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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

It is time for democracies to…take [sex workers] seriously – not just because democratic values mandate it, but because sex workers are the experts on the matter.  –  Sonja Dolinsek

License to Rape 

Predators posing as gardai [Irish police] are preying on sex workers…demanding sex and robbing them…Uglymugs…has appealed to new Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan to direct officers to engage “more sympathetically” with sex workers…organiser…Lucy Smith, said…”many escorts are uncertain if these men are gardai or not…in some cases, these are corrupt gardai”…Kendra Wilkinson

Really Cheap Whores

The phrase “incredibly unprofessional” comes to mind:

Kendra Wilkinson hated having sex with Hugh Hefner so much that she turned to drugs and booze…she [also claimed]…that [she] was unaware sex was required of her when she moved into the Playboy mansion as one of Hefner’s girlfriends in 2003.  At the time she was 18 and he was 78…

Welcome To Our World (February Updates)

Busybodies and the State conspire to punish old people for being sexual:

…Donna Lou Young and Henry V. Rayhons…[were] both in their 70s [when they married]…Today, he’s awaiting trial on a felony charge that he raped Donna at a nursing home where she was living…Iowa [prosecutors claim] Rayhons had intercourse with his wife when she lacked the mental capacity to consent because she had Alzheimer’s.  She died on Aug. 8…One week later…Rayhons…was arrested…Experts in geriatrics say that intimacy…can make dementia sufferers feel less lonely and even prolong their lives…Henry and Donna…were deeply in love…[there is] no evidence…that the couple’s love faded, that Donna failed to recognize her husband or that she asked that he not touch her…prosecutors are likely to portray Rayhons as a sex-hungry man who took advantage of a sweet, confused woman…

The main culprits:  her daughters and prudish nursing home staff.

Gateway

Sometimes the flailing attempts at self-justification are a marvel to behold:

Six women were arrested…in a…[sting] in Birmingham [Alabama]…One…was charged with physical harassment after trying to grope an undercover officer…Lt. Ron Sellers [pretends cops had] complaints about prostitution…and [bloviated]…”It could be they are forced in to it, or they are supporting a drug habit.  [They sell] themselves for money…chasing sporting events and conventions.  A lot of them will be gravitating toward Atlanta for the SEC Championship this weekend…There are a lot of other crimes associated with escorts…They deal in cash.  They don’t trust police”…

Yes, he actually defined dealing in cash and not trusting pigs as “crimes”.Booby Trap

Business Opportunity

It’s not like it’s their money, after all:

A night spot with a…rather “voluptuous” architectural design…could be torn down in a matter of months.  The building…has seen several strip clubs over the span of 40 years.  It’s best known to residents as its original name, The Booby Trap, which also described its domed design…the building’s owner has…[offered] to sell the structure and the land [at more than the market value] to the city of Winter Park, which in turn plans to demolish the building and re-sell it.  No adult-oriented business will be allowed to open at the location…

Forward and Backward

Hull City Council ​won a landmark ruling to create Britain’s first “prostitution-free zone”…any sex workers or curb crawlers caught around the…Hessle Road area…can be arrested and [dragged to]…court.  City Councillor Daren Hale said…the zone was created was to give “a positive view of Hull”…the moves will simply create a red light district in another area…[politicians pretend that] a…harm reduction approach…will [somehow] run alongside the injunction…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Paging Dr. David Ley:

A sex addict [was] caught taking photos up women’s skirts…Peter Hooton…served a prison term when convicted of like crimes in the past [but New Zealand] Judge Grant Fraser said the best hope of protecting the community…was to keep him out of jail this time…Hooton’s…attending…twice a week with Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous…

Hark, Hark, the Dogs Do Bark snakeskin pumps

Yet another study proving that the sky is blue:

Scientists from the Universite de Bretagne-Sud conducted experiments that showed that men behave very differently toward high-heeled women…if a woman drops a glove on the street while wearing heels, she’s almost 50 per cent more likely to have a man fetch it for her than if she’s wearing flats…a high-heeled woman in a bar waits half the time to get picked up by a man, compared to when her heel is nearer to the ground…

Against Their Will (TW3 #3)

I’m really not sure which to believe, the copy which claims that sex workers in Mumbai welcome and trust Priti Patkar, who apparently runs a kind of daycare center for them; or the headline which trumpets “She works for the welfare of sex workers by first taking the children away from them“.  I also see too many phrases like “rescued from brothels” and suspicious protests-too-much statements about how much the kids “love” her and her cronies.

The Widening Gyre 

And it all happened without anyone noticing!

