Post in evidenza

"Little Barbies" Sex Trafficking of Young Girls in America

Children are being “ targeted and sold for sex  in America every day".  John Ryan, National Center for Missing & Expl...

giovedì 31 ottobre 2013

Sexual violence in Burma

British Foreign Secretary William Hague has told a prominent UK based Burma pro-rights group that the British Government continues to receive “deeply troubling” reports of the use of sexual violence in Burma’s conflict zones.
The letter, addressed to Burma Campaign UK, was written in response to thousands of letters calling for action to end sexual violence in Burma, that were delivered to the Foreign Office on 12th September 2013.
“If President Thein Sein continues to take no action to end Burmese Army impunity for rape and sexual violence, the Foreign Secretary must be prepared to move from a policy of soft encouragement to a much more robust approach including international justice mechanisms.” said Zoya Phan, Campaigns Manager at Burma Campaign UK.
Foreign Secretary William Hague also stated that the President of Burma welcomed the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative when he visited the UK in July. However, President Thein Sein has still failed to agree to join 134 countries that have signed a declaration to combat sexual violence in conflict.
“It is very good news that Burma is now being included in the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative,” said Zoya Phan. “This is something Burma Campaign UK has been campaigning for. We are still a very long way from seeing an end to sexual violence in Burma, and those responsible held to account, but this is a step in the right direction.”
The letter states that the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) has now been extended to Burma, and that PSVI activities will be incorporated into new and existing work in Burma.

UK Foreign Minister: sexual violence in Burma ‘deeply troubling’October 31, 2013

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Prostitute a 65 anni, colpa della crisi

La Polizia Locale di Montichiari ha sequestrato un immobile nel centro storico a seguito di diverse segnalazioni: all’interno infatti due donne gestivano una sorta di casa chiusa, mentre il reperimento dei clienti veniva effettuato via web, con appositi annunci.
A stupire in particolare l’età delle due prostitute: una mantovana di 56 anni, denunciata per favoreggiamento e sfruttamento della prostituzione, e una bresciana ancora più avanti con d’età, 65 anni. Le due avevano preso in affitto da qualche settimana lo stabile di Montichiari, e offrivano ‘prestazioni di servizio’ a clienti ed avventori, anche di tutte le età.

Colte sul fatto dagli agenti, si sono giustificate così: “Con la crisi economica facevamo fatica a sopravvivere. Questa ci è sembrata la soluzione ai nostri problemi”. “Casalinghe e nonne appassionate – ha spiegato invece il comandante della Locale, Christian Leali – ma, parallelamente e come se nulla fosse, gestivano questa attività illecita, che serviva per guadagnare un po’ di soldi da girare ai figli e alle rispettive famiglie”

Prostitute a 65 anni, colpa della crisi 30 / 10 / 2013

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Five-year-old April Jones was abducted and murdered in rural Wales by convicted pedophile Mark Bridger. During his trial, it emerged that Bridger had searched online for images of child abuse and rape before carrying out the killing.
In a separate case, 12-year-old Tia Sharp was murdered last August by a man close to her family, Stuart Hazell. Hazell was also found to have searched the internet for pornographic websites, pursuing a growing interest in child sex abuse images.
These two cases have led to growing calls in the UK to block access to images of child pornography. Child pornography is illegal in the UK. John Carr, who advises the government on child Internet safety, has called publicly on search engines to do more to tackle the issue.
"If you're sufficiently determined there's no doubt you can get to [these images] - it's
 six or seven clicks," Carr told DW.
It's already the case that searching for terms such as "child rape" on a search engine will not directly call up links to illegal images. But they may provide a gateway to hardcore adult porn sites, which often have coded links to other material, using words such as "teen" or "barely legal."
Calls for changes to search settings
Carr proposes that internet companies should block all links used by pedophiles to find images of child sexual abuse.
He adds that search engines should set their default settings to the safest option - which blocks access to legal as well as illegal sex sites.
Under his proposal, those wanting to access pornographic material would have to register and to prove that they were over 18 years of age. Given that users would have to reveal their names, Carr believes this lack of anonymity would deter people from accessing illegal images.
"And that one thing, on its own, without more, would do a huge amount to deter a lot of guys from getting into child pornography at all in the first place," says Carr.
Support from search engines
The big search engines say they cooperate closely with governments and NGOs to clamp down on illegal images. In a statement, Scott Rubin, director of communications and public affairs at Google, told DW:
"Google has a zero-tolerance policy on child sexual abuse content. We are members and joint funders of the Internet Watch Foundation - an independent body that searches the web for child abuse imagery and then sends us links, which we remove from our search index. When we discover child abuse imagery or are made aware of it, we respond quickly to remove and report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities."
Jon Brown, who works for the NSPCC, the leading UK charity for the prevention of cruelty to children, acknowledges the work that search engines already do, but says they could do more.
"What we think that the search engine companies could and should be doing more of is to be more proactive in flagging and providing what could be automatically produced warnings to people who are trying to make those searches," says Brown.
"So for example if someone's trying to make a search for clearly abusive and illegal imagery of children, an automatic warning could come up to say that they're searching for illegal material, that that's been noted and if they continue to do that, their information could be passed on to the authorities. And for some people, not all, who are interested in this material that could in itself act as a sufficient deterrent, we think."
International issue
But as far as the provenance of the images themselves are concerned this is a global issue. And the nature of it means that it cannot be solved by one government alone.
"A lot of these crimes are committed not in the UK, not even in Europe, but farther afield, and of course this imagery can be shared very easily," Brown says.
"So, what's absolutely crucial is deterrents and prevention, and thirdly, the identification and tracking of victims as well. Because for every image that's created and viewed, a child has been abused. And it's so important that those children, where at all possible, can be identified and located and then offered the help and treatment that they will need."
Iceland has taken the issue to another level. Earlier this year, the government drafted plans to restrict the distribution of all pornography - not just illegal images of child abuse as in Britain, but also adult porn. The fear is that even legal pornography could have a corrupting influence on children, who can easily access the sites online in a way that is very hard to control.
Helga Luthersdottir, a teaching fellow in Icelandic Studies at University College London, explained the thinking behind the proposed ban.
"What is going on is definitely an attempt to actually define pornography," she told DW. "And it's very much phrased within the framework of the good of the children. How do you protect children from actually seeing pornography that might damage their view of interaction between the sexes, for example? There's been a lot of discussion of how teenage boys have a warped or odd view of sexual relationships simply due to pornography."
If a ban on pornography happens anywhere in Europe, it's likely to be in Iceland.
However, defenders of the internet and of free speech were given a boost at the end of April when the government there was ousted by a new center-right coalition, which is less likely to pursue the proposals.
John Carr, the UK government advisor leading the calls for changes to search functions, is not in favor of going down the Icelandic route and banning all pornography.
"I've never, ever believed in censorship. If something is legal, it has a perfect right to be published - which means it has a perfect right to be on the internet," says Carr. "My position is different. I care what kids can get access to. I'm in the child protection business, not the adult protection business. If consenting adults want to do stuff with porn, that's their business."

