The 25th of November is the UN International End Violence against Women Day which raises awareness of the gender-based violence and discrimination that many women face and experience every day.
Violence against women is deeply and historically entrenched into society. The A Hidden History of Women in the East End: The Alternative Jack the Ripper tour’s that launched this month confirm this. The tours – which narrate the untold story of Jack the Ripper’s victims – juxtapose a historical case of violence against women in prostitution with the modern day stories of women who experience violence selling sex for sell for survival in the area today.
Women in prostitution are often seen this way: as different. Women in prostitution often experience even higher levels of risk of discrimination and violence than women on average. The abuse and hate crime directed towards women involved in prostitution is often justified by idea that these women are ‘prostitutes’ not individuals.
Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, said of the violent rapes and murders he committed “the women I killed were filth – bastard prostitutes who were littering the streets. I was just clearing up the place a bit”. Had he been caught, we imagine the unidentified murdered commonly known as ‘Jack the Ripper’ would have made a similar statement.
These were women who were unworthy and judged. These were women who did not matter. These were women who could be discriminated against and despised. These were women who didn’t count.
We believe women matter. We believe their lives count for something. At Beyond the Streets we are working to provide routes out for women who have experienced violence and sexual exploitation. Our NOvember campaign is raising awareness and funds to fight against sexual exploitation and violence against women. As activists across the world take action today to say no to violence against women, why don’t you join them. We’ve got a few suggestions as to how you can leave your mark.
- Challenge Attitudes & Don’t collude.
Share what you’ve learnt through our #NOvemberCampaign blog series and challenge people about the way they view women. One way you can take action in this way is by challenging jokes/humour that are made towards women involved in prostitution.
This #NOvemberCampaign we are trying to raise £18,000 to keep Door of Hope’s outreach to women who are sexually exploited in the east London going for another year. Help us reach our target by giving us a one of gift of £18 or partnering with us by giving regularly.
- Join us on an A Hidden History of Women in the East End: Alternative Jack the Ripper Tour.
Tickets for 2017 have now sold out, but we’ve just released new dates for 2018. Book your ticket for a tour in the new year today.
Her Stories is an art auction of works by contemporary female artists to raise money for three UK-registered charities that provide services for some of the most vulnerable women in London and across the UK; Beyond the Streets, Solace Women’s Aid and Young Women’s Trust.
Beyond the Streets are delighted to partner with Her Stories in this celebration of female creativity- art created by women, sold to support women.
Josephine Knowles, Director of Beyond the Streets said:
“Beyond the Streets supports women are drawn into prostitution as a result of complex vulnerabilities and as a last resort response to insurmountable struggles. Our work is a crucial first step in helping those women to find freedom from the issues that they face. The support via Her Stories will help us to build a better tomorrow for women.”
We would love you to support Beyond the Streets by joining us to enjoy the exhibition:
Wednesday 22nd November – Launch & Private View – 6:30pm until 10:30pm. Register to attend the Private View via Billetto here.
Thursday 23rd November – Private Dinner and Auction – 7pm until 11pm. Purchase tickets to the Dinner via Billetto here.
Friday 24th November 12:30pm until Sunday 26th November 4:30pm – Public Exhibition.
The Exhibition, dinner and auction will be held at Protein Studios, 31 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EY.
Door of Hope, a project of Beyond the Streets, was initially established in London’s Spitalfields in 1994 to offer hope, support and routes out for women involved in prostitution in East London. Today, Door of Hope has a twenty-year legacy in Tower Hamlets and a long-standing commitment to providing effective services and support to women who are reported to be selling sex in the borough. We are committed to providing the reliable information and regular support that women need to find routes out of the challenging situations they face. We do this through a combination of evening outreach and ongoing follow up support.
Beyond the Streets are looking to recruit new volunteers to join the Door of Hope outreach team, working directly with women on the streets of Tower Hamlets.
We are looking for volunteers with:
• A commitment to reaching out to women involved in/affected by prostitution.
• Empathy, compassion and a non-judgemental approach.
• An ability to build trusting relationships whilst maintaining personal boundaries.
