Trying not to get arrested, ladies? Well next time you go out in New York City, just make sure you don’t wear a short skirt and leave the condoms at home.
A new study from the Sex Workers Project reveals that if a NYC police officer thinks you’re dressed scantily and you happen to be carrying a condom, you are automatically a prostitute.
Molly Crabapple from Vice reported on the study:
Like most laughably cruel tricks of the justice system, you probably wouldn’t know that you could be arrested for carrying condoms until it happened to you. Monica Gonzalez is a nurse and grandmother. In 2008, officer Sean Spencer arrested her for prostitution while she was on the way to the ER with an asthma attack. The condom he found on her turned out to be imaginary. Gonzalez sued the city after the charges were dropped. But [even] if the condom was real, why should she have been arrested at all?
Arrest is always violent. The NYPD may or may not break your ribs but the process of arrest in America is still a man tying your hands behind your back at gunpoint and locking you in a cage. Holding cells are shit-encrusted boxes, often too crowded to sit down. Police can leave you there for three days; long enough to lose your job. If this seems obvious, I say it because the polite middle classes trivialize arrest. They talk about “keeping people off the streets.” They don’t realize that the constant threat of arrest is traumatic, unless it happens to them or their kids.
And these violent arrests are happening more than we think to women who just want to practice safe sex!
On the flip side, women that are actually sex workers are now subjected to having sex without condoms, which puts them in even more danger.
Police claim they are discouraging prostitution by confiscating women’s condoms or cuffing women who carry them. But half of the people whose condoms were taken away still had to engage in sex work later that night without a condom, according to SWP’s study.
That means that about forty-six percent of sex workers aren’t even carrying condoms anymore because they are afraid of police harassment.
WOW! The ripple effect of unsafe sex and exposing sex workers to STDs is evident, but to target women who choose to carry condoms to protect themselves in general is sexist, discriminatory and just downright stupid.