Momentum builds to block online child porn after the murder of girl in Wales Joanna Impey 10.06.2013

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mercoledì 30 ottobre 2013

How To Curb Child Pornography

In Attleboro, Mass. last month, a 51-year-old manager of a sober house admitted to having hundreds of CDs and DVDs containing child pornography — amassing to possibly the single-largest seizure of of the illicit material in the city’s police history. The man, Michael Paterson, was found to have images of nude boys as young as six-year-old on his computer. “That’s what floats my boat,”Paterson allegedly replied to why he had such material, as stated by Assistant District Attorney Noah Ertel.
In South New Jersey, 14 men are currently being charged with distributing child porn — including child rape videos — via peer-to-peer file sharing. This will make the third child porn case New Jersey is currently pursuing. Last week, the Bernards Township Police charged John Schulenburg, 59, with possession of pornographic images of naked children and children engaged in sexual acts. Schulenburg was arraigned after police received a suspicious behavior report concerning him taking pictures of children at a school bus stop.
These cases, as well as the litany of case developments that have occurred in the last couple of weeks — including the guilty plea to three counts of possessing child pornography by a Northland, Mo. Catholic priestthe denial to suppress evidence of child pornography in the child sexual abuse case of John Burbine of Wakefield, Mass.; the guilty plea of a Jersey City, N.J. private school teacher, who had more than 100,000 pornographic images and videos of young boys; and the arrest of a Woodstock, Ill. man on seven charges of alleged possession of child pornography — represent a troubling trend in the United States and worldwide. It also represents a need to modify how society recognizes and deals with this issue.
“[So-called] First Amendment absolutists take advantage of [...] desensitization to trivialize possession of child pornography,” wrote author and child advocate Andrew Vachss on his blog The Zero. “They claim that ‘mere possessors’ are not dangerous to children. They agitate for nothing more than short-term jail sentences and probation for ‘simple possession,’ convincing judges to ignore sentencing laws that require longer prison terms.“
“But they cannot erase the truth: these images have a market because ‘possessors’ want to possess them. Crime chases dollars. Although child pornography networks grab headlines, without individual customers, the networks are out of business.”

A solution from.. The War On Drugs?

Vachss argues that the way to fight this crime is by making it more expensive to commit. “Civil forfeiture gained prominence during the so-called ‘war on drugs,’ and gained strength with the evolution of RICO statutes,” Vachss said in an interview with the National Association to Protect Children, which he serves as a board member. “Now civil forfeiture is possible for a whole variety of crimes (including child pornography, under Title 18 United States Code 2254) but the laws involving forfeiture for drug trafficking or money laundering tend to be much stronger than those for other crimes. For example, there are expansive multi-national civil forfeiture laws when narco-trafficking is involved.”
“I specifically want the federal government to be able to sue, because it has both the resources and the mandate. I am not advocating ‘class action’ suits on behalf of unidentified victims. The goal is not enrichment of individual lawyers. The goal is to benefit child pornography victims, penalize the profiteers, and add assets to the agencies charged with enforcing the law.”
Currently, 22 states have asset forfeiture laws for child pornography cases. Such seizures — which would allow the government to seize any assets used in the production, distribution or marketing of the illicit material or which were purchased with proceedings from the sale of the material — are rarely utilized and even more rarely publicized. As most arrested child pornographers and child porn “collectors” utilized P2P technology and chat rooms to distribute the material, there is little to seize — besides cell phones, cameras and computers — in the first place.
But, as larger and more organized groups seek to participate in the child porn industry, the potential for large seizures increases, and while Vachss does not think a few seizures will stop child pornography, it will give law enforcement the additional funding and resources needed to expand monitoring and to step up law enforcement’s response to this crime.

