Getting Away with Murder
“There’s a certain voyeurism in this kind of coverage — a sense that you don’t have to worry about violence because it only happens to these kinds of women,” notes Melissa Gira Grant, a writer, activist, and former sex worker. Asked to select the worst recent example, she chose a New York Daily News cover that read “Hooker Slay Exclusive: Web of LI Sickos” and its accompanying inside story, “Internet sex forum wanted ‘revenge’ vs. Long Island hooker later murdered, dumped in burial grounds.
“My own pick in the Asking For It category comes from WPIX, which quotes the neighbor of Amber Lynn Costello, one of the victims: “With the people she was hanging around with, who were coming here, it was obvious something was going to happen to her.”
Best Candid Moment goes to the neighbor National Public Radio quotes without comment who frets about the recent discovery of more unidentified bodies: “It could be more than just prostitutes.”
About Melissa Gira Grant:
Melissa has written about sex and the Internet for Valleywag, $pread, Slate, and The Frisky. I’ve also written for Gawker, Jezebel, Gridskipper, BlackBook, Alternet, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Her nonfiction and essays appear in Best Sex Writing (2008, Cleis Press), Dirty Girls (Seal Press), and Girl Crush (Cleis Press).
Over the last ten years, she has given numerous talks and lectures, at New York University, the New School for Social Reseach, the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, the International AIDS Conference, UC-Berkeley Labor Center, University of San Francisco, Hampshire College, and San Francisco State University. She has spoken on sex and technology at South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW), re:publica (Berlin), NeXT (Copenhagen), the Center for Sex and Culture, Sex 2.0, sex::tech, and BlogHer. She has performed at Eyebeam, the National Queer Arts Festival, and the Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, and at the storytelling series In the Flesh, Sex Worker Literati, and the Red Umbrella Diaries.
As a consultant, she has worked with gender justice & sexuality rights activists who are using information and communications technology in their campaigns and organizations, to include the Open Society Foundations’ Sexual Health and Rights Project, ISIS-INC (Internet Sex Information Service, Inc.), Tactical Tech Collective, THE LINE campaign, St. James Infirmary, and the Desiree Alliance. Currently, Melissa serves as the Senior Communications Officer at Third Wave, a feminist, activist foundation, based in New York and supporting the work of youth activists for gender, racial, economic, and social justice across the United States.