A Way of Making Amends?

The Nonprofiteer has been boiling at references to "victimless crime" in the case of New York’s Governor.  She wants to ask every male commentator who used the term whether he’d encourage his daughter to pursue renting her vagina as a career path, or whether he’s eager to run home and tell his wife and family that he patronizes prostitutes.  If not, that’s probably because the activity is
dangerous and demeaning, and exposes not just the patron but his family (and the prostitute, of course) to the risk of disease, blackmail and public humiliation.

But until she saw this letter to the New York Times, she didn’t see any way of connecting her rage to the subject-matter of this blog.  Now, enlightened, she takes the liberty of passing along the following suggestion from  Mr. David Hayden of Wilton, CT:

Since economic desperation is the foundation of most prostitution, I
have a suggestion for how Eliot Spitzer can start to atone for his
pathetic transaction.

He is the heir to a large real estate
fortune and should be able to come up with a handsome chunk of money to
endow a trust fund that would temporarily pay the basic living expenses
of women arrested for prostitution.

This would make a dramatic
difference in the lives of these women and serve as a reminder that
economic injustice is usually the root of the sad profession of

An excellent idea–and an excellent reminder of the fact that the only way prostitution is "victimless" is if women count for nothing.


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4 Responses to “A Way of Making Amends?”

  1. Anita Bernstein Says:

    I agree that “victimless crime” is a misogynous and false characterization–the reliably woman-hating Alan Dershowitz leaped to use it when defending Spitzer–but I’ll bet the late governor can talk himself out of what you recommend. He didn’t earn that large real estate fortune; his father did. If he gives away an amount that he won’t feel because it’s too small a fraction of his holdings, then he’s using other people’s money for a PR gesture that doesn’t inflict pain on him. If he gives away more than that, then he imposes more suffering on his wife and daughters.

    But this gesture is the only way for Spitzer to distance himself from the standard rationale that what he did was pretty much okay. He’d be saying that women arrested for prostitution deserve charity. If they’re victims, then he is a victimizer–not just a long-married Everyman whose wife didn’t thrill him enough. That’s the main reason I think he won’t take up the suggestion: at a time of suffering, it’s too consoling to think of oneself as a victim rather than an oppressor.

  2. Elizabeth Ritzman Says:

    Could we extend the project’s reach to “ordinary” men – and women too, who access internet porn regularly? Perhaps a “reduce your victimization footprint’ each time you play, by sending a 50% tax to programs that help our brothers, sisters, daughters, nieces out of this line of work, and into another more satisfying, less hazardous and lucrative venture. We need it because the programs helping sex workers in my area are gone or going for lack of funds.

    I only say this because I have been asked recently by a young mom/wife how to ‘handle” hubby’s habit which is taking him away from her and baby quite a bit. I was amazed by the number of women in that forum who took this behavior for granted. And that made me think about where the new recruits were going to come from for this industry, which of course makes me thinks of the girls in my world.

  3. Anita Bernstein Says:

    To Elizabeth Ritzman, I say no. The point of the effort isn’t good works writ large: it’s the amends Eliot Spitzer can make. If he goes after other social ills–even a closely related ill like exploitative porn–he reduces the focus on his own misdeed.

  4. Nonprofiteer Says:

    But I love the idea of a “misogyny footprint,” and of having people feel compelled to reduce it as they do (or should) their carbon footprint. Every time you do something that trashes women, give a donation to a charity serving women.

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