A reader sent me this disgusting little story about a father and son who were running some sort of rape trade business together. The two men were roping women into working for them by saying they’d be providing massages, and then held the women captive so that they could sell the right to rape them — not “have sex with,” people, since we’re talking about women who had no choice in the matter — to other men. The two men were holding three different women captive; when they attempted to do the same to a fourth woman, she managed to call the police.
When detectives arrived at the motel, Charles, Timothy Lee and the three other women were not there. They later came to pick up the 20-year-old woman and were arrested by detectives, according to the statement. After the arrest, one of the women told police that she had been with Charles and Timothy Lee for the past few years and had not been allowed to leave.
Detectives said they believed Charles, Timothy and the three women had been in the Nashville area for the past few weeks.
In addition to the sex trafficking charges, Charles Lee was booked on charges of tampering with evidence, for purposely breaking a cellphone that was believed to be used in the business.
Horrible story, and probably an extreme example of how misogynistic attitudes are passed down from generation to generation. That said, I didn’t really have a whole lot to add by the way of analysis. Until I came across this little tidbit at the end of the article:
Charles, Timothy Lee and the three women were all booked for misdemeanor marijuana possession, the statement said. Both the men are being held on bail.
Seriously? These women have been held against their will for years and raped by god only knows how many men, and quite likely abused in other ways as well. Finally, it looks as though the worst part of their nightmare just might be coming to an end, when police decide to add insult to injury with a criminal charge on their record.
First of all, it seems to me exceedingly unlikely that when you’re being held captive so that men can buy the right to rape you, you have a choice in the matter of whether or not illegal substances are in your possession. And it strikes me as incredibly bizarre and offensive that anyone would see it otherwise.
Secondly, I ultimately don’t really care whether or not the women were in possession of marijuana by their own choice. Because even if somehow they were, this would still be wildly unacceptable. These women were victims of a severe crime. To use the investigation of said crime as an excuse to charge the victims with a crime, one that does no harm to anyone, is absolutely ludicrous. And it’s yet another example of police managing to take a situation that you’d think couldn’t get any more awful, and just making it that little bit worse.
It’s also not a one-off occurrence, either. Women who have been trafficked are in fact routinely booked on prostitution charges themselves. Sex workers who report a robbery, rape or other assault are also often booked on prostitution charges — being one of many reasons why most of these women don’t report. And if police can’t get them on the prostitution charges, they’ll often go for a different ridiculous charge such as this one. Just because they can. Just because they’re looking for an excuse to harm these women and their futures further. Because they don’t see these women as human and worthy of their protection.
No, there’s actually nothing about this that is unusual. But acting as though it’s therefore not worth speaking up about is part of what allows it to continue.
Thanks to Kymberly for the link.