The slavery of freedom: what a 19 year old’s virginity teaches us about ourselves

By Ruth Limkin

I was disturbed as I read the article. A young woman was being offered to the highest bidder for four days. Four days of sexual servitude. Four days in which she will lose her virginity as a commodity to a man who has little interest in loving her. Four days in which she is effectively bonded to him, because he has money and she needs it. But it wasn’t until I read the comments section that I felt really ill.

If you haven’t read the news, a Sydney escort agency is currently advertising a Chinese virgin to clients. According to the firm selling her, she is 19, and is here in Australia at university. They expect to charge around $15,000 and claim that it’s not such an unusual situation, with two clients who are genuinely interested.

As I read this, I wondered.

I wondered why we don’t have any capacity to ensure that this girl is free from duress. I wondered what kind of men would buy a girl for sexual servitude for four days. I wondered if, like so many in our society, this girl was lonely and isolated with no-one to advocate for her and no-one to help her.

And then, I read these comments from readers: “Can’t see a problem with it. Her choice. People who are against this are against freedom…” and “A legal age hooker, working it. Her choice.”

They are perfectly correct, and profoundly wrong.

They are correct in that we do often define freedom as the complete removal of restrictions on any behaviour, and prostitution is legal.

They are profoundly wrong because when we completely remove all restrictions on behaviour, we’re not actually liberating people. Instead, we’re effectively empowering the strong to oppress the weak. When we refuse to acknowledge an external right or wrong, might makes the rules. And when unmoderated might makes the rules, the weak, the poor and the vulnerable invariably suffer.

They are profoundly wrong because our choices are rarely free of constraints. I suspect this woman, if truly making a free choice, would use those four days to do something other than being at the sexual beck and call of a stranger.

The cruel irony is that in our headlong rush towards absolute freedom, we can find ourselves enslaved to forces more powerful than us, or even find ourselves enslaving another.

Whether as the oppressor, or as the oppressed, our humanity is diminished.

Perhaps it’s only in acknowledging our need of limits that we can be most fully human.

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ruth@ruthlimkin.com

3 thoughts on “The slavery of freedom: what a 19 year old’s virginity teaches us about ourselves

  1. why then doesnt someone then pay the 15,000 and save her from the job she will have to perform and just love her and show her that she is worth soo much more then the lifestyle she is choosing! oh if i had 15,000 🙂

  2. The morality of this situation is so wrong. And what about the safety aspects. Are there any conditions of safety. Does the “purchaser” have any conditions of ensuring that this girl is protected from disease, physical and emotional harm. Are there constraints on what can and can’t be “done” to her. Is the purchaser only allowed sexual favours or does this purchase allow him to treat her in any way he pleases. The risk of physical and emotional harm is unimaginable. What assurances are there that this girl will be alive after the four days of degredation. It is so sad that this girl devalues herself so much that she thinks selling herself to cover university studies is a fair wager.

    In addition to this, $15,000 could only cover one session at uni. Example…an international student studying a bachelor of computer science at Wollongong Uni would cost a total of $69,840.00. So what is she going to do to cover the other $54,840. Stupid girl.

  3. What does she do next time she is short of money?
    The morality of the story is excellent drawing on two keys points: what sort of man…; and the widening gap between rich and poor, powerful and powerless.
    The way the advertisement is presented I think it is probably a scam by the brothel, however it is so ‘on-target’ as it meets the needs of its target audience.

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