Prostitute in upmarket Christchurch suburb plagued by vandals
A Christchurch prostitute working in the swanky suburb of Merivale has had lewd messages spray painted across her townhouse fence and her car keyed.
The woman, a 54-year-old who has been working in the industry for about 15 months, says the vandalism started "two or three" months ago.
Prostitution has been a controversial topic in Christchurch recently – a city council committee this week decided against developing a bylaw to prevent prostitutes working outside St Albans residents' homes.
The woman working in Merivale, who did not want her name used, says the current issues show you could get "one or two bad apples and it spoils it for everybody".
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"My philosophy in life is that if you treat everybody with respect then everybody's happy – it doesn't matter what you are participating in or doing, if you're not respecting people in their properties then it's not acceptable," she said.
The woman said she had only worked in Merivale and did not know why she had become the target of vandals.
Since the end of September her fence has been tagged three times. The latest tag was discovered last Monday.
"I was absolutely speechless, I just could not believe that people would do this sort of thing," she said.
Tags included "No brotherl here [sic]" and "Out calls only".
The most prominent graffiti read: "Merivale knock shop [name withheld] will f*** u for $100 apply within [sic]".
"I don't know why they do it because I'm quietly going about my own business – the neighbours didn't know, nothing untoward was going on," she said.
"My neighbours have spoken to me, they've come out and introduced themselves and been supportive when the graffiti's gone up and agreed it's disgusting [and] it's despicable.
"It's actually been really nice and I feel grateful to the neighbours."
The woman said other issues, including her car being keyed and pot plants being smashed, had occurred over the last two to three months.
She said she had also conducted a letter drop to the woman's neighbours alerting them to the business next door, and had been the subject of two complaints to the city council.
"I originally was in a one bedroom flat just around the corner and, although I was causing no problems at all, someone with a bee in a bonnet searched me out on the internet, found out where was from and because it was breaching a council bylaw I had to leave," she said.
"Presumably the same person, or group of people, make it their mission to hunt down prostitutes.
"Although there have been no complaints from my neighbours – I've since realised my neighbours didn't even know what was going on – this person made a complaint because they know that this property also breaks a bylaw."
The woman understood she had to leave her current home because, although she lived in a standalone townhouse, the council deemed it a multi-residential property.
Meanwhile, angry St Albans residents were this week seeking legal advice after the city council decided against a bylaw to prevent prostitutes outside their homes.
The residents pleaded with councillors on Wednesday to create a bylaw because nothing else had worked over the past seven years.
The New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective (NZPC) insisted a regulatory approach would not work and described it as nothing more than pseudo-criminalisation.