QotD: “only women seem to have this magical ability to reclaim our power and our bodies by giving men the exact thing that they want from us”
Y’all ever notice how only women are given the line that if we allow more men to buy our bodies for sex, we’re actually gaining our power back from men. that line wouldn’t work or make sense with any other type of capitalist exploitation. you’d never hear a leftist say that a retail worker dedicating even MORE of their life and their time to their capitalist boss is “taking back their power” or a sweatshop worker being worked to death by a capitalist company is “reclaiming their bodies” — only women seem to have this magical ability to reclaim our power and our bodies by giving men the exact thing that they want from us.
QotD: “It’s basically impossible to do ethical porn research in any way that would provide meaningful results”
In undergrad, I was told that it’s basically impossible to get funding on porn research because we know it’s so harmful. You can do correlational studies based on self-report, but you can’t do experimental studies where you expose people to pornography and then study some kind of outcome. The potential harms to participants and the people around them are considered to outweigh the benefits of studying it.
Which… there’s a lot to unpack there.
Basically, there haven’t been any good experimental studies on porn exposure since the 90s. Because, even by that point, research was overwhelmingly converging on “porn is harmful.” Y’all hang out around here, you know the effects – acceptance of rape myths, distorted perception of sexual norms, sexual dysfunction, cruelty or lack of compassion towards women, etc etc etc. These effects were found through both experimental and correlational studies based on self-reported, self-selected porn watching outside of a lab.
The latter is the only thing you’re still allowed to do (mostly). Unfortunately, it is now nearly impossible to perform good research on the subject, because it’s so difficult to find a control group. At least if you’re studying men. Nearly all men watch pornography regularly. In fact, one of the only populations you can still study with a decent control group is teenagers. But research on minors has its own ethical red tape, to say nothing of getting guardians to agree to it, so it doesn’t happen much either. So, with no control group to compare it to, you’re going to get weak results at best. You can compare self-reported volumes or types of porn watching between each other, but that’s really about it.
In some ways, the ethical considerations have become somewhat pointless. If all men are watching porn, what does it matter if they watch it in a lab or not? But since you basically can’t find men who haven’t been exposed to porn, and you can’t guarantee that these men aren’t going home between lab sessions and watching porn, porn-related research will be limited to the immediate effects of exposure. And you’ve still got an uphill battle to explain to an ethics board why your research on immediate effects of porn exposure, which you know will be harmful in some way, is going to add to the existing literature in a way that is significant enough to be worth the harm. Because, regardless of if these people are going home to harm themselves in the exact same way, it’s still generally unethical to expose people to known harms to study the effects.
And because we know porn watching is addictive, that further complicates the ethical considerations. To give a fair analogy, it’s similarly difficult to get approval for an experimental in-lab study on the effects of giving opiates to people. We know what it does, we know it’s harmful, and we know it’s addictive, so unless you have some truly groundbreaking new research idea and some way to significantly mitigate the harm, you’re not going to get approval for that. (Ex: You can get approval for testing a new opiate that you think has a lower possibility for abuse, especially if you plan on testing it on people with chronic pain disorders or terminal cancer patients or something. That’s groundbreaking, there’s a way to mitigate harm, and it has the potential to do more good than harm. You can’t just get approval to give a bunch of Dilaudid to undergrads to test, say, how it affects short-term memory.)
TLDR, it’s not just that scientists don’t care. It’s that it’s basically impossible to do ethical porn research in any way that would provide meaningful results.
A US judge has awarded $13m in damages to 22 women who were defrauded by the owners of GirlsDoPorn, a website specialising in “amateur”-style pornography.
The women were coerced and tricked into making pornography that was released on to some of the biggest adult sites in the world without their consent, leaving some of them suicidal.
The San Diego superior court heard evidence from the women, Jane Does 1 to 22, in a case their lawyers say has “exposed the rotten underbelly of the San Diego sex industry”.
