Prostitute murder’s hilarious, right? No, London Dungeon, it’s not. Jen Offord has a social history lesson for you.
Dear London Dungeon,
I just wanted to get in touch after seeing your misogynistic social media posts on Valentine’s Day.
In particular, the post referencing to Jack the Ripper who wanted to “Netflix and Kill”, which you’ll understand suggests your organisation deems it appropriate to joke about violence against women. Also the post referring to “dead prostitutes” who are no longer able to “suck.”
They’re both kind of gross, though I honestly can’t get my head around any brand, even one that does make its money on the basis of distastefulness, such as yours, wanting to run the latter.
They read as if they were written by an entitled, arrogant child, with frankly no world experience, understanding or indeed empathy.
The apology, “WE’RE SORRY: We understand we upset some people,” as if you didn’t even really understand why, and the upset was the fault of those goddamned snowflakes always pissing on the hashtag lolz, is just as crass and offensive. Sometimes it takes more than a meme to demonstrate contrition, and suffice to say you’ve failed enormously on this count, too.
Since you don’t seem to have understood why your posts warrant apology, I thought I would share with you some facts about violence against women. For example that two women are killed every week in England and Wales by a current or former partner.
In fact one in three women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner, and on average, a woman experiencing domestic abuse will be assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police.
This all sucks, of course, to use your own expression, but additionally, one in five women (based on reported incidents, so not the whole picture, it’s fair to say) experience sexual violence in their lifetime (so, if you know five women – I assume you do – that means at least one of them).
Sex workers (we don’t call them prostitutes anymore) are of course at greater risk than most. Sex workers have a 45-75 per cent chance of experiencing sexual violence during their career and a 32-55 per cent chance during any given year. And in fact, stigma around sex workers – the kind perpetuated by flippant remarks like your Facebook bantz – actively increases the risk of sexual violence against sex workers.
Of course while Jack the Ripper might seem like a bit of a ROFL-fest in your line of work, let’s not forget that the sex industry is still a thriving one and a large number of the sex workers within it have little choice in their profession. And of course they are often more vulnerable than most women.
And this isn’t only historical, though it is the oldest profession, as we know. You may recall in 2006 five female sex workers were found dead in the space of just 41 days in Ipswich. Steve Wright was later convicted of the murders of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell. Nicol was 19 years old when she died – not even old enough to have graduated from university.
Some of them are even being forced against their will to engage in sex work as modern slaves. A total of 901 potential victims of human trafficking were submitted to the UK National Crime Agency’s referral system between July and September last year. Of those, almost a third of the cases were of sexual exploitation. Out of the 221 adult victims, 208 were women. A further 77 victims were children.
Imagine the kind of cardigan-wearing PC Brigade loser who wouldn’t find that funny, right?
Jen is a writer from Essex, which isn’t relevant because she lives in London, but she likes people to know it. As well as daft challenges, she likes cats, cheese and Beyonce. @inspireajen