Monthly Archives: January, 2016

More BDSM grossness

This time from Australia’s ‘Festival of Really Good Sex’, which, as well as a workshop called:

“Porn yoga for porn lovers”, in which participants were encouraged (via both live and video demonstrations) to develop a more mindful approach to masturbating to pornography.

which sounds utterly ridiculous, had a workshop called “Please Daddy”:

This workshop focused on the dynamic between a “daddy” and his “baby girl”, a kind of BDSM relationship where two consenting adults eroticise the father figure. This workshop was facilitated by Lukas Zpira, who began the session by selecting perhaps the most conventionally attractive young woman in the room and telling her, with the beckon of his finger, “I will have you.” It didn’t get less creepy from there.

Zpira spent the workshop cradling her in his lap while stroking her. He asserted that it “feels good to be wrong”, suggesting that punishments for a disobedient little girl could include revoking access to her car or her credit cards. He explained that his dynamic as a daddy is 24/7, and that he expects his little girl to give him full access to her phone and emails.

Many of the shell-shocked participants were learning about the daddy/baby girl relationship for the first time, and Zpira’s didactic approach felt reckless. While a healthy BDSM relationship explicitly discusses consent, Zpira explained that he doesn’t use safe words because, he said, “Daddy knows best.”

It’s a dynamic that might work for some couples – and I can appreciate a well-timed cry of “Daddy” as much as the next girl – but I can’t get off on financial control, or revoking a woman’s power to stop a sexual act. I caught a cab home after this workshop unsure if the queasy feeling in my stomach was an allergic reaction to the quinoa salad I ate at lunchtime or to Zpira’s workshop.

The journalist forgot to point out that it is also eroticising the sexually abused and incested girl child.

Isn’t BDSM supposed to be all ‘safe, sane, and consensual’? Aren’t the abusers supposed to be peripheral ‘bad apples’? Aren’t all the examples of creepy, abusive, men supposed to be outliers someone dishonestly trawled through Fetlife to find?

So how come this shit is mainstream?

QotD on pornography and rape rates

One of the studies frequently cited by pornographers is a Dutch study done by Kutchinsky alleging that the number of reported sex crimes dropped after legalization of pornography. His theory was that the availability of pornography siphons off dangerous sex impulses. But when the data for his “safety valve” theory were further evaluated, it was found that he lumped together voyeurism and homosexuality (which police stopped reporting after legalization) with rapes (which actually increased in number).

Deborah Baker, a legal assistant and executive director of an anti-obscenity group, says that proving a connection between pornography and crime is very difficult. She says, “The argument that there are no established studies showing a connection between pornography and violent crime is merely a smoke screen. Those who promote this stance well know that such research will never be done. It would require a sampling of much more than a thousand males, exposed to pornography through puberty and adolescence, while the other group is totally isolated from its influence in all its forms and varying degrees. Each group would then have to be monitored–through the commission of violent crimes or not. In spite of the lack of formal research, though, the FBI’s own statistics show that pornography is found at 80 percent of the scenes of violent sex crimes, or in the homes of the perpetrators.

(Found via AntiPorn Activist Network)

QotD: “Pornhub’s new domestic violence clothing line is a slap in the face”

Pornhub, the biggest pornography site on the entire internet, recently announced they would be launching a clothing line to “support victims of domestic violence.” The company is partnering with porn star, Christy Mack, who went public about the extreme violence she faced at the hands of ex-boyfriend and MMA fighter, War Machine, in 2014.

“The exclusive clothing line will consist of a limited run of gear set to be sold on Pornhub’s newly created Pornhub Apparel e-commerce site, with 100 per cent of the profits to be donated to a yet unnamed domestic abuse charity of Mack’s choosing,” the site announced on Wednesday.

Corey Price, Vice President of Pornhub said, “Domestic violence impacts women, men and children across the United States each and every day. Nearly one in four women and one in seven men have suffered severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner. Here at Pornhub, we want to be part of the solution and help stop the cycle of domestic abuse.” He added, “We’re hoping our new partnership will raise necessary awareness around the issue and contribute to sparking meaningful discussions on the subject within our community.”

