Renon Schafer is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word.
“I specialize in BDSM and hard-core fetish. So, BDSM is bondage, discipline and sadomasochism so basically anything and everything a little bit kinky,” the 22-year-old tells the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Schafer is a sex worker from Queensland. He started turning tricks in college in exchange for classmates doing his homework but quickly learned he could make actual money for it.
“I had already been doing different types of opportunistic sex work, and when I moved to Brisbane I was struggling to find work and I was quite poor and I just decided one day on Grindr to just put Escort Services,” he explains.
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Schafer now runs his business out of his house in the suburbs, where he has a special room equipped with a mattress, decorative bedspread, purple filtered mood lights, and a small bathroom.
“I’ve got various types of bondage equipment, including ropes, there’s wrist cuffs, ankle cuffs, stuff that I can use to hog tie–that’s where wrists and ankles are both bound together behind the back,” he says.
Schafer is also a spokesman for Respect, an advocacy group for sex workers focused on improving laws that protect sex work.
“Private workers in Queensland cannot work together,” he explains. “That would be classified as an illegal brothel. That means that we cannot cost share, we cannot support each other, we can’t be there for each other’s safety.”
He continues, “We are not really allowed to message other sex workers about our current location, or our activities, which is a safety strategy that has traditionally been used by sex workers for decades.”
Related: Some of these people happen to be sex workers. Can you guess which ones?
On top of that, he says, sex workers can’t really go to police for help. They also have trouble getting bodyguards or life insurance.
“There’s a lot of those sort of really small, day-to-day things that we don’t have access to,” he says. “There’s also the social isolation aspect of things where because there is such a stigma against sex work, that it can be quite dangerous and scary to out yourself as a worker.”
Schafer says he hopes his efforts to raise awareness to his line or work and the dangers he and other sex workers face on a daily basis will help open people’s minds.
“To decriminalize the sex industry and to decriminalize sex work is the first step in lifting the cultural stigma against sex work,” he says. “It’s the first step in people viewing our work as being legitimate real work that matters.”
Related: True confessions: A week in the life of a male sex worker from Dublin
h/t: Australian Broadcasting Corporation
As the pressure to perform infiltrates classrooms at a younger and younger age, many schools have responded to the call by increasing the amount of homework with the expectation that doing more homework will make kids better students.
Parents, students, and now even schools have begun a backlash, insisting that whittling down the free time of children is in the long term more harmful than the marginal benefits from issuing more homework. Swinging the pendulum far in the other direction, Orchard Middle School in Vermont adopted a no-homework policy for all students pre-K through fifth grade.
The policy is simply put on the school’s website:
No Homework Policy
Orchard School Homework Information
Student’s Daily Home Assignment
1. Read just-right books every night — (and have your parents read to you too).
2. Get outside and play — that does not mean more screen time.
3. Eat dinner with your family — and help out with setting and cleaning up.
4. Get a good night’s sleep.
Six months after the policy’s implementation, the principal, Mark Trifilio, is ready to prepare the experiment a success based on both academic achievement and a survey sent home to the families of the 400 students. Trifilio has stated that students have not fallen behind and is optimistic that their performance will improve as a result of the “time to be creative thinkers at home and follow their passions.”
While academics may be the school’s stated concern, parents are finding drastic improvements in quality of life, improvements in which may incidentally improve performance in the absence of nightly homework. Says one parent speaking to the Burlington Free Press, "We have a first grader, and at her age [homework is] as much a chore for the parents as the kids. Instead we've been spending time reading. We don't have to rush."
Given the small sample size and speculative nature of this effort, it’s unlikely that schools will be offering up the wholesale elimination of homework, but it’s an early and important data point that will serve as a counterpoint to the prevailing belief that more homework makes for better students.