December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.
One concern I hear often about stripping and other sex work is the reality of how dangerous it can be.
It’s, true. It is dangerous… But it shouldn’t be.
While it’s important to advocate for and demand safety as a sex worker, the reality is that we have to be hyper vigilant and we have to take our safety into our own hands.
Here are a few tips to stay safe as a stripper.
Coming & Going
Arriving at the club and leaving the club are arguably the riskiest part of any shift.
I am always armed.
Club security is supposed to make sure that no one comes in with any type of weapon, but I refuse to leave myself vulnerable.
I keep a very inconspicuous looking knife in my dance bag. I also keep mace attached to my car keys.
When I first get to work I walk through the parking lot with my keys (mace) out, but once I get close to the door I put my keys into a zipped compartment of my dance bag.
The security at every club I’ve ever worked just look at the general contents of my bag and have never unzipped any of my makeup bags or side pockets.
When I leave with I am always escorted by a security guard, but I don’t trust them LIKE THAT so I just get my keys out and hide my mace in my hand. Additionally, it wouldn’t hurt to keep your knife in your pocket when leaving either if you are feeling worried.
Even if it’s just your keys or something heavy you can use to hit something, just have SOMETHING that you are prepared to use to defend yourself.
Trust your gut ALWAYS. Your body and your money are YOURS.
Obviously, educate yourself on your city/state’s rules on personal weapons and make sure you are extremely discreet about what you do carry.
I would only use either of my weapons in the most dire of circumstances.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times
Peep the cars in the parking lot when you arrive and when you leave.
This past summer I had a creep follow me home from the parking lot of my club. I had to call the police and everything.
If this ever happens to you call the 9-1-1 as soon as you even suspect that someone is following you. Also, DO NOT drive home or anywhere near it. When it happened to me I turned into the neighborhood next to mine and just continued to drive until the police arrived.
When entering and leaving the club, don’t be on your phone or looking down. You need to see and hear EVERYTHING. Keep your phone in your hand, if able, because most phones now-a-days come with built-in emergency buttons and if your phone doesn’t have any built-in security features there are many, many apps available to download for free.
Make a point to notice people.
Just keep a neutral, but confident expression on your face.
Noticing, but not challenging, people can sometimes deter predators from approaching you because it lets them know that you have seen them and can possibly identify them later on.
If your club makes you park in the back of the parking lot:
Walk as much in the light as you can. Use your cellphone as a light.
When parking, back your car in so that if in a rush you can just pull out of your spot and not have to worry about reversing or other cars.
And like I said before, just have some type of defense ready.
At the end of the night
Keep your money securely put away in your bag and out of sight before you even leave the dressing room.
Have security walk you to your car or at the very least stay in their line of sight at all times.
Have your weapon ready.
Don’t unlock every door of your car, just the driver’s side. You don’t want someone hopping in the back or passenger’s side. It doesn’t hurt to check the back seat before getting in either.
Lock your doors immediately upon getting in your car.
People often say to walk in pairs, but I don’t trust other dancers or staff like that so idk. That’s just not something I do.
Staying Safe While Working
Get a “burner” phone number.
Apps like Google Voice will give you a “fake” phone number that when texted or called will just redirect to the app on your actual phone. I give my Google Voice number out all the time (although I rarely reply tbh). Sometimes it’s hard to say no when someone is harassing your for your number so having a memorizing a fake, but working number is v. helpful.
NEVER. EVER. EVER. give out your real name!! Use a fake real name just to get people off your back. Have it prepared and use the same one every time.
Use fake information that is close to the truth when telling customers “about yourself.”
If you’re in school, give a nearby school’s name instead of your actual school’s name. Say you live in the area over from where you actually live. Etc., etc.
Lies that are ~close~ to the truth are easier to remember.
If you lie about going home with a customer or meeting them outside the club or about texting back, do so at your own risk and only when you think you can get away with it.
I used to do it all the time (bc I’m scared of conflict and saying no, duh), but it definitely isn’t the smartest thing to do and can get you in some shit.
If you’re going to lie about what you’re willing to do in VIP/private rooms… be careful.
I’ve personally never done that before and I never even allude to anything that I’m not willing to do or could lead to me catching a case. I’m too paranoid for that shit.
Don’t work at a club or do private rooms at a club that you feel like wouldn’t have your back in a situation where a customer gets too aggressive or who doesn’t actually check on their dancers who are in private rooms. It’s just NOT worth it.
When in a private room you still have the right to protect yourself. If you are ever in a situation where you fear for you safety GET OUT. If you can’t get out, then defend yourself.
The heel of your shoe is a weapon.
Bottles and glasses are potential weapons.
Scream at the top of your lungs if you have to.
Dealing with aggressive customers
The two worst types of customers are broke ones and aggressive ones.
If an aggressive customer isn’t respecting your boundaries, as in you have to keep swatting their hand away, they try to penetrate you, are rough, etc., then try telling them that the club will fire you and kick him out if they continue.
This line usually works for me because the customer, for some reason, respects the club more than they respect me and by basically saying that my hands are tied in the situation it can often diffuse things.
Also, telling an aggressive customer (who you’re done trying to get m oney out of) that your man will fuck them the fuck up doesn’t hurt either. I’m not totally sure about the legality of “threatening” someone like that, BUT we are in a strip club here so it’s high key anarchy anyways.
I do not, never had, and never will have a pimp or anything remotely similar, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to flex like I don’t have a nigga waiting in the shadows with the strap. *100 emoji*
Reach out to other dancers and club/staff management if someone is starting to get out of hand with you. Even if you’re totally done with the customer and haven’t asked for him to be kicked out, it’s still nice to warn your coworkers about them.
And feel free to ask the club to kick them out. Sometimes they won’t, but a lot of times they will.
Honestly, though, when it comes to an aggressive customer it’s generally just NOT worth it.
Dealing with staff/management/dancers
Stop working their immediately if you feel unsafe due to your coworkers.
Don’t trust anyone and always watch your own back. We will never be able to truly know people and their intentions, which is why I just stick to myself.
You do not deserve to be taken advantage of in ANY WAY.
I know that social media is integral to a lot of our brands, but just be careful about the information you do post.
A good rule to go by is to only drop your location if you WANT people to find you i.e. you’re already at work.
Limit the amount of #moneypics you post. Jealousy and desperation can make people do some sinister things.
Look over your pics to make sure that your location is not revealed in any way.
I recommend separating your stripper social media accounts with your personal ones. It can sometimes be a pain, but your safety is worth it!
On this International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers let’s remember those we have lost to and have been impacted by violence and focus on our committment to empowerment and agency for all sex workers.