Not only do many women become homeless due to family violence , homelessness can expose them to further gendered violence. Research shows homeless women experience violence — or feel vulnerable to it — in crisis accommodation, such as private rooming houses and motels, to which housing services often refer them due to the scarcity of more suitable alternatives. For my recently published book I interviewed 15 women aged about their experiences of managing homelessness in Melbourne. The women described how the poverty, social exclusion and physical danger that accompany homelessness required them to manage their circumstances with very few resources. Lack of money, welfare support and social capital meant, for some, their only resource was to exchange sex for somewhere to stay. When asked about their experiences, different circumstances of seeking accommodation emerged. A common thread, however, was the assumption by others that homelessness made women willing and available to transact sex for accommodation. As Hayley said:. These types of advertisements clearly state sex is expected as payment for accommodation. Some men can exploit the desperation homeless women may feel by offering free accommodation in return for sex.
A recent critique of the HIV prevention literature decries the over-emphasis on women as passive victims of male risk behavior, arguing that men who have sex with women have not only been understudied, but also that their own HIV risk has been underplayed [ 1 ]. As a result of assuming a simplistic, power-driven model of men as powerful perpetrators and women as powerless victims, the authors argue that the literature on gender and HIV risk has largely ignored the structural, social, and cognitive factors that put men at risk and drive male risk behaviors, especially among high risk subgroups of men who have sex with women MSW. A significant portion of this risk comes from heterosexual behavior. Even among homeless injection drug users, sexual behavior is a strong predictor of new HIV infections over time, [ 3 , 9 ]. Homeless men in the U. Between 2. In order to reduce HIV infection rates among homeless men and their partners, including homeless women — who not surprisingly also exhibit elevated HIV risk due to unprotected heterosexual intercourse [ 12 , 13 ] - it is important to understand the determinants of sexual risk behavior among homeless men. A critical component of sexual decision-making involves judging the riskiness of sexual partners, a topic that has seen both qualitative and quantitative research among diverse populations. Notably, sheltered homeless women living in Skid Row expressed similar tendencies to forego protection use due to feelings of intimacy and warmth, even for male partners they knew were not monogamous [ 15 ]. Meanwhile, Masaro et al.
Now you can read us on your iPhone and iPad! Check out the BTRtoday app. Homeless people should not be punished or demonized for expressing their sexuality. This goes beyond leaving porn on the kiosks. This is about allowing homeless people a safe space to express their sexuality; their right as citizens and as humans. Manhattan sex therapist Dulcinea Pitagora expresses conflicting concerns over censorship versus the premature exposure of porn to children. Humans have a right to sexuality. So gross, so inhuman, subhuman? Find a better place. This brings in the question of consent.
Learn more. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is the largest national research institute devoted to homelessness in Canada. The sex trade industry is broad and encompasses a variety of activities including escort services, street-level sex workers, pornography, exotic dancing, massage, internet work, phone sex operators and third-party support drivers, managers, bartenders etc.
For some people, sex work stems from a background of poverty, addiction, lack of education and abuse. A significant number of sex workers are survivors of sexual abuse including rape, sexual assault and incest. Additionally, many sex workers have been part of the child welfare system adoption, foster care, juvenile detention in their youth or childhood. For some people, however, becoming a sex worker is a conscious and informed act or choice; this is particularly true for people engaged in higher-end work including exotic dancing, pornography and private escort services.
Sex work, and therefore sex workers, are often victimized and marginalized. Violence against sex workers is continual and for women working on the street especially the fear of kidnapping, rape, physical assault, theft and harassment is constant. Despite sex work being mostly legal in Canada, moralization of sex work — especially as it pertains to women — often causes problems and leads to arrests and harassments. Businesses and neighbourhoods may protest visibility of street level sex work in the area, leading police to conduct sweeps.
Some people experiencing homelessness turn to sex work as means of staying alive or obtaining the necessities of life. This is particularly common amongst female street youth, but also affects men, women and transgendered individuals of all ages.
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