20 times more cases since 1995

A proper response is definitely in need. Between 1996 and 2005, the FBI’s number of “innocent images,” or child pornography and exploitation cases ballooned by 2,026 percent. The number of arrests went up by 2,325 percent, while the number of convictions rocketed 1,312 percent. Between 2001 and 2011, the FBI made approximately 11,000 arrests on child exploitation or pornography.
In the United States, the documenting or recording of sexual acts of minors under the age of 18 is a felony under Title 18 of the United States Code, Chapter 110. Specifically, violators of this act are not only liable for the prison time this crime demands under the current sentencing guidelines, but are also fully responsible for the “full amount of the victim’s losses, including all costs related to physical, psychiatric or psychological medical care, physical and occupational therapy, “necessary transportation, temporary housing, and child-care expenses,” lost income, attorneys’ fees and any other losses suffered by the victim as a direct result of the offense.
The United States has traditionally seen child pornography as three separate but inseparable offenses. First, child pornography represents a sexual act imposed upon a minor. If the minor happens to be under the age of consent — which is likely, in these cases — then the staging and recording of the act represents both statutory rape and intent to aid and abet statutory rape. Second, purchasing and trading in child pornography encourages the proliferation of the act, which is also intent to aid and abet statutory rape. Finally, interstate transfer of such material — which, unlike adult pornography, still meets the court’s definition of “obscene” — is banned and criminalized under Title 18 of the U.S.C., Chapter 71, Section 1462.
“Any violation of federal child pornography law is a serious crime, and convicted offenders face severe statutory penalties.,” states the United States Department of Justice in its child pornography advisory. “For example, a first time offender convicted of producing child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2251, face fines and a statutory minimum of 15 years to 30 years maximum in prison.  A first time offender convicted of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce under 18 U.S.C. § 2252, faces fines and a statutory minimum of 5 years to 20 years maximum in prison.  Convicted offenders may face harsher penalties if the offender has prior convictions or if the child pornography offense occurred in aggravated situations defined as (i) the images are violent, sadistic, or masochistic in nature, (ii) the minor was sexually abused, or (iii) the offender has prior convictions for child sexual exploitation.  In these circumstances, a convicted offender may face up to life imprisonment.”

Nearly half of sentences are below recommendations

Despite this remarkably high prosecutorial and sentencing standard, in reality, many child pornographers are not subject to such harsh judgement. This is, in a large part, due to judicial prerogative. “Child pornography offenses are serious crimes,” state Emily Bakeman and Sarah Riley Howard in their report, “A Policy of Variance: Downward Departures from Child Pornography Sentencing Guidelines.” “Accordingly, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for these offenses impose severe punishments – but maybe too Draconian, according to many judges. A 2010 survey by the United States Sentencing Commission revealed that 70% of district judges believe that the child pornography Guideline range for possession is too high, 69% believe the range is too high for receipt, and 30% believe it is too high for distribution.”
“Courts’ disagreement with the current guidelines is more than just talk. In 2011, child pornography offenses had the highest rate of below-guideline sentences, with 44.9% of sentences for child pornography trafficking and possession below the guideline range, as compared to 17.4% of sentences for all offenses. While judges are permitted to deviate from any guideline if they have compelling reasons for doing so, basic policy disagreements are consistently invoked to deviate from the guidelines for child pornography sentences.”
This, in part, is creating a situation that — for child pornographers — the potential profit in producing illicit materials exceed any risk. As most arrests focus on consumers and not the producers, the market — which represents an ever-growing part of the world’s $97.06 billion (as of 2006) pornography industry — has little motivation to slow its growth. In 2008, the Internet Watch Foundation reported that there was 1,536 discovered individual child abuse domains. Today, it is difficult to ascertain exactly how many child abuse domains are in existence, as the Tor Network — a redundantly encrypted network in the darknet — has grown increasingly more important in child pornography distribution, but most experts felt the number has expanded greatly.
“The increasing rate of download deviations from the child pornography guidelines has in fact given courts yet another reason to deviate: avoidance of sentencing disparities,” continued the report. “The guidelines are intended to reduce sentencing disparities by providing a national sentencing standard. However, because of the prevalence of below guideline sentences, within-guideline sentences are quickly becoming the exception rather than the rule.”
In the cases Kimbrough v. United States and Spears v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that district courts can reject sentencing guidelines in the name of ensuring justice. However, the repeated rejections of the guidelines create a precedent that have proven beneficial to pornographers.
Per the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, “In a study of arrested child pornography possessors, 40 percent had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography. Of those arrested between 2000 and 2001, 83 percent had images involving children between the ages 6 and 12; 39 percent had images of children between ages 3 and 5; and 19% had images of infants and toddlers under age 3.”
“The term ‘pornography’ may give rise to discussions about what constitutes art,” Vachss wrote for Parade Magazine in 2006. “It may invoke issues of free speech or censorship. But no matter how you feel about pornography in general, child pornography does not belong in that debate. No child is capable, emotionally or legally, of consenting to being photographed for sexual purposes. Thus, every image of a sexually displayed child—be it a photograph, a tape or a DVD—records both the rape of the child and an act against humanity.”