“Meaningful discussions,” huh? I bet y’all are wondering what a site that has made billions off of the degradation, objectification, and abuse of women looks like, don’t you? Well, naturally, it looks like this:


To be clear, Pornhub is using domestic abuse as a means to sell more porn. Sure, they’re (supposedly) donating what are sure to be meager earnings, in comparison to the money they make through the main website, to some “domestic abuse charity,” (I am interested to see which “domestic abuse charity” will accept money from a company that profits from the abuse of women) but what they’re selling is still porn. They’re using violence against women as a way to advertise their product.

So, business as usual, I suppose. I mean, Pornhub quite literally sells violence against women. If you Google, “Pornhub domestic violence,” the first thing that comes up is a link to the endless videos on their site tagged “domestic violence,” the second is a link to their “sexual abuse” videos. The third, ironically, is a link to Pornhub’s announcement that the company “cares about ending domestic violence.” Oh yeah. They care so much they’re willing to sell it to men as masturbatory material.

Meghan Murphy, Feminist Current, full article (including images of the clothing, which I don’t want on my blog) here

QotD: “Because men’s viewing of pornography frequently culminates in orgasm, the lessons of pornography are learned much faster and more tenaciously than when they view nonpornographic media”

Because men’s viewing of pornography frequently culminates in orgasm, the lessons of pornography are learned much faster and more tenaciously than when they view nonpornographic media.

Russell, D.E.H. 1993, “Introduction”, Russell, D.E.H. (ed), Making Violence Sexy: Feminist Views on Pornography, Open University Press, Buckingham, pp.1-23

(Found at The Colour of Pomegranates)

QotD: “All parents need to wake up to the gruesome reality of Britain’s child abuse problem”

“How could nobody have known?” This question is being asked nationwide in the wake of a leaked draft of the review into the abuse of children by TV presenter Jimmy Savile. In spite of Savile having abused at least 100 boys and girls, “in every corner”, of the BBC, nobody, it seems, was aware – and those who had suspicions or hunches chose to remain silent.

And Mark Ruffalo, Oscar nominated for his role in Spotlight, which tells the story of the Boston journalists who in 2002 exposed widespread abuse of children by Catholic priests across the city, has this week described how “the whole city was complicit. It wasn’t just the police and church…Everybody at some point looked the other way”.

I can tell you from my own time as a therapist working with both adults and children who had experienced sexual abuse, that this question, “How could nobody have known?” is not just asked about high profile cases. Often it is one of the deepest and toughest sources of hurt for abuse survivors as they struggle to come to terms with their own experiences: “Why did nobody realise it was happening?” “Why did nobody make it stop?” Often this causes the other adults around the abuser – for example, the mother – to be the focus of the most sorrow and anger, rather than the abuser themselves.

So why does child sexual abuse so often go unchecked? I think that the main reason is that it is so horrifying, that the majority of us don’t even want to contemplate it. We enter a kind of collective pact of denial, for our own protection and comfort, and place even the thought of it very clearly at a distance. Child abuse is something that happens ‘over there’, to other people, from different walks of life, in different places. It is not near us, it is not happening where we are.

So it is not that the adults around the abuser ‘did not know’, so much as that they, ‘could not know’.

I can still remember the shock I experienced when starting work as part of a social services team offering therapy to children in care, in the town where I had grown up. As I began to read through the folders of case notes, I was forced to wake up. Child sexual abuse was happening in nearby, familiar streets. Then I met the children. They looked just like every other child. If I had not read their notes, I would have had no inkling of the horrors they had experienced.

As a parent now, I bring these experiences and this awful awakening to my current life as a mum. I am vigilant. I treat other adults who are involved in the care of my children in any way with gentle suspicion. I talk to my children about their bodies, about boundaries, and about not keeping secrets. I try to encourage openness. And even then, I am not naïve enough to think that abuse could not possibly visit my family.

