As someone who’s been working in the industry for over ten years, I cannot even begin to try to count how many times some man has tried to stick his fingers or his….”member” inside of me unannounced, or has tried to lick or kiss me, unprovoked without a single thought as to what I wanted or did not want. In their horny little minds, “She (me) loves this, she wants this” simply due to my job because “how could I not?” Now consider, how many times someone was actually successful at ramming a stubby finger right into his goal. Just how many times whoever his victim was had to go off from that “dance” and recompose herself in the bathrooms or locker rooms of the club. How many times that exact thing may have happened on THAT very night? How many times she’s had to get herself together AGAIN and go back on the floor with no intention to tell anyone, besides, what would even be the point? It’s never a big deal. No one cares what happens to dancers.
For us? It’s ALWAYS a big deal.
I’m here to speak to the men who pull out their half hard chubs and tuck it under their shirts hoping to fenagle it in throughout the dance, the ones who disgustingly assume that just because a woman is working, that she desires this and has no level of consent. You are the rapist, you are the predators. Consent is real and very necessary. If you initiate anything that was not consented to, it is now sexual assault and many many times borders on if not is already, full on rape. Now I do understand there are some women who allow and encourage this behavior, (I’m not here to speak on my opinion nor offer any judgement on how some women handle their experiences at the clubs). I’m here to point out that those women are giving their consent, and anyone experiencing someone else in a sexually charged environment should wait for some form of physical and verbal consent. If you don’t know, ask. Never ever ever assume that because of a woman’s eyes, clothing (or lack thereof), body language or “vibe”, that she is on the same page you are, ask. And even more importantly, accept her answer.
I’ve had one too many experiences when dancing where some man thought it would be fine to stick his face into my privates, some even going as far as to grab me to hold me in place as they attempted straight up oral sex again without my consent and then had the audacity to be upset with me for defending my own body. What’s worse is the clubs will often back these customers if they are paying, therefore leaving whatever poor girl that is in this situation alone and vulnerable and often forcing them to “get over it” due to fear of losing their income.
The exploitation and abuse that happens inside the adult entertainment industry is quite frankly not only bananas but extremely frightening. Managers getting their own dancers drunk with the intent to pull them into a camera blind space and have their own ways, is very often overlooked by law enforcement when reported “because the girl is drunk, or is simply not a reliable victim”. Whatever that means. That is if the crime is even reported. Many many many times, the assault is simply brushed under the table and club life moves on. Sometimes it is even viewed as normal, so much so that the victim may not even realize she was victimized, thinking it is all just a part of the job. Speaking with many young girls who work in the industry, I was horrified and completely appalled at just how many thought that you had to allow men to do “extra’s” in order to make their money. As if the only way they can afford their living expenses is to come to work, grit their teeth and allow it. Actually let me clarify that a bit. When I first started dancing, “extras” was a thing offered only by certain girls, of course many men tried their things but knew that would be kicked out if they were caught fondling any of the entertainers in any inappropriate manner. But for the most part, if you wanted a deeper more intimate experience you had to go to one of the women who allowed it and to get it…you paid quite handsomely. Somehow over the last ten years or so, the industry has changed so much that when new girls are coming into the clubs, they are made to believe that violating acts are just a part of the job. That when you give a $40 dance, if the man wants his fingers inside of you, that you need to just shut up and be grateful because if you don’t allow it, he won’t buy another dance and simply go to now, one of the many many many other women who have also been gritting their teeth and taking it. The difference between these young women, and the women back in the day who would charge for the extras, is the women back in the day were in control of their own bodies and paychecks, and were exploiting desperate men and getting paid, it was all by choice, and it all came with consent. Now these poor young women are NOT consenting, they are afraid to say no. Or conditioned not to. They know if they flip out, there goes their money and quite possibly their jobs. It is not the same.
Aside from the absolute mental trauma that repeated instances like these create, we haven’t even mentioned the physical consequences. This is a major reason strip clubs are breeding grounds for STD’s. While yes, consensual sex happens often, imagine just how easy it is for an infection to spread via someone’s hands who just got 16 dances and shoved his fingers inside 10 of them. Imagine if just one of them had some sort of STI. Now, who knows who else has it? These inconsiderate men are NOT washing their hands after every single woman. I promise you. No, they are getting up with their now infected hands, walking out onto the floor, grabbing another young lady for a dance and proceeding to do the same things with that young woman. It’s a very scary thought. You bend over to twerk on stage and a man who just spent the past 15 minutes giving some girl head, rips your underwear to the side and licks you faster than you can react.
