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Posts Tagged ‘At Least They’re Consistent’

[As a sex worker] you either have so much agency that you can never be raped or you’re raped, in the abstract, every night.  –  Melissa Petro

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

Any charge, no matter how ridiculous and outmoded, will be pressed into service in the War on Whores:

Two [Wisconsn]…women face criminal charges as part of what Oshkosh police call an online prostitution ring.  Bailey M. Feustel, 20…and…Michelle J. Wescher, 23, [are] charged with prostitution by engaging in non-marital sexual intercourse, which carries a maximum sentence of nine months in prison…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

In January…Joshua Grubbs of Case Western, published…powerful research showing that seeing oneself as a porn addict was predicted not by how much porn one views, but by the degree of religiosity and moral attitudes towards sex….believing oneself is addicted to porn actually causes pain and psychological problems, in contrast to the idea that identifying as a porn addict is a part of a road to recovery…seeing oneself as a porn addict was strongly correlated with depression, anxiety, anger and stress…

The Pygmalion Fallacygynoids

Some people just can’t stand the idea of others having sex on their own terms:

According to a new paper, having intercourse with sex robots — a technology that’s not quite there yet, but easy to imagine in the decades to come — is unethical.  “I started thinking, ‘Oh, no, something needs to be said about this,’” Kathleen Richardson…said of her early research into sex robots that recreated what she called the “prostitute-john” relationship. “This is not right…extending relations of prostitution into machines is neither ethical, nor is it safe…the development of sex robots will further reinforce relations of power that do not recognise both parties as human subjects”…Richardson — with Erik Billing of the University of Skövde in Sweden, the co-creator of the Campaign Against Sex Robots — [pretends] that she is not anti-sex…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

A high school teacher in Ohio resigned…after her second life as an Internet porn star was exposed…Kristin Sundman worked as an assistant band teacher at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent.  But in her free time, the 31-year-old was better known online as “melodyXXXtune”…

Worse Than I Thought

I just love Elizabeth N. Brown:

Indiana’s attorney general…Greg Zoeller [pretends] that the demand for adult sex workers “fuels” child sexual exploitation somehow.  Nevermind the fact that most people seeking consensual sex with adults wouldn’t dream of raping children; they’re all deviants in Zoeller’s mind…”We need something that sends [a] message”…said Zoeller, who is proposing the creation of a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for those who attempt to pay for sex in any way…the tougher penalties…may also include…[stealing the accused’s] cars…Expect to see more of this nonsense around the country, soon—the folks at the National Association of Attorneys General have been salivating at the chance to throw more people in our already-overcrowded jails…Florida last year became the first to stipulate a mandatory minimum sentencing requirement for solicitation.  Anyone convicted of a second solicitation offense must be sentenced to at least 10 days in jail and attend classes where they will receive counseling for sex addiction and be reeducated to see the evils of consensual commercial sex.

So Close and Yet So Far

Why must so many otherwise-decent pro-decriminalization essays contain asinine, insulting, female-agency-denying passages like this one?  “Beyond a doubt most women who enter into sex work are driven into it, either by desperation, coercion, or both…”  No, you asshole, that assertion is not “beyond a doubt”, as you’d know if you spent more time talking to sex workers than about us.

Checklist (#345)dumb trafficking app

I can’t help laughing at how seriously people take this drivel:

…The Lifeboat Project in Central Florida designed the ACT (Awareness Combats Trafficking) app.  It’s designed as a fun game directed mainly to 11 to 14 year olds.  But within the very interactive game lies a very serious message.  One part of the app asks the user to go through and identify potentially dangerous people in a mall…“For me as a survivor I was triggered so I had to leave the room while they were presenting it, because the examples were so real life,” said [“rescue” shill Katarina] Rosenblatt…State leaders like the app so much, they want to make it part of the curriculum in Florida schools…“I think it’s an excellent idea that very [sic] child should automatically have built into their phone,” said Rosenblatt…