Many parents are comfortable talking to their children about ‘Stranger Danger’, but actually, the chances of abuse by someone entirely unknown to the child are very slim in comparison to abuse by a familiar adult. Current figures from the NSPCC suggest that over 90 per cent of sexually abused children were abused by someone they knew.

As an NSPCC spokesperson explains: “We know that most sexual abuse offences are committed by someone known to the child, such as a family member or friend. Abusers often look for weak spots to gain unsupervised access to children. As well as targeting potential victims and planning abuse they will often start grooming the child and their family.”

The idea of an abused child being ‘groomed’ is familiar to most people, but less talked about is the grooming of other adults. Abusers will often go to great lengths to portray themselves as upstanding members of their community and to appear ‘beyond reproach’: they will be the nice guy who always puts the chairs away after the PTA, or the person who does a lot for charity.

Donald Findlater, Director of child sexual abuse prevention campaign Stop It Now!, elaborates: “One of the biggest myths about child sexual abuse is that it is largely perpetrated by strangers. But the reality is that it is far more likely that sexual abusers are people we know, and could well be people we care about. They are family members or friends, neighbours or babysitters – many hold responsible positions in society.

“Some people who abuse children have adult sexual relationships and are not solely, or even mainly, sexually interested in children. Abusers come from all classes, ethnic and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual. Most abusers are men, but some are women. You cannot pick out an abuser in a crowd.”

The NSPCC estimates that one in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused. Some feel this is a conservative estimate: a report in November 2015 from the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC) found that around 85 per cent of UK child abuse cases are never reported. Based on these findings, the OCC estimated that the number of children abused in the two year period to March 2014 could be as high as 450, 000.

Even if we take the NSPCC figure of one in 20, this still ought to be a wake-up call to all parents. One in 20 means at least one in each classroom, at least a dozen in each school, double figures or more in every village, thousands in every city. If children were falling ill at such rates, we would have no hesitation in calling it an epidemic.

Perhaps it may be easier to ignore these facts, because our own horror or even our own past experiences don’t want to let us ‘go there’. But as Donald Findlater put it so clearly to me, “Currently we are failing children so much. Child sexual abuse is preventable, not inevitable.” As parents, our input is not the only aspect of abuse prevention, but we can play a vital part. If we fail to rise to this challenge, we may be protecting our own sensibilities, but we are failing to protect our children.


QotD: “Mad Women Fight Back”

Mad Women Fight Back

“Mad women fight back”; “Bet your ass we’re paranoid” – Psychiatric survivors during a protest in 1976

(Found at the Bewilderness)

“19 children killed from 12 families. When will family courts in Britain start putting kids first?”

Britain’s family courts are the backdrop to some of the most traumatic and momentous events of people’s lives. From the removal of children from their birth parents to the denial of a parent’s desire to see their child – these are hard choices.

In the face of such familial destruction, there can only be one guiding principle. It was established in law via the Children Act 1989: that the best interests of the child must be paramount. Even where decisions are made outside the courts, professional conduct by social workers and others must also follow the same rule.

Yet, what today’s new research from charity Women’s Aid, where I am chief executive, shows is that somehow this principle has been eroded.

In cases of domestic violence – long recognised as just as damaging to children as direct abuse – it has been eroded to such an extent that children are being killed.

By uncovering the stories behind these children’s deaths, in the Nineteen Child Homicides report, we were able to identify a pattern.

We found that 19 children from 12 families had been killed in the past 10 years. Each of these children had died at the hands of a parent who was a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.

For seven of the 12 families, the perpetrator’s contact with the child had been ordered through the courts. Not understanding domestic abuse and the ongoing risk it presents, even when a relationship has ended, proved fatal.

Of course, the killings are of these children are the most extreme consequence of unsafe child contact. But the family court process is still traumatising for many who go through it.

Women’s Aid also spoke to survivors of the process. We found that 50 per cent had no access to protection measures (such as separate waiting rooms, and separate exit times) in family courts – something considered standard in criminal courts.

