-A female friend I greatly cared for once told me that she felt under constant siege by a world intent on violence towards women. She felt the worst violence was the most subtle: the constant gaze of men. Intellectually, I think I understood at the time what she was saying (I was passionate about many female punk bands like Bikini Kill and Tribe 8, and in that regard I became well-versed in post-feminist theory). But, it wasn't until her breakdown (due in no small part towards the effects of child sex abuse on her psyche) that I began to emotionally process and understand her fears and pain. This photo montage evolved out of this emotional understanding. It is supposed to signify a reversal of the gaze. This montage is inspired by Andy Warhol's photographic work; Warhol's work emphasized repetition, such as the repetition of these prints. His work had the subtext of the interplay between sexuality and violence.
Jasmine Therapy is located in downtown Washington DC. An internet search shows it to be listed and reviewd in detail on sites that promote the sexual abuse of women. The vast majority of women (and men) who work as prostitutes have been victims of sex abuse as children (as I detail in earlier posts) and are in situations that include severe addictions, depression and economic exploitation.
As an abuse survivor myself, this art project is a way I can feel some closure by perhaps raising some awareness in my community (Washington DC) by being an advocate for sex abuse survivors.
Over the course of a few hours on a Saturday a steady stream of men, and only men, went to and from Jasmine. Given the internet reviews, this raises obvious questions, but I make no allegations. Because of the serious nature of this matter I have forwarded these photos and related information onto the DC police; however, I have no evidence that Jasmine or the men depicted in these photos in any way engaged in illegal activity. If they wish to leave a comment, or request removal of their photo, they may do so.
--- This article came out subsequent to this photo essay project:
"Physical contact between a suspect and a member in one of these undercover operations is prohibited, but as you can imagine, it can also be difficult to control"
By Jim McElhatton
The Washington Times.
SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. — She told him to take off all his clothes then follow her into the shower room at a downtown Washington massage parlor. He didn't say no.
After all, the man wasn't there for a good time. He was working for taxpayers. He was a police officer, and he was determined to uncover evidence.
So uncover he did.
Trying to build a prostitution case against Jasmine Therapy on a busy stretch of M Street Northwest, the officer lay down in the shower room, and the woman went to work: "She then proceeded to scrub UC's body to include the genital area," according to court papers filed recently by the District in an effort to shut down the business.
The officer's identity, if not much else, was kept private in the court records. And the woman is known only as "D1." She told the officer to turn over,"and D1 again scrubbed UC's body and continued to wash his genital area," court filings say.
After a while, the officer and woman made their way back to a private room, where they agreed on oral sex for money. Before that happened, the officer was satisfied he had the evidence he needed and made an excuse to leave the massage business. Police came back a few days later to conduct a similar operation.
The undercover operations stopped just short of the sort of activity that focused unwanted attention on Spotsylvania County in Virginia a few years ago, when sheriff's deputies received sexual services from "masseuses" during their massage parlor investigations. One deputy even leaving a $350 tip.
Still, Metropolitan Police Department officials say, officers typically don't get naked during investigations. And the department doesn't approve.
"This is not standard practice in these types of operations," Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said.
"Physical contact between a suspect and a member in one of these undercover operations is prohibited, but as you can imagine, it can also be difficult to control," she said."We will obviously look at this situation to see if the contact could have been avoided."
According to the city's recent D. C. Superior Court filing, Jasmine Therapy has had a history of prostitution arrests. The complaint says the officer stopped by the business about 2:15 pm one day last month. He met an Asian female, described as "D1" in court papers, and the pair walked to "room No. 2," where the woman asked for a $70 "house fee."
The officer gave her $200, the records show.
The defendants named in the civil complaint filed by the D. C. Attorney general's office could not be reached for comment last week, and a hearing in the case is set for this week.
When police raided the business, located on the 1800 block of M Street Northwest, they found "a large quantity of USA currency hidden in lotion dispensers with false bottoms, and hidden condoms."
Authorities said they seized more than $70, 000 overall, including money that D. C. Police officers had paid out during their undercover work.
In court papers, authorities want a judge to order Jasmine Therapy closed, saying it operates as a front for a house of prostitution.
Police raided the business after a different visit by an undercover D. C. Police officer, who also gave $200 after being asked for $70.
According to the complaint, the officer also took off his clothes and headed to the shower room, but declined a massage afterward, saying he didn't have the time. The woman "made a sexual motion simulating intercourse," left the room and returned with a condom, court filings say.
That was when police raided the business, acting on a signal from the officer. The two women, identified only as D1 and D2 in the court papers, were arrested on charges of solicitation and giving massages without a license.
-- I dedicate my life to achieving self-actualization; I dedicate my life to helping others achieve self-actualization; I dedicate my life to peaceful acts; I dedicate my life to peaceful thoughts; I meditate on emptiness; I meditate on form; I mediate on form as emptiness;
I release all attachments. I release my self; I let go.