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Just say no to the rape pole tax: Stripping for the rape tax-Not!
by Maxine Doogan
Sunday Mar 31st, 2013 4:43 PM
Alameda County's state rape pole tax is a bad idea and ought to be rejected by the public and state legislators. Does Alameda County even have any strip clubs in their county? Just say NO to SB782.
Here we go again. Another Alameda County District Attorney O’Malley special.

Another piece of legislation that doesn’t have any accountability or reporting requirements. SB 782
Just like Proposition 35 of which O’Malley was a proponent, is predicated upon false and misleading information. I can’t wait to see the documentation used to justify why strippers should sacrifice a $10 tariff on their customers just because their place of work offers alcohol or is near a place that sells alcohol to pay for unaccountable rape crisis centers. That’s bridge toll and bus fair money. And are there even any strip clubs in Alameda County?

Sexual assault is a very serious crime of which prosecutors across the state ought to make every effort to prosecute but some don’t. I’m thinking of one case where a female prosecutor from San Diego, Annette Irving, didn’t bother. It was a case where a police officer was accused of raping one prostitute one too many times and she reported it and he got 3 years of probation because the prosecutor didn’t have confidence ‘a jury would be able to agree that a prostitute had been raped.’ Rape culture at its finest.

An acquaintance of mine was raped in her home last fall in Alameda County. She asked the police for a written update on her case. She hasn’t received one yet. Rape victims need to feel safe that their perpetrators are in a place where they can never hurt them or anyone else ever again and the current approach isn’t reassuring.

Too, I viewed an email recently from Cal Emergency Management Agency, the state agency responsible for overseeing rape crisis centers in our state, referring my friend, the rape victim’s complaint against Bay Area Women Against Rape, (BAWAR) back to BAWAR who didn’t treat her concerns with respect in the first place. BAWAR is one of those rape crisis counseling centers, a non profit that operates in Alameda County who would be one of the recipients of the rape pole tax proposed in SB 782. Neither BAWAR nor the oversight agency, Cal EMA offered any accountability to her or it seems, the public they ‘serve’. Apparently Cal EMA, the administrator of these types of rape crisis centers has no over site mechanism. There is no grievance process offered by these nonprofits who are supposed to be serving the public as per their 501 (c ) 3 status.

A few year back, I witness the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women hold some back grant monies for a time from San Francisco Women Against Rape as a means to hold them accountable. I remember President Andrea Shorter stating that she didn’t want to take that action but it was the only action she had available to hold them accountable.

But cities and counties like San Francisco and Alameda sure can find the money to run prostitution sting operations. In December 2012, the reported that 6 adults and two 15-year-olds were taken into custody by the Alameda County Vice Enforcement Team, with assistance from at least 11 other local, state and federal agencies. Counselors from Bay Area Women Against Rape also assisted in the operation.

Now I am remembering testifying in front the California State Commission of the Status of Women some years back about complaints from prostitution defendants in criminal cases who performed sex on police officers before they were arrested. That issue of addressing the removal of entrapment laws that allow police to have sexual contact with targets in prostitution sting operations didn’t raise to the top of the state COSW’s agenda. Too, I’m am wondering what acts are California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the co sponsor of SB782 considers sexual assault prevention? Because I would like to think that there could possibly be common ground between prostitutes who are would like to end violence against women and others who want to end violence against women.

That ideal is quickly disbursed when viewing a report by KTVU in August of 2012, Oakland PD, who asked the public to come forward with information about other sexual assault victims since they had a suspect in custody who used an adult chat board to find his victims. Potential sexual assault victims were to contact the OPD vice department or the child exploitation unit. So the juxtaposition of the police who run prostitution sting operations on the same adult chat board participants, where they get to have sexual contact with prostitution suspects as that’s legal under the entrapment laws in California, and then have the BAWAR standing by to give counseling, (on being sexually molested by the police?) and then violating suspects rights to remain silent has to be clear conflicts of interests on all side.

