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Archive for April 13th, 2011

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? –  Juvenal, Satire VI (line 347)

Collectivism depends on the principle that individuals restrict their individual freedoms in favor of some collective good, but who determines what is “good” and what is “evil”?  Whose view of reality is the “correct” one?  If some authority has the power to define certain individuals as victims no matter what the reality of the situation, and to act to “protect” those so defined whether the individuals so “protected” want it or not, what happens to individual freedom?  And who polices these “authorities” to keep them from abusing their powers to “protect” others from their own free choices?  We’ve talked before about prohibitionists’ claims that “happy hookers” like the many well-adjusted whores who frequent this blog are all “in denial” because our realities conflict with their theories; well, now they’re rolling out “Stockholm Syndrome” to explain why those the “rescuers” declare to be “trafficking victims” fail to be grateful and don’t remember events as their “rescuers” would like them to.  From Laura Agustín’s column of April 5th:

At the BBC World thing in Luxor I got publicly annoyed when other panelists wanted to talk about brainwashing of victims.  Now Stockholm Syndrome is given as reason those rescued from trafficking situations may not react as rescuers want them to…It really does not get more sinister than this.  This theory, utterly free from any cultural context and presented as a method for identifying victims of trafficking…[allows] no ideas of individual agency or resistance…[nor any] possibility that migrants or sex workers have any understandable or meaningful loyalty to people that assisted them to travel or get work.  There is no allowance here for survivors’ having colluded in situations that ended up going bad.

They define Stockholm Syndrome as a ‘psychological mechanism of self-protection when a victim attempts to protect herself from more traumatic psychological experiences’ (Carver, 2001-2007). Excerpts:
. . . The characteristics of Stockholm syndrome confirm the common indicators of female sexual exploitation and female victims of trafficking…
• Emotional bonding with the captor/abuser
• Seeking approval from the captor/abuser
• Depending on the captor/abuser for security and purpose of existence
• Befriending and caring for the captor/abuser
• Resenting police and authorities for their rescue attempts
• Losing one’s own identity in order to identify with the captor/abuser
• Seeing things from the perspective of the captor/abuser
• Valuing every small gesture of kindness, such as letting them live
• Refusing freedom even when given the opportunity

They give sub-categories that allow them to disbelieve a victim-survivor’s refusal of help:
Learnt hopelessness attributes (Seligman, 1995)
• Disability to organise one’s own private life.
• Victim can avoid being helped, refuse offers of a supporting organization, and de-evaluate provided support…

One has to admire the diabolical cleverness of these fanatics (in the same way one might admire the fiendish ingenuity of those who devise tortures).  If “authorities” accept this “diagnosis”, anything and everything any sex worker says which disagrees with prohibitionist dogma can be viewed as “evidence” of her being brainwashed and therefore incompetent to make decisions for herself.  But why stop with sex workers?  Any woman who says anything contrary to neofeminist dogma must be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome as well!  You ladies who prefer to stay home rather than compete in the Rat Race?  You’re brainwashed, because obviously if you were in your right mind you would prefer to be an androgynous corporate unit.  You enjoy looking pretty?  Nope, Stockholm Syndrome; “sane” women chop their hair off, refuse to depilate and wear men’s clothes.  The possibilities are endless…

Fortunately, there are already signs of the collapse of the “trafficking” witch hunt, so vigilant civil rights activists and even well-informed members of the general public may soon raise public outcry against this sort of dangerous dogma (I hope).  Here’s another Laura Agustín column, this one from April 7th; it includes her commentary on a story from The Wall Street Journal debunking the “epidemic” of child abduction:

…The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes 18 as the magic moment for becoming adult, thereby reducing teenagers to children who are supposed to be innocent and happy.  But teenagers do leave home all over the world, and  sometimes they are running away from something bad and it makes sense to run.  Runaways can get into trouble, as a Nevada public radio programme discussed last November, in the wake of an FBI scare initiative with the dumb name Innocence Lost.  But sensible people know that adolescence is not the same as childhood and that childhood means different things in different places and times – in terms of the right to work, marry, vote, join the military, drink and have sex.  As for selling sex, stories about Poland’s piggies and mall girls and Japan’s compensated dating (enjo kosai) show how conventional that can be amongst teenagers.  I can hear some people now saying, no but we are talking about real trafficking, like in West Africa.  Well, researchers on supposed child trafficking there have questioned it, too.  This story from The Wall Street Journal should calm a lot of people’s worst fears:  few children are abducted/kidnapped/shanghaied/trafficked.

Study Undermines Kidnapping Fears
By Sean Gardiner, 7 April 2011, The Wall Street Journal

The fear that a child could be snatched away by a stranger nags at many parents.  But a new report examining cases from last year shows that…it is extraordinarily rare for children to be taken by someone they don’t know.  The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services said Wednesday that 20,309 children were reported missing statewide last year.  Just one of them was confirmed to have been abducted by a stranger…The vast majority of the missing children—almost 94% of last year’s total—were runaways.  Most of them were teenagers.

The state maintains the Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse, a database tracking lost children since 1987.  While stranger abductions raise alarm, they are uncommon.  A spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said a 2002 Department of Justice study, the most recent national numbers available, showed that of approximately 797,500 children reported missing over the course of a year, 115 were kidnapped by strangers.  In New York, there were 196 reported cases of child abductions statewide last year, less than 1% of all missing-children reports.  Of that number, 188 of the kidnappers were family members, and six were family friends.  Two cases involved stranger abductions…but one of…[them] was at a later point determined to be a runaway…In the other case, a 14-year-old girl was taken by a middle-age man in Rochester.  She was safely recovered.

“While every parent is understandably and rightfully concerned that their child could be abducted, the fact of the matter is that stranger abductions in New York state are, thankfully, rare occurrences,” said Sean Byrne, the division’s acting commissioner…Paul Browne, spokesman for the New York Police Department…said that 96% of the missing-children cases reported to police were eventually closed, generally because the child returned home.

For those who have difficulty with math, these figures mean that in the United States,  only 0.014% of all “missing children” are abducted by strangers (of which only some might potentially be sex traffickers).  The vast majority (99.986%) either left home under their own power or with a relative or acquaintance.  The equation of “missing” with “exploited” in the name of the government-funded database is therefore revealed as something equivalent to renaming our country “The United States of America and Wake Island”.

The “authorities” would like to force sex workers into a special “protected” group (just as they do with teenagers, though with even less basis in fact), to define us as mentally incompetent children without any more ability to make decisions for our own lives than infants have.  This allows those “authorities” to then make decisions for us, to restrict us from any degree of control over our own lives, to pathologize anything we might want which goes against the desires of those “authorities”, and to criminalize anyone with whom we choose to associate in a way our keepers disapprove of.  And the only ones who can prevent this, the only group with power to guard the self-appointed guardians, are those members of the public who make the effort to do so.

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