GirlsDoPorn is an adult subscription service launched in 2006 by New Zealander Michael Pratt and operated by Ruben Garcia and Matthew Wolfe. Filmed in homes, hotels and trailer parks, videos on GirlsDoPorn specialise in promoting the image of the “ordinary” college girl who is making her first and only pornographic film.
The women told the court they had replied to ads on Craigslist asking for “beautiful college-type preppy girls” aged 18 to 22 interested in modelling.
After applying for the modelling work, they received phone calls from other women who have been described as a key part of the business – “reference women” who pitched the idea of making porn and assured them that it would never go online.
The women all said they were pressured into taking part. Those who tried to back out once it was clear what was involved were threatened, plied with alcohol and told they would have to pay for their own way home from San Diego.
They were promised that the footage would go straight to DVD for wealthy buyers in other countries, in particular Australia and New Zealand, where the defendants come from.
The videos were in fact uploaded to some of the most used adult sites in the world and have been viewed more than a billion times. Anonymous emails were sent to their families, universities and friends, linking them to the videos.
In her evidence, Jane Doe 1, who was studying law when the videos were released and seen by fellow students, family and friends, said: “I felt ripped apart, piece by piece. Honestly I wanted to commit suicide when it all came out … I tried moving away. I have tried going places people don’t know me and it just follows me everywhere.
“I’m always paranoid when I meet new people that they have seen my video or [when I] meet new people [they] are going to say, ‘I know you.’”
Judge Kevin Enright described in his findings how the need to keep finding young women new to the porn industry drove the “deceptive, coercive and threatening behaviour” used by the defendants.
He said: “Subscribers [to GirlsDoPorn] are meant to be left with the impression that the women in [the] videos are everyday women that they could encounter in their communities, campuses and daily lives.
“In accordance with this ‘one time only’ paradigm … business is dependent on recruiting a constant stream of new models. The court finds … that fraudulent practices [were used] to facilitate such recruitment.”
After the films were released details of the women were published on WikiPorn.
Enright said: “Defendants’ tactics have caused the videos to become common knowledge in [the women’s] communities and among their relations and peers – the very thing that [they] feared and that defendants expressly assured them would not happen.
“Collectively, they have experienced severe harassment, emotional and psychological trauma, and reputational harm; lost jobs, academic and professional opportunities, and family and personal relationships. They have become pariahs in their communities. Several plaintiffs have become suicidal.”
During the course of the civil trial, Pratt, Garcia and Wolfe were criminally indicted for sex trafficking, among other charges. Garcia and Wolfe are currently in federal custody. Pratt is a fugitive.
Jane Doe 1 also gave evidence about the enormous impact online publication and subsequent WikiPorn leak had on her life. She has since had plastic surgery to try to disguise her appearance.
“I’ve gotten cheek fillers to try and change the structure of my face and microbladed my eyebrows to try and change my appearance,” she said.
At one point, the judge asked her if she needed a break from talking, as she described holding a loaded gun and thinking about taking her own life.
“I shake, I throw up from anxiety. I am on four different pills a day for anxiety. In law school I couldn’t focus.”
In November 2015 60 emails and phone calls called for her to be expelled. The emails went to the dean of the law school, and to the head of the student body with links to the video. “I felt ripped apart, piece by piece. Honestly I wanted to commit suicide when it all came out … I tried moving away. I have tried going places people don’t know me and it just follows me everywhere.
Her life, she says, is irrevocably changed, and her hopes of a legal career have been ended.
“I do not want a career as an attorney. My name is completely destroyed.”
QotD: “The Ayia Napa case is an object lesson in how rape victims face not just the old horrors of a callous judicial process but a new one too: the prospect of global, indelible shame”
Just a few clicks and you see it all. Newspapers may have scruples about identifying gang-raped teenage girls but angry men on social media don’t. They’ve published her name, gleefully harvested her cheery Instagram selfies. A video of her having sex with her boyfriend, filmed secretly by her alleged assailants, just before they piled into the Cyprus hotel room, was posted on porn sites.