In San Francisco the vice squad too is responsible for investigating sexual assaults against sex industry workers. And lets not mention the 2011 misallocation of federal anti trafficking funds Cal EMA gave to SFPD who then used it to arrest 41poeple for prostitution. This practice seems to be common whenever gentrified neighbors don’t like who is walking down their streets. They just call the police to say they see trafficked victims and the police run a prostitution sting operation using anti trafficking monies as was reported in February by Omar Torres in the San Jose Insider. He expressed hope that the sex workers who were arrested would receive ‘vital services necessary to empower them to break out of the violent and abusive lifestyle they are often forced to live,’ noting that ‘someone’s daughter who had been forced into the sex trade in our community from a very young age. We have only to look in our own backyard to find the same social injustices robbing our children of their innocence, their youth and potentially their future.’ Torres should look in his own back yard for the unsolved rapes as Rape/sexual assault numbered 243,800 where reported nationally in 2011 while arrest totaled 14,943.

I recently spoke to a rape crisis councilor in that same area who stated that she was instructed by her director to write reports, after counseling those who had referred for counseling because they had been arrested for prostitution, to say that a rape had occurred and a victim had been trafficked regardless of if this was the actual experience of the criminal defendant who’s experience was being transformed into a victim. In this way, rape crisis centers have adjoin themselves to district attorney’s diversion programs so that criminal prostitution charges can be dropped if one says they’re a victim.

I requested in writing that California Emergency Management Agency (CALEMA), show what guidelines and research they used to inform their training and accreditation of these rape crisis centers. They’ve not responded.

As long as the reporting requirement are open to this type of corruption especially when there is pressure to show numbers ‘served’ in combination with no accountability or grievance process, SB872 should be rejected There is a serious conflict of interest that exist in the current system that doesn’t serve real rape victims and SB782 only exploits the current flaws with their conflation of customers of strippers and rapists to reward the unaccountable rape crisis centers.

SB872 proposes to fund these rape crisis people who are clocking the head count off of people who are becoming criminal defendants in prostitution sting operations weather they want counseling or not on the backs of the one of another marginalized group of worker; strippers. This group of workers like other types of erotic service providers often don’t report to police when they are victims of crime and feel as though access to equal protection under the law is out of our reach. Too they still don’t have collectively bargained wages and work conditions. Without specific anti discrimination protection in place for all erotic laborers in regards to housing, education, employment, child custody and financial institution activity workers risk allot to report crimes against this class or when witnesses too. This lack of equal protection is a result the negative stigma associated with being involved in a sex industry and is used as an excuse to subject workers to sexual harassment the likes of which never reach level of prosecutable crimes. All types of erotic service providers deserve the right to be treated like private enfranchises citizens regardless of our of occupation’s legal status, immigration status, age, race, gender or ability to speak English.

Exotic dancers deserve to be fully enfranchised on all levels of society before anyone effects their economy because the proposed tax on their customers is a tax on the workers. This recent article exposes how yet another group of strippers have had to be long struggle to get back their illegally taken wages. Its clear the idea this tax won't be paid by the strippers as is alleged in the legislation is false. and Alameda County District Attorney O’Malley doesn’t have their permission.

Too, the dancers were not consulted by the entitled who used their power to introduce this legislation because they are not respect to speak similarly to how prostitutes were not asked if we wanted our intimate, domestic and work relationships to be named as sex traffickers and forced to register as sex offenders in Prop 35. If these legislators, law enforcement and rape crisis centers treat dancers and prostitutes this way, imagine how they treat sexual assault and real trafficked victims!. No wonder some in our society call for the defunding of government..

Clearly the legislative priorities for umbrella groups like Californians Against Sexual Assault have the wrong priorities in being a proponents of SB782. They, like the rest of their coalition, ought to focus on demanding from the legislators the removal of barriers to reporting rapes and sexual assaults and mandate prosecutions to get justice for all people. Instead of rape crisis counselors turning a blind eye to cops entrapment touch in ride-a-longs on prostitution sting operations where they all diminish their credibility to ‘help’ anybody.

Maxine doogan

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More info on the lack of accountabilitymxMonday Apr 8th, 2013 9:14 PM
grand jury indicts West Sac officer.cTuesday Apr 2nd, 2013 8:08 PM
rape pole taxDirkJohansonMonday Apr 1st, 2013 6:42 AM
Strip Clubs in Alameda County; Close the barsFemale ReaderSunday Mar 31st, 2013 9:26 PM