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Stupri nei Cie spagnoli. Processo ai poliziotti

Si terrà il prossimo 30 ottobre a Malaga, considerata una delle principali città turistiche dell'Andalusia, la seconda udienza del processo che vede alla sbarra 5 poliziotti spagnoli accusati di aver abusato sessualmente di diverse donne rinchiuse nel locale CIE (centros de internamiento para extranjeros) mentre erano in attesa del decreto di espulsione dal paese. 

I fatti risalgono al 2006 e il Cie, ospitato in una antico quartiere militare, è stato chiuso l'anno scorso per la fatiscenza della struttura. L'avvocato dell'accusa, Josè Luis Rodriguez ha raccolto numerose prove a carico dei poliziotti tra cui foto scattate con cellulari che ritraggono gli agenti mezzi nudi abbracciati alle detenute e le testimonianze delle addette alle pulizie - ora sotto protezione - che hanno dichiarato di aver trovato, nelle stanze dove le donne sono state violentate, preservativi e bottiglie di alcol. In pratica i poliziotti organizzavano festini all'interno della struttura e approfittando della loro autorità abusavano delle donne in attesa del decreto di espulsione, quindi completamente in balia dei loro aguzzini. 

L'avvocato Rodriguez, anche esperto in immigrazione e attivista dell'organizzazione non governativa "Andalucia Acoge" (Andalusia accoglie), ha dichiarato all'agenzia Ips che questi fatti, arrivati in giudizio con sette anni di ritardo, sono solo "la punta di un iceberg" che porta a galla "la sensazione di impunità assoluta nei confronti di questi poliziotti", impunità incoraggiata dalla "opacità, dalla mancanza di trasparenza di regole e di controlli" dominante all'interno dei Cie spagnoli. Luis Perna, presidente della "Plataforma de solidaridad con los inmigrantes" definisce inaccettabile il fatto che nei Cie le donne migranti, spesso vittime della tratta, siano "prigioniere in carceri sotto controllo di uomini". 

Secondo la "Legge sugli stranieri" spagnola, i Cie dovrebbero essere strutture "di carattere non penitenziario" per "la detenzione e custodia a disposizione delle autorità di stranieri soggetti a richiesta di espulsione", nessuno dovrebbe restarvi oltre 60 giorni ma la realtà è un'altra. Da una comunicazione inviata al parlamento dal ministero dell'interno lo scorso 17 ottobre, risulta che nel 2012, nei sette Cie presenti sul territorio nazionale con una capacità complessiva di 1526 unità, sono entrate 11.325 persone. Un anno dopo ne sono uscite solo 4390. 

"Per quanto riguarda le donne migranti - si legge nel documento Donne nei Cie: le realtà tra le sbarre pubblicato l'anno scorso dalla ong Women's Link Worldwide - vengono loro negati diritti basici come la salute, con conseguenze anche mortali" come accaduto alla congolese Sambra Martine, morta a 34 anni nel Cie di Aluche (Madrid) il 19 dicembre del 2011.

Tornando al processo per stupro contro i poliziotti in servizio nel Cie di Malaga c'è però da registrare un ulteriore problema: quattro delle sei donne che trovarono il coraggio di denunciare gli abusi furono espulse nel 2006, lo stesso anno in cui si verificarono i fatti e sono quindi irreperibili; ma il presidente della Corte Adrès Rodero vorrebbe ascoltare tutte le testimonianze ed ha fatto richiesta all'Interpol o agli "organi competenti" di rintracciare le donne espulse. Questo comporterà altri ritardi e rinvii ma, come spesso accade, la giustizia può attendere.

Stupri nei Cie spagnoli. Processo ai poliziotti di Marina Zenobio 29 ottobre 2013

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Pakistan, 13enne violentata e seppellita viva

Salvarsi dopo essere stata violentata in strada e seppellita viva dagli aggressori che la credevano morta durante lo stupro. E’ l’incredibile esperienza vissuta da una ragazza pakistana di 13 anni, nel distretto di Toba Tek Singh, a circa 225 chilometri dalla citta di Lehore.