Through this rich plethora of material the girl’s body, morals and sexual prowess are luridly debated. Twitter shrugs, happy to host her public shaming. Eventually the porn sites removed the sex footage, not to spare her further humiliation — who cares about that? — but because some of the 12 Israeli boys she accused of rape were under 17, the Cypriot age of consent. Which means the mob now calls her “paedophile” as well as “slut”.
What should we say to a 19-year-old girl, A levels passed, a university place bagged, who is beautiful, adventurous, looking for a summer of meeting boys, parties and fun? That if something goes wrong you may be utterly ruined. The Ayia Napa case is an object lesson in how rape victims face not just the old horrors of a callous judicial process but a new one too: the prospect of global, indelible shame.
Moreover, for all our mighty #IBelieveHer feminist campaigns, this girl probably faces more disbelief than a generation ago when few would think a well-brought-up young woman would happily allow a dozen men to take their turn. But now “gang-bang” is a much-searched porn category: images resembling her ordeal are watched by guys who are led to believe this is a normal sexual rite of passage — and that girls love it.
Once, self-respecting parents wouldn’t greet as homecoming heroes sons who, even if they fell short of rape, had collaborated in a squalid, hateful act. Nobody disputes that four lots of DNA were found on her body, along with internal injuries and scratches on her thighs. Nor that outside the hotel these little princes bragged they were going to “do orgies” with the “English girl”. Or that they filmed her having sex with their friend without consent (not even a crime in Cyprus).
“Are you not ashamed?” asked a female Israeli journalist. But the boys and their male relatives popped champagne, let off a confetti cannon and kept chanting: “The Brit is a whore.”
We should warn young women too that their bodies and lives may be mere collateral in bigger power plays. In Hollywood women were silenced with cash for non-disclosure agreements to save studio moguls. In Cyprus, politicians weren’t going to let one silly British girl spoil relations with Israel, which not only uses the island, its only friendly regional neighbour, as a playground for its youth but is a key defence and trade partner.
On Thursday the Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu met the Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades to sign off the $6 billion EastMed gas pipeline project. You don’t have to be a tin-foil hat conspiracist to think it unlikely Cyprus would imperil this deal by having 12 young Israeli men, some reportedly from high-born political families, stuck indefinitely in its jails.
By then it was their accuser who was in prison. The police, having taken her initial statement in July — that the gang burst in, that one sat on her shoulders so she couldn’t even count how many raped her, all affirmed by doctors — recalled her to the station. There they questioned her for eight hours until in desperation at 1.30am she allowed a “confession” to be dictated: she’d consented to everything, she said, fabricated the rape as revenge for the illicit filming. It wasn’t enough the Israelis were free: the girl must be punished, charged with “public mischief” and after four weeks already on remand in a Cypriot prison is now facing a jail term.
It is a truly monstrous case, more redolent of “honour” punishments handed out to raped girls in Afghanistan than to a holidaymaker in an EU nation. By refusing to hear rape evidence, the judge Michalis Papathanasiou employed all the logic of a witch trial. If her lawyers could not prove the attack was real, how could they clear her of making it up?
Now there are demands for a presidential pardon. But to accept absolution for a crime means first admitting your guilt. The girl is relinquishing her university place, reconsidering her chosen career since it is incompatible with a criminal conviction; she’s suffering from PTSD and “hypersomnia”, sleeping 20 hours a day. If the verdict is appealed against in the Cyprus Supreme Court or taken as far as the European Court of Human Rights it will prolong her ordeal for months, maybe years. All this for reporting a gang-rape.
While we denounce Cypriot courts, let’s not pretend our system delivers justice for sex offence victims. Here, too, women may be interviewed by police for hours without legal counsel. Nor does the victim always have a lawyer representing her interests in court. Although the number of reported rapes has increased, fewer than half now result in charges. In 2018-19 there were 1,925 convictions for rape or a lesser sexual offence, down from 2,635 in the previous period. The justice system and police are impossibly stretched now mobile phone information must be tirelessly searched and disclosed, while many women, fearful for their privacy, drop charges.
