The Sex Trade and the Sexual Assault of People in the Industry

file000925712800Prostitution has been called the “oldest profession in the world,” probably because it has been around since the beginning of time. Since sex is considered a trade by those involved in the industry, can it therefore be surmised that a sexual assault and battery on a person involved in the industry not be considered a true crime?

Some time ago, a Chicago Sun-Times editor by the name of Mary Mitchell ran an article stating that in her opinion, a sexual assault and battery on a prostitute is nothing more than a “theft of services,” and not a rape. It is Mitchell’s belief that in considering the sexual assault of a prostitute working in the “industry” a rape, did nothing more than minimize the act of rape of “real” victims and, therefore, an insult to those whom she labeled as “real” victims. It begs the question whether Mitchell would also not consider a wife who had been raped by her husband, a “real” victim.

Mitchell proceeded to blame the victim for the assault, because, in her opinion, the very nature of the sex industry meant that the victim was agreeing to exchange sex for money, and by doing so, she also accepted any risk involved. Is she right? See HuffPost Chicago for more on this story.

When is Rape Rape?  

There was a time in our not too distant past when sexual assault victims were blamed for their assaults. The defense to justify the sexual assault all too often was in the expression “she asked for it,” in order to make light of or excuse the assault. Anything the victim did, or was presumed to have done, to “spark” the assault was allowed to be introduced as evidence that the sexual assault was justified, and ended up putting the victim on trial instead of the accused. It took a while before our society evolved to the point where “victim blaming” was no longer allowed in rape cases to prove that the victim was partially responsible for being sexually assaulted.

Consent is a Major Defense to a Charge of Sexual Assault

There are a few defenses that an accused can make to a charge of rape, the most common being “consent.” Keep in mind, that the victim is not required to establish the lack of consent; it is up to the accused to establish that there was consent, at the time of the alleged sexual assault. The fact that the victim drank alcohol prior to the assault, or dressed in a provocative manner cannot be used as evidence to prove that the victim consented to the act. If you or someone you know has been charged with a sexual assault, consult with an experience criminal law attorney to discuss your case, before the initial law enforcement interrogation.

Prostitution Does Not Negate the Need for Consent

The premise of Mitchell’s argument is that any woman working as a prostitute is presumed to have given her consent to anyone that wishes to engage in a sexual act with her. Nothing could be further from the truth. The need for consent to the sexual act, whether a woman is selling her services as a prostitute or not, does not negate her right to say “no.”

Criminal Defense Attorney David Freidberg

If accused of a crime, it is important that you know what your rights are and how to protect them. The need for an experienced criminal defense attorney begins with the charge and arrest. Knowing your rights is the first step in the process, and continues thereafter through a possible trial to acquittal or sentencing. So if you are being charged with any crime, including murder, sexual assault or battery, and would like to discuss all of the potential defenses available to you, call the Law Offices of David Freidberg today, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a no-obligation consultation.