More worryingly, in 44 per cent of cases, contact was granted to the former partner when it was known that children had been directly abused by them.

Domestic abuse is an issue in at least 70 per cent of cases before the family courts. Yet only around one per cent of applications for contact are refused.

The principle of the child’s best interests has been fatally undermined. But it’s not the first time we have had to learn this lesson.

Twelve years ago, Women’s Aid published Twenty-nine Child Homicides, a report showing that in 13 families, children had been killed because a known perpetrator of domestic abuse had convinced the court of his right (because it is usually men) to continue as a parent.

At the time, Lord Justice Wall, the then President of the Family Division, stated: “It is, in my view, high time that the family justice system abandoned any reliance on the proposition that a man can have a history of violence to the mother of his children but, nonetheless, be a good father.”

And yet, more than a decade later, we’re in the same situation.

Polly Neate, writing in the Telegraph, full article here

The report can be read here, there is a summery on page 15, all the ‘parents’ who murdered their children were men, in two cases the mother was killed as well.

To be fair to Neate, towards the end of the article, she does name the problem as male violence, and reiterate that a court bias in mothers’ favor is a myth; and who can blame her for modifying her writing for a (small-c) conservative audience?

The 38degrees petition can be signed here.

To: Secretary of State for Justice, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP and District Judges

We are calling on the Government and family courts to ensure there are no further avoidable child deaths as a result of unsafe child contact with a perpetrator of domestic abuse. In order for this to happen the family courts must be a safe place for all the children and survivors of domestic abuse that are relying on them to protect them from further harm.

Two ways they can do this are by:
1. Ensuring that domestic abuse is identified and its impact fully considered by the family court judiciary and that child arrangements orders put the best interests of the child(ren) first and protect the well-being of the parent the child(ren) is living with, in accordance with Practice Direction 12 J Child Arrangements & Contact Order: Domestic Violence and Harm.

2. Ensuring survivors of domestic abuse attending the family court have access to protection measures, similar to those available in criminal courts. Survivors of domestic abuse should always have access to a separate waiting room or area and judges must ensure there are separate exit times from court to allow the survivor to leave safely.

Why is this important?

“No parent should have to hold their children and comfort them as they die, or be told that their child has been harmed in an act of revenge or rage. There are often many facets to one family’s breakdown, and all too often children’s voices are not heard or acted upon” (Claire Throssell, mother of Jack and Paul who were killed in October 2014 by their father after he was granted unsupervised contact with them by the family court).

Over 10 years, 19 children and 2 women have died as a result of unsafe child contact, formal or informal, with a parent who is also a perpetrator of domestic abuse. These deaths were avoidable. To protect children, the family courts must put children’s safety at the heart of any decisions they make about contact with a known perpetrator of domestic abuse.

Women’s Aid’s Child First: Safe Child Contact Saves Lives campaign is calling on the Government and the family courts to protect the children that it has been set up to keep safe. Whilst only a minority of child contact cases, after the parents have separated, are taken to the family courts many of these cases involving domestic abuse result in contact decisions which do not put the children’s safety and best interests first. This can leave them, and their non-abusive, parent in considerable danger.

We need your help so please sign and share this petition widely to ensure that all child contact is safe and there are no further avoidable child deaths.

Visit the Women’s Aid website to find out more about this campaign:

“South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence”

South Carolina is one of more than 20 states that has passed an expansive Stand Your Ground law authorizing individuals to use deadly force in self-defense. The law has been used to protect a man who killed an innocent bystander while pointing his gun at several teens he called “women thugs.” But prosecutors in Charleston are drawing the line at domestic violence.

In the cases of women who claim they feared for their lives when confronted with violent intimate abusers, prosecutors say the Stand Your Ground law shouldn’t apply.

“(The Legislature’s) intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” prosecutor Culver Kidd told the Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with (its) wording and intent.”