…it is suspected that dozens of schoolgirls at Minzu Middle School were drugged and forced into prostitution.  An insider [claimed]…the students were given to government leaders outside of the county as gifts for their use…the…girls…were coerced by a female…surnamed Xu [who]…has done this multiple times…Xu…first bribes several students while the rest who do not obey her are beaten…One government employee insisting on anonymity [said]…the story of over 80 schoolgirls being forcibly taken to a hotel for prostitution is very common, with some versions of the story saying it involves over 80 and others saying over 40…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

It only took the Washington Post two years to catch up with me:

…The graphic showed a rape reporting rate of 10 percent, but…2013 criminal victimization rates…estimated 35 percent…are reported…the survey’s definitions of rape or “sexual attack” is inconsistent with states’ legal definitions or with standard methodology… “Prosecution” and “arrested” are not terms that can be wrapped under “faced trial”…the rate of incarceration among people convicted of rate is much higher than one-third…46 percent of felony rape convictions resulted in guilty pleas…

Skin To Skin

Checklist

This rather odd story engages in the usual “trafficking” tale tactic by offering a lurid story without names or evidence, but is mainly about how cops are given a checklist of “signs” they can pretend to have observed so as to transform a boring old prostitution case into a sexy “trafficking” one.  The low point: “A majority of women experience [sex work] as paid rape.”  The high point:  “We don’t have a plague of human trafficking”.

Banishment

Residents of…[a] Pretoria [neighborhood] have made it clear they won’t tolerate prostitution openly taking place near their homes.  At the weekend they burnt makeshift beds allegedly used by prostitutes…and forced women they accuse…to walk down the street carrying banners…Resident Paul Masina said they were tired of police [requiring]…evidence to support their complaints…“It’s disgusting and filthy here because of them so we’re destroying their businesses so they won’t come back again”…

Hollow Claims (TW3 #338)

Despite its recent support for “sex trafficking” hysteria, Al Jazeera published an editorial from our strong ally Sonja Dolinsek arguing against imposition of the Swedish model in various countries.  One must wonder if, like the UK’s Guardian or the US’s Washington Post, the network isn’t straddling the fence until it figures out which way the wind is blowing.Elvgren His Life and Art

Remembrance 

Gil Elvgren was the greatest [pinup artist].  The massive book, Elvgren: His Life & Art, has the artist’s best paintings…His work was familiar to millions of Americans in the mid-20th Century, thanks to calendar publishers who printed his cheesecake paintings for decades…[they] were [often] copied onto fighter planes by paintbrush-wielding World War II soldiers…

Marching Up Their Own Arses (TW3 #349)

About as revolting an idea as I’ve ever heard of:

A&E has greenlit a…new reality series in which a man tries to convince prostitutes to quit their jobs…the network has ordered eight episodes of 8 Minutes (working title), a series featuring cop-turned-pastor Kevin Brown surprising escorts in hotel rooms and offering to rescue them…Brown has eight minutes to make his case…the show was inspired by a 2013 LA Times article about Brown…[who pretends] he can [magically] decode an ad…on the Internet…[to] notice…that this is obviously someone being held against their will…

Despite his Super Savior powers, he claims only a 50% success rate (probably about 10x his true rate) and sets an 8-minute limit because that’s how long it takes demonic pimps to materialize in the room and murder him in front of a whole TV crew.  I am not making this up.  Please sign this petition for A&E to rethink this abomination; Brown will no doubt continue his nonconsensual kinky roleplay anyway, but it doesn’t have to be televised.

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #401)

A law that would have allowed Auckland local bodies to ban prostitution in specified places has been scrapped by a parliamentary select committee…councils have been urged to look at other ways to control street prostitutes…”Many complaints…relate to noise, littering, slow-moving motor vehicles (kerb-crawling) and disorderly behaviour.  These kinds of behaviour can be dealt with by bylaws already in existence”…

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #422) Laura Pahomova

I am not a vindictive sort, but this man had better hope I never catch him alone anywhere:

A model jumped seven floors to her death…after a spurned lover told her family about her…life as an escort.  Laura Pahomova, 23, scrawled notes in lipstick and eyeliner over the walls, mirrors and furniture of a…13th floor apartment…claiming former client Martin Riley had driven her to suicide…Laura, who described Mr Riley as a “stalker”, had threatened suicide if her family found out what she was doing but…Riley [pretends that] he informed her loved ones to help her…Riley had a previous conviction for the harassment of another escort…In that case…he threatened to tell her family about her work and she threatened to harm herself if he did…

The Law of Averages (Traffic Updates) 

Another example of That Age as cultic totem:

A Horsham charity, which helps women out of escorting and prostitution, has secured funding to produce an education pack for schoolchildren…the Averageage12 [sic] pack [is so] named… “because 12 is average age of trafficked victims…and entry into prostitution…we want to get [this propaganda] into the hands of every 12 year old…to help protect them and their friends from potentially being trafficked or groomed into the sex industry”…

I Saw My Brain (TW3 #433)

They’re “helping” them into cells and coercive “therapy”:

Grady Judd, sheriff of Polk County, announced the arrests of 61 people…to help women who are victims of being exploited as sex workers…they are offering counseling to help the women…

The Public Eye (TW3 #439) face sitting

Around 500 people [descended] on Westminster and [pretended] to have sex…in a…protest against…censorship…#PornProtest plans to…attempt to break the Guinness World Record for…face-sitting…over new restrictions on what pornography can be made and sold in the UK…Charlotte Rose…the woman behind the protest…first became involved in the adult industry as a bondage model…and now works as a sex therapist…she is also a seasoned political campaigner…and was an independent candidate in the recent…by-election…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #445) 

