6.1: Follow up Interview to Consultation Response on Adult Entertainment
Interviewee: Katie Proctor and Linda Milne from Central Scotland Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Centre ( CSRCC) responding on behalf of a group/organisation (Group)
Interviewers: Superintendent John Farrell, Dr Sharon Cowan, Rab Fleming
Secretariat: Stephanie McTighe
The representatives from CSRCC believe the Adult Entertainment Working Group should speak to performers and ex-performers to find out information from their perspective. They point out that the fact it is so difficult to get performers to come forward to discuss this topic is evidence in itself of the huge emotional impacts involved with this type of work. Bullying and threats that performers receive make them dubious about coming forward. CSRCC think it is vital that the Group looks at why performers enter this industry initially. It is their opinion that people do not make a positive choice to enter the industry but do it because of low self-esteem, possibly due to childhood sexual abuse, rape, relationship abuse or some sort of violation. The self-esteem of these people is destroyed even further with the abuse and derogatory comments which performers are subjected to from customers. It is a key part of the work that CSRCC do to help build up the self esteem of people, to encourage them and at the same time convince them that they do not need to be involved in this type of work.
(a) What does 'adult entertainment' mean to you?
The work on adult entertainment should be linked to work on pornography. Pornographic films are shown in such venues and prostitution takes place in licensed premises (although not legally). Adult entertainment is a huge thing in terms of what it represents. It is much more than legal activity taking place on licensed premises. Adult entertainment is activities such as strip shows, hen nights, lap dancing and topless waitressing. It is pornography as well, a live version of it.
(b) What do you think it includes?
It certainly includes pornography.
(d) Does the following definition of adult entertainment correspond with your understanding of the subject?
'Live sexual entertainment services with an intention to sexually titillate, and/or that a reasonable person, acting reasonably, would assume that there was such an intention.'
This definition does not correspond with the understanding of CSRCC at all. The representatives of CSRCC said they would need time to think about an alternative definition but that it would be very different to the present one, which ignores pornography.
(e) What activities are you aware of taking place in Scotland which would be covered by the definition of adult entertainment shown above?
Having spoken with what the CSRCC class as survivors, CSRCC is aware that forced or consensual, legal or illegal, lap dancing, strip shows (in all contexts), shows of sexual acts, heterosexual or homosexual, involving one or more men, women or children and prostitution (of adults and children) occur in licensed premises, within people's homes and in other secret locations in towns, cities and rural areas.
(f) 1. What impacts do these activities have on performers?
There are negative impacts on performers. Firstly, the emotional impacts are huge on individuals who experience bullying which could take the form of name calling and not viewing people as human beings and using them and treating them like objects. Ill-treatment of performers can come from operators. If the operators treat the performers well then the emotional impacts may not be so prevalent but they will definitely still exist, particularly due to the imbalance of power in such an industry where women have a submissive role. The act of taking clothes off in front of people is damaging and embarrassing in itself.
It is the belief of those at CSRCC that a performer who has not experienced any negative behaviour of any sort is in the minority and is extremely lucky. It is their opinion that people may get involved in the industry as an easy means to make money but CSRCC also point out that financial exploitation, which is abuse in itself, is also a negative impact for performers.
(f) 2. What impacts do these activities have on audiences?
The representatives of CSRCC believe the impacts of these activities on regular audiences differs slightly from the impact on customers who go as a 'one off' but the motives behind anyone going should be questioned. It is people's motives for going which is damaging. It speaks for itself that no one generally admits to being a regular customer. Regular customers go to fulfil sexual fantasies which the performers (female) fulfil. The regular audience would like such fantasies to be a reality however, and as a consequence fail to see this activity as women doing a job. Just like an extreme sport, regular audiences keep pushing the boundaries to feed their fantasy more and to more extreme limits. This can lead into activities such as prostitution, trafficking, child pornography, and 'snuff' videos. CSRCC believe that a significant proportion of men who are in relationships access adult entertainment services. Using another person for personal enjoyment or escapism is abusive and denotes a lack of respect on the part of the audience. If regular audiences thought about what they were doing, they would see this is merely a job for someone who has to earn money.
In the opinion of the CSRCC, countries which have more liberal laws regarding adult entertainment (including prostitution and pornography) have not decreased the number of sexually violent crimes. CSRCC believe statistics show the rates of sexual crime and violence have increased in these countries since these laws have been introduced. It is a sinister industry.
CSRCC stated that even if female performers are confident and do not feel demeaned in any way, this activity still affects everybody and particularly their perspective on the role of women.
(f) 3. What impacts do these activities have on the public in general?
It is the belief of CSRCC that these activities only lead to a degradation of respect by the public and as soon as respect is lost, the problems with this activity can only be heightened. Attitudes of the public towards performers is therefore concerning. CSRCC stated that having secluded or specific 'red light' areas may 'shield' the public in general from witnessing any disorder and enable them to avoid potentially violent areas audiences/clients/pimps are frequenting. However, keeping these areas more secluded and secretive puts the workers at much more risk of violence and abuse. They believe that more open and central locations for the activities will only mean the violence experienced by the workers will happen behind closed doors as opposed to on the streets. Central areas may make it safer for the public, as they are more likely to be busy a lot of the time. However, having public areas of adult entertainment will normalise and promote acceptance of an abusive industry and thus contribute to the erosion of respect. CSRCC stated there are no 'ideal' areas for this industry.
(g) What controls if any do you consider are necessary to regulate these activities?
Spot checks should be carried out on operators. Premises should be properly regulated. Spot checks should be carried out to check working environment and conditions. Performers should be interviewed out with the premises they work on to check that all activities are above board. This should be done by specialists who are trained, who have a sympathetic view for workers and who are totally independent with no incentive for financial gain e.g. local authorities. Regulations should be implemented which state what audiences are and are not allowed to do and if this is breached they should be made to face heavy penalties in the form of fines or imprisonment depending on the severity of the offence. Operators should also be made to face such penalties if the rules are breached, and in some instances should have their license to operate withdrawn. There should be no second chances given to those who break the regulations, penalties should be enforced as well as threatened.
CSRCC thought these activities had an impact on both children related to performers and children in general. There may be a negative impact on children related to performers for instance, if a mother is forced to leave children at home alone to go out to work. This is a suggestion of a lack of support anyway if there is no one else available to look after children. Alternatively, parents who are performers may have to take their children to work with them, where children will see everything which goes on, be kept up late and may even see their mother being abused. There is also a danger that seeing this activity at a young age may lead to children becoming involved in the industry later on in life.
There are negative affects of this activity on children in general, for instance walking down Bread Street in Edinburgh would have a huge effect on what children see and what they take seriously. Seeing venues which provide 'adult entertainment' would lead to an erosion of respect for women on the part of children, particularly if they see these activities as something normal their dad's may do on a stag night. An erosion of respect is seriously damaging and has long-term effects.