To find out more about Door of Hope and what the role of outreach volunteer involves please read the Application Pack below.
What we ask from you
- A time commitment to attend outreach once or ideally twice a month on Thursday mornings from 4.45am for an outreach session from 5am-7.45am and Friday evenings from 9:30 pm for an outreach session from 10pm – 2am.
- Availability for induction training sessions on Saturday 13th January and the evening of Thursday 18th January.
- A commitment to involve your Church where possible and applicable.
- An openness to learning and working together. Availability to attend bi monthly team meetings on a Monday or Thursday evening.
What you can expect from us
- An opportunity to work together to see an end to sexual exploitation.
- A small, friendly and supportive team.
- Volunteer induction, supervision, support and ongoing training.
- A safe volunteering environment.
If this sounds like the opportunity for you, then we’d love to hear from you. Please read through the Volunteer information pack, then complete the accompanying application form and email it to Rebecca at Beyond the Streets by 9am on 30th November 2017. If you would like more information before applying please email Rebecca, Door of Hope Co-ordinator on the email above.
Join us to hear the untold story of Jack the Ripper’s victims. In this hidden history tour we celebrate the strength of women led to sell sex for survival, not a serial killer.
Visiting the streets where the women lived, we will explore what we know about their lives and commemorate their deaths. Alongside the historic, you’ll hear the stories of women still affected by sexual exploitation in the area today and how you can take action on these issues.
Thursday 25th January 2018
Thursday 22nd February 2018
Thursday 22nd March 2018
- Tours depart from St Botolph without Aldgate at 6.30pm & 8.30pm.
- Tour tickets cost £8 for adults, £5 for students, 65+ and those receiving income support. Advanced booking essential.
Beyond the Streets began hosting these tours as part of our #NOvemberCampaign- a month long fund and awareness raising campaign that says NO to sexual exploitation. Say no to sexual exploitation by making a gift towards the campaign today. All funds raised from these tours and the #NovemberCampaign support our Door of Hope project, which offers routes out of sexual exploitation for women in East London.
Beyond the Streets has an exciting opportunity to set up a Case Management Service for women selling sex in Tower Hamlets, expanding our Door of Hope project.
Door of Hope Case Manager (two full time roles).
Beyond the Streets is recruiting two full time Case Managers to join the The Door of Hope Project, which fulfills the London Borough of Tower Hamlets council funded ‘Prostitution Support Programme’.
Location: Tower Hamlets, East London
Hours of work: 35 hours per week
Pension: 5% Contribution
Duration: Fixed Term Contract of 18 months, with the possibility of extension up to 3.5 years subject to successful delivery continuation of service (MOPAC funded)
Full details of the Case Manager role, including further information on the work of Beyond the Streets and the Door of Hope project can be found in the application pack below. Apply to join the Door of Hope team by submitting a completed Application Form and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form to email@example.com
Closing date: 9am Friday 29th September 2017
Interviews: Tuesday 3rd or Wednesday 4th October 2017, in London
Potential start date: 1st November 2017
- This post is restricted to female applicants only under Section 9 of the Equality Act 2010.
- Unfortunately we do not accept CVs. Please ensure you send the correct documents by the closing date, as late applications will not be accepted.
- A enhanced DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) disclosure will be required for this role.
- No agencies
Birthday’s creep up on you don’t they? We keep on keeping on and the next thing we know we’re another year older.
We at Beyond the Streets are celebrating a significant birthday today, our eighteenth birthday! Our work creating routes of Prostitution for women has grown significantly in the last few years (read about the impact we’re making here) and it would be easy to bypass this significant day and busy ourselves with the demands of our growing projects. Instead, we are stopping to celebrate this milestone and inviting you to join us in the celebration.
In our eighteen years we’ve learnt the skills we need to stand strong in this sector, undergone a teenage growth spurt and are now ready to mature into adulthood. Significant birthdays are always a time of reflection, we are looking to the future and asking ourselves where we want to be by the time we are 30. How do we want to see support for women increased? What attitudes need to be challenged? How can we see less women affected by sexual exploitation in the future?
