some statistics on sex work and sexual assault

17 03 2007

It is difficult to find statistics about sex workers and sexual violence;
due to the once widely-held perception that sex workers could not be victims of rape, scientists only began to study the prevalence of sexual violence against sex workers very recently. Here are a few of the things we do know:

  • One study of violence against women engaged in street prostitution found that 82% reported being physically assaulted in prostitution, and 68% reported having been raped (Farley & Kelly, 2000).
  • This extreme prevalence of violence against sex workers includes both indoor and outdoor sex work –indoor sex workers were also found to be frequent victims of violence (Raphael & Shapiro, 2004).
  • A study of exotic dancers found that 100% had been physically assaulted in the clubs where they were employed, with a prevalence ranging from 3-15 times over the course of their involvement in exotic dancing. Violence included physical assault, attempted vaginal penetration, attempted rape,and rape (Holsopple, 1999).
  • In another study, 51.2% of women working as exotic dancers were threatened with a weapon (Raphael & Shapiro, 2004).

References:

Farley, M. and V. Kelly. 2000. “Prostitution: A Critical Review of the Medical and Social Sciences Literature.” Women and Criminal Justice

Holsopple, K. 1999. “Stipclubs According to Strippers: Exposing Workplace Sexual Violence.” Pp. 252-276 in Making the Harm Visible: Global Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls, Speaking Out and Providing Services, edited by D. and C. Roche Hughes. Kingston: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.

Raphael, J. and D. Shapiro. 2004. “Violence in Indoor and Outdoor Prostitution Venues.” Violence Against Women 10:126-139.
11:29-63.

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