Sex as crime by Gayle Letherby; et al

By Gayle Letherby; et al

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Through the media) sanctioned. Yet, some aspects of sex and sexuality are still considered to be taboo: heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships are still sanctioned in law and social policy in a way that homosexuality and homosexual relationships are not and this is supported by media and lay understandings of heterosexuality as normal and natural. In addition heterosexuality is also sometimes subject to sanction and censure. For example the gendered double standard – which among other things supports the view that boys and men have stronger, sometimes uncontrollable sexual urges that need to be fulfilled and that girls and women should be responsive to those needs but at the same time sexually passive and undemanding – encourages, even promotes, the appropriation of women’s bodies by men (Jackson and Scott 1996; Abbott et al.

Throughout the early 1990s, considerable resources were made available to genito-urinary clinics and sexual health outreach projects to work with women in prostitution. The types of interventions that sexual health outreach projects, in particular, offered sought to educate women about ‘high-risk’ behaviour and in particular to provide advice, services and help for women in order that they could do sex work in a healthy way. The underpinning philosophy of most of these projects was one that drew no line of distinction between sex workers and other workers and constituted the interventions as little more than health and safety provisions in the workplace.

It can be hoped that the murders in Suffolk may serve as a reminder to the government of the crucial importance of the need for policy change in order to bring about the most useful methods to assist and protect street sex workers. The Suffolk murders highlight the complex relationship between sex for sale and sex as crime and highlight the ‘otherhood’ of the sex worker and the need to pay attention to their clients and the regulatory controls surrounding prostitution. As Belinda BrooksGordon (2006) notes, to focus only on the sex worker means that two sides of the commercial and regulatory triangle remain unexplored and untheorised.

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