Pursue justice and you risk vicious online exposure and vilification from your rapist’s friends. The young woman who the footballer Ched Evans was convicted of raping, before being acquitted at a retrial, fled to Australia. The stakes for rape victims who refuse to stay silent, as a broken 19-year-old in Ayia Napa knows, have never been higher.
Senior lawyers and women’s organisations have condemned the increasing use of “rough sex gone wrong” as a courtroom defence to the murder of women and called for a change to the law in the UK.
In the wake of the conviction of British backpacker Grace Millane’s killer in New Zealand, researchers have revealed a tenfold rise over the past two decades in the number of times similar claims have been made in UK courts.
According to the campaign group We Can’t Consent to This, in the past decade 30 women and girls have been killed in what was claimed to have been consensual violent sexual activity in the UK.
Of those, 17 resulted in men being convicted of murder, nine led to manslaughter convictions and two ended in acquittals. In one further case, there was a murder conviction but only after the victim’s husband confessed; police had initially treated the death as non-suspicious. The case of one woman’s death has yet to go to court.
In 1996 there were two cases in which deaths and injuries to women were blamed on “rough sex”; by 2016, that had climbed to 20 cases a year.
During the Auckland trial of Millane’s murderer, the accused’s lawyer, Ian Brookie, told the jury that the 21-year-old backpacker had died during “a perfectly ordinary, casual sexual encounter between a young couple … as a result of what they consensually engaged in.”
The jury, however, did not believe him and unanimously found the killer guilty of murder. “You can’t consent to your own murder,” the crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said.
Fiona Mackenzie, an actuary, set up We Can’t Consent to This after the outcry over the killing of Natalie Connolly, 26, by her partner John Broadhurst, 40. Despite having 40 separate injuries, including serious internal trauma, a fractured eye socket and bleach on her face, Broadhurst received a sentence of three years and eight months for manslaughter.
Mackenzie supports changes to the domestic abuse bill, put forward by the MPs Harriet Harman and Mark Garnier, to incorporate the principle of R v Brown into statute.
She told the Guardian: “As well as changing the law, we need to have an attitude change across the justice system. People need to stop buying into these ‘rough sex’ excuses.
“Everywhere you look in the world, there’s the same failure in countries’ criminal justice systems. It’s terrifying.”
Consent, which has increasingly entered popular consciousness as a key concept in rape cases, is no defence to injury, let alone death. The principle was established in a 1993 test case, R v Brown, in the House of Lords in which a group of men were convicted of assault and wounding even though their sadomasochistic victims had willingly participated in the violence.
The defence of “rough sex gone wrong” has no official status in law but can, campaigners claim, influence prosecutors to reduce a charge from murder to manslaughter or a judge to lower the eventual sentence.
Sarah Green, the director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said: “Women monitoring femicides in the UK believe the so-called ‘rough sex defence’ is growing. It is deeply alarming and at worst reflects the fact that defence is, actually, a business where some are willing to ‘test’ approaches that might win in court. It sets women up to be harmed in life and grossly insulted after their deaths.
“We’re also appalled at the willingness of large parts of the media to uncritically reproduce this deeply misogynistic line. Editors need to get a hold of this now and stop the thoughtless and sensational communication of cases where women have died.”
Prof Susan Edwards, a barrister who teaches law at the University of Buckingham, believes strangulation should be made a stand-alone offence.
“Strangulation is the cause of death in around a third of all spousal homicides,” she said. “Now there’s a burgeoning use of [rough sex excuses] because there’s greater acceptance of BDSM [bondage and sadomasochism] in relationships.”
Thirty years ago, she said, the more common excuse from a violent partner would have been that they were provoked, that it was unintentional or they lost control.
Campaigners partly blame the cultural normalisation of rough sex on the growth of violent online pornography and books such as Fifty Shades of Grey with its themes of sadomasochism.