We go forward clear on our part to play in providing routes out of prostitution for women. We are working for a better tomorrow for women and we need your help to build the next chapter. Give an 18th birthday gift to Beyond the Streets to help us build the next stage of our work.
Why does Door of Hope need my support?
In 2016/17 Door of Hope supported over 100 Women. The women Door of Hope supports are drawn into prostitution as a result of complex vulnerabilities and as a last resort response to insurmountable struggles. Our work is a crucial first step in the process towards helping those experiencing multiple disadvantages to find freedom from the issues they face and lasting routes out of prostitution– the support raised by the #NOvemberCampaign will secure the role of our part time outreach worker for a year. Ensuring outreach – a lifeline to hidden women – can continue. Make a gift today.
Want to join the celebration? Invitations to partner with us:
- Make an 18th Birthday gift to Beyond the Streets to create a better tomorrow for women. Give a birthday gift today.
- Give regularly to build a better tomorrow.
- Take part in the #NOvemberCampaign saying no to something you love to stand in solidarity with women. Sign up.
Over the last week, our team have been gripped the by BBC three part series ‘Three Girls’, the dramatized story of the Rochdale grooming scandal. The series followed the lives of three girls, ‘Amber, Ruby and Holly’- each groomed into child sexual exploitation as teenagers by local predators and follows their courageous journey to prosecute their abusers, despite the failings of support services along the way.
We know that the experiences of those three girls – and the many others who survived child sexual exploitation in Rochdale – isn’t an isolated incident, but rather reflective of many women and children across the UK who have been preyed upon and now find themselves involved in prostitution.
Three Girls highlighted the support available for victims of Child Sexual Exploitation. But what happens when those children become women? As they enter into adulthood, child sexual exploitation often becomes legitimised as sex work or prostitution. Overnight, exploitation becomes a ‘choice’. We know that many women didn’t make a choice to enter prostitution, rather those that groomed them made that choice.
Through Beyond Support– the UK’s only call-back support service for women in the sex industry- we hear stories like those brought to life in Three Girls on a daily basis. Research has identified that between 50% – 76% of women involved in prostitution started before the age of 18- for the majority of women involved in prostitution, their involvement began as child sexual exploitation*. This is something many women who have contacted Beyond Support have confirmed, tracing their journey into prostitution back to their teenage years, often due to the
coercive control of another person. Since we launched our service two years ago, we have had the privilege of supporting many women involved in the sex industry who are looking to make changes to their life. Last week we celebrated supporting the 100th situation since our service began! We exist to support women, standing alongside them as they make changes to their life and enabling them to find a lasting route out of prostitution. Alongside this, Beyond Support connects with people who are struggling to comprehend what happened to them in their formative years. If you have been affected by grooming and child sexual exploitation as a young person, our team can unpack that with you and if you’d like, connect you with local support services for face to face support.
No need to take our word for it, here is what one Beyond Support caller told us about our service: “I want to thank you guys for everything you have done. Showing me lots of patience and believing me when I didn’t believe in myself”.
We are delighted to have been able to stand alongside 100 women taking brave steps forward. We believe your story and we believe that you can make the change you want to see in your life. For support from our team contact 0800 133 7870 or e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we are not a helpline, please l eave a message and we will contact you to arrange times that work for you.
*References: Hester and Westmarland, op cit.; Bindel, J. (2006) No Escape? An Investigation into London’s Service Provision for Women Involved in the Commercial Sex Industry, London: Poppy Project, EAVES; Dickson, in: http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/Documents/Community-safety-and-emergencies/Domestic-violence/VAWG-REPORT.pdf
We want to see an end to sexual exploitation. We passionately believe that there is a life beyond prostitution for women and are committed to enabling women to find routes out. This isn’t an aspiration or a pipe dream, but a goal that has guided the work of Beyond for the Streets for almost two decades that is making a genuine impact on the lives of the women involved in prostitution. To present the challenges women are facing and the change we’re making we have produced this visual overview of our work.
We supported 260 women in 2015/16, and we estimate to have reached thousands more through the 98 practitioners we trained to deliver specialist support in the same year. Before we rush into our exciting plans for growth for this new financial year, we are pausing to celebrate the impact that we’ve made during this one- join us in the celebration.