El Paso Children’s Hospital is backing away from its participation in a local fundraiser after learning…that…special guest DJ [Jessie Andrews]…also happens to be an adult film star…One hundred percent of the ticket proceeds were to go to the Children’s Hospital, along with toys collected at the event…

Prudesville (TW3 #448)

This is so over-the-top absurd, I’m beginning to suspect it’s some incredibly elaborate hoax:

…The city of Everett tore down the pink and purple walls of two brothel-esque coffee stands, known notoriously as Java Juggs and Twin Peaks, after its former owner, Carmela Panico, pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution and money laundering.  Construction crews [hauled] out junk from the “dilapidated and disgusting” stands into a nearby dump truck…the city [stole] the rundown stands and decided to destroy them as a message that illegal activity would not be tolerated…

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For Love

I’m in love with a sex worker, and we’ve decided we are going to live together and she is going to retire and pursue a “normal” career.  Despite having a degree and being intelligent and capable, she’s concerned about getting work; I’ve told her I don’t have a problem with her seeing her more trustworthy regulars from time to time until she feels financially comfortable.  I’d be willing to support her completely, but financial independence is very important to her and she has said she doesn’t want to rely on me for support.  She reads your website avidly, so I wonder if you have any advice for us?

My biggest concern about the situation as described is that it’s nearly always a bad idea for a sex worker to stop working for love.  I did it, and it set the stage for two separate financial debacles in 2004 and 2008; we still haven’t yet recovered from the second one.  I’ve also seen others do it, with results ranging from OK to disastrous.  If your lady wants to quit sex work for other reasons that have nothing to do with you, well and fine; but if the sole reason she’s quitting to pursue a relatively low-paying “normal” job (in a bad economy, yet) is because of your relationship, she is making a mistake (potentially a very serious one).  The stress, drudgery and inadequate compensation of a “straight” job are likely to lead to resentment against you even if she makes the choice of her own free will, and if y’all get into dire financial straits because of the lesser income that resentment will be quadrupled.  Obviously, the choice should be hers and hers alone; neither you nor I nor her non-sex worker friends have any right to push her in either direction.  But she needs to deeply consider the potential consequences to her, to you, to your finances and to your relationship if she leaves a well-paid job for which she’s temperamentally suited in favor of a less-remunerative one for which she isn’t.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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The idea that prostitution should be stopped by non-sex workers…devalues and dehumanizes people who are struggling to make ends meet. – Svati Shah

Check Your Premises

Oh, the mental gymnastics:

…Law enforcement and [feminist] groups [pretend that] tough…penalties are an appropriate response to pimps who prey on vulnerable young women…But at times, the law enforcement efforts that are meant to target the pimps also sweep up the women who assist them in their crimes, women who often are also victims themselves…

Blah blah “sold for sex”, blah blah “sex-trafficking network”, blah blah “control over her”, blah blah “enslaved to their pimps”.  You get the idea.

Repeat Offenders 

There’s something deeply disturbing about Catholic nuns aiding and abetting the police state; it’s even more disturbing when the collaborators name their operation after a Biblical whore famous for hiding fugitives from the police:

Sister Ancy Mathew …founded a charity called Rahab…and accompanied officers…raiding flats where trafficked women might be held…Women who have been trafficked into Britain to become sex workers have invariably been lied to, and have often been encouraged by the criminals who control them to fear police.  As a result, few trust the police enough to be able to open up…about what they know after they have been freed…

Enabling Oppression

Even the more perceptive survivors of forced prostitution recognize that criminalization enables it:

…I would never have had to go through that terrible situation if prostitution was legalized…If it was legal, I would have signed a contract, I would have known what I was getting myself into, and I could have held the recruiters accountable for their actions…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #19)

A woman that had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly working illegally as a prostitute and accused of intentionally causing clients serious bodily harm, has died from a drug overdose…she also left behind a suicide note.  Katerina…was among 12 HIV-positive women…whose names and photographs were published on the Greek police’s website in 2012…HIV stigma victimPositive Voice, a group that helps people with HIV, had denounced the incident as an unacceptable breach of  ‘medical confidentiality…Katerina…served a one year prison sentence and was released after a court…[found] no evidence [she] engaged in illegal prostitution…

The Widening Gyre 

Evidence?  This is Sweden, we don’t believe in evidence:

Sweden’s Security Service has expressed concerns about a rapid rise in the number of Swedes heading to Iraq and Syria to fight for Isis, as Sweden’s official coordinator against violent extremism suggests some girls are being forced to make the journey…she said that while many young people choose to join…others – especially girls – are…”trafficked” to the middle east and southern Asia…

Sexual Predators

Yakopovich believes cops should relax, have fun, rape a few whores and laugh at their tears:

