld alarms designed to scare attackers away already exist, so you don't need these shoes for that feature.)

These shoes remind me of the call in/call out security system that some outcall ladies use. It usually works like this: you call a designated third person when you arrive at the location and you’re with the client, they call you back when it’s time to leave, and then you call them back when you’re safely outside and away.

There’s nothing wrong with that system as far as it goes, but if someone means to hurt you, neither phone calls nor these shoes will stop them. All it does is give the police an idea where to start looking for your body, however many days later.

I say that last sentence with an ironic twist to my lips that isn’t quite a smile. The idea that all sex workers live in minute-to-minute peril is a myth propagated by a society that doesn’t want women getting any dangerous ideas about what they are allowed to do with their bodies. In the well-over-ten years I've been in the sex industry, I can count on one hand the number of times I've felt like I was in real danger from a client. And none of those times ended with an actual assault. Was that fate, luck, divine intervention, my skillful handling of the situation, or was the danger just my imagination? I don't know. I will never know. I just know it hasn't happened.

However, a certain number of sex workers do get beaten or killed every year. Unfortunately, they are very frequently the most desperate of women, working on the street and often living on it. They are likely to be dealing with a substance addiction as well. Those high-tech shoes wouldn’t last a day before they were either stolen or traded away for money or drugs. Thus, those who need them the most are the least likely to have them. Sad but true.

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