What is not so clear is whether there has been a significant rise in the number of sexual strangulation deaths or whether the excuse of “rough sex” is simply being deployed more often than in the past.
Karen Ingala-Smith, the chief executive of the domestic violence charity Nia, said: “Women don’t die from rough sex. Women die because men are violent to them.”
She said violent and degrading online pornography was “socialising young men into different expectations of what they are supposed to do in bed. Women are pressured, whether they’re conscious of it or not, to accept violence during sex and do things that weren’t commonplace 10 or 20 years ago.”
A man who strangled a British backpacker and hid her body inside a suitcase has been found guilty of murder.
Grace Millane was found buried in bushland outside Auckland, New Zealand.
A jury at the city’s high court rejected claims by the 27-year-old man, who cannot be named, that she died accidentally during “rough sex”.
Ms Millane’s parents David and Gillian wept in the public gallery as jurors convicted their daughter’s killer.
He showed no emotion as the verdict – reached after about five hours of deliberations – was read out.
Justice Simon Moore said the defendant would be sentenced on 21 February next year.
Jurors heard the defendant and Ms Millane had met via the Tinder dating app on 1 December last year, the night before Ms Millane’s 22nd birthday.
They spent several hours drinking cocktails in bars around Auckland before going to the defendant’s hotel.
Ms Millane, from Wickford, Essex, was found in the mountainous Waitākere Ranges a week later.
Prosecutors said post-mortem examinations found bruises “consistent with restraint” on her body, and that she had been strangled.
On the night of her death, the court heard, the defendant “wasn’t distressed or concerned by her death”, and set about making plans to dispose of her remains.
He “sexualised” the killing by searching for pornography, stopping at one point to take lewd photos of her corpse, prosecutors said.
The following day, he went on a Tinder date with another woman while the body of Ms Millane remained in the hotel room.
He had bought a second suitcase in a bid to cover his tracks, as well as cleaning products and a shovel, jurors heard.
The defendant did not give evidence in his defence.
Following the verdict, the step-brother of the murderer spoke to television station TVNZ reporter Paul Hobbs.
The man, who also cannot be named for legal reasons, said he initially thought Miss Millane’s death could have been an accident but when he saw the timeline of events, his view changed.
His step-brother, he said, was “a pathological liar that lies over pointless things and continues to lie until the point where he’s got no out – absolutely no out – and then he just breaks down and cries and runs away.
“It’s just absolutely terrible that a life had to be lost because of it.”
He said he did not think his step-brother intended to kill Grace, but said: “In that moment he just kept going… and he took Grace’s life.”
In an interview with police, shown during the trial, the defendant was seen to break down in tears.
“His tears, to me, they’re more tears for himself.”
Apologising to the Millane family, he added: “I’m just so, so incredibly sorry for their loss.
“To know it’s one of our family members – even though it’s not our actions – it’s very difficult, and I can’t imagine the pain and hurt and what [the Millane family] had to go through for a court hearing… to me that’s all because he doesn’t have any shred of a decent human being inside him, and couldn’t just confess to the fact he murdered her.”
I really thought he was going to be found not guilty of murder, becuase of the evidence that Millane was into BDSM and ‘breath play’, so this is amazing.
A mother had nude pictures and her address posted on sex websites by her partner, leading to a dozen strangers arriving at her house on one night.
Builder Darren Rowe, 49, took secret images and spread intimate content without her knowledge using a phone connected to a customer’s wifi, a West Midlands Police probe found.
The victim said men arrived at her Birmingham home saying they had spoken to her online and been invited.
Rowe received a suspended sentence.
Mother-of-three Sharon, who wanted to protect her full identity, said she felt destroyed by a person she had worshipped.
“You don’t expect the man that you love, who says he loves you, to try and destroy you,” she said.
Rowe, from Rowley Regis, admitted two counts of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.
Last month he was given a 12-month jail term, which was suspended for two years, at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Sharon said she was “disgusted” by what she feels is a lenient punishment.