Devil’s Advocate

It’s rare to see “authorities” admit that no actual crime was committed right in the official accusation: “A [California man] is scheduled to be arraigned today for using social media in pandering and attempted human trafficking and pimping of a fictitious minor girl…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#420) 

Politicians can’t keep their hands off of golden geese:

…Jack Williams of Alabama, where it is technically illegal to sell sex toys except under special circumstances, is trying to do with a bill that would levy a whopping 40 percent tax on “sexually-oriented materials” restricted for sale to adults in the state…Williams [pretends] the legislation…could bring in as much as $20 million…

Bread and Circuses 

“Authorities” literally destroy a man’s life because his wife sent him money she earned via consensual business transactions:

A woman in Hawaii is pleading guilty to sending her husband in New Jersey more than half a million dollars she earned working as a prostitute.  Khemwika Ernst pleaded guilty…to…conspiracy…and filing false tax returns…Ernst and her husband were indicted in March…Michael Ernst shot and killed himself a month later…

False Witness

Whether it’s a witness who wants to be helpful or one who has something to hide, the bottom line is that eyewitness statements are inherently unreliable and erratic.  Sometimes it depends on conditions …Other times, it comes…from police pressure.  We know that witnesses get it wrong, and that it convicts the innocent.  But once they are locked into a statement it’s even more difficult to get them admit any error.  In fact, they become more adamant about what they saw, heard, or said when none of it may be remotely true…while there are studies and experts on these innate problems, many courts won’t allow that testimony…because they have have determined that juries “should know” that eyewitnesses can be untrustworthy…Eyewitness testimony is outrageously inaccurate and biased, even under very controlled circumstances…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ireland is set to publish a bill…which will criminalise the purchase of sex, despite the recent vote by Amnesty International that sex work and prostitution should be decriminalised…The new legislation…has been described as a “huge step backwards” and likened to Ireland’s controversial blasphemy laws, which were enacted in 2009…

Rough Trade (#572) 

Melissa Petro on what some vile women refer to as “theft of services”:

…the man paid me what I was owed— $2,500—in bank checks.  I’d never even seen a bank check before.  I was so tired that I didn’t argue…Needless to say, the checks bounced…I felt humiliated that night, that morning—so I kept what had happened to myself…It took me four hours after reading Mitchell’s article to connect the disgust I felt to the fact that I’d experienced what she called “theft of services” …suddenly thinking of some random stranger who had ripped me off nearly a decade ago—someone I felt less strongly towards than I felt towards some random writer named Mary Mitchell, because I have always expected more from women than I have men…

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The movement of sex workers has become successful because they have learned to recognise themselves as workers.  –  Samarjit Jana

R.I.P. Gloria Leonard

Gloria LeonardPorn star and men’s magazine publisher Gloria Leonard died on February 3rd after suffering a stroke at her Hawaii home on the night of January 31st; she was 73, but had been in good health.  Like me, she was already over 30 when she began sex work and had already had a previous career (in her case, as a stockbroker).  She was hired as publisher of High Society in 1977 and still continued to star in and direct movies for several years afterward; she also pioneered one of the first phone sex lines in 1983.  During the feminist “porn wars” she became an outspoken advocate of sex work, and served as president of the Free Speech Coalition from 1998-2001.

Juxtaposition

Compare and contrast this:

Notified by The Street of its investigation that revealed that escort services were using Twitter, Rep. Chris Smith…urged that Congress investigate…to initiate a crackdown on Twitter, Backpage, Craigslist and other social media “that are the conduit for this terrible exploitation of women”…

And this:

Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police authority has decided to launch a war against what it described as vice and sorcery accounts on Twitter…The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice said it had formed special teams to track those accounts and arrest those who are behind them…[for] “spreading vice and witchcraft…we are determined to eliminate these accounts before they become widespread and out of control”…

