It’s come to light that a man has claimed to have raped sixty sex workers. Instead of condemnation, here are some quotes written by Eamonn Duff and published in the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend:
"Never in a million years would I have imagined ... doing it," the 60-year-old said, with a hint of a smirk.
“I enjoyed myself.”
While Mr Allen said he enjoys the thrill of [raping sex workers]...
To date, he has only shared his secret with one other person: "I told one of my mates ... he was a bit incredulous and a bit envious, too."
[about his sons finding out about what he did] “... I hope they have a good chuckle”
It’s a pretty horrendous way to describe sexual assault.
Yet that’s exactly how Duff reported about how New South Wales councils had hired operatives to entrap sex workers working in brothels that may not have received planning approval for the provision of sexual services by paying to have sex with them.
Let’s be clear: What these operatives are doing is rape. From the government’s Australian Institute of Family Studies, “If the accused knew the other person consented to sexual intercourse only because ... they held a mistaken belief about the nature of the act that was brought about by the accused's fraud, then the law treats the accused as knowing the victim-complainant was not consenting.” Sex without consent is rape. The nature of these sexual interactions is to gather evidence; the sex workers obviously haven’t consented to that. Therefore, what these operatives are being paid to do by councils with ratepayers’ money is rape sex workers.
In neither of the stories that appeared in the SydneyMorning Herald over the weekend was there any mention that what was happening was sexual assault. Eamon Duff clearly doesn’t have much respect for sex workers- fine, whatever, he’s entitled to his opinion. But it’s absolutely disgusting that he would use his position at the Sydney Morning Herald to persuade readers that raping sex workers is not only acceptable, it’s something to be admired.
Looking at the paper’s Facebook page, comments from readers included: “Hahaha Frikken legend! What a sweet gig.”, “Good for you Fred - go gettem tiger”, “half his luck”, “Dream Job”, “Hahaha well done FRED. ENJOY IT ALL”, “Livin the dream”, “Lucky prick.” Let’s be clear, these people are talking about rape.
Imagine what this does to sex workers. A person rapes a number of people like you, they were paid to do so by local government, a journalist practically high-fives the person who did it and the public responds by calling him a “frikken legend”. It just made me sick.
How this can be considered ethical, professional journalism is absolutely incomprehensible. We are pretty used to mistreatment by the media (who can’t even use the correct words to describe us) but what Duff and the Sydney Morning Herald did this weekend is just appalling. Sex workers deserve more respect than this.