Elena Jeffreys

SlutWalk Melbourne 2011: Elena Jeffreys

Elena Jeffreys is the President of Scarlet Alliance, the Australian Sex Workers Association, and is a member of the National Roundtable of People Trafficking.

Transcript of SlutWalk Melbourne Speech (28 May 2011):

Everyone here has either experienced slut shaming or knows how damaging it can be to a person, because you have come out to say “survivors have been through enough.”

In any city in Australia you can open the paper see the slut shaming of sex workers who are trying to achieve justice when assaulted or raped.

For our community victim blaming is institutionalised in the criminal justice system.

We experience slut shaming individually and on a collective level. As a community when one sex worker is denied justice, it hurts us all.

Sexual assault is just as brutal, shocking and criminal in a brothel as it is in the workplace of a nurse, a police officer, a teacher or a judge.

A sex worker when assaulted at work is just as shocked, surprised, bewildered and frightened as any person who is assaulted anywhere.

Yet we are told that we are to expect it as some kind of occupational hazard.

This is slut shaming.

Some people say that all sex work is rape, and that as sex workers we don’t know the difference.

This is slut shaming.

Governments say sex work is undesirable and deserves to be punished.

This is slut shaming.

When we walk today for survivors of assault, we walk today for the right of any person to be safe in their workplace.

Including sex workers.

The oldest profession, we are the archetypal slut.

When laws, moral judgment and the courts deny us justice because they see us as sluts, it excuses slut shaming in all of its forms.

Today we say no more excuses.

– Elena Jeffreys, 2011