Oops

[Indian] police have [difficulty] acting on tip-offs about prostitution activity…[because] moral boundaries are changing at different rates and what some call illicit sex is…[to] others…usual dating practice…In September…18 couples…in “compromising positions” were  rounded up from rooms in a hotel in…Ludhiana and detained under the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act.  Dharampal Singh…who led the raid, [said]…“Every couple says that they are there by consent or are dating [secretly]”…which is not uncommon in a society where families still arrange marriages and frown on premarital sex…

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

A [Virginia] state law that makes it a crime to have sex outside of marriage remains on the books after an effort to decriminalize it failed…Lawmakers…had concerns over potential loopholes the change would make in relation to incest and other sex crimes…[bill sponsor] Mark Sickles…[said] members want to make sure the bill is redrafted correctly and sent to the state Crime Commission for review before it is taken up again.  Eight people were convicted of fornication last year…

Surplus Women

[In 2007] Bonnie Barrett…was murdered by [Derek Brown]…who police believe was imitating Jack the Ripper…Bonnie worked as a…sex worker in Whitechapel…and…Jackie [Summerford] believes better policing could have prevented her…death.  She is one of several women who are today launchingRobert Richard Fraser a campaign on the Change.org petition website to change the way police interact with those in the sex trade.  She says… “They deserve to be protected, not ignored by police”…

Meanwhile, “Police have arrested a man [for]…the murder of…Maria Duque-Tunjano [last week]…Robert Richard Fraser…[is also suspected in]…an attack on another sex worker on January 18…

Imaginary Lines (November Updates)

The Gibson guitar company, having had its federally seized wood returned to it, is celebrating with the release of a new product made from that very wood:  the Les Paul Government II Series…available in one color:  “Government Tan.”

Where Are the Protests?

I guess rugs just aren’t as sexy as whores:

…researchers documented more than 3,000 cases of forced labor in India’s handmade carpet sector…factories and shacks where workers toil 10 to 12 hours a day for six to seven days a week were “cramped, filthy, unbearably hot and humid, imperiled with stray electrical wires and rusty nails…and contaminated with grime and mold”…Workers were subjected to frequent beatings and abuse and…suffered from…long-term health issues because of the grueling nature of the work.  Many…suffered from eye disease or loss of vision due to insufficient light.  Some developed spinal deformation…The average adult worker was paid between 21 and 24 cents an hour, while children were paid less…These carpets are sold in a number of major retail chains including, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Target, Sears, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen, IKEA and others…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Brigham Young University wants young Mormons to “rescue” their friends from the scourge of wanking by ratting on them to religious “authorities”:

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thank you to new reader Xavier Naff for Vampyres, a lesbian vampire movie I first read about over 20 years ago but have never actually seen.  I’m told it’s very interesting on several levels.

Above the Law

Chicago police strip-searched three people on the street, and forced the woman to discard her bloody tampon while five male officers watched and made jokes about her body…Caprice Halley, Tevin Ford, and Willie Douglas…sued the City of Chicago and its Officers Wherfel, E. Doughtery, A. Granat, D. Balesteri, B. Rodekohr, J. Reckard, R. Federici, and T. Conlon…In May 2013, Halley and Ford were passengers in Douglas’ car, when they were confronted by police in an unmarked car driving toward them the wrong way down a one-way street…

Beside the vaginal probing of the woman, these uniformed molesters also shackled Douglas to a house’s burglar bars, pulled down his pants and spread his buttocks.  “Wherfel [then] took a small bag of heroin from her own sock and falsely claimed she had found it in Halley’s waistband”…

An Example to the West DMSC logo

A six-day conference of sex workers began [in Kolkata]…discussions [include] issues concerning their well-being as well as those relating to trafficking of minors and pension to old sex workers…

Hall of Shame

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

…Denis Hof…started pondering an expansion north of the border after he heard about the Supreme Court striking down prostitution laws in this country…“The smart residents will understand that it’s going to stop the sex trafficking that’s going on now. You got a huge sex trafficking problem…Our way would slow that down substantially”…

Yes, he’s spreading “sex trafficking” lies in Canada in hopes of lining his own pockets at independent sex workers’ expense.