POLIZIA ALLERTATA – La giovane, sopravvissuta alla violenza sessuale, si stava recando a lezione di Corano, quando è stata avvicinata da due sconosciuti che l’hanno poi condotta in una zona isolata, stuprata e nascosta nel terreno fangoso ai bordi della strada. Una volta ripresa conoscenza la ragazza, solo apparentemente morta, si è sollevata dal fango chiedendo ad un passante di essere accompagnata al centro medico più vicino. Da quanto si apprende il padre della 13enne, Siddique Mughal, avrebbe prontamente avvertito la Polizia di quanto accaduto. E l’Alta Corte di Lahore avrebbe in seguito sollecitato i giudici distrettuali di Toba Tek Singh ad indagare sul caso.
ALLARME – Le violenze sessuali su minori in Pakistan sono un vero e proprio allarme. Una recente indagine del Washington Post ad esempio ha rivelato che gli abusi sono cresciuti dai 668 del 2002 ai 2.788 del 2012.

La 13enne sepolta viva dopo lo stupro di Dario Ferri - 30/10/2013 

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Gli intellettuali francesi prendono parola per difendere il vizio della prostituzione. «Vogliamo essere liberi di andare con le prostitute»: l'appello è dello scrittore francese Frederic Beigbeder che, insieme ad altri illustri "colleghi", ha lanciato una petizione contro il progetto del governo di multare i clienti delle lucciole. I 343 "MAIALI" Il manifesto sarà pubblicato la prossima settimana sul mensile Causeur, ma il testo è rivelato oggi dal quotidiano Liberation. Il gruppo di intellettuali transalpini condanna i rapporti «non consensuali», ma intende difendere il proprio «diritto» a praticare il sesso a pagamento. Si firmano i 343 «salauds» (in italiano «maiali») ricordando così il famoso manifesto delle 343 «salopes» («puttane») pubblicato dal Nouvel Observateur nel 1971 da un gruppo di donne che ammettevano di aver subito un aborto, esponendosi così alle relative conseguenze penali. NO DEL PARLAMENTO «Contro il sessualmente corretto, vogliamo vivere da adulti», scrivono oggi gli intellettuali francesi. Dicono di non avere nulla in comune con i «frustrati, perversi e psicopatici descritti dai militanti di una repressione mascherata in lotta femminista. Oggi la prostituzione - aggiungono - domani la pornografia, che cosa si vietarà ancora?». Rifiutano che i parlamentari «proclamino delle norme sui nostri desideri e i nostri piaceri». GRANDI FIRME Oltre allo scrittore Beigbeder, noto per le sue provocazioni, hanno firmato l'appello anche giornalisti come Eric Zemmour e Ivan Rioufol, entrambi del gruppo Le Figaro, l'avvocato di Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Richard Malka, il drammaturgo Nicolas Bedos, e Basile de Koch, il marito di Frigide Barjot, leader del movimento anti matrimonio gay. LA MULTA Entro la fine di novembre il parlamento francese dovrà pronunciarsi sulla proposta di legge presentata dalla deputata socialista Maud Olivier che intende punire con una multa di 1.500 euro (raddoppiata in caso di recidiva) i clienti delle prostituite. Contro la legge sono scese in piazza appena alcuni giorni fa centinaia di prostitute. Sulle pagine di Le Monde la femminista Anne Zelensky, che all'epoca aveva firmato il manifesto delle «salopes», ha reagito all'appello degli intellettuali denunciando «un gioco perverso, in cui la libertà è messa al servizio di una schiavitù di fatto. Siamo seri - ha aggiunto - non c'è alcun piacere a dover aprire le gambe su richiesta e diverse volte al giorno».


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Maryville, jock culture and rape culture

YOUR 14-year-old daughter is dumped on your freezing front lawn in a state of chemically induced incoherence with her shoes off and frost stuck in her hair. She tells you she was raped. You hear her 13-year-old best friend was also raped that same night.

