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Why Ann Bressington opposes the Sex Work Reform Bill

Ann Bressington MP

Here are excerpts from Ann Bressington’s powerful speech against decriminalising the sex trade:

This imagery that women are involved in prostitution as a desired career path is an insult to those who are trapped in a lifestyle for reasons that often go back to childhood sexual abuse and other traumas that scarred them emotionally and psychologically for life. Rather than offer these damaged women a way out, it seems that the ever apologetic left would rather legitimise this than offer any real solution for women to heal, move forward and have an opportunity to reach their full potential.

Her talk with Madam Stormy Summers:

I recall being asked to go to the place of business of Stormy Summers many years ago, which I did. Stormy and I spoke at length about the prostitution industry and how she wanted her girls to get help with their drug addiction. With retrospect it was not because she was too concerned for their welfare but rather because the drugs made them quite unreliable and unpredictable, and that was not a good recipe for a profitable business.

In fact, one of Stormy’s girls was a client. She was just 17 at the time, a heroin addict who was also involved in pornography on the side to make a few extra bucks, and she had been a working girl for two years already. This girl was 17, going on 37. She had missed out on her teenage years and had by this tender age attempted suicide four times. Over a cup of coffee Stormy shared her views on these young women who were, by the way, making her a pretty penny and who had paid in full for an extremely lavish apartment above her place of business.

She had a fully equipped gymnasium, stylish furniture and more than enough room for her to live a very comfortable lifestyle indeed. I compared her lifestyle with the girl in question, who often slept in an alley, who often did not eat for days on end and who was unable to live with her family because of her crazy, erratic and often bizarre behaviour, where she had on more than one occasion physically assaulted her mother and younger sister when she had been unable to score.

When I suggested to Stormy that for any of her girls to successfully recover from their addiction they would be unable to work as prostitutes, she was less than enthusiastic and her words to me were, ‘What is it with these girls today? When I first got into the game, it meant spending a few years on your back and setting yourself up for life. Now, they put it up their arm or up their nose, and are no good to anyone by the time they’re 25.’

Ann recalling her experience caring for a 7-year-old girl:

I recall caring for a young girl aged seven years old because her mother went AWOL for three weeks, and this little girl was found by her grandmother, locked up in a seedy bedsit with nothing more than a packet of biscuits and a few packets of potato chips that she had obviously been living on for quite some time. The place of residence for this girl was a house of horrors, and even after numerous reports to child protection, she remained with her mother, who would often disappear for days on end, and who would eventually remember she had a small child and ring her mother to go and get her until she came home.

This little girl had seen things that no adult should have seen, such as on one occasion when she saw her mother tied to a chair, beaten to a pulp and then raped, while she hid behind the lounge with a knife in her hand just in case mum’s client realised she was there. She stayed in that room for two days until the perpetrator decided to move on. She called the ambulance, and again she was off to nanna’s place to act out her confusion and her anger at life and the world.

This little girl, at the age of three, was her mum’s lookout. She would sit out the front for hours waiting for mum’s dealer or, if mum could not wait, she was sent out on a shopping expedition to find the dealer and score. She came to live with me when she was five years old because nanna could not cope with her behaviour any more and, over time, we talked quite a bit.

She was not your usual five year old. One night I asked her, ‘What do you think you would like to be when you grow up?’ and her response was, ‘A prostitute.’ When asked why, she said, ‘Because my mum used to get all dressed up, and she looked really beautiful and she would come home with lots of money. When mum had a good night, we would do some fun things the next day. Once we even went to the zoo.’

I asked her if she knew what a prostitute did to earn that money and she said, ‘Of course I do, I’m not stupid; you have sex and get paid lots of money for that.’ I asked her, ‘Do you remember any bad things that happened to your mum?’ and she said, ‘Oh yeah, but I’ll be smarter than mum; I’ll only have sex with nice men.’ This is the side of the sex industry that is not talked about too much at all.

I recall that, after this little girl had been living with me for some nine months, one night she decided that she wanted to talk. I was taking in a load of washing and walked past her room, and she said, ‘Ann, would it be okay if we talked for a while?’ We sat down and had a chat, and this little girl said, ‘I must have been such a bad baby,’ and I said, ‘Why do you say that?’ and she said, ‘Because of the way mum can’t stand to be around me, and that must mean that this is all my fault.’ I said, ‘No, not at all, because adults do what adults do.’ She said, ‘Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I feel like I’ve got this hole in my heart.’

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One comment on “Why Ann Bressington opposes the Sex Work Reform Bill

  1. Benny
    February 8, 2013

    I used to drive escorts. I was pretty messed up. I learnt a lot from those women, yet more in fact was confirmed for me, of subservience and dominance, poverty and drug addiction, child abuse and mental illness (which for the most part seemed to me to be sadness that was very deeply lodged and unable to be addressed), and the backgrounds of either male or female, client or worker, sometimes made me feel lucky. Regardless of what ppl say, or seem to think, I’ll never live it down. I met a woman I really loved much later, but never told her about it, and even I cannot imagine, in my opinion, how those women felt that were trapped. Some weren’t trapped, paid for uni up front, and got cash for a good time, it would seem. Still, that beggars belief with the passage of time for each heart yearns balance, in even the most wicked denier of truth, eventually.

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2012 by in Human life & dignity, Marriage & sexuality and tagged , , , .

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