Portland observer. (Portland, Or.) 1970-current, March 18, 1982, Page 2, Image 2

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    Page 2 Portland Observer, March 18,1982
No glamour in prostitution
P artii
by H arris Levon McRae
In v e s tig a tin g and re p o rtin g on
p ro s titu tio n presents many p ro b ­
lems for a writer. Many o f the wom­
en that I talk to don’t want to have
a n y th in g to do anyone fro m the
media fo r fear that the conversation
w ill get back to their pim p. Others
just don’ t believe that the media w ill
tell the truth about prostitution.
“ I f I told you some o f the things I
have been th ro u g h , you w o u ld n ’ t
believe it — and there is no way that
it would get printed. I t ’ s unreal out
here at times,” one woman told me.
A n o th e r said, “ N o — no way am I
gonna talk to any reporter.”
From a distance m any o f these
women do look exotic and very erot­
ic but when you get up close to them
th e ir eyes and faces te ll another
story. The life o f a prostitute isn’ t
filled w ith glamour, fun and excite­
ment as many people seem to be­
lieve. This very belief deflects atten­
tio n fro m the violence th a t
surrounds prostitution and how it is
a system used to keep women en­
slaved. Life is not soft and plush for
the street prostitute.
" I t ’ s a trip sometimes. There are
all kinds o f freaks out here looking
for more than sex—they like to beat
and h u rt wom en,*’ I was to ld by a
woman who sells sex whenever other
possibilities for income aren’t avail­
able. “ Beatings, rape, and even get­
ting kille d is always at the back o f
your m ind,” she added.
Some men who do not want to
beat and degrade th e ir wives and
girlfriends still feel a need to act out
their hatred o f women. Prostitution
provides that opportunity. This use
o f prostitutes to act out one’s con­
tempt fo r women seems to be one o f
the main reasons why many consid­
er p ro s titu tio n a necessary social
service.
“ Those fo o ls w o u ld never p u ll
some o f the s tu ff they p u ll on me
with their old ladies,” I was told by
a prostitute. “ They keep it all inside
and then take it out on us.”
Many o f the women selling their
bodies on the streets, seem to have
damaged self-images. Living the life
o f a p ro s titu te p ro b a b ly makes it
hard to relate to people in other
than a sexual m anner. I was m is­
taken fo r a pimp a couple o f times.
One woman gave me her prepared
speech about already having an
“ old m a n " before I h a rd ly had a
chance to introduce m yself. Other
comments ranged from “ Show me
some paper [money] and I ’ ll let you
know a ll there is to know about
p ro s titu tio n ,’ * to , “ Y o u ’ re a man
ain’ t you—what else do you need to
know?”
One thing is fo r sure. The more I
investigate prostitution, the clearer
it is to me that in spite o f all its con­
demning o f prostitution, our society
actually condones it. There is a si­
multaneous existence o f conflicting
emotions when dealing w ith prosti­
tutes. They are subject to legal has­
sles, im prisonm ent, and fines but
these penalties are rarely enforced.
Though some women enter in to a
life o f p ro s titu tio n fo r heavy psy­
chological reasons, many enter into
“ the life ” because o f drug addic­
tion, poverty and other social injus­
tices that serve as recruiting centers
for prostitution.
Sex is here to stay and we need to
deal w ith p ro s titu tio n realistically
and not as i f when we tu rn our
heads it goes away. As a wise man
said, “ You just can’t turn your face
from the w orld.”
Next Week: Part-time prostitutes.
Cracking down on a crime wave that isn't
by Frank Browning
Pacific News Service
There is te rro r in her eyes. Her
jaw is clenched tight, her aged hands
clenched to her purse.
A cold sullenness washes his
Black face. His strong right arm is
draw n around her n e ck,lo cke d in
place w ith his other elbow, “ an el­
derly v ic tim falls prey to yoke
man,” reads the caption, describing
the “ yoke h o ld ” as the assault o f
choice among young muggers.
That is the face o f the scourge o f
ju ve n ile crim e as portrayed a year
ago in the trendy New York Maga­
zine. The accom panying statistics
were as grim as the illu s tra tio n : In
1980, 44,170 kids under the age o f
20 were arrested fo r m ajor felonies
and alm ost a th ird o f them were
under 16.
That rather d ram atic item was
typical o f the stories that have
helped fuel a national campaign for
a new crackdown on juvenile crime.