Your daughter is then bullied as a tape of the incident passes around her high school. You wait for the indictments and some semblance of justice, but they dissipate, as one of the accused is a football star from one of the area's most prominent and politically connected families.
The county prosecutor drops the charges, stating that your family is refusing to cooperate, even though you are begging to be heard. Then it gets worse. You are fired from your job without warning and the violent threats against your family through social media increase. You have to pick up your family and leave town. After your departure, your house is burned to the ground. But you refuse to be intimidated.
A public outcry develops, spurred by the decision of your family to come forward and speak out. Now, 18 months after the incident, a special prosecutor is looking into the case.
This is the story of Melinda Coleman, her daughter Daisy, Daisy's friend Paige, and her alleged rapist Matthew Barnett, the grandson of a longtime member of Missouri's House of Representatives. There are other young men as well who are under scrutiny: athlete Jordan Zech, who allegedly filmed the assaults, and a 15-year-old whose name we do not know--who admitted to police that 13-year-old Paige "said no" several times, yet he refused to stop.
I do not know how Melinda Coleman has had the wherewithal to go public, be strong and even have to serenity to say, in advance of a demonstration called for her family, "I do not condone violence in our defense. I don't want others terrorized as we have been."
I am amazed by the composure of the now 16-year-old Daisy Coleman, choosing to go public, standing up for herself and writing essays online where she shares:
I sat alone in my room, most days, pondering the worth of my life... I burned and carved the ugly I saw into my arms, wrists, legs and anywhere I could find room. On Twitter and Facebook, I was called a skank and a liar, and people encouraged me to kill myself. Twice, I did try to take my own life.
Yet I am the most stunned that here we are, six months after a similar case in Steubenville, Ohio, and still not talking openly about the connective tissue between jock culture and rape culture.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ACCORDING TO the Campus Safety Magazine website, in their statistical analysis:
College men who participated in aggressive sports (including football, basketball, wrestling and soccer) in high school used more sexual coercion (along with physical and psychological aggression) in their college dating relationships than men who had not. This group also scored higher on attitudinal measures thought to be associated with sexual coercion, such as sexism, acceptance of violence, hostility toward women and rape myth acceptance.
But forget the studies. The jock culture/rape culture dynamic should be obvious to anyone with any connection to organized sports. I saw it on the teams on which I played, and I saw it on the team's I've covered.
I've heard the stories from athletes I've interviewed and from women with detailed descriptions of rape that go unpunished if someone with sports-related status is accused. I have seen it in the story of Lizzie Seeberg and the ways people still pretend that Notre Dame football is a bastion of morality.
The fact is that too many young male athletes are taught to see women as the spoils of being a jock. These young men are treated like gods by the adults who are supposed to be mentoring them--like cash cows by administrators who use their on-field exploits to extract money from politicians and alums.
No, I am not arguing that a majority of young men who play sports become people who engage in sexual assault. But, hell yes, I am arguing that in most male team sports, athletes are conditioned to look the other way if they see an assault about to take place. It is the exception when a teammate stands up at a party and says, "This cannot happen." To take it even further, it is the exception, for anyone, male or female, at a jock party to do the same.
The most distressing detail in the many articles I have read about Maryville was the story of a young girl at the high school who wore a homemade shirt when charges were not filed against Mr. Barnett. It read "Matt--1, Daisy--0". To her, it was a sports score, a pep rally and just a big game.
It's time to change the game. Jock culture left to its own devices is rape culture. If you are a coach or parent not trying to intervene in this culture to teach young men to not rape, then you are doing everyone a grave disservice. Talk to other coaches. Bring in speakers. Seek out curriculum. Be someone who uses sports to actively build a movement against rape culture. To do nothing is to just ensure more Steubenvilles, more Torringtons and more Maryvilles to come.
Not everywhere will have survivors willing to be as public as Daisy Coleman. But you can be a hero now by walking into your locker room and standing up to this shit today.
First published at

Maryville, jock culture and rape culture DAVE ZIRIN October 29, 2013

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martedì 29 ottobre 2013

4 dead in triple-murder suicide pact linked to child porn

In a mystery straddling two states, three men and a woman were found dead of shotgun blasts in north Alabama after two of them were targeted in a Tennessee child pornography investigation, police say.
It's being called a triple murder-suicide pact, as it appears the shooter killed his sister, former brother-in-law and friend before turning the 12-gauge on himself.
It's unclear why they were in Alabama and why two of the four chose to take part in the pact.
The four left handwritten suicide notes claiming their innocence and making requests for their funeral arrangements. Authorities discovered the notes, along with the bodies, in a car near Double Springs, Alabama, last week, Sheriff Rick Harris in Winston County, Alabama, told CNN.
The car, parked on a logging road in a national forest, had its engine running, windshield wipers on and radio blaring when deputies located it, according to CNN affiliate WATN in Memphis.
Kristie Hunt Campbell Hamrick, 39; her ex-husband, Robert Samuel Hamrick, 30; her brother, Andy Hunt, 38; and family friend Kevin Carey, 30, who all listed the same Savannah, Tennessee, address as their home, were inside.
In an interview with CNN affiliate WBRC in Birmingham, Harris said it appears Hunt fired five shots from a Mossberg 500A pump shotgun, killing the other three before getting into the car and shooting himself.
"We think at this point, by the shot pattern and trajectory study they did, that he walked around the car, and literally just leaned into the car and did what he had to do," Harris told WBRC.
Campbell Hamrick and her ex-husband became targets of a pornography probe after a teenage girl made allegations in September to the Department of Children's Services, which contacted the Hardin County, Tennessee, police, said Sheriff Samuel Davidson.
Deputies searched the four's mobile home the next day and seized three computer towers, two flash drives, two cameras and two cell phones, Davidson said. A forensics lab is expected to complete its analysis of the seized items next month.
Next-door neighbor Danny Keymon told WATN he saw police last month take "a bunch of junk out of here." His neighbors later vanished, and Robert Hamrick's mother told Keymon that they'd been involved in a devastating truck accident, he said.
"We heard they had a bad 18-wheeler wreck out in rural Texas and cut both of Kristi's legs off and one of Andy's arms and one of his legs and killed Kevin and threw Robert through the windshield," Keymon said.
Pam Dickerson, another next-door neighbor, told the station that though she'd had confrontations with Robert Hamrick in the past, he didn't seem like the type to be involved in child pornography.
"I've taken him home from town, too, when he was walking. He didn't seem like the type who could do that," she told WATN.
No charges have been filed in the child pornography probe, and Hunt and Carey were not being investigated, Sheriff Davidson said. When police went October 3 to the Savannah trailer where the four lived, the person who answered the door told police they'd been missing for two weeks. Authorities in Alabama had discovered them the night before, Davidson said.
Hardin said there will be no charges in relation to the murder-suicide, though the investigation remains open as authorities try to determine what exactly happened and why the foursome chose the Black Pond community in the William B. Bankhead National Forest to take their lives.
So far, investigators know that Carey had relatives in Alabama with whom he had discussed the suicide pact. The relatives told investigators of the conversation after Carey's death, Harris told CNN.
Harris also told WBRC that Carey told a friend in Hamilton, Alabama, that he and the other three planned to kill themselves rather than go to prison on child pornography charges.

