This story was e-mailed to me by a reader named Bev a few weeks ago. When I first read about the brutal murder of two women in Pakistan I was filled with a rage that is difficult to relate to you. Even now weeks after learning about the senseless loss of these women, the rage has not diminished.
The Jaish-i-Islami are self described Taliban, and therefor feel that they have the right to slaughter women at will. According to the Times of India, the following note was left on their beaten and disfigured bodies.
"We warned these whores but they did not stop their business,"
The article did not provide any evidence as to whether or not these women were actually sex trade workers and stated only that "the women appeared to be from middle class families." Class location cannot rule out how these women may or may not have earned a living.
While this incident happened an ocean away in Pakistan by declared extremists, it could have occurred anywhere in the world. There is a war on woman that has been waged since the beginning of time. Those women that are the most vulnerable are often the ones that are selected for the worst forms of patriarchal violence.
On this blog I have made a point of noting each time I come across the death of a sex trade worker because I feel that it is important for us to recognize that this is an every day act and not some form of social anomaly. There is no doubt that these actions reveal the level of homicidal misogyny that plagues our little blue planet.
If these extremists were really interested in restricting the social behaviours of their societies they would kill the Johns as well as the women. Men who engage in sexual activities with prostitutes are just as guilty of flaunting morality when they choose to pay for sex. These acts are not about sexual behaviour, they are about controlling women through violence and fear. Just as in the west where the prostitute is arrested and the John is released, morality is seen to have been affronted by the woman.
To be born with a vagina is to have ones body subject to limitations, stigmatizations and cruelties. To survive in this world a young girl must learn to satisfactorily perform femininity because her very life often rests on at least the appearance of respectability. For those whom circumstance forces into performing behaviours that are deemed morally repugnant, the decision to turn to prostitution to alleviate the slow death of starvation, or to feed a drug addiction can lead to a fast trip to the morgue.
Even knowing the risks involved some women actively choose the sex trade. Not only must they face the dangers that selling sex involves, they are constantly denied agency and told that their decision is not legitimate because___ insert whatever patriarchal conditioning control words are appropriate.
These whores that were killed in Pakistan are nameless and faceless women, and their anonymity is purposeful in that it encourages us not to view their murders as a loss. Their deaths cannot be attributed to a specific culture, race or religion. They died because they were women, and patriarchy has decided that ultimately womens bodies are disposable.