Murder as an occupational hazard

I wrote this piece – Murder as an Occupational Hazard – in 2007 when 5 women’s bodies were found in Atlantic City, NJ.  I really wanted to stress how misogyny plays a role in serial killers who target women. Certainly, there are other “vulnerable populations” that these killers could target: runaways, drug dealers on the street, the elderly, the disabled, male prostitutes, etc. — but all too often the common denominator is gender, and profession, although clearly a factor, is secondary.

Recently, the bodies of 10 female sex workers were discovered in NY. Hopefully, it will spur more debate about legalizing (or not) prostitution, a culture that ‘permits’ gender-based violence, devaluing people (for whatever reason), impunity, and making heroes out of serial killers. I just want to add that in this discussion/debate, people need to address the prostitution of minors (johns that use them) and sexual trafficking.

Lust murder: Prostitutes as victims of throwaway capitalism

This is David Rosen’s take:

Many of the female victims of these horrendous murder sprees have been prostitutes. They tend to be young women in their 20s, lost to their birth families and community, and often on drugs. They seem like lost souls who have nothing left but their bodies to sell. They are throwaway living commodities of capitalism.

Getting away with murder on Long Island

This is Nancy Goldstein’s take:

It’s not yet clear whether one killer or multiple killers are responsible. No suspects have surfaced. But that’s not what makes this story really tragic. Some of those 10 people might be alive today if it hadn’t been for the lackluster response of law enforcement and the press coverage of the case — much of it sensationalist and dehumanizing — all because of the first victims’ sex-worker status.

Only one thing in common?

2 Prior Long Island Serial Killers Also Stalked Escorts

One smoked crack with his victims before bludgeoning them to death in his apartment. Another was caught after a police chase that ended in a crash outside the courthouse where he was later convicted of murder.

Now, a new Long Island serial killer has dumped at least four bodies near Gilgo Beach in December while forensic scientists work to identify four more sets of human remains found recently and police continue to search for more bodies possibly hidden in the brush.

All three murderers have one thing in common: They all targeted prostitutes…
Actually, what they all had in common was they targeted FEMALES. Males and transgender folks can prostitute, too, the serial killers didn’t target them, they targeted females.
 
At the very end, they say this:
 
“He’s targeting women who are either using drugs or engaging in prostitution or both, which are the traditional victims of serial killers because they’re usually loners that are not going to be missed by their families and they’re not going to put up much of a struggle,” Klein said of the current serial killer.
If writers are going to write about killers that target women – at least they should focus on that in the article (not save it for last) and put Violence Against Women into context.