In the world outside the club, if a man licks you without consent, we call him a pervert. Shoves his fingers in you unprovoked, we call the police.Correct? Takes a picture up your skirt on a crowded bus? We create a well deserving fuss and the pervert in question is taken care of. Right? Well for the most part I would think so. However in almost every instance of assault in the clubs, these situations are over looked and they happen multiple times an hour, a club. They are so overlooked that starting a fuss about it, “creating a scene” is frowned upon, more often than not creating penalties for the victim. And let that man have been infected and has now unknowingly and carelessly passed that on to the victim, can she sue? Can she press charges?
And that is why I’m writing this article.
I’m writing this article for the women who feel as if they can’t say no, who feel as if they can’t lose their jobs. I’m here to tell you that assault is never okay, and it’s never worth it. Say something, defend yourself, screw the club, the management the bouncers. If you feel you can’t say no, you were led wrong, leave. One of the beautiful things about working as a dancer in the adult entertainment industry is your ability to be anywhere, the freedom you have to move around. There are thousands and thousands of clubs all over the country, and fortunately there are places where management truly cares about us girls and the safety of the environments that we work in. So leave, find a better environment. There’s a great app that I used often called ‘The Dancers Resource’ created by dancers for dancers where us women can link and speak to other girls in the industry, share our experiences, recommend and rate the clubs, engage in forums specifically made for us, and when necessary, push to blacklist places that entertain and encourage these violating behaviors.
And I’m writing this article for the men and anyone else who feels that they have the right to our bodies, that they are somehow entitled to anything they want simply because a woman’s chosen profession is to dance. The job is literally a fantasy, you do not get to decide to make it real whenever you wish. Your forty, four hundred even four thousand dollars do not give you the right to handle women any which way you want. The only one who can give that right is the woman herself. If you become just so overwhelmed with lust that you decide to shove your fingers inside her underwear without permission, you are just as disgusting as the man who takes pictures up a woman’s skirt in a crowded train. You are perverted, selfish and unnatural. If you pull your junk out for an unsuspecting woman to sit on when her back is turned, you are a rapist. And I wrote this to let you know that you are stomach-turning and vile. And that it is predatory behavior.
In conclusion, the strip club should be a place where grown people can play inside of their fantasies. Not a place where people go to take advantage of a person simply because you decide the environment allows for it. We learned about consent as children, and we should remember my body is mine and it is up to me how I allow you to engage me.
You paid for a dance.
The environment does not change the rules of consent.
Who Will Protect the Black Man?
Now that the footage from Tyre Nichols’ traffic stop has been released, we see a narrative that is rarely in the forefront of the media. The Black policeman (in this case several of them) mistreating the black man. We see Black men killing other Black men through gang activity or minor disputes so frequently that it’s almost numbing. But the Black policeman hurting the Black man? The one who vowed to protect and serve? This touches a layer of sadness I never knew I could feel.
With all of the headlines revolving around the White policeman and the black man one would think we have had enough. Now we see not one but five Black policemen mistreating and ultimately beating to death a man who looks like them. Even if there was a crime committed that required this amount of force (force meaning the amount of people), is the brutality necessary?
If not the officers who look like him…who’s going to protect the Black man? Love him? Nurture him? Care for him? For those who think…he’s a man, he can protect himself. Have you seen how the world treats him? Belittles him? Emasculates him? Hurts him? Doesn’t allow him the space to feel his emotions? I have spoken with many Black men specifically from America who have expressed feeling they don’t have a safe space in the place that they live, the places they work nor in confidence with the people they are surrounded by.
Imagine how scary it must be to feel consistently like you are in danger for simply living your life. Are you the enemy or the friend? Lover or confidante? Hater or degrader? Look closely and don’t try to disillusion yourself into thinking you’re not a part of the problem.
The Black man is a phenomenal being by design alone. His resilience, his strength, his endurance. He deserves the space to be able to grow to his full potential. Don’t kick him while he’s down. He’s dealing with enough by simply existing.
As a mother with a Black male child, I cannot conceive what this means for my son, a literal part of me, and the world he will have to endure. There are Black men in my life that I love, admire, aspire to see succeed and to think that the world historically doesn’t see them like I do hurts my heart.
I will be moving forward acting on the ways I can help the Black man feel loved and appreciated, desired and celebrated within my capability. What will you do?
To the family of Tyre Nichols, my condolences. I can not conceive all of the things you and your loved ones may be feeling right now. Stay strong. Justice will be served.
A special thank you to Janelle Thompson for inspiring me to write this.
A special thank you to the Black men in my life for allowing me to be your safe space.
And another special thank you to Lucas Gouvêa, Joey Nicotra, Julian Myles, Tamarcus Brown, Prince Akachi, Larry George II, and Terricks Noah for providing the imagery for my piece.