She initially sobbed on the floor “like a baby” thinking it was all for nothing, but came to feel some sort of closure.
“His name is out there now. Now people know who he is and what he does,” she said.
Describing the moment she saw herself on various sex sites, Sharon said: “In that second everything changes. The life that you had has gone.
“You’ve got to get your head around the fact that potentially thousands of people have seen those pictures of you.
“One night 12 men came to the door. I was with my three-month-old baby at the time. Another time someone tried to get in the house.”
She said as many as 35 men turned up at her doorstep over a four-month period during the summer of 2017.
The 39-year-old said her partner had initially convinced her the images had been posted by a friend pretending to be her.
“When police did their investigations I found out it was my partner at the time who had been uploading pictures from a customer’s house,” she added.
“I wasn’t aware he had the pictures or that he’d taken them. He was very, very devious. I didn’t have a clue any of these pictures were there.”
Sharon, who is no longer with Rowe, has never been given an explanation over his intentions or received an apology.
“The police think he wanted to play the hero, whereas I think he had certain fetishes, which I’m not interested in,” she said.
Sharon, a customer service assistant, said she had been unable to take down some of the nude images two years on.
“Only Darren can remove them. He knows what sites they have been uploaded to. The police don’t have the authority to do it,” she said.
PC Lee Newell, of West Bromwich CID, said it had been a “long and complex case”.
“Our investigations revealed that the only person linked to an email address used to transmit the material was in fact Rowe,” he said.
“His victim has suffered a distressing onslaught of online abuse.”
PayPal has stopped processing payments for the world’s biggest pornography website after it was found to be hosting illegal content, including videos depicting child sexual abuse.
The electronic money transfer service had enabled Pornhub to pay people who are part of a company scheme under which porn stars and amateur models can earn a cut of the advertising revenue generated by the videos they upload. Top earners, whose videos get millions of views, can rake in £30,000 a month.
The decision comes after an investigation by The Sunday Times, published a fortnight ago, found Pornhub to be hosting illegal content including child abuse videos.
PayPal said it “explicitly prohibits the use of our services for the sale of materials that depict criminal behaviour, or the sale of sexually oriented content to minors”.
It added: “We work with a payment service provider to ensure their merchants follow our policies and adhere to applicable laws. Following a review, we have discovered Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring.” It said it had not seen evidence the payments were directly linked to illegal activities.
The content on Pornhub, uploaded by users around the world, included clips of men performing sex acts in front of children on buses and an account devoted to posting “creepshots” of UK schoolgirls.
The material makes up a small proportion of the more than 9m videos on Pornhub. But the fact that it, along with upskirting, voyeurism and revenge porn, was easy to find has raised fears the website is not doing enough to police user uploads. One of the clips had been viewed more than 350,000 times and was on the site for three years.
Two big advertisers, Unilever and Heinz, distanced themselves from Pornhub after the revelations. Both have advertised on the site in the past year.
PayPal has a history of cutting ties with controversial figures, including the English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson. It does not allow its services to be used to “promote hate, violence or other forms of intolerance that is discriminatory”. It also prohibits some gambling activities and has strict rules on the sale of sexually oriented goods and services.
Kate Isaacs, from #NotYourPorn, described PayPal’s former relationship with Pornhub as “problematic” and said she feared payments were made to “women being advertised as porn stars without their consent”.
Pornhub, owned by MindGeek, said it was “devastated” by PayPal’s decision, which it said would affect more than 100,000 performers, who will now be paid by direct debit or cryptocurrency. Blake White, its vice-president, said: “Decisions like that of PayPal . . . do nothing but harm efforts to end stigma towards sex workers.” The site claims to have a “robust” policy on illegal content, and said its aim was to eradicate “disgusting” child sexual abuse material from its platform.
“As criminals have become more sophisticated in their methods to disseminate child sexual abuse material, we are constantly adjusting our own preventative tactics. We believe these tactics are working,” White said.