Monday, 15 December 2014
Women's Aid NI - The Truth
The following is a guest post from an anonymous author, given the sensitive nature of the information, you'll see why.
Women's Aid across the island of Ireland have made no bones about their support for the criminalisation of clients. In the Republic, they're vocal participants in the Turn off the Red Light campaign. In the North they lobbied the Stormont Assembly and as we're a bit short of nuns, have become the most powerful NGO to speak out on he subject. For years we all knew Women's Aid were the experts on domestic abuse and violence, but now it seems, they're experts at everything. So much so, that they were invited onto the committee that oversaw the research into prostitution in Northern Ireland commissioned by the Department of Justice.
For half a year, I would presume under the watchful eye of that committee, academics at Queen's University drew up their plans and then carried out their research - which included a number of interviews with sex workers in the country. Then, just before the paper was published, Women's Aid withdrew from the committee claiming that the research was..
"deeply flawed and lacks a basic understanding of the links between prostitution, human trafficking, and the spectrum of sexual exploitation that is taking place in Northern Ireland."
Their action was a gift to the DUP. Their MLA and peer Lord Morrow was the sponsor of the bill - our very own William Wilberforce. In the final remarks before voting clause 15 through last week, they echoed Women's Aid's views on the research - dismissing it out of hand.
Why? Well, the people who were interviewed didn't want clause 15. And that didn't suit the DUP and Sinn Fein's political agenda to be seen to work together.
I thought Women's Aid had washed their hands of involvement after their hissy fit over the research but then I learned that they couldn't quite afford to let the issue go.
Last week I heard that the same organisation that dismissed the views of sex workers completely now feels it's a suitable body to offer an exiting service to sex workers.
You wouldn't listen to what we had to say in our interviews in the research and now you expect us to come to you if we want to move on?
How can I explain this, Women's Aid, in a way you'll understand.