4 dead in triple-murder suicide pact linked to child porn probe, police say

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Whose Porn, Whose Feminism?

In recent years, a trend known as “feminist porn” has gained visibility. Including films and even an annual Feminist Porn Awards ceremony, an increasing number of women are embracing the idea that porn, if done right, is compatible with feminism.
Lies about anti-porn feminists – that we’re in bed with the religious Right (we aren’t), that we snub our noses at the women in pornography (we don’t), or that we support censorship (also not) – have painted the feminist anti-porn movement as something rigid, outdated, and anti-sex. Feminist defenders of pornography claim to be defying traditional sexual mores, paving the way for everyone to explore sexuality in a new and daring way.

“I never met any woman that had a professional career and left it to go into porn just for fun,” recounts Vanessa Belmond, an industry veteran turned anti-porn activist. “Many got into it because of financial desperation. Many also had abusive childhoods. I had a roommate who had been on the streets, prostituting herself since the age of 14, and by the time she got into porn at 18, it was all she knew.”
That women in porn are usually there because they lack other options is a well-known fact – one that even pro-porn feminists don't deny. In a documentary called After Porn Ends, pornography apologist Nina Hartley admits: “They don’t know how to do anything else. They don’t know how to do retail; they don’t know how to do Excel spreadsheets. Many people [in] adult entertainment... are not suited for nine-to-five work.”
Instead of asking why some women are so disenfranchised, pro-porn feminists seem happy to leave these women where they are – at the bottom of the barrel.

Beginning in the Thatcher and Reagan-dominated 1980s and continuing to this day, the rise of pro-porn feminism has accompanied a general shift within feminism in which individualism has replaced what was once a collective struggle. In a typical statement, Jennifer Baumgardener wrote in 2000: “Feminism is something individual to each feminist.”
It's as if every choice that a woman makes is feminist, simply because she makes it. The fact that her “choice” may have been limited by sexist, racist, or other social structures is conveniently ignored, and the impact that her choice might have on other women is never questioned.
But unequal social structures do exist, and they often limit choices and alternatives available to women. In Canada and the US, women continue to earn 25-30 percent less than men. Like all averages, this number is subject to variation, so that middle- and upper-class white women earn more (in absolute terms and relative to white men) than do women of color, for example.
For an educated white woman who can afford to produce her own pornography and write books about how “empowering” it all is, the pay gap can be brushed off as a minor inconvenience. For a woman of color without a college education, like Belmond, this gap can mean the difference between having to sell her body vs working long hours to make ends meet.
“I thought it would be glamorous and exciting to be in porn,” Belmond explains. “I thought it would be this thrilling lifestyle. I’d read books about porn, like biographies, and I thought if I could just avoid some of the bad things, I’d be able to make all this money. But like almost all of the women in porn, I left with nothing. And now my pictures and videos are on the internet forever, for everyone to see and for the industry to keep making money off of.”

For younger women who have grown up with the internet, opposing all pornography may sound unthinkable. We have grown up in an environment so saturated with pornography, that we can barely imagine sex without it.
For women of all ages, learning to love and accept our bodies is a challenge. Throughout history, male-dominated societies have often set strict rules around sex. The punishments for breaking these rules have often been solely or disproportionately doled out to women, effectively making it impossible for us to have sex on our own terms. No doubt the idea of “feminist porn” appeals to our desire for a taste of sexual freedom.
But is “sexual freedom” really just reducible to more sex, no matter the circumstances?
“I did coke occasionally, but I was mostly a drinker. And then I got into painkillers – those are really popular in the industry, especially for women that do a lot of anal. And I smoked a whole lot of weed, too. I wouldn’t have been able to do [porn] otherwise. You can’t do that stuff sober,” Belmond recalls.
This is not a picture of a sexually liberated woman. It is, in fact, the picture of a woman who must lay back and think of England in order to “endure” sex. Those who denounce anti-porn feminism as “puritanical” have ignored the fact that pornographers do exactly what the Puritans did: deny women sexual self-determination.

