Identifying victims of violent crime as “prostitutes” has a distancing effect: it makes “normal” women feel safe. This good girl/bad girl binary interacts with the normal man/client binary to create “extraordinary” circumstances within which this violence can occur. Arguably, when “good” women are murdered by men, this creates a threat to all women and a woman’s place/space of work or how outside of normalised sexual activities she steps is no longer relevant […]
The term “prostitute” does not simply mean a person who sells her or his sexual labour (although rarely used to describe men in sex work), but brings with it layers of “knowledge” about her worth, drug status, childhood, integrity, personal hygiene and sexual health. When the media refers to a woman as a prostitute, or when such a story remains on the news cycle for only a day, it is not done in isolation, but in the context of this complex history.