Tagged: whore project

Project Whore: Interview with Social Worker ‘Natalie Thorburn’

  

1. What are your thoughts on prostitution?

Wow, that’s a really broad question. The sex industry is really multi-faceted and complex. I think overall I take a neutral stance on sex work – I try to balance being anti-exploitation with being pro-sex workers’ rights. 
2. Tell me about your present role as a social worker. Who are you working with/for?

My background is predominately in sexual violence. At the moment I’m in private practice as an ACC-registered counsellor and social worker, working with survivors of sexual abuse and sexual violence. I’m also a lecturer in the social work programme at MIT, and do some private research work as well. 
3. Do you think sex trafficking exists in New Zealand?

Yes, I do. 
4. What is your stance on the word ‘Whore’?

It’s an initially quite confronting word. I tend to tense up when people use it colloquially because it can have derogatory overtones, but I also see it as affirmative action – kind of like the word ‘cunt’. I can see how reclaiming it, as a population, is a way of fighting stigma. 
5. Do you work with NZPC (NZ Prostitutes Collective) in anyway?

No, although they have been helpful in the past when I was doing research into underage sex work. 
6. In your opinion – do you think “sex work is work”?

Yes, absolutely, and should be respected as such. However, there are also situations where sex workers are exploited to the point where they’re essentially working as slaves, rather than free workers. 
7. You have recently been broadcast on radio & television talking about underage sex work. Has this had an impact on society do you think?

Underage sex work, or the broadcast? Probably not. 
8. Even though prostitution was decriminalised in NZ in 2003 – Do you think there is still a lot of stigma surrounding sex work in this country?

Of course. Like any type of stigmatisation, it takes a lot longer to subside than what it does to change the law. I think a lot of people see it as a by-product of immorality or personal failing – the type of attitudes that were around in the 1800s still stay strong in some people’s minds. I think there’s also a lot of ignorance about the reality of sex work, which leads to (largely negative) assumptions about the industry. 
9. Is sex work a choice?

Well, that’s the million dollar question! I’m not sure a single answer could sufficiently answer that question! For many sex workers, yes, it is. For others, its the result of an oppressive social structure that places people in marginal positions where there are few other viable alternatives. For still others, abuse or exploitation means they never got to a position where they could make that ‘choice’.
10. With all the (humanitarian) social work you do in education, rape crisis & counselling – how do you look after yourself?

All the usual ways – I have supervision, I debrief with friends, I schedule time away from the intensities of work, and I have been known to seek therapy when things become overwhelming. Having said that, I also feel that this kind of work gives energy and life as much as it takes it. Working with any kind of injustice or trauma can be challenging – but things like good sleep, good food, good sex, good friends, and good down time can safeguard against a lot of it. 

Project Whore: Interview with Rhys Collier

Rhys is a visual artist based in Eden Terrace, Auckland. He works with recyclable materials in sculpture and enjoys painting. Rhys is also an actor and filmmaker.

1. What are your thoughts on prostitution?
I have mixed feelings. On one hand I feel it is a honest and necessary Profession. And paying for sex or providing that service should not be shameful. However being involved in this industry can be incredibly damaging to a person. Not to mention the violence, drug abuse and other criminal behavior that can go hand in hand. More transparency for the safety of all involved is needed.

2. Have you slept with a sex worker before?
I have never been a customer. I briefly dated a sex worker.

3. Why or why not?
I crave the intimacy that’s created during sex with someone you care for, rather than the physical act itself. This would be absent if I payed a random sex worker.

4. What does the word ‘whore’ mean to you?
I googled this phrase and came up with: a women you desire who sleeps with everyone but you. This is perfect as the term has a jealousy and rage attached, a word to be used by a man scorned by the women he desires.

5. Do you belief in monogamy?
I will commit without hesitation to a women I’m in love with. Is it the ideal choice for me, I’m not so sure.

6. Have you been solicited to, by a sex worker in the street? Male or female?
Yes but only half hearted efforts as I walk past.

7. Do you think sex work is a choice?
Yes for some. For others it seems to be where they are corralled by force, abuse or addiction.

8. Are you heterosexual, bisexual or gay?
Heterosexual

9. Are you tempted to pay for sex, if you want to experiment?
Not in New Zealand. In countries such as Thailand, Cuba or Brazil where sex work seems more open and accessible I have considered it, and may be tempted one day.

10. Lastly, do you judge others who visit sex workers regularly?
No its a legal, mutually beneficial transaction.

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