Most recently, Kidd raised this argument in vigorously pursuing a murder case against Whitlee Jones, whose screams for help as her boyfriend pulled her down the street by her hair prompted a neighbor to call the cops during a 2012 altercation. When the officer arrived that night, the argument had already ended and Jones had fled the scene. While she was out, Jones decided to leave her boyfriend, Eric Lee, and went back to the house to pack up her things. She didn’t even know the police officer had been there earlier that night, her lawyer Mary Ford explained. She packed a knife to protect herself, and as she exited the house, she says Lee attacked her and she stabbed Lee once in defense. He died, although Jones says she did not intend to kill him.

On October 3, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson sided with Jones and granted her Stand Your Ground immunity, meaning she is exempt from trial on the charge. In response to Kidd’s argument that individuals could not invoke Stand Your Ground to defend against violence in their own homes, Nicholson said that dynamic would create the “nonsensical result” that a victim of domestic abuse could defend against an attacker outside of the home, but not inside the home – where the most vicious domestic violence is likely to occur.

Kidd is unsatisfied with this reasoning, and is appealing the case to argue that Jones and other defendants like her can’t invoke the Stand Your Ground law so long as they are in their home. The Post and Courier reports that there are two other similar cases coming up the pike that are being pursued by the same prosecutor’s office. In one, a judge who dismissed a murder charge against a women who stabbed a roommate attacking her called the charge “appalling.” In another, the defendant’s attorney plans to ask for a Stand Your Ground hearing.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the top prosecutor for that office, is also siding with Kidd. Wilson and Kidd do have a legal basis for their arguments. South Carolina is one of several states that has two self-defense provisions. One known as the Castle Doctrine authorizes occupants to use deadly force against intruders. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that this provision could not apply to fellow occupants of the home, in a case involving roommates, although that ruling was since withdrawn and the case is being re-heard this week. The Stand Your Ground law contains a separate provision that authorizes deadly force in self-defense against grave bodily harm or death in another place “where he has a right to be.” Prosecutors are arguing that neither of these laws permit one occupant of a home to use deadly force against another. But as Nicholson points out, this interpretation would yield the perverse result that both self-defense provisions explicitly exempt domestic abusers when they perpetrate violence within their own home.

The Post and Courier, which originally reported prosecutors’ position, has been doing a series on domestic violence over the past few months, in which it found that women are dying at a rate of one every 12 days from domestic abuse in South Carolina, a state “awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered … a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse.” More than 70 percent of those who kill their spouse had “multiple prior arrests on those charges” and the majority spent just days in jail.

It is in that context that the Post and Courier gave front page treatment to another strike against domestic victims in Stand Your Ground laws, even as those who engage in what many consider vigilante killings are protected by the law. The man granted immunity for killing an innocent bystander, Shannon Anthony Scott, reportedly had a sign posted in his window that read, “Fight Crime – Shoot First.”

Lee, the victim in Jones’ case, had previously been arrested when “a woman said he smashed her flower pot and shattered her bedroom window with a rock during a fit of rage” and had a prior conviction for property a property crime.

Jones said she feared for her life. And those like her who defend themselves against domestic abuse shouldn’t need Stand Your Ground laws to raise a claim of self-defense. Most states, including South Carolina, have longstanding court precedent that permits individuals to raise claims of self-defense in cases where their life is threatened. And those common law claims are one of the reasons many opponents argue that the expansive protection of Stand Your Ground laws is not needed, and gives those who turn to force too much legal cover. But one of the demonstrated flaws of Stand Your Ground laws is that their imposition has been arbitrary, and allowed immunity in many more cases involving white shooters and black victims. In cases in which women have invoked Stand Your Ground laws, an MSNBC analysis found that women invoking the Stand Your Ground defense against white men succeeded in only about 2.6 percent of cases (2.9 percent of the woman was also white). The disparity of Stand Your Ground cases came to national attention with the case of Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot against her alleged abuser. She was denied Stand Your Ground immunity.

