Not Buying It challenges the porn and sex trade because of the incredible harm associated with them. Working closely with women who have survived these industries, we raise awareness and campaign for change. We are bold and forthright (always in the nicest possible way) because sometimes that is the only way to expose the truth and say no to abuse.
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Who We Are
We are mums and dads, campaigners, journalists, mental health professionals, educationalists – concerned, like so many, by the increasingly abusive ‘porn culture’ we live in.
Our CEO, Dr Sasha Rakoff (herself an award winner) previously led the multi-award winning pressure group, Object. Object changed the law in 2010 to stop strip clubs being licensed like cafes. And it changed the law to make it a criminal offence to buy sex from anyone forced or coerced. It stopped Job Centres from advertising Escort Agencies and Massage Parlours, got lad’s mags off the bottom shelf (and ultimately off the shelf altogether) and saw Page 3 dragged over the coals during the Leveson inquiry. It put the harm of objectification and the porn and sex trade well and truly on the map.
The porn and sex trade in all its guises are deeply harmful for the women used and abused in them and to us all because of the attitudes they aggressively promote. Even where the abuse is in plain sight for anyone to see (like mainstream porn that any child can access at the click of a mouse), it is still being billed as ’empowering’ for women, a ‘choice’ and ‘human right’.
But we work alongside women who’ve been in these industries. They testify to a catalogue of, often extreme, abuse. Yet they are threatened and harassed, ridiculed, smeared as liars or simply ignored when they dare to speak out. And it is not just the women in these industries who face unimaginable abuse. With revelations that 1/3 of young women now experience violent sex at the hands of their partners and an increase in ‘rough sex gone wrong’ assaults, rapes and even murders the consequences of ‘abuse porn culture’ could not be more evident – for us all.
What We’ve Done
Newspaper Sex Ads
We launched by sending a copy of The Sport ‘newspaper’ to every MP asking why a publication full of very young naked women and 1000s of ads for porn and national directories of escort agencies and massage parlours was being sold as a newspaper. We took the challenge to the ASA who, after 6 months of ‘investigation’ and a round table discussion decided this did not breach their advertising codes! We then challenged TfL – asking why it allowed Metro and the Evening Standard free distribution on the London transport when they advertised prostitution (‘chat or date’) and hosted a little demo outside the ES awards.
SUCCESS! Both Metro and ES have now dropped their ads for the sex trade
We took to the streets and petitioned to get Ann Summers to finally dump its link with Pornhub, the world’s largest portal for the filmed sexual abuse that internet porn has become.
SUCCESS! Ann Summers has now ended its partnership with Pornhub
Although we are non political, we’ve felt compelled to raise awareness of the Lib Dems shocking pro-porn, pro-sex trafficking policies. This included protests at its 2018 party conference, covered in the national press and our creating leaflets on its behalf to showcase policies that the party seems suddenly very coy about publicising itself.
Strip Clubs 2018
In 2018, we spearheaded a successful High Court challenge showing Councils breach equality law when they license strip clubs. This received extensive coverage in the national press, informed recommendations to Parliament and made us runners up for a prestigious SMK Campaign Award.
Despite this, the council in question, Sheffield re-licensed its strip club.
Strip Clubs 2019
In 2019, we carried out a series of exposés to show that, to earn even £20, women must provide sexual contact and perform sex acts in so-called ‘Gentlemen’s Clubs’, whether in Sheffield, Manchester or London. Councillors were so offended to hear what actually happens in the strip clubs they license they have walked out of meetings.
Shockingly, despite this, Sheffield and Manchester relicensed the strip clubs we had exposed. One year on, Camden is still carrying out its own investigation.
Sheffield now faces a another legal challenge in the High Court for relicensing Spearmint Rhino, with a hearing due in Jan 2021.
Spearmint Rhino Defeated! 2020
In July 2020, Spearmint Rhino rescinded the legal challenge it had made against us for exposing sexual exploitation in its strip clubs. After pursing us, and our unpaid CEO, through the courts for over a year it retracted its claim and paid out legal costs.
Read more here