D uring the last year law-and-order
in itia tive s aimed at juvenile crime
have proliferated:
•In Illinois, the legislature is con­
sidering a provision that would a l­
low prosecutors, w ithout a hearing
by a judge, to transfer serious ju ­
venile cases autom atically to adult
courts.
• In New Y ork C ity , D is tric t A t­
torney Robert M orgenthau has
sought Federal money fo r creation
o f a ju v e n ile crim e center which
w ould treat repeat offenders more
like adult “ career crim inals.”
•In California, the state assembly
is considering legislation under
w hich children any age can be
locked up in “ secure detention” for
90 days for such offenses as running
away fro m home, skipping school
or v io la tin g the 10 pm curfew .
A n o th e r proposal w ould mandate
that any child 16 or over charged
w ith com m itting an offense w ith a
dangerous weapon be tried in adult
court.
Reflecting the public fear o f ju ­
venile crime, a major national news­
paper recently declared flatly: “ The
figures are clear: Violence among
juveniles is increasing.”
Yet if there is any single statement
that could be made about crim e
“ figures,” it is just the reverse. The
trend in juve n ile crim e is one o f
steady, consistent decline. That is
especially true in cities and states
where the juve n ile crim e hysteria
has been most heated, especially I l­
lin o is and C a lifo rn ia , and New
York City.
Juvenile arrests declined in Chica­
go from 17,367 in 1974 to 16.829 in
1980.
Juvenile arrests in New York C ity
dropped fro m 22,518 in 1976/40
14,764 in 1981.
Juvenile arrests in the state o f
C a lifo rn ia have dropped fro m
185,000 in 1974 to s lig h tly under
100,000 in 1980
Nationwide, juvenile arrests have
follow ed the same pattern, declin­
ing from 2.7 m illion in 1975 to 2.2.
m illion in 1980. Everywhere there is
a marked decline in the one police
statistic that experienced crim in o l­
ogists regard as the most reliable
measure o f c rim in a l a c tiv ity : a r­
rests.
Yet, in spite o f the hard evidence
contained in their own files, law en­
forcem ent o ffic ia ls like New Y ork
Police C om m issioner Robert J.
M cGuire continue to argue that ju ­
veniles present a growing threat.
“ It ebbs and flow s in terms o f
population,” he told an interviewer.
“ People leave the state or get sent to
prison, but always there are the
kids. There’ s a farm team out there
ready to come up into the system.”
C rim inologists and social scien­
tists across the c o u n try discount
such claim s, arguing that the epi­
demic o f youth crime regularly cited
by politicians is m ythical. Says Rut­
gers
U n ive rsity
c rim in o lo g is t
Richard Sparks, “ You wonder why
in the 1980s we claim violent crime
is a problem . O ur best evidence
shows it is no more a problem than
it ever was.”
Sparks, like most o f his
colleagues, says there is no doubt
that juvenile crime is now declining
and has been fo r several years. The
reason, he says, is simple: “ There
are fewer and fewer young people.
The population o f youngsters below
age 18 has declined 21 per cent in the
past decade. I t ’ s hard to get that
perception across because the media
give so much a tte n tio n to juve n ile
crime.”
While some analysts are extreme­
ly cautious about projecting crime
trends based upon police date, there
is also prelim inary evidence that the
much more scientific “ victimization
reports” o f the National Crime Sur­
vey reflect the same trend.
The N a tio n a l C rim e Survey is
conducted annually by the Census
Bureau, and collects data from
135,000 in d ivid u a ls about what
crimes they have experienced during
the year as victims.
A c c o rd in g to R utgers’ R ichard
Sparks, early analysis o f reports be­
tween 1973 and 1979 shows a steady
decline in the number o f victim s
who have been attacked by groups,
as opposed to lone individuals in d i­
cating that there is less crim inal as­
sault by juveniles who norm ally act
in small groups or gangs. At the
same tim e, he says, there has been
an increase in older, solo offenders,
as reported by the victims o f crime.
Why is there such a gap between
public perceptions about juve n ile
crime and the actual threat?
"W h a t else is new?” asks Eugene
Doleschal, director o f the Inform a
tion Center o f the National Council
on Crime and Delinquency. “ I t ’ s al-
a year when the press or the p o liti­
cians have not contended that j u ­
venile crime is on the upswing.”
“ The whole issue o f crime is hot
to d a y,” says Donald Jensen, a ju ­
venile justice specialist at Chicago's
John Howard Association. “ Juven­
ile crim e just comes along w ith it.
There’ s also more media hype about
juveniles. When a youngster com ­
mits a serious crime, people react to
it in a much stronger way. I f a 14
year-old kid stabs another 14-year-
old, it makes headlines, but people
forget that in large m e tro p o lita n
areas that kind o f crim e has
occurred forever. It's hard to get
people to look at trends instead o f
gory headlines ”
What is more w orrisom e to Jen
sen than public misperception is the
eagerness o f ostensibly w e ll-in ­
formed public officials to pay more
attention to public anxiety than to
evidence gathered by th e ir own
agencies.
“ T hrough Novem ber, 1981,”
Jensen said, “ there have been 967
juvenile commitments to the Cook
County Department o f Corrections,
as opposed to 441 the previous year,
and 440 the year before that. In the
last 11 m onths com m itm ents have
jumped 119 per cent— though over­
all crime declined in the firs t three
quarters o f last year.” C rim e date
for the final quarter, normally a low
period, has not yet been computed.”
N ationally the Reagan A dm inis­
tra tio n ’ s task force on violent crime
has also recommended harsher
treatment o f juvenile offenders, that
juvenile records be made public and
that juvenile fingerprints and rec­
ords be merged w ith adult records
and fed in to the F B I's crim e data
bank.
Last summer judges, prosecutors
and some scholars from across the
nation met for the first time in a spe­
cial conference on juvenile recidi­
vism which also called fo r tougher
handling o f young offenders.
Among the conference conclusions:
young repeat offenders should be
sent to prison and treated as career
crim inals—even at age 14— and ju ­
veniles accused o f serious crimes
shoud be prosecuted in adult court.
The ju s tific a tio n fo r more severe
punishment, the conferees said, was
a general belief that juvenile crime is
on the rise. Said one delegate, “ The
problem has become that serious.”
Scholars like Jensen and Richard
Sparks see the trend toward s tiff ju ­
venile punishment more as a reflec­
tio n o f governm ent ideology and
"m edia panic” than as a means o f
fig h tin g a real crim e wave. “ I find
the current adm inistration singular­
ly impervious to what is really going
on,” says Sparks. “ They have belief
in wickedness and fo r them the
wicked are mostly Black and Brown
and under 18.”
GOTA
MINUTE?
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We'd really like to tell you about our plans tor
billing credits Because - whether you re a
bullrlder or a banker or a ballerina - as a
Northwest resident and electricity user
you have a stake in this and other
Bonneville Power Administration
programs.
Just how billing credits affect you,
your region and your electric bill will
depend largely on the policy under
which they are granted That's why
we want to tell you about our propo­
sal. and why we urge you to take part
in the public review and comment
process
It you can. attend one of six public infor­
mation meetings We'll outline our plans
and answer your questions
Take a few minutes to call or write for
information
Later, we II ask you to comment,
either orally at a subsequent meet­
ing or in writing
Billing credits are paym ents to
Bonneville customers - either
e le c tric utilities or industries - for
in d e p e n d e n t actions that reduce
Bonneville's o b lig a tio n to acq u ire
pow er resources Examples of such
actions inclu d e energy conservation
program s, construction of generating
fa cilitie s, and a d o p tio n of retail rate struc­
tures that cause consumers to conserve or
install their own renew able resources
Billing credits are required by the Northwest
Power Act. the same law that obligates Bon
neville to acquire resources as ne cessary to
meet customers needs
To request a copy of the proposed policy or to
ask questions, contact
Public Involvement Coordinator, BPA
Post Office Box 12999
Portland. Oregon 97212
Telephone 503-230-4261. Toll-free numbers for
persons outside the Portland calling area in
Oregon, 800-452-8429. in Washington. Idaho,
Montana. Wyoming, California. Nevada and
Utah. 800-547 6048
Remember What you say counts.
Bonneville
Power
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K j A)
Meeting Schedule
All meetings begin at 7 30 p m Registration begins at 7 p m
Portland
Richland
Tuesday, March 23
Federal Building Room 223
1220 S W Third Avenue
Tuesday March 30
Federal Building Auditorium
825 Jadwin Avenue
Seattle
Boise
Wednesday March 24
Seattle Center, Room H,
Conference Center
First Avenue N and
Republican Street
Wednesday March 31
The Hall 01 Mirrors
East Conference Room
700 W State Street
Eugene
Thursday April 1
Missoula County Courthouse
Annex, Room 201
200 W Pine Street
Missoula
Thursday March 25
Federal Building Room 227
2 11 E Seventh Avenue
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