The conflation all prostitution with rape and the attitude that prostitutes can’t be raped may seem like opposite positions of the surface, but they’re really both harmful positions. Both positions deny sex workers agency over our own bodies, and disrespect our right to set our boundaries.
To say that all prostitution is rape and to say that prostitutes can’t be raped treat rape like it’s just part of the job description. Saying that a prostitute can’t be raped is making the claim that rape is such an inherent part of the job that a prostitute can’t say no, which is the same as saying all prostitution is rape.
Both positions are extremely dangerous, as they trivialize and water down the seriousness of rape. If we accept these positions, then what do we do when a prostitute actually is raped…just blow if off as part of the job? With such attitudes in existence, it’s not surprising that violence against sex workers so often isn’t taken seriously, with reactions like “what did you expect”. These attitudes also encourage rape because they could cause some people to think it’s just normal to rape prostitutes and perceive nothing wrong with this.
Rape against prostitutes needs to be taken seriously, and recognized as rape, not just a necessary danger that’s bound to happen in prostitution. Hopefully someday, rape will no longer exist inside or outside of prostitution. An important step to achieving this is for us all as a society to take rape seriously. Treating rape like it’s an inherent part of prostitution does nothing to prevent rape or help people who are raped.