A couple of weeks ago I made my way home after a work appointment.
Thinking my partner would be asleep, I didn’t send my usual “I’m safe” message. I arrived home 30 minutes later, which was also perfectly on time, to a partner who was in a state of extreme worry that something horrible had happened.
This is an experience that most sex workers and our loved ones involved in managing our safety know. The anxiety that comes with the little-too-late safety check in. It’s a heart stopping, hold-your-breath type of fear.
For those of us within the sex work community and those who love us, our worst nightmare happened this week.
One of us – 24-year-old Michaela Dunn – went to work and was murdered.
It’s a sucker punch to the chest. It’s compounded by memories so many of us have of that ‘close call’ with a client. A knowing that there is no difference between Michaela Dunn and any other one of us. It’s an unspoken truth we all know too well, that no matter how good our safety and screening procedures are, perpetrators can still slip through.
To us as sex workers, the news that one of us has been murdered at work doesn’t come as a shock.
We all live with the knowledge that maybe one day we will open the door and let a perpetrator inside. The news this week is very personal to our community. The industry as a whole are feeling grief, anger, and of course, fear.
Jessie Lee Pierce, a colleague of mine, spoke to news.com.au about the worry we all carry with us as sex workers.