They Weren’t ONLY Prostitutes

Posted: May 31, 2010 in Crime
Tags: , , , ,

I’d love my home city to be worthy of pride, I really would. I annoy a lot of people when I say this, who usually retort with a list of wonderful things Bradford has supposedly done.

I don’t buy any of it and I’m not one to heap praise on a geographic location simply because I live here. I’ve come to expect that every time Bradford is mentioned it will be violence, crime, death or chav related.

So it was no surprise when I heard we had our own serial killer. The national press has been awash with mention of this tragic crime and there have been broadcast trucks galore parked around the city.

One thing that stood out from all the coverage was the constant label “prostitute”. Every time one of the victims has been referenced they’ve been referred to as a prostitute. I turn on the news and see PROSTITUTE, PROSTITUTE, PROSTITUTE, PROSTITUTE all over the screen.

This is something that causes me some concern. A concern shared by Steve who’s blog I avidly follow (I noticed he’d written about this very subject after publishing this article. I feel like I’ve turned up at a party wearing the same outfit as him).

I’m going to have to generalise here, but is this the nature of our society: that we hear of a tragedy and see the victim only in terms of their ‘immoral’ career? Were these victims not also sisters? Mothers? Friends? Were they set to be prostitutes all their lives? It’s almost as though some of us think ‘well it’s ok, they were a prostitute’.

Imagine the following: Three nuns are murdered in cold blood. Would the media make a point of the moral outrage in killing such innocent women? I think they would. I think the country would be appalled that three ‘holy’ women had been targeted. Imagine the same situation but the victims were elderly. We’d be focusing on their lifestyle and using it as a reason why it was extra evil to attack those people, as though it’s wrong to kill, but just even worse to kill a nun. Prostitutes, that’s ok though, I mean they were asking for it weren’t they? It’s an attitude that stinks.

Why don’t we get angry when three prostitutes are killed? Some of you may be angry and I understand I’m generalising. But by and large the conversations I’ve had have revealed fear over outrage. People are not shocked that this happened, they’re shocked it happened near them and that scares them. They’re afraid to go out at night incase it happens to them. At no point has anyone said to me “those poor girls”. A friend of one of the victims even told a reporter “Just because she was on drugs doesn’t mean she was a bad person, she didn’t deserve this to happen”. And there, in that girls comment, is the attitude of many towards this tragedy.

Why can’t we look past the fact they chose to get paid for sex and just focus on the fact that three human lives have been taken away?

My thoughts are with the friends and family of the victims and I hope they’re clinging onto the real, human, tangible memories they have of their loved ones and managing to ignore the media’s attempt to smear.

Find some compassion people.

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