Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Ipswich Reclaim The Night

Posted by charliegrrl on January 4, 2007

There is a report on Indymedia of the Ipswich Reclaim The Night.

300 people attended from all over the country.

RTN Ipswich

Although I applaud those who made such an event happen, I felt unease in reading what a speaker said from The English Collective of Prostitutes:

She said prostitution is not abuse, in and of itself. It is the value system that causes problems. She asked those attending to oppose the proposed criminalisation of men. Our priority should be safety for the women, and all criminalisation drives women underground, away from help.

So, I ask myself how, at a Reclaim The Night march, can a speaker be stating that prostitution isn’t abuse and that we should not condemn men who pay for sex..?

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10 Responses to “Ipswich Reclaim The Night”

  1. Bea said

    How sad that the EPC chose this occasion to push their agenda. Their statement shows lack of respect for the women that were murdered.

  2. jo22 said

    Any speaker who states that men who ab/use women should not be criminalised is going to get heard. It is men who get to decide who has the loudest voice. It is totally sickening that this was said on a RTN march. I don’t know for definite what drives the ECP, only that they are a group with many different names and are possibly paid spokespersons.

  3. stormcloud said

    I had heard that there would probably be a ‘legalise prostitution’ type faction involved, that’s why I didn’t attend.

  4. Sam said

    Oh Stormy, that’s all the more reason to attend! But then I’m a shit-stirrer like that.

    A woman standing up for men’s rights like that is worse than the usual self-defeating idiocy of a woman standing up for men’s rights any other time.

    Jo22, in the US there are several sex workers rights groups that are the same small group of people inventing new acronyms. In what I consider a particularly egregious move, some of the same sex workers whose names keep appearing in all these cross-pollinated organizations have also integrated themselves into supposedly anti-capitalist groups like the Radical Cheerleaders and have appropriated their good anti-capitalist name to hold fundraisers for themselves. http://www.spreademism.com/

  5. Bea said

    Sam, it’s interesting that you should mention this because the EPC are a group operating from the the Crossroads Women’s Centre and they go under many different names such as ‘Wages for Housework’, ‘Women Against Rape’. They seem to operate in the same way as you describe, by integrating themselves into other groups and, from what I’ve heard, sometimes breaking the groups apart.

    They use different names for their organisation according to which events they attend and strategically place themselves around the room eventually causing disruption by dominating Q&A sessions or shouting down speakers. The EPC and other groups operating from the Crossroads Women’s Centre are anti-feminist.

    May I also add that the EPC speaker took the opportunity to criticise the tradition of ‘Reclaim The Night’ marches during her speech. Again, this was a very badly chosen time. The march, I believe, was in solidarity with prostituted women and, in particular, the five women that were murdered by a man/men. To use this particular evening as a platform to push the EPC agenda and to openly criticise RTN marches shows a lack of respect.

  6. So when I heard Ipswich RTN were having a sex worker speaking- I thought they meant a local sex worker, but they meant ECP…

  7. I totally endorse what Bea has written since on two separate occasions I had the ‘pleasure’ of actually dealing with two representatives from the ECP. The first time two representatives positioned themselves strategically at a Workshop and their aim was to cause as much dissent as possible. On that occasion I was their target solely because I happened to be a member of the Fawcett Society. The second occasion was at a conference wherein I was about to give a workshop. I recognised them immediately and although they tried to engage me in a ‘dialogue’ I simply told them I was not going to engage with them on this subject and walked away. Reasoning with them was no use since I’ve already tried that on a previous occasion. As Bea said, their aim is to disrupt and cause groups to disintegrate. That is not feminism in my view.

    One of the ECP’s repeated claims is that ‘feminists’ either hate the women working in prostitution or that feminists make victims out of women working in prostitution. Nothing could be further from the truth. I personally, loathe the johns and others who sexually use and exploit women working in prostitution. I do not accept that it is a man’s right to buy any woman’s body. However, I do not view women working in prostitution as victims but rather women who are doing what they can to survive – but that doesn’t mean the sale of women’s and girls’ bodies to men for their sexual gratification is acceptable. Slavery has supposedly been abolished – how from reality that still is.

  8. I don’t understand these people.

    I know that I have positioned myself in pro-porn and prostitution-isn’t-harm speeches, to criticise them, and disrupt their Q&A, so that people can hear the anti-porn anti-ab/use view. But that’s because they talk rubbish, and I don’t want people new to feminism to buy their lies. And they do lie.

    But really, what purpose are they serving for women, to cause groups to breakdown..? You Jennifer know what you are talking about, you talk about real harm women experience, and so called feminists targeting you to disrupt your message, is senseless.

  9. linda said

    In the Indymedia report ‘Sarah’ says that the first priority of those attending the march should be safety of women and that this would not be achieved by criminalizing men. As anyone who has lived in a ‘red light’ area will tell you the safety of all women is threatened by street prostitution as all woman are hassled by kerb crawling men. This once happened to me when I was standing at a bus stop (clearly waiting for a bus)at 7 o’clock in the morning! In addition women who are forced to work as prostitutes are never ‘safe’ and most do so to support drug habits. The only way to make them safe is to give them an alternative way of life – prescription of heroin for addicts would be a good start. There is no way of legalising prostitution that will stop or minimize the abuse of women as prostitution is inherently abusive. The much vaunted suggestion of legalised brothels would not work as this would depend on the resources to police them – and would not end street prostitution in any case.

  10. Mswoman said

    I attended the Reclaim the Night in Ipswich, despite having reservations about it being a mixed march, and I vowed afterwards that I would never go on a mixed march again. The speaker from the ECP was terrible. She said it was good that men were getting involved because we needed men to help defend us! LOL! Also, as soon as the first speaker started, some bloke in the crowd started heckling.
    Before the march we went into a nearby pub, where we were told aggressively by some men that Ipswich didn’t need any more “whores” and we should just go home, and then during the march some women started a chant about revolution, and this guy in fromt of us went ballistic about how he’d been waiting for the nutters to start.
    Reclaim the night should remain women only, and the ECP should not be given a platform at these events.

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