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Not only do many women become homeless due to family violencehomelessness can expose them to further gendered violence.
Research shows homeless women experience violence — or feel vulnerable to it — in crisis accommodation, such as private rooming houses and motels, to which housing services often refer them due to the scarcity of more suitable alternatives. : Governments have no excuse for keeping public in the dark on public housing deals. For my recently published book I interviewed 15 women aged about their experiences of managing homelessness in Melbourne.
The women described how the poverty, social exclusion and physical danger that accompany homelessness required them to manage their circumstances with very few resources. Lack of money, welfare support and social capital meant, for some, their only resource was to exchange sex for somewhere to stay. When asked about their experiences, different circumstances of seeking accommodation emerged.
A common thread, however, was the assumption by others that homelessness made women willing and available to transact sex for accommodation. As Hayley said:. These types of advertisements clearly state sex is expected as payment for accommodation. Alice was looking for private rental accommodation while staying in a youth refuge. Her options were limited to what she could afford on Youth Allowance. When she applied to sublet a room, she told me:. Alice was never placed in a position where she needed to seriously consider the transaction of sex for accommodation because her boyfriend then obtained student accommodation and she stayed with him.
Other women I interviewed, however, had fewer alternatives.
For them, survival sex was a viable option for managing homelessness. It ranged from staying with men for a night to longer-term situations where a woman would remain in a sexual relationship to avoid becoming homeless again.
Although he was unable to provide accommodation, Hayley stayed with him to feel safer from the violence of street-based homelessness. Sarah stayed in a relationship for six months longer than she wanted because her partner was providing her with somewhere to live and financial support. She told me:. Jessie had accepted accommodation on many occasions from men she met after becoming homeless at She became acutely aware of the consequences of not providing sex to these men even if no explicit arrangement had been agreed upon.
She explained:. Technology is now changing how women experiencing homelessness can meet men for accommodation. Welfare services are reporting that women are using dating apps such as Tinder to get temporary accommodation because they have no other options. : Why Australia's homelessness problem is getting worse, despite a rise in housing stock.
Due to the hidden nature and often ill-defined boundaries of survival sex, it is difficult to regulate and therefore almost impossible to offer protection for women. This places them in highly precarious situations. Until the structural issues in our housing market are addressed, this is unlikely to change.
Plymouth Contemporary — Plymouth, Devon. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Homeless women are particularly vulnerable to gendered violence. : Governments have no excuse for keeping public in the dark on public housing deals For my recently published book I interviewed 15 women aged about their experiences of managing homelessness in Melbourne.Beautiful women seeking sex tonight Alice
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