Police say they are cracking down on prostitution…Lt. Vince Yakopovich said…”We always try to take the time and say, ‘Hey, drop what you are doing and let’s go'”…Local motels are cooperating for the most part…

Coming and Going (TW3 #311)

In the long run, tight budgets work in our favor:

Dallas County’s prostitution diversion [scheme]…was meant to serve as a model for the state’s largest counties.  But some officials, including those in Collin and Denton County, have passed on the state’s mandate…that counties with more than 200,000 people start [similar schemes]…Officials…say…prostitutes…in their jurisdictions …aren’t at the street level…and [harassing them] requires more [expensive]…investigations…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #316)

Gloria Steinem went to India earlier this year…with Ruchira Gupta…of Apne Aap…Feminists in India…disagree with Steinem’s take on prostitution…Steinem…repeatedly calls Apne Aap a “grass roots” organization, which would imply that it has little or no international profile, and primarily works with local people…[but] Apne Aap…receives funding from outside India regularly, and…is part of the international trafficking industrial complex, that combination of non-governmental organizations, governments, and money that has enabled the strange rise of the idea that “trafficking”, whatever it may be (chattel slavery, forced prostitution, any prostitution, forced labor, illegal migration, and/or debt bondage) is a universal problem requiring huge resources to resolve…

Original Sin (TW3 #322)

Pope Francis and other leaders of the world’s main religions…signed a joint declaration to work together to eradicate modern slavery…by …2020…they declared that “Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution…is a crime against humanity”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)Yoda

If something’s in a movie, it must be true!

When Tim Matsui began working on his project about the sex trafficking of teenagers around Seattle in 2012, he followed a group of police officers…The Long Night, a film…directed by…Matsui and funded by the [rescue industry] is a gut-wrenching [fantasy] of the effects of sex trafficking on seven people, including victims, survivors and law enforcement officers…

Policing for Profit 

Wally Kowalski, an engineer living in a farmhouse in rural southwest Michigan, came home one day…to find his property swarming with cops…Kowalski has a license to grow and distribute medical pot to several low-income people who depend on the drug…state police…seized his power generator—even though it had nothing to do with his marijuana plants—and some expensive equipment.  They also destroyed the plants.  Kowalski [said]…they grabbed anything likely to be sold at a police auction…”When they found my bank accounts here in my office, they let out a yell.  They said, ‘Here’s the bank accounts, we got him.’  It’s like the happiest thing for them, to find my bank accounts.”  The police froze his accounts, rendering him unable to make payments on his student loans or other bills…The authorities haven’t charged Kowalski with a crime…

Scapegoats (TW3 #334)

Once again, vanillas reveal themselves as the true perverts:

A report in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour describes an unusual field trip made by Canadian researcher Debra W. Soh – to a furry convention…she had expected to find herself in a dimly-lit orgy “filled with couples – or groups – of costumed folks engaging in kinky sex” but she saw nothing of the kind.  In fact, she saw nothing sexual at the whole convention except some erotic…fan art that was on sale.  Instead, the furries were chatting, playing board games, smoking, and so on…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #349)

Former day care owners who spent 21 years in prison…[for Satanic panic] convictions…are struggling to convince prosecutors that they should be fully exonerated.  Dan and Fran Keller…were freed on bond last year when the only physical evidence against them was found to be a mistake…But…prosecutors remain unwilling to proclaim them innocent [despite the fact that everyone knows their conviction was the product of a witch hunt]…[their] claim…will be decided by…conservative judges [who protect the status quo and]…will be guided by the recommendations of [the] judge…who [convicted them in] 1992…and…has already twice ruled that they had failed to prove their innocence.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410) Fiona MacTaggart

a few weeks ago in Parliament…Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart added two clauses to the Modern Slavery Bill that would criminalise the clients of sex workers in England and Wales…MacTaggart and her supporters hoped to bring the Nordic Model here with almost no notice or debate…The English Collective of Prostitutes…lobbied their MPs on the phone or in person, and parliamentarians were blasted with anti-criminalisation briefings from left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell…Supporters Women Against Rape pointed out that: “To target men who have not been accused of violence just because they purchase sexual services, diverts police time and resources away from reported rapes”…MacTaggart has claimed that the majority of sex workers were coerced in some fashion – a view based on discredited statistics, and one for which she has been taken to task before

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #430)

Rare honesty in a mainstream American newspaper:

Let’s be honest.  Paying for sex has been around a long time, and it’s not going away anytime soon.  Recent court cases have established sexual rights and privacy in protecting what consenting adults do behind closed doors, but those rights end for people who wish to exchange sex for money…some people do not believe sex workers should have the same legal rights as other workers.  A study recently published in The Lancet found that even partial criminalization…such as the Swedish model…places sex workers at equal risk for human-rights violations and exploitation.  Trying to stop demand will not stop prostitution…Nearly every industrialized nation has made prostitution partially legal or outright legal. It’s time America does the same thing…

Special thanks to Mark Bennett for the unlocked version of the story.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

Any amount of criminalization of sex work allows cops to play their evil games:

Five people were arrested…after police raided brothels in Germany…Austria, Bosnia and Romania.  More than 900 [cops]…took part in the raids…Police also seized cash, computers, hard drives, business records and one pistol.  Stuttgart prosecutors [demonized the sex workers’ relationships and told lurid “trafficking” tales]…

The Public Eye (TW3 #439) 

She’s a victim!  So let’s help her by making her homeless, too!  “Connected‘s Kate McGrew has revealed that she’s found it hard to find somewhere to live since revealing she is a sex worker on the reality show…

Monkey Business (TW3 #442)

Let’s hope this legal rationale of why chimps aren’t “persons” is extended to fetuses, too:

petitioner requests that this Court enlarge the common-law definition of “person” in order to afford legal rights to an animal.  We decline to do so, and conclude that a chimpanzee is not a “person” entitled to the rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus…chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.  In our view, it is this incapability…that renders it inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights…that have been afforded to human beings…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #447)

thousands of…sex slaves in Russia are…waiting for a good samaritan [sic] to come along and save them…since the government and society in general prefer to look the other way, anti-trafficking activists [pretend]…Russia…is now at once a destination, origin and transit country for sex slaves…and…ranked as the country with the sixth-biggest slave population in the world…in a fresh annual report by the…Walk Free Foundation…

Divided We Fall (TW3 #447)

Twenty-five Toronto city councillors have signed a letter asking Premier Kathleen Wynne to take…Bill C-36…to the Ontario Court of Appeal to determine if it is constitutional.  The new legislation, which received royal assent last month, will become law on Saturday…”we work to promote measures that increase public safety…In particular, we are united in our efforts to end violence against women…Bill C-36 has introduced…unsafe conditions into Canadian society, bringing foreseeable detriment and real danger to some of the most vulnerable women we represent”…The letter will be presented at City Hall on Friday (Dec. 5), which is the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre…

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The Missing Piece

Before my divorce I was at a very bad stage in my life.  While going through that, I became emotionally involved with one of my business contacts; after we had sex he became kind of distant and doesn’t talk to me as much.  I love him so very much, and he made me feel like a worthwhile person at a time I was so low I didn’t want to go on any longer.  I don’t want to steal him from his family because I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on anyone; I just want to be his mistress.  Is there any way to keep him interested?

puzzle with missing pieceThe reason I advise married men to only cheat on their wives with professionals is that other women fall in love much too easily, as you have done.  There is no magic formula for winning a man’s heart; women have been looking for this since the beginning of time and it simply doesn’t exist.  A married man may have an affair with you, but the chances of him leaving his wife and family for you is essentially nil; I know you love this man, but it seems pretty obvious to me that he lost interest in you as soon as he got the sex he wanted.  I can also predict with confidence that the more you demonstrate your love, the further he’ll distance himself because he doesn’t want a divorce.  I know you don’t want to hear this, but you need to leave off pursuing him; if you continue it will surely result in pain for everyone involved.  I also know that you feel very lonely right now, but you must learn to live with yourself before getting into a new relationship; after my first husband left me, I was alone for six years before becoming involved again.  Oh, I had commercial sex with men and casual sex with women (and a very few men), but I kept everyone at arms’ length because I knew I was not yet ready for a relationship.  We like to imagine that a romantic partner can “complete” us, can fill up gaps in our own personalities like jigsaw puzzle pieces fitting together, but the fact of the matter is that two broken people nearly always create a broken relationship.  I’m not telling you that both parties have to be in perfect mental health; if that were true, I could probably fit every healthy couple in the whole world in this room.  But what I am telling you is that you can’t use another person to “patch” whatever’s wrong with you; he can help you with problems, but the hard work of psychic self-repair is still your own responsibility.  It won’t be easy to be by yourself, but I think it’s imperative for the time being.  Seek professional help (and/or the help of friends you aren’t having sex with) in dealing with whatever caused that “bad stage”, and once you’ve begun to heal then you can open your heart up again to the possibility of a new relationship with someone who isn’t already taken.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Even when we understand that memories can be altered, or even fabricated…the truth is difficult to accept; after all, our memories certainly seem permanent, and we might like to believe that things we have forgotten have merely been mislaid, like old VHS tapes consigned to a box at the back of a closet and covered with old clothes.  –  “Mind-witness Testimony

If you haven’t yet read my research paper, “Mind-witness Testimony”, you really ought to; it expands at much greater length and in much greater detail on the themes I discussed in “Imagination Pinned Down” and “I Disbelieve It!”, mocked in “Mulberry Street” and mentioned in passing in “Traffic Jam”, “The Swedish Cult”, “That Old Black Magic”, “Mumbo Jumbo” and many other places.  The Reader’s Digest version is:

