Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nurse sex workers


Perhaps beyond the scope of my blog but I found this/these news article(s) very interesting.

Hier trek ik mijn grens (March 12th 2010, Nu'91)
Studente zwicht niet voor seksbehoefte van patiënt (March 6th 2010, Eindhovens Dagblad)
Campagne tegen seks verplegend personeel (March 11th 2010, Trouw)
Ophef over seksuele handelingen in de thuiszorg (March 9th 2010,
Ophef over seks in de thuiszorg (March 6th 2010, Eindhovens Dagblad)
Behoren seksuele handelingen tot zorgtaak? (March 3th 2010, Nu'91)

(from here on no direct translations except when between quotation marks)

Nu-91 is a professional organization for nursing and care in the Netherlands and it started a campaign to better protect nurses and carers against sexual requests from clients. A 24-year old female student hbo-v got a request from a PGB-client (who could only move is eyes and mouth) to sexually satisfy him. The carers/nurses who accompanied the student indicated that they complied with such a request and saw it as a part of their care task. She actually witnessed that the man was masturbated. When she refused the request the man said that she was unfit for work in care. The shocked student reported her experiences to the police, the employment agency and at Nu'91.

Quote from student (Eindhovens Dagblad): 'The man was washed first and then to my big suprise the care provider started to masturbate him. I was told that this was normal and that all care providers did this. I didn't know at first how I had to deal with this and then I left. Two days later I came back because I wanted to know if things would run differently. There was a different care provider this day, but the same thing happened again. The man asked me what I thought of it and if I wanted to do it also. I have said that I didn't want to do it upon which he the man told me that I was unfit for nursing.'

Nu'91 states that "sexual acts can never be part of the task package of carers/nurses. The request in itself is already an insult for the professional care provider. It can be seen as pure sexual intimidation."

A spokersperson for Nu'91 said: "One nurse once told that some clients behave like a sort of loverboy [pimp]. That way she felt bad if she didn't fulfil the sexual request."

It is according to Nu'91 not the intention to deny the wants of patients and clients. "When staff members are being requested for sexual acts, they can also refer to specialized bureaus for that. The demand is no problem, but it shouldn't be the case that care personnel have to deal with it themselves."

The response of Per Saldo, an organization which defends the interests of PGB-patients, was that 'every client is free to ask what he or she wants. And the care provider is free to agree or not', upon which Nu'91 responded that this reaction was 'too crazy for words'.

This all makes me wonder, if requesting sexual acts from nurse is sexual intimidation, isn't the same true for prostitutes also? You don't ask a worker for sexual requests. It's bad, indecent, sexual intimidation in the workplace.

All this without defending the Swedish model of course. And without saying that working in prostitution is traumatizing and that clients should be criminalized, or so.......

(it seems that I've slipped back to another anti-prostitution phase again!!! This get really silly!!!!!! I'm totally schizophrenic.)

On the other hand, is the hbo-v student just prudish? Is the campaign by Nu'91 an overreaction? Am I prudish? (Actually, I see this story as an absolute sensation! Titillating..... Naughty.... I'm such a bad guy.)

To be honest, perhaps this story was just an incident. But a very interesting incident. Perhaps that in the far future we will move into a situation where there is no difference anymore between workers and sex workers. Perhaps that in every barber shop there will be rooms upstairs where you can retreat with the female hair dressers. And it will be very normal and acceptable.


Anonymous said...

I don't know why you think that prostitution is not traumatising. It must be. I know a woman who told me that working on telephone sex lines has put her off having real sex. Having sex for money spoils the experience of having sex, possibly for ever. Men who have real partners can tell you that having sex with someone you love and have a deep regard for is far superior to the cheap thrill of purely mechanically sex.
Of course prostitutes are traumatised, mentally and physically. Their bodies are traumatised. I've heard about bodies of prostitutes being examined after thier death, with signs of enormous trauma to their internal areas.

Donkey said...

There are more and more reports coming out which draw the very surprising conclusion that prostitutes are not more distressed or traumatized than the general population. Also, their job satisfactions don't seem to be different.

