The Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled the current prostitution laws in Canada as “unconstitutional” and struck them down today. This does not mean that prostitution is officially legal, the government has a year to write up legislation for a new law. For now, the current law still stands but this does not stop the Liberal pro-exploitation crowd for having hopes for full legalization. I consider this recent ruling to not only being a step back but a major fallback for the rights of the most vulnerable women. The women that Liberals tend to (purposefully) erase when prostitution is being discussed.
I want to add that just because prostitution has been around for centuries, it does not mean that it is or should be morally or even legally acceptable. It is like arguing that just because rape has been around for centuries, that means it should be considered morally acceptable or war if we can take the argument farther. Of course, I have no hope for the Harper government to actually consider the fact that women are human and that they will actually consider writing a law that will ensure that women do not have to turn to prostitution to survive in patriarchy. The Harper government couldn’t care less about anyone but themselves and the only reason that the Harper government would even consider such laws is if their reputation is at stake.
When I heard of the ruling, I thought of the women that have been murdered and raped by their pimps and johns. I think of the forty women or so women that have been murdered by Robert Pickton. I think of the young girls who have been prostituted and abused from a young age. I think of the Indigenous women who have dealt with the hardest blow in their lives when colonialism, racism, misogyny, and other forms of abuse are being drowned out by the Liberal anti-woman rhetoric. Terri-Jean Bedford did not think of these women when she argued for the right to run a bawdy house and neither did the courts.
There is no hope for any progress for women in a male-centered society and the Canadian Supreme Court just proved that such institutions cannot be trusted to make any sound judgement; they proved themselves to be on the side of rapists and abusers and people who profit from that abuse. I sincerely hope that anti-prostitution activists fight against the pro-exploitation lobby because the courts decided that women’s lives were not as important as the personal entitlement of men. This is not about “choice”, this is about the lives of women; this is about the woman’s right to a life without having to endure extreme abuse just to put food on the table.