…The human mind doesn’t passively record events as a camera does; memory is an active and dynamic process which retains information by fitting it into schemata, mental frameworks which shape our thinking and give meaning to perceptions…The same psychological mechanism which causes us to find pictures in Rorschach’s inkblots also causes us to fit memories into the complex web of schemata by which we interpret the world.  And just as we ignore those topological elements of a cloud or inkblot which do not fit the meaning our minds have imposed upon it, so do we forget or distort elements of a memory which fail to conform to the schema in which we have embedded it, or even invent elements which were not in reality present, but which the schema predicts should be…The human mind often completely fabricates memories in order to impose conformity with one’s weltanschauung.  One simple example involves police lineups:  people will often identify the man whom police imply (subtly or overtly) is their preferred suspect because they believe police to be expert assessors of guilt who would never implicate someone falsely, and this schema of police authority and infallibility actually shapes their memories, sometimes to the point of identifying a person who is later proven to look absolutely nothing like the actual criminal…

Lancashire witchesIn witch hunts of both the classic and modern varieties, hypersuggestible people such as children, the mentally ill, the emotionally needy or the severely traumatized can be induced to “remember” all sorts of fantastic things which are not even physically possible, much less grounded in actual events; when they repeat these “memories” in court (or in front of audiences hungry for “sex trafficking” narratives) they are not lying in the strict sense, but merely playing back a script that was written into their memories by processes such as suggestion, group polarization, stereotypic conformation, guided imagination, abusive interrogation tactics and others discussed in my paper.  Though the concept of “recovered memory” has been discredited and most reasonably-well-informed people understand its role in driving the Satanic panic, few have yet connected the dots to recognize “sex trafficking” narratives as produced by the same processes.  However, as the public begins to recognize driving the Satanic panic, few have yet connected the dots to recognize “sex trafficking” narratives as produced by the same processes.  However, as the public begins to recognize the fallibility of human memory, it’s inevitable that outlandish, evidence-free stories such as those told by Somaly Mam, Chong Kim and Theresa Flores will be treated with greater skepticism.  And though it’s a slow process, that knowledge is indeed growing; witness, for example, this treatment of a new resurgence of the “Satanic cult abuse” myth:

…two [Scottish] charities…Break the Silence and…Izzy’s Promise, believe satanic [sic] abuse to be rife in Scotland and that it has been for decades.  They say children are forced to take part in satanic [sic] rituals involving the sacrifice of babies and the making of snuff movies….it appears highly likely that…these claims are based upon “recovered memories”.  As I have written in the past in these pages, the use of various dubious techniques…aimed at recovering allegedly repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse can often produce detailed and horrific false memories.  In fact, there is a consensus among scientists studying memory that traumatic events are more likely to be remembered than forgotten, often leading to posttraumatic stress disorder…The sad truth is that we have been here before.  [Satanic fantasies of the early ’90s]…were remarkably similar to those now…

Nor is the skepticism limited to a few reporters discussing horror stories any sane person could recognize as false:

Memory, as experts have been trying to teach judges and jurors, does not function like an iPhone camera recording. Memories can not only be deleted; they can be altered or invented without you even realizing it, as shown in a study published last year in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, which involved 861 U.S. soldiers enrolled in a survival school.  As part of training, they endured abusive interrogations.  Afterward, many were shown a photo of someone who looked nothing like their interrogator, and interviewers insinuated that the person depicted was the culprit.  Eighty-four percent of the soldiers misidentified their interrogators after being misled, and some also remembered weapons or telephones that never existed.  An extensive body of research with similar findings has become increasingly perplexing for the nation’s judicial systems, leading the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to release a sweeping report last month calling for an overhaul of how the courts and law enforcement deal with one of the most powerfully persuasive pieces of evidence that can sway a jury:  eyewitness identification.  Research has shown that leading questioning or suggestive behavior by psychiatrists, police or acquaintances, as well as accounts in the media, can result in “planting” false memories in the mind of a witness.  In some cases, this can lead witnesses to believe they saw incidents that never occurred…Unsettling as it might be to admit it, the mind is really a muddle of distorted memory associations, further complicated by the distracting details of the moment.  For most of our country’s judicial history, this understanding has been largely absent from courtrooms, but a string of shocking cases across the world over the past three decades has ushered in debate, discussion and, finally, the revamping of…laws on the issue…

Belief in the infallibility of memories, especially traumatic memories, is deeply ingrained, and prosecutors will not be happy about the replacement of easily-manipulated crime victim testimony with more indelible and objective forms of evidence.  But sooner or later, the facts must win and eyewitness testimony uncorroborated by physical evidence will be tossed into the rubbish-bin of history along with trial by ordeal and, one would hope, confessions obtained by torture.  Moral panics will periodically bedevil humanity for at least another several thousand years, but perhaps our children’s children will no longer have to endure trials and laws based on nothing but the incredible and unsubstantiated narratives of self-professed victims. Salem accusation

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I think you are pretty like a horse or a ladybug, I’m not sure which.  –  Bennet

Our videos this week both relate to the movie The Avengers; the first is an outtake and the second a parody (provided by Aspasia).  I tweeted the first one earlier this week in response to frequent questions about where I get the energy and drive to turn out as much content as I do every day.  Everything above it is from Radley Balko, and the links between the videos are from Rick Horowitz (“irony”), Jason Kuznicki (“totalitarian”), Popehat (“Florida”), Dave Crisp (“approach”), Angela Keaton (“coed” and “lawn”), Carol Fenton  (“assault”), and Lenore Skenazy (“this”).