Printed copies of our Impact Infographic are available on request, contact us if you’d like some hard copies to share with your friends, colleagues or wider community.
“We need all the ladders we can get” : New toolkit for exploring experiences of leaving prostitution.
It was August and we were sat in a small conference room in Nashville, Tennessee. A giant version of Snakes and Ladders lay in the middle of the room. Five women, all with previous involvement in prostitution and all employees of the social enterprise Thistle Farms,were sat around the board listening to me introduce my PhD study exploring social enterprise approaches adopted by faith-based projects supporting women to leave prostitution. As I explained how we were going to use the game to help us to identify what might act as snakes and as ladders for a woman who wants to leave prostitution, the women began to comment on the board.
“Not a lot of ladders are there”
They were right. For women seeking to leave prostitution, the obstacles can be immense. Research studies show that leaving prostitution is a complex process, not a one-off event, and women face multiple barriers. Debt, housing, addiction, emotional trauma, societal stigma, unhealthy relationships, being able to earn more in prostitution and lack of an economic alternative were just a few of the 40+ barriers identified by these women and women in India who also took part in the research.
But routes out exist. The very lives of the women who participated in the research were evidence that it is possible to transition out of prostitution. It was their willingness to share their knowledge and experiences that led to the identification of a range of enabling factors that support women on their journey out of prostitution.
This new toolkit is a result of their openness and desire to help other women, who like them, want to exit prostitution.
We need all the ladders we can get is designed to facilitate exploration of how individuals leave prostitution and uses the game of snakes and ladders to do this. It draws on my own ethnographic research with women and staff at social enterprises supporting women to leave prostitution, as well as wider research on exiting prostitution, and has been road tested with different teams of outreach volunteers in the UK.
The toolkit provides examples of workshops you can run, along with a range of material to enable you to adapt the workshops to suit your own context. These include headline findings which emerged from the research, general findings drawn from a review of the literature on exiting prostitution, and quotes form the women who took part in the research.
It can be used by and with those seeking to leave prostitution or as a training tool in awareness raising contexts. So whether you’re personally looking to leave prostitution, are an organisation working with individuals involved in prostitution, or are simply seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the process of exiting prostitution then this resource is for you. Free copies of the resource are available for download here. Prefer to have the resource printed out and ready to be used in a workshop? Print copies can be ordered from Beyond the Streets and come at a cost of £25, plus postage.
In 2017, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, #BeBoldForChange calls us to help forge a better working world for all.
We at Beyond the Streets are working for an end to sexual exploitation in the UK, helping to forge a better world for the women who want to move away from selling sex and towards a future where they are treated with respect and dignity in the workplace.
It takes determination to take this path and daily we encounter women who show incredible strength, and resilience. It sometimes seems like the options are few but with someone alongside you to cheer you on and who knows but doesn’t judge, we’ve seen women make courageous decisions and take those determined steps. Here’s what one woman wrote after she had been talking with us at Beyond Support for a few months:
“When I contacted you I had made the decision that I would stop soon. I coped with it – the uncertainty and panic – I now know what it feels like to have a normal life, it is not so scary.
I’ve made progress by going to College and have got something to work towards and to get to know myself.
I have learnt a lot that I was braver than I thought I was and am also excited as have made a lot of bad decisions in the past and now know I can make good decisions.
I knew people judged me and thought that I was not intelligent . I am a human being. 90% of the reason (women become involved in prostitution) is the circumstances women find self in to make them do this work.
I had a lot of anger but the best thing you have done is encourage me to start having counselling which is really helping me longer term.
I am not fearful of the future as it’s something I did for me which is more important than other things in my past as it has made me a stronger person as I have confidence for the future.
Beyond Support has given me the confidence and taken away the fear so I can just be honest as I felt you understood and I didn’t have to explain or be judged.”
At Beyond the Streets, we find great job satisfaction in encountering some strong and admirable women. Happy International Women’s Day.
Words By Miriam Hargreaves, Support Worker and Clinical lead for Beyond Support – our free call-back support service for women exploited through prostitution.