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Monday, December 11, 2006

Women On a Continuum.

Possibly four prostituted women have been murdered in the last few days. Two women were found naked in the same stream, one woman was found in woodland a few miles away, and a fourth woman has not been seen since Saturday.

from the BBC.
Police have appealed to prostitutes to stay off the streets of Ipswich after three women were found dead and a fourth reported missing from the town.

The naked bodies of Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol and a third woman have been found near the town in the past eight days.

Suffolk Police said they were now looking for prostitute Paula Clennell, 24, last seen late on Saturday.

Assistant Chief Constable Jacqui Cheer urged women, particularly in the party season, not to go out at night alone.

'Come home together'

In a direct appeal to prostitutes, she said: "Please stay off the streets, if you are out alone at night you are putting yourself in danger.

"We are coming up to the party season and up to Christmas.

"There will be groups of women going out and I would say you have really got to look after each other, plan how you are going to get there and come home together.

"Whatever happens on your night out, do not leave your friends alone and make sure you get home safely."

Map: Where the bodies were found.

Ms Adams, 25, and Ms Nicol, 19, worked together and went missing from the red light area of Ipswich.

Ms Adams vanished on 15 November and her body was found in a stream at the village of Hintlesham, Suffolk, on 2 December.

Ms Nicol disappeared on 30 October and her body was discovered on Friday in the same stream at Copdock, near Ipswich.

Det Ch Supt Stewart Gull said: "While we can't formally link the discovery of the body at Nacton with the two murders, the facts speak for themselves.

"I do not know who we are looking for. He may be local, he may be from away. We could draw a number of conclusions as to where the bodies have been deposited and found. Anything is possible."

Det Ch Supt Gull said Ms Clennell was reported missing by a friend.

"We know that Ms Clennell uses a number of addresses in Ipswich and we are currently checking these to establish her whereabouts.

"We would urge Paula or anyone who knows of her whereabouts to call us immediately so that we can be reassured that she is safe and well."

This is so horrific, in many ways. And it's all very well the police advising prostituted women to stay in, but women do not do this lightly - they are exploited and abused by pimps, and are in financial desperation. If the women *could* stay in and not be prostituted, I'm sure they would in any case, not least at the moment.

Z heard on the radio that the police warned 'prostitutes and women' to not go out alone at night. What the fuck? The fact that people won't accept that prostitutes are women is one of the ways in which this kind of crime and murder can take place. If we dehumanise (and de-woman-ise?) these women enough then it doesn't matter. They can be murdered and abused and raped and exploited because they are different, they are other. God forbid that we should ever realise that these women are our sisters, mothers, friends, daughters, US.

Just think, if we all saw these women as at one end of a continuum, on which we all are somewhere too. Just how far is the jump from me to her? You to me? It's frighteningly close, and we need to insist that people see this.

We need to make men and women see that it is the very partitioning away of prostituted women away in their minds, that allows their abuse to continue.

Seeing prostituted women as so very different means that the fact that they are purchased and bought and sold, that they are used and abused, that they are exploited, raped, murdered, pimped and battered - is ok. The status quo is fine, dandy, 'oldest fucking profession' and 'it's them exploiting the men really'.

Four women could have been murdered in the last few weeks in Ipswich. Three have been. This is terrifying and desperate.

What can we do? I know I want to do something, something tangible, but I don't know what. But our ongoing goal, always, must be to force people to see beyond their happy, patriarchal blinkers, to see that those women are us. Me, you, them, us.

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