From the Archives

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Adults should be able to make their own choices—even if that adult is a woman.  –  Marty Klein

Rough Trade 

This would, of course, make prostitution stings legally rape (not that a cop would ever actually be prosecuted for it):

A man woos a woman to bed with tales of his riches, fast cars and a vacation home in Monaco.  But he actually lives in his mother’s basement…Under a bill recently proposed by a south Jersey lawmaker, such actions…could prompt charges of rape…Troy Singleton…introduced the bill…which would create the crime of “sexual assault by fraud,” which it defines as “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not”…

License to Rape garbageman Trent Barker

As long as any aspect of sex work is criminal, whores will be vulnerable to cops and impersonators:

A Melbourne garbage inspector has been fined $1500 for impersonating a police officer in what a magistrate has described as an “amateurish” attempt to have sex with a prostitute…Trent Barker..told [her] he was a police officer investigating crime and prostitution…then showed the woman a radio, a binder and his council badge, which he claimed was a police badge…He then left the hotel after she refused to have sex.  Barker was arrested a fortnight later and sacked…

Welcome To Our World

[Georgia] Police raided an elderly woman’s home because they suspected that she was allowing people to play cards and bet money inside without government permission — an “illegal gambling house”…90-year-old Mary Helen…Morgan’s guests were [also] allegedly…paying [her] to serve them beverages…without government permission, oversight, or licenses.  [She] was charged with multiple crimes, including…disorderly house…and illegal alcohol sales.  Police charged or cited sixteen other adults with an array of other victimless crimes…[and seized] loot…[including] a gun, drugs, a 2004 Chevy Silverado…a 2003 GMC Yukon and trailer containing miscellaneous lawn care equipment…$4,100 in cash…alcohol, tobacco products, snacks and drinks…

Sales Pitch

Advocates for the Swedish Model claim that the law has led to declining numbers of buyers and sellers of sexual services.  However, according to Ann Jordan…the Swedish government doesn’t actually know…claims of its ‘success’ lack reliable evidence, and the source of such claims “is primarily the government’s initial and short English-language summary”…[which] cites a survey…[suggesting] that fewer men had bought sex compared to a 1996 study, but crucially omits the reservations expressed by the very person who conducted it:  Jari Kuosmanen…[who] explains…the lack of evidence…”There is nothing to support the claim that prostitution in Sweden has decreased…the problem is that politicians didn’t base the legislative change on research…

Profound Mental Disabilities

Funny how often relatives seeking revenge for BDSM relationships of which they disapprove focus on mental illness:

A [Connecticut] jury has awarded about $638,000 to a woman who sued a man she said had a sadomasochistic sexual relationship with her adult daughter…Mary Kortner…filed a civil sexual battery and assault lawsuit in 2006 against Craig Martise…saying her daughter wasn’t able to consent…because of her mental condition…In 2009, a jury found in favor of Martise.  In June, the state Supreme Court overturned that verdict and ordered a new trial…Kortner’s daughter…died in 2010 at age 39 from an undisclosed illness.  She was diagnosed with clinical depression, borderline personality disorder, bulimia and anorexia, and she twice tried to commit suicide…the state Supreme Court ruled that people don’t necessarily give up their ability to consent to sex, including sadomasochistic encounters, when they are placed under the legal conservatorship of others.  The court also said it is up to juries to decide if people are able to consent to sex…

Surplus Women

A Swazi sex worker has been killed in…South Africa by a client during payment at her residence.  Nomsa Dlamini (25)…was strangled and…robbed…The man is said to have paid with a R200 ($18) note…and asked for change.  [He attacked her when she]  took out her moneybag which contained a sum of R2000 ($180)…over eight…sex workers [were] killed in South Africa this year…

Profit from Panic Love146 profiting from panic

Rob Morris…established [Love146]…In its early years, the organization gained a certain amount of attention by building its marketing around [bogus] statistics, such as the [lie] that two children are sold into prostitution every minute.  But Morris knew that they were capable of much, much more.  So he started telling a [bullshit trafficking] story…[about one imaginary child “victim”]…The story went viral, sparking a grassroots campaign that generated worldwide awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.  Between 2007 and 2012, the organization’s total revenue grew from $1.1 to more than $2.6 million, and it now has permanent offices in the UK, Cambodia, and the Philippines…[bogus] statistics can make an impression, but [bogus] stories raise emotion …and emotion leads to action.

