When a working girl tries to re-enter or enter the regular workforce she is likely to face open hostility and mockery if her peers know or even suspect her past as a sex worker. For many women this public shaming is too much to bear and even if they want a different life, society puts barriers in their way. The barriers are socially acceptable because after all, “what does she expect?”
A Cruel and Unrepentant community leader
A great example is the woman who got out of jail and enrolled in a vocational training program. The case worker told her to be honest with the education staff about her past in order to anticipate her chances of receiving a state license in her chosen field–after completing a successful course of study. The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs told her that in her case she was not automatically excluded from licensure. Some professions exclude anyone with a criminal record but in her case there was hope. The professional board would have to vote yes or no to her license after she finished the coursework, obtained the practical hours and passed the state licensing exam. This woman began her studies BC she had faith in the maybe. On day 2, the head of the department, who also held the top spot in the state’s vocational board, came into the classroom and with no prefacing remarks announced to the class that certain people were unwelcome in the field. Murderers. Rapists. Prostitutes. The students agreed, though they were puzzled about why the instructor would have to proclaim the obvious. Murderers, rapists, prostitutes are not the same if you believe that the private acts of consenting adults that no one will discover is none if the governments business. What was worse for the former working girl than being likened to someone like Jeffrey Dahmer, was the understanding that this message was for her and the opposition emerged at the beginning if school. Thus instructor would become angrier, she would share info about the student with her peers to create a hostile environment. This woman probably would have said she believed in second chances but in actual practice she would rather let someone else provide the second chances while disassociating herself from the criminals, the losers, the outcasts. This prominent community leader never apologized, but sometimes people have to make a show if remorse.
Outcasts are often subject to public bullying. The bullying forms an image of the person as no good. And “everyone” knows it! It is easy to guess what the group is thinking if people are saying the same thing about the same person, and there are no competing viewpoints. Now and then a person in authority will demand that the victim receive an apology from the bully. The aforementioned bully never had to apologize but it does happen. A public insult should be soothed by an equally public apology. People who have to apologize, for whatever reason, sometimes try to save face by using the pretext that apologies are private business, privately offered in a hushed tone. People with a history of being rejected can be manipulated by the inherent human desire to belong. The private gesture is a mere manipulation that’s meant to convey a special exclusive communication with a new friend. The outcast craves belonging. The harsh truth is the person who must apologize has not changed their mind and does not want to lose face in front of anyone. And they want their original insult be “on the record,” so to speak. They do not want to sabotage their efforts to sabotage a non-person with the group. Even an insincere apology puts words in her mouth and in the air she would rather not express lest they show a different way to look at the pariah. Always insist on a public apology even if you know it’s not genuine, to put a different perspective about you into the public discourse. Maybe people will think about the automatic assumption that there are those who do not count and it’s ok to let them know it. Do not forget that someone in your position might come after you so try to do what you can to change paradigms for the next woman.