Think Progress

QotD: “How “Failure To Protect” Laws Cost A 12-Year-Old Rape Victim His Mother”

TRIGGER WARNING for child sex abuse

Collin Grant wishes he had never told anyone that his stepfather raped him.

Jimmy Don Mackey would hold Collin down, punch him in the back if he tried to move, and cover his mouth if he tried to scream. On one occasion, Jimmy Don duct-taped Collin’s mouth shut. He told Collin that if he ever disclosed the abuse to anyone, he would kill him.

Yet Collin eventually did tell the authorities in Muskogee County, Oklahoma, about Jimmy Don’s abuse. Collin testified about it in court, where it also emerged that Jimmy Don had repeatedly beaten his mother, Alishia Mackey. Jimmy Don pled guilty to rape, forcible sodomy, and other sex crimes, and was sent to prison.

Yet Collin’s mother was also sent to prison for failing to protect her son.

Jimmy Don got 15 years for raping Collin. For permitting the rape to happen, Collin’s mother got an even harsher sentence: 20 years.

As a 12-year-old recovering from repeated sexual abuse, Collin was cut off from his mother.

Today, Collin is 22. He said he misses his mom and believes she does not deserve to be in prison. She should be pardoned, he said.

He also wishes he had never come forward about what his stepfather was doing to him. “Honestly,” Collin told BuzzFeed News, “I would rather have gone through the abuse for the rest of my life.”

A recent BuzzFeed News investigation exposed cases in which mothers have been given sentences of up to life in prison for failing to protect their children from their violent partners — even when, as in Alishia’s case, there is evidence that the mother herself was battered.

In Texas, for example, Arlena Lindley was sentenced to 45 years, despite the fact that she tried to grab her 3-year-old son from her partner the day he beat the boy to death, and despite the fact that she herself had been beaten viciously for months. The prosecution said she should have called 911.

Collin Grant’s case illuminates what domestic violence advocates say is a different problem: the collateral damage to the children of mothers sent away to prison for years.

“What are we really doing on behalf of that child who is the victim of the crime?” said Deborah D. Tucker, executive director of the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence. “How is that” — imprisoning the mother — “helpful to them?”

At least 29 states have laws that explicitly criminalize parents’ failure to protect their children from abuse. In addition, prosecutors in at least 19 states can use other, more general laws against criminal negligence in the care of a child or placing a child in a dangerous situation.

Only a handful of state laws provide specific defenses for parents who reasonably feared they would be harmed if they stepped in to stop child abuse.

Many prosecutors defend the laws and the harsh sentences as sending a message that mothers must defend their children, even if their own safety is at risk. Domestic violence advocates counter that such sentences are unjust — and a sign that the criminal justice system does not understand how battering victimizes women.

Altogether, BuzzFeed News found 28 cases in which mothers were sentenced to at least a decade in prison despite evidence they themselves were victims of their violent partners. Alishia Mackey was one of those mothers. She was tried under Oklahoma’s “enabling child abuse” law, which has the same maximum sentence — life in prison — as actually committing child abuse.

Buzzfeed, continue reading here

QotD: “emotionally invasive performance of enthusiastic consent”

Something I noticed when I was stripping was that the younger, “hipper,” generally white patrons I came into contact with were by far the most vested in the whole “emotionally invasive performance of enthusiastic consent” thing. They all wanted to hear how I was doing it because I was “empowered” or an “exhibitionist” or just “a slutty sexual deviant that just does this for fun.” Like, I can’t even tell you how many times I actively encouraged this or worked it into a spiel, because nothing kills a sale like a pang of conscience alerting men that maybe this smart, seemingly stable girl doesn’t want to be here. I think that thinking I was “into it” somehow made it easier for them to feel like they weren’t just giant losers paying for sex.

I am entirely convinced that men only care about women being “empowered” by things like sex work because its easier on their ego as consumers, not because they give a shit about our wellbeing. Sex positive feminism is a dream come true for these men – all the benefits of exploiting women as sexual commodities without any guilt or stigma for being a creepy ass john.

Tennis Milk