The word “pornography”comes from the Greek porne, meaning “female sex slave” and graphos, meaning “writing” or “sketching.” In Ancient Greece, porne referred the lowest class of prostitutes, one that was considered utterly vile and there for the taking.
The word “pornography” literally refers to “the depiction of women as vile whores.” If pornography is often assumed to neutrally represent sex, it is only because there is an already widespread perception of women’s bodies as filthy and available for male use and abuse. The violence in pornography may be extreme, but the hatred of women depicted in it could not be more common.
It is this fusing of sex with cruelty that defines pornography as a genre. And it is the reason why pornography is so effective at changing men’s attitudes towards women and sex for the worse.
In an early study conducted by psychologist Neil Malamuth, healthy men with no criminal history were exposed to ten minutes of hardcore pornography. After the exposure, they were asked to answer questions about whether or not women ever “deserved” or enjoyed rape. The men who had watched the pornography overwhelmingly agreed with rape myths in a way that the control group did not.
Countless studies have since shown that exposure to pornography desensitizes men to violence against women, often shaping their sexuality in such a way that they become unable to experience arousal without some element of dominance or violence. The evidence has been so damning that, at times, universities have refused to allow further research on the topic. When a study shows detrimental effects that cannot be reversed, ethics boards will often refuse similar studies to go on. This has happened repeatedly with research on the effects of pornography.
In fact, Ed Donnerstein, a researcher at the University of Arizona, concludes: “Good colleagues of mine would argue that the relationship between... [pornography] and subsequent aggression and changes in... attitudes toward women is much stronger statistically than the relationship between smoking and [lung] cancer.”
Sanctuary for Families, a shelter for abused women and their children in New York, is one of many women’s shelters that has spoken out about the effects of pornography on battered women. One attorney working for the shelter, Amairis Peña-Chavez, explains: “In about 70 percent of the cases... [of] sexual abuse with my clients, pornography is involved. Either that he’s watching it and then wanting to recreate it; or he’s making her watch it and then wanting to film and have a movie of his own.”
Another attorney working with Sanctuary for Families, Hilary Sunghee Seo, emphasizes: “This is a pattern that these women find particularly degrading and humiliating... it makes them turn red, cry, freeze up when they’re recounting these stories.”
What will it take for these women to matter to a “feminist” movement that is supposed to be fighting for their lives? How loud must a woman scream in order to be heard?
Boundaries of Sexual Representation
“Feminist porn” is an odd concept. By definition, it implies that mainstream porn is not feminist, even as pro-porn feminists have spent decades claiming – and still do claim – that there is nothing wrong with pornography in general. Is this at last an admission that something is rotten in the state of pornland?
The Feminist Porn Awards, an awards ceremony that takes place ever year in Toronto, lists three criteria that can qualify a film as “feminist” — a woman and/or traditionally marginalized person had a hand in the production, writing, direction, etc of the work; it depicts genuine female pleasure; it expands the boundaries of sexual representation on film; and challenges stereotypes that are often found in mainstream porn.
How “feminist porn” expands the boundaries of sexual representation is unclear, given that the 2012 nominees included films like Submissive Slut and Babes in Bondage 4. But a woman having a hand in the writing, production, or direction of a film? By that standard, even some of the mainstream porn industry could be considered “feminist.”
In fact, the introduction to The Feminist Porn Book makes clear that: “Feminist porn is also produced within the mainstream adult industry by feminists whose work is funded and distributed by large companies such as Vivid Entertainment, Adam and Eve, and Evil Angel Productions.”
If “feminist porn” only meant small, independent studios making queer pornography, it still wouldn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of mitigating the harms of a $100 billion a year misogynist industry. But so-called “feminist pornographers” partnering with the mainstream industry shows what this is all about: money.
Definitions of Freedom
No radical questions are being asked about sex – for example, why do we need pornography in the first place? Although sexual pleasure is healthy and desirable, is anyone really entitled to buy someone else’s body for sex (in person or via video)? Instead, pro-porn feminists define “equality” as “equal opportunity exploitation,” seeking to give (mostly white and middle-class) women the right to profit from others’ suffering every bit as much as men already profit from it.
Women like Belmond – those who are hurt in the making of pornography, or as a result of it – are notably absent from this definition of freedom.
“I just wish that [the consumers] would stop it with this: ‘Well, she chose it to be in it, so I don’t feel guilty watching it,’” Belmond pleads. “Yes, I know I chose to be in it, I know other women chose to be in it. But a lot of these women have been abused horribly when they were younger, they’ve gone through a lot, [and] they have drug issues... just because they made that choice doesn’t mean that it’s OK to watch their pain.”
Since leaving the industry, Belmond has had to work long hours at minimum wage to barely scrape by., a human rights organization for which she does volunteer work, has helped her as much as they can. In the future, Belmond says that she would like to work full-time as Director of Youth and Sex Industry Outreach (a paid position for which they are currently seeking funding) to help other women leave the industry.
Meanwhile, how many other women will have their pain turned into someone else’s entertainment? How many women will be raped or beaten in part because their partners learned about sex from porne-graphos, from the depiction of women as vile whores? And what will it take for pro-porn feminists to care?
Feminists need to re-open the debate around pornography – not as a theoretical issue, but as the life or death issue that it really is. Most of us are not survivors of the industry; we have not suffered their specific injuries. But as women, we all live within the same sexist system. Every single one of us is shaped by it and suffers at least some of its consequences. If we refuse to stop an industry that hurts women for public entertainment, then we are refusing to stop sexism itself.
Whatever solutions we come up with must work for women like Belmond, or they will not work for any of us.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
Image: Copyright © Shutterstock. All Rights Reserved
Whose Porn, Whose Feminism? MAYA SHLAYEN 23 OCTOBER 2013

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