Early in the interview, Hedges brings up the issue of violence, calling it an “endemic part of prostitution,” something he notes that Moran argues is a part of every single act of prostitution, even when that violence happens in a way that isn’t overt.
What’s important about this point is that, when those who advocate to fully decriminalize “sex work” because they claim legalization will make women “safer,” they are either unaware or unwilling to admit that the violence women experience in prostitution goes far beyond just being beat up, for example. There are more subtle forms of violence that johns inflict on the women they pay for sex, including emotional and psychological violence, as well as physical and sexual. Surely anyone who understands rape and domestic abuse, for example, understands that rape and abuse are not only traumatic because of literal physical pain, but because of degradation, the refusal to respect boundaries, the experience of feeling threatened, of having no control over a situation, and the experience of being violated, disrespected, humiliated, and dehumanized. It’s not uncommon for things like molestation and abuse to not be physically painful at all, yet we understand the extent to which these experiences are traumatic for victims. Why people refuse to understand prostitution in a similar way, I don’t know.