So what is consent?
Consent is when we agree to something. We can only consent when we understand clearly what is being agreed to. We give consent without pressure, intimidation or force. Consent must be willing. We give consent in most things we do, from agreeing to do the dishes to having sex.
Consent is ongoing. Consent comes from all people involved having the freedom to say yes or no. Consent can be changed or taken back at any time. It is important that we check in with our partners boundaries. Our partners must also respect our boundaries
Sex work and consent
Sex work is consensual. Sex workers discuss services and cost with clients. When the client agrees to the booking consent has been negotiated.
When a client does something that wasn’t agreed to, boundaries are broken and consent no longer exists. If a client changes the terms of the booking without talking to the sex worker consent is broken. It doesn’t matter whether this is done by deceit, fraud, force, threat or intimidation.
Being a sex worker still means you get a say in what happens to you. Sex workers are in control of their body and choices. Occupation does not take away anyone’s right to say no.
So what about when someone takes the condom off?
If a sexual partner (paid or unpaid) purposefully removes or breaks the condom without your permission – this is sexual assault. Popular media has been filled with articles about this. These articles have been calling this form of sexual assault ‘stealthing’.
The term ‘stealthing’ first made it onto the website Urban Dictionary in August 2016. Using that word makes it sound like some kind of top secret James Bond type mission. By using this word, the media makes it sound normal, and the serious nature of the act is lessened. Don’t let this fool you though. It is Sexual Assault.
This is dangerous for the sexual health of all people involved. It puts people at risk of sexually transmissible infections (STIs), blood borne viruses (BBVs) and unwanted pregnancies.
Tips for working
The following might help you develop more confidence when providing sexual services. These are not defensive strategies against assault.
The only person responsible for sexual assault is the person who CHOOSES TO COMMIT assault.
- Communicate the boundaries of your services clearly. You might choose to;
- Have a clearly advertised ‘Do and Don’ts’ list
- Discuss the service clearly with the client and confirm the agreed upon services and charges before starting the booking
- Ask your client if they are aware of your boundaries
- Be confident when reminding the client of your boundaries during the service
- If a client has removed the condom, take action!
- You can end the booking and tell the client to leave if you feel safe to do this.
- Remind the client of the agreed terms of the service (the consensual agreement you came to). Clearly explain your boundaries again.
Magenta have many more tips – please visit us for more information.
So, what can I do about it?
If you experience sexual assault at work, or in your personal life, no one can tell you the ‘correct’ steps to take. It is important that you do what you feel is best for you. Your self-care, safety and wellbeing are the most important thing. If you choose to seek help, Magenta Educators can support you in;
- Getting PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
- Getting Emergency Contraception
- Arranging for forensic evidence collection
- Getting a complete sexual health screening (STI and BBV check)
- Making a report (anonymously if you wish)
- Accessing legal support
- Providing referrals to private psychologists, councillors and medical professionals
- Peer support
For More Information
Sexual Assault Resource Centre
24 Hour Emergency Line: 08 6458 1828 OR 1800 199 888
Police Assistance (non-emergency): 131 444
Phone 9328 1382
0403 188 540
1300 767 161
SHQ (Sexual Health Quarters)
Phone: 9227 6177
STC Clinic (South Terrace clinic)
Phone 9431 2149
RPH (Royal Perth Hospital)
Phone 9224 2178