Australian sex worker Rachel Wotton works with many clients who have disabilities. Her work has become the subject of the latest documentary from award-winning director Catherine Scott and producer Pat Fiske.
Filmed over a three-year period, Scarlet Road follows Rachel in her relationship with John, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 26 years ago, and Mark, a client with cerebral palsy. It reveals the therapeutic aspects of human touch and sexual intimacy. This unique documentary gives voice to two men generously sharing moments of sexual self-discovery.
“People with disability are not seen as sexual beings and on the other hand sex workers are often portrayed as oversexed, victims or damaged goods. I really wanted to tackle these stereotypes head on,” says Scott who filmed Rachel for over three years. "It was a delicate balance. I wanted to show the touch and intimacy, without objectifying Rachel or her clients and reveal the sexual tenderness without titillating or shocking the audience."
Scarlet Road shows Rachel in her daily life and follows her on a journey to the UK, Denmark and Sweden, where she meets with sex workers, people with disabilities and their families, as well as making quite an impression as a speaker at the World Congress for Sexual Health.
In addition to undertaking a Masters in Sexual Health at the University of Sydney, Rachel is an active campaigner for the rights of sex workers. She co-founded the charitable organisation Touching Base to connect people with disabilities and sex workers – focusing on access, discrimination, human rights, legal issues and the social stigma that these two marginalised communities can face. One of Rachel’s dreams is to raise enough money to set up Touching Base in every state and territory in Australia – and then the world.
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