Profound Ignorance

Any study which equates sex work with “crime” is flawed from the forge:

Gina Neff…of…the University of Washington…noticed [that] “Uber took down data science blog post showing correlation between prostitution and ridership…“…The blog post in question…takes a somewhat lighthearted look at how Uber’s own ride data mashes up with local crime statistics…the team [found that]…“Areas of San Francisco with the most prostitution, alcohol, theft, and burglary also have the most Uber rides…

So Close and Yet So Far

I get that Alison Phipps really believes she’s on our side, but writing like this supports the fallacy that sex work derives from an “evil” which would not exist in an imaginary Utopia:

Sex workers are part of an industry which…is profoundly gendered and based on the commodification of sex and desire…they have unique insights into how gendered power relations and sexual scripts work.  Some…may tell us how these can be reworked and resisted…Others may have harrowing stories about being the target of the worst misogynist impulses of our culture

The “commodification of sex and desire” is not a bad thing, but a good one; it anchors sex solidly in reality instead of consigning it to the Rainbow Unicorn Candyland of “romance”.

Sex Work is Work

Prohibitionists are terrified of people realizing that sex work really is work:

The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) recently published an open letter to Associated Press Stylebook editor David Minthorn in response to an online campaign to replace the word “prostitute” with “sex worker” in AP’s 2015 Stylebook.  CATW and its allies oppose the phrases “sex work” and “sex worker” because they feel “these terms…legitimize prostitution as an acceptable form of work”…CATW’s letter also deploys…a litany of unreferenced statistics…[including the] statement:  “The average age of mortality of a person in prostitution is 34 years old”…[which was debunked by] Maggie McNeill…in 2011

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #340)

Here’s a little more on that religious brainwashing program to which Florida sex workers can be sentenced:

…“Turn Your Life Around” [is] a diversion program…[run by religious NGO] Selah Freedom…[and subsidized by the] Sarasota Police Department…[and] State Attorney’s Office…State Attorney Ed Brodsky [pretends this program is]…unprecedented…Selah Freedom recently moved into a larger [facility in which]…even more women [can be confined after being labeled as victims of]…sex trafficking…

Another Fine Mess (TW3 #435) fake base station setup

Though the technical aspect of this story is newsworthy in itself, the reporter seems to feel that sex businesses’ use of a new spamming technique transforms it from sleazy and annoying to sinister and frightening:

Spam text messages advertising prostitution are a nuisance to many people in…[China]…They have not disclosed their phone number to any strangers, but their phones are still mysteriously reached by unknown people…a fake mobile base station…is a device that can send out a powerful signal which forces all mobile phones in an area to disconnect from the legitimate base station…and connect to it without the owners’ consent…Most…can affect phones within a radius of around a kilometer and can send more than 20,000 messages per hour.  “We can send out all kinds of messages, such as adverts for property, private tutoring, financial services, stocks and [illegal businesses]”…[said] a cellphone spammer based in Shanghai…

Prudesville (TW3 #436)

If it weren’t for the fact that real women are harmed by Everett, Washington’s ridiculous crusade against coffee stands, the language deployed by cops and reporters in these stories would be hilarious.  The dark hints in this first one seem like something out of a film noir thriller, as though owner Carmela Panico was conducting an assassination business rather than just allowing tit-flashing:  “Everett PD says looking into Panico’s crime ring was one of their largest investigations.  ‘It was very important to…stop the criminal activity’, says Captain Bill Deckard…”  One can almost hear the reporter clutching her pearls as she informs us that “the sex acts are continuing” and her satisfied smugness when she informs us that the Everett Pimp Department is going to enrich itself by stealing both the coffee-making equipment and the money the women earned from their sexual labor.

Book Review:  America’s War on Sex (TW3 #440)

It looks like Dr. Marty Klein may be trying to make up for his long silence on sex worker rights:

…providers of erotic services…face enormous criticism and discrimination over their choice of work. One of the worst kinds…is the assumption that escorts are either coerced into doing their work, or that they’re too stupid to realize how bad it is for them.  That’s the basis for…so-called “rescue” operations…There’s some serious sexism in the idea that “escorts can’t be trusted to make adult decisions”…So it’s especially ironic that many would-be rescuers (including Gloria Steinem herself) call themselves feminists…Today’s coalition of feminists, conservatives, and even human rights activists are attempting to impoverish escorts’ lives as a way of defending “women’s rights.”  Their critiques are translated into criminalization, exclusion from social systems such as child daycare, and the prospect of discrimination in child custody battles or allegations of sexual violence…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #441)

For the second time since SeptemberThe New York Times profiles one of the state’s…”human trafficking intervention courts”.  This one, in Queens, sees…a large number of undocumented immigrants…This is…precisely the cohort that gets white-savior boners popping.  All those American-born sex workers on Twitter may insist they want rights not rescue, but surely these low-income, low-skill women are victims.  Surely they’ll appreciate state power being used to help rend them from their wretched lives.  Yeah, no.  The women the Times talked to…”said…that they did not feel like trafficking victims, but victims of the police…

He Said, She Said (TW3 #444)

Jian Ghomeshi, 47, former host of the internationally syndicated music and arts program Q…surrendered to police and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of choking…The charges follow a month-long police investigation into allegations that Ghomeshi…sexually assaulted and harassed several women…Ghomeshi [claimed]…it was…consensual [BDSM]…

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