Perhaps that I should have said that prostitution is no more traumatizing than other work, instead that it is NOT traumatizing. That would have been a more accurate statement. Perhaps the conclusion should be that work in general is traumatizing. Or that the job satisfaction of workers in general is as low as that of prostitutes.

But I do admit that working in prostitution is degrading and filthy. But working in a sewer is filthy and degrading but is it also traumatizing? My guess is that people are very good at handling humiliating situations, splitting their minds from their bodies, or splitting their minds themselves into pieces where they switch off the bad parts every now and then, and still live a happy life aside from their work.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong. There's a big difference in getting shit on your hands when you're changing your babies nappy, and having some strangers sweat sticking to your skin. Changing a nappy/diaper is a labour of love. Working in a sewer has it's own social dignity. Prostitution is like treating women as vermin. It's like saying that paying money gives a man a right to do what he wants with her body. A woman is not supposed to mentally detach herself from her body for the sake of a strangers sexual excitement. I am a woman who has had 4 children and I can tell you that women cannot have (even only once a day) daily sex without it being painful. A womans body is not designed for daily sex. In the monthly cycle there are about two weeks of every month when women are physically receptive. At other times, you're mentally either not in the mood or it takes much longer for your body to be ready for penetration. Perhaps you should consider the physical harm to a prostitutes body having to accommodate men and have sex simply because they pay, and not because the prostitute really wants it? And the psychological aversion to sex that she would have after experiencing prostitution.
She would't be able to seperate loving sex from dirty sex. Sex would be a double edged sword for the prostitute. It would be the only way she identified herself, but it would be a source of shame and certainly no joy.
Those reports you mentioned sound highly unreliable.

Donkey said...

Yes, I am kind of at loss with these reports, but it is very hard to ignore them.

I will name a couple of these reports, perhaps that you might want to read them, it may turn your view upside down about prostitution. I encourage you to read at least the summaries, they are all in English. These reports confuse me a lot, and they even lead me to visit a prostitute again a year ago, feeling very guilty afterwards.

One of the reports is "Migrant Workers in the UK Sex Industry - Final Policy-Relevant Report" by Nick Mai published very recently.
A quote from this report:
Almost all interviewees felt that the most advantageous aspects of their involvement in the sex industry were the possibility of earning considerably more money than in other sectors, the availability of time and the possibility of meeting interesting people, travelling and experiencing new and challenging situations. In most cases by working in the sex industry migrants were able to bridge an important gap in their aspirations to social mobility and felt that they were able to enjoy better living and working conditions.

Most interviewees underlined that they enjoyed respectful and friendly relations with colleagues and clients and that by working in the sex industry they had better working and living conditions than those they encountered in other sectors of employment (mainly in the hospitality and care sectors). The research shows that most interviewees consciously decided to work in the sexindustry and that only a minority felt that they had been forced to. The research findingsstrongly suggest that vulnerability, particularly to trafficking and exploitation, results from migrants’ socio-economic conditions, lack of information about their rights and entitlement to protection in the UK, their personal family and emotional circumstances, but, most of all, from their immigration status in the UK.

Another one is:
"What predicts job satisfaction among female sex workers? A study from Queensland, Australia" by Charlotte Seib, probably released in 2007

You can find some quotes on
I will copy one quote:
Sarah Romans, MD, et al., in the Feb. 2001 Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry article "The Mental and Physical Health of Female Sex Workers: A Comparative Study," wrote:
"There were no differences in mental health... or in self-esteem... between the two groups [female prostitutes and females who weren't prostitutes]....

Overall, despite any personal problems arising from the particular nature of their work, these women described as adequate relationships with partners, friends and work colleagues. Two papers have suggested that sex workers have high rates of psychological symptoms; however, both used convenience samples and lacked a comparison group making interpretation of the results difficult. Our results challenge prevailing ideas that sex work and psychiatric morbidity are inevitably associated."

Anonymous said...

It is quite possible that one day sex work will be regarded as normal... that is precisely what the prohibitionists fear.