The Public Eye

Here’s a short interview with Melissa Gira Grant in New York Magazine about her new book, Playing the Whore; in it she discusses Nick Kristof, Gloria Steinem, Jill Filipovic and other prohibitionists who claim they want to “rescue” us from our own choices.lurid sex trafficking (so-called) art

Profit from Panic (TW3 #40)

California State University, Stanislaus…senior Hannah Noonan took a proactive approach to educate her peers…through the creation of…“Crate Human Awareness,” a graphic installation displayed in a heavily traversed area of the campus…“My desire is to educate others that humans are being kidnapped and sold into slavery, prostitution, pornography, and organ harvesting”…humans are typically smuggled in crates of this type…according to Noonan…

A 22-year-old art major said it, so it must be true!

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #44)

Gloria Steinem continues her journey into irrelevance:

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem today described prostitution as “commercial rape” and said it was wrong to term prostitutes as sex workers.  “Prostitution involves body invasion and so it is not like any other work.  So how can you call it sex work?  Prostitution is the only word you should use”…

That “body invasion” nonsense says almost all you need to know.

Above the Law (TW3 #313)

A New Jersey State [prison guard is going to]…prison for…[threatening] four prostitutes into having free or cut-rate sex with him…Juan R. Stevens pleaded guilty to official misconduct in return for…five years in prison…two before he’s eligible for parole…[he] also forfeits his state job and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey…

The End of the Beginning

A New Hampshire house committee has just passed a bill 18-1 (!!!) that would prohibit the establishment or existence of sex offender residency restrictions in that state.  This…is completely unheard of.  It’s one thing to simply not pass residency restriction bills, but it’s quite another to pass a law that explicitly prohibits them…[the bill’s sponsor] argued that restricting housing for sex offenders pushes them “underground,” in campgrounds, under bridges and to other places the police cannot monitor…

Guest Columnist:  Sarah Woolley (TW3 #324)

Cathy Reisenwitz in Daily CallerAmnesty International logo

It just couldn’t be clearer.  “Amnesty International is opposed to the criminalization or punishment of activities related to the buying or selling of consensual sex between adults.”  Thus begins a recently leaked document from the famed human rights organization calling for an end to prohibitions on sex work…Amnesty…defines sex work as work, making a clear delineation between employment and slavery…As Maggie McNeill details, anti-prostitution campaigners paint the typical sex worker as a child slave, while governments use anti-trafficking laws to restrict migration.  And that ill-intended confusion muddies the entire debate…as Amnesty International points out, “Criminalizing or otherwise punishing people for their choices in selling or buying consensual sex in any way fails to address these structural inequalities, and rather serves to further disempower individuals”…

A Broker in Pillage (TW3 #330)

The federal government must pay nearly $40,000 to cover the legal fees of a California woman who successfully sued to reclaim more than $1 million of her money [stolen by police] during a Nebraska traffic stop…Tara Mishra…[earned] the money…as an exotic dancer…and…[gave it to friends] to invest in a New Jersey nightclub…The government’s claim that the money was tainted with drug residue was of little value, the judge said, as…nearly all cash in circulation is drug-tainted…

Little Tin Gods

The Jefferson Davis Parish sheriff’s office claims that eight survival sex workers there were murdered by a serial killer.  However, all the women knew one another well; several were related to one another, and every one of them was a drug informant to a sheriff’s office which is notoriously corrupt even by Louisiana standards.  Read this long, thorough investigative report on the murders, and I suspect you’ll come to the same conclusion I did the very first time I heard about the case.

Number Puzzle (TW3 #350)

Alice Schwarzer…accused news magazine Spiegel…of trying to damage her reputation by reporting on her [paying]…‘a six-figure sum’…in back taxes [for]…her Swiss bank account…she…accused Spiegel of acting in the interest of [prostitutes]…

Catastrophic Consequences

Edinburgh City Council has scrapped the licensing of saunas and massage