About me
About me

Suffolk murder victims: women or prostitutes?


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 11 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured.

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might very well have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Suffolk murder victimsCurrently, there appears to be much debate ongoing (not least in The Guardian and on the BBC) about the rights and wrongs of referring to the victims of the Suffolk murders as ‘prostitutes’. Some argue that headlines should read ‘Five women killed’ rather than ‘Five prostitutes killed’, reasoning that the victims are first and foremost women.

I completely and utterly disagree.

Let us consider for a moment that the victims are not prostitutes, but bank managers. Five bank managers killed in the same area apparently in the same manner by what appears to be the same person. Almost certainly a targeted campaign against bank managers. What headline would you expect?

Why, then, should it be any different for prostitutes? Of course, it shouldn’t. The only argument against using the term is that, to some, it appears judgemental and pejorative. Bollocks. It is merely an accurate description of their job, which (to me at least) confers no judgement.

The alternative being bandied about is ‘sex worker’. This is so non-specific and outrageously euphemistic as to be insulting, suggesting that society is ashamed of these people and what they did for a living. Note, also, that the majority of prostitutes appear to prefer the term ‘prostitute’, and it appears in the name of ‘The English Collective of Prostitutes’, their organisation.

And why on Earth would we refer to them as ‘women’ in headlines? This merely picks out one characteristic, not particularly specific, that unites all of the victims, suggesting that the fact that ‘young women’ were murdered is far worse than murders of ‘young men’. That is insulting.

Now, just to be clear, in the everyday context, these women are not defined by their jobs any more than anyone else. That is not my point. But when the most specific link of all the victims is their occupation, and it seems likely that it is intimately linked with their death, why bumble about avoiding the issue? They may have been beautiful young women with promising young lives, but they are undoubtedly united by the fact that they were prostitutes.

People need to get over their prejudices, and accept that ‘prostitute’ is a non-judgemental statement of specific fact. If they feel that it confers judgement, then perhaps, just perhaps, it is them doing the judging.

This 1,015th post was filed under: News and Comment.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd December 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd November 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th October 2018)

Photo-a-day 20: Bank of England (published 20th January 2012)

Last in the “Mac apps” series; book reviews start next week (published 18th July 2012)

The Middle East crisis simplified (published 16th July 2006)

Last Night (published 25th November 2003)

Comments and responses

Comment from madonna

by madonna

Comment posted at 08:11 on 8th February 2008.

a person is a person no matter what they may do for a living we all do what we have to do to survive its a dog eat dog world you just have to be the bigger the dog that does the eating

Compose a new comment


You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.