On The Game: Football and Prostitution

In the fallout of the Wayne Rooney allegations the tabloids are painting a glamorous picture of going on the game, but the reality is far less inviting.
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Right, so Wayne Rooney has been accused of using prostitutes over the course of his career. From 16 to 24, that’s eight years he’s had to learn his lessons, and at the very least learn that discretion can’t really be secured from someone you pay to have sex with you. He’s naive or stupid. Probably both.

The thing that’s interesting about this story is not the fact that someone is telling us that an English footballer is paying for sex. I hope I’m mistaken, but given the stories in the press it seems like a depressing proportion of the England squad is similarly occupied at one time or another every week. No, what I thought remarkable was the News Of The World constantly reassuring us of this woman’s independence. They tell us things like, ‘she enjoys her work and is good at it,’ and, ‘she earns enough money to then go off partying.’ This might all be true, and if she really does enjoy her work, I’m not the moral arbiter to intervene. What’s dangerous though, compounded by other similar stories from the tabloids about celebrities and footballers, is that the only stories of prositution the biggest selling papers are telling us about glamour and pride. So, fancy some more information about the fun these women are having?

According to research, 82% of women working as prostitutes experience violence. Apart from boxing or wrestling as a living, there’s no other job I can imagine that’s got such a return.

68% of these women have been raped. In this case, rape means that they were subjected to sex without payment or permission for the sex.

That’s bad enough, but remember this, it is estimated that 40% to 85% of prostitutes have drug problems, and that is often chiefly the reason for their sex work - to fund a drug addiction. Paying someone to have sex with you, when their motivation is to get enough cash together for the day’s fourth £10 bag of heroin, is rape. It’s not voluntary intercourse, it’s a transaction based on desperation.

82% of women working as prostitutes experience violence. Apart from boxing or wrestling as a living, there’s no other job I can imagine that’s got such a return.

It is estimated that more than half of women working as prostitutes were sexually abused as children. Whether they’re paid £25 or £25,000 a time, and they’ve been sexually abused as children, you cannot justify further extending their abuse. Not to be condescending, but the sense of self-worth of these women is probably such that they cannot improve their situation without society’s help. Paying them for sex, and subjecting them to more unhappiness, is plainly not the way to do this.

84% of women who work as prostitutes report that they either are or have been homeless. Is it responsible of the tabloids to constantly disseminate the idea of prostitution as a viable career option, implicitly justifying it by paying the few who end up on the wrong end of a witless manchild athlete?

Next time this sorry outrage kicks off again, when you see the glee of the tabloids and Sky News presenters, remember the type of politics the Sun and the rest of the Murdoch and Dacre stables propagate for most of the time. They’ll be looking down on, ‘slags’, telling women readers to stay indoors and look after the kids because of the latest, ‘research,’ and advertising phone sex lines between the sport section and the TV guide They’ll also be criticising Job Centres at the same time for advertising work in strip clubs. Women, taking their logic to its conclusion, are damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Do you spot a recurrent theme? I’ve got a sneaking suspicion they hate women.

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