All Great Things . . .

After the Sun Goes Down

After the Sun Goes Down

The title is inspired by the song “When the Sun Goes Down” by the Arctic Monkeys. That song is an incredible and seemingly realistic depiction of prostitution in the Neepsend district of Sheffield, England or anywhere in the western world.

I didn’t expect to see this prostitute in the picture. She just popped out of a door right in front of me as I was walking down a street in Hamilton’s Stipley neighbourhood, and made her way to the nearest corner. I could see in her face that life was as harsh as described in the song.

Like the song says, I do wonder what went wrong so that she felt a need to walk the streets, and I think about the few psychology theories that have been written about prostitutes. Was this girl one of those who is naturally born or environmentally conditioned to be a sociopath or was she a woman who was sexually molested and/or raped as a child or adolescent, causing her traumatized mind to abandon the hopes, dreams and life of love, support and stability she may have had at one time?

The “working girls” of Stipley appear to generally share the same stretch of Barton Street at night as those of the adjacent Gibson area.

If you watch the ladies of Stipley, Gibson or Landsdale for a short period of time you’ll notice that even when working at distances from each other, they seem to have a buddy-system in operation. They periodically glance over to one another’s general location or call out to each other. Sometimes you’ll see them meet up with each other and talk briefly before returning to their individual efforts to make money. It certainly looks like a measure to ensure some safety but it also seems like more than that. There is an air of solidarity and companionship in this behaviour.

Something else I’ve noticed about the behaviour of these women. Although they can be observed at anytime of any month, day or night, they seem to be most visible during the middle week of each month. I haven’t yet heard why. I heard one assumption that it’s because by then the prostitutes have used up all the welfare money they received in the last week of the previous month. I think, however, that if they use up a government cheque within a short two-week span, then I would expect to see the ladies in abundance in the two weeks after the mid-week and the time they receive their next cheque. That doesn’t seem to be happening. I’m quite certain that I’m not seeing things so, I’m still hoping to get a legitimate answer from somewhere without getting stabbed or arrested.


9 thoughts on “All Great Things . . .

  1. Allan, I honestly don’t know what to say . . . thoroughly enjoyed your photo essay about Gibson and curious as to any recent progress. Also, I don’t get out as much as I used to but I can’t remember the last time a prostitute working a street but I suspect the internet has now taken care of a lot of the business . . . .

    • When you use the word “progress”, I have to be careful as to how to respond around here. In my mind, “progress” in this matter means an end to prostitution, an end to scumbags who use prostitutes, an end to low-self esteem issues that prostitutes are said to have according to former prostitutes and researchers, and an end to the bad reputation that certain Hamilton neighbourhoods and districts have to contend with as a result of prostitution. No, there isn’t any such “progress”. It’s still a concern for the city. I’d have to dig further to see if there’s any increase in cyber prostitution.

      An update to what I explained in the Gibson photo essay; on December 20, 2013, the judges of Canada’s Supreme Court unanimously struck down the existing laws against street soliciting, living on the avails of prostitution and keeping a brothel. They deemed that the laws endangered sex workers and were violations of the constitutional guarantee to life, liberty and security of the person. The federal government has been given one year to come up with new legislation before the current Criminal Code provisions lapse.

      In the interim, several provinces have already stated that they are no longer going to prosecute prostitution-related offences, and that charges in certain existing cases are being thrown out.

      Specifically for the province of Ontario, prostitution-related charges in Toronto have reportedly already dropped 90 per cent.

      Just the other day, Constable Thomas McKay of the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) appeared in court in a Police Act hearing facing two discreditable conduct charges arising from alleged sexual involvement with a prostitute. This Hamilton cop is alleged to have engaged in sexual activity with a prostitute on July 23, 2013, while off duty.

      By coincidence, McKay’s first court appearance happened on the intended opening of a five-day hearing into the alleged sexual activity of Sgt. Derek Mellor, former head of the HPS’ no longer operating human trafficking unit. Mellor is facing 11 Police Act charges arising from alleged sexualized communication and activity with witnesses in his case.

      Both hearings have been held off until Feb 24th.

      The federal government is currently lead by the Progressive Conservative Party (our equivalent to the Republicans) which is against the proposed “legalization” of prostitution. Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay is reportedly quite unhappy about how the provinces have become quick to not challenge the move toward less restrictions on sex work.

      MacKay has announced that the Conservative government has already started drafting new prostitution legislation and is consulting police and provincial governments.

      A month-long online public consultation period on the Justice Canada website is also running from February 17 to March 17. MacKay says, “Doing nothing is not an option. We are therefore asking Canadians right across the country to provide their input through an online consultation to ensure a legislative response to prostitution that reflects our country’s values.”

      It should be interesting to see where this goes for Canada, and how it will specifically affect “The Hammer”.

  2. A thought provoking picture and text. Which describes a sad story, unfortunately told too many times, and one that seems never to stop existing. I think your picture and the text is very strong and intense.

    • You see it the world over, and we get to a point where many take the viewpoint that because it’s the oldest profession in the world, and people will always be willing to do it you may as well legalize it so that even the government and all taxpayers will effectively become pimps.

      Nothing personal, it’s all just business. Nevermind your most personal feelings and sense of self worth, just deaden yourself and share your body with some vile reporbate who doesn’t really care about you.

      Now, if you’re bringing up children what are you going to teach them morally? Are you going to say using a person for their body is politically correct so long as it’s legal or is it correct to not use a person in such a manner? Is it correct to be a legal protistute or correct to frown on prostitution period?

      It’s tremendously perplexing, the amount of damage we do to ourselves as individuals and as communities. Issues so deep and complex that not even the most conservative or even liberal laws — what we often turn to in hopes to find firm and effective guidance, can control them because the lawmakers and enforcers butcher the very same regulations.

      Just recently, an internal Justice Department report was obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act. It states that Canadians have little confidence in the courts and the prison system. Both observers for and against the results have legitimate arguments for the reported perception but there are serious undeniable facts that give weight to the pessimism.

      • I very much agree with you, in that it’s too easy to let things be as they are because they have always been like this. Yes, business as usual. I hope your focus and others as well will eventually lead to changes.

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