December 17 is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, a day of both solemn remembrance and activism. The commemoration began in 2004 when the founders of the Sex Workers Outreach Project and sex educator, artist and activist Annie Sprinkle joined forces to remember the victims of the Green River Killer
"We, as one global community renew our commitment to solidarity on December 17,” said Melanie Dante, former sex worker who was one of the organizers at the Philadelphia events this year. "December 17 Events aim to raise outrage at violence against sex workers and strengthen sex worker communities and responses to the systematic, daily violence and exclusion sex workers experience.” Philadelphia Free Press. Article by David Block
JAN 10 • Thank you so much for your fair and balanced coverage of the 15th Annual IDTEVASW. Since 2012 SWOP and SAFE have strived to stand up and speak out in Philly on issues specific to stigma and gratuitous violence against sex workers. Folks are always amazed at how hard and painful this event is to do, yet in the end how truly blessed we are to be able to come together to do it. Many households in most areas of Greater Philadelphia, if not all of PA, are touched somehow by this issue. Talking about sex work and prostitution is hard. Living in shame and silence is harder. D/17 is not fun, though it is full of love. Truly. We are here because we have been there, and we care. Our voice is their voice. Thank you for covering the memorial. Words cannot even express the gratitude I feel right now. Philly is proving we got LOVE!
The date of December 17th was selected for the observance because it was on that date in 2003 that Gary Leon Ridgeway, the notorious Green River Killer, was sentenced for his crimes. “Between July of 1982 and January of 1998 Ridgeway was responsible for the deaths of dozens of women and girls in King County, Washington, the county that includes the cities of Seattle and Tacoma. Many of his victims were prostitutes and others marginalized by society, such as runaways. Ridgeway was sentenced to 48 consecutive life terms for his crimes plus 480 additional years; a plea agreement eliminated the possibility of the death penalty. The first International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers was observed on the day he was sentenced and utilized art as sublimation through the conflicting emotions of relief, grief, anger and fear.
“Its time to change the social perception that she wasn’t a person, she was a “prostitute”. No one wants to feel a sense of community or sameness with her. She was something other than us and therefore we don’t need to feel fear or grief at the fact or the manner of her death.”
YOU CAN HELP STOP THE VIOLENCE BY SUPPORTING SEX WORKER FRIENDLY SERVICES. First meeting of Subcommittee is September 5: We are in touch with Elizabeth Edwards, one of the sponsors of HB 287. The first meeting of this Subcommittee is September 5. The committee hearing is open to anyone to attend. Campaigners for decriminalization including Bella Robinson of COYOTE/Rhode Island will be attending. Melanie Dante, a Pennsylvania advocate for sex workers and survivors, and Eris Vayle, both known well for the Philadelphia December 17th effort to de-escalate gender based violence, will also attend.
CRIMINALIZATION & STIGMA CONTRIBUTE TO FACTORS KILLING SEX WORKERS
A Memory & A Dream Suppressed To Maintain Freedom (Part One of Two)
A (Strong Content) Poem By M. Dante (c) 1996 NYC Audio Recording 2006 Philadelphia