In a truly what the fuck editorial that was published by the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday, columnist Mary Mitchell claimed that sex workers cannot actually be raped because they put themselves in harm’s way by agreeing to have sexual intercourse for money. The piece was in reaction to a recent case in which a Chicago man, Roy Akins, contacted a woman through a sex ad in Backpages.com and agreed to pay her $180 in exchange for sex. However, when the woman arrived at Akins’ house, he didn’t have the cash and instead pulled a gun and raped her.
Akins has been charged with criminal sexual assault and is being held on $750,000 bond. In Mitchell’s opinion, he shouldn’t be charged with any crime related to sexual assault. Instead, he is guilty of “theft of services.” She also said that she can’t see the unidentified 24-year-old woman as a victim and that charging Atkins with sexual assault “minimizes the act of rape.”
Unfortunately, the way this case is being handled makes it look like sex trafficking is a legitimate business.
I’m not one of those women who believe rape victims are at fault because they dressed too provocatively or misled some randy guy into thinking it was his lucky night.
But when you agree to meet a strange man in a strange place for the purpose of having strange sex for money, you are putting yourself at risk for harm.
It’s tough to see this unidentified prostitute as a victim. And because this incident is being charged as a criminal sexual assault — when it’s actually more like theft of services — it minimizes the act of rape.
Mitchell would then recount a recent instance of a brutally violent rape in an effort to shame Akins’ victim, since she obviously put herself in the position to have a gun pulled on her and thus should just chalk up the experience to poor life choices. She then ended the column with this sentence:
For law enforcement to put what happened to a Backpage.com prostitute on a par with rape victims like Schuster is an insult.
This feeds directly into a sort of an ugly and unsympathetic view that many people have of certain rape victims. Only women who are sexually innocent and violently attacked are real victims of sexual assault. Females that place themselves in bad situations have no one else to blame for terrible actions that occur to them. Essentially, only if you are a good, upstanding, law-abiding citizen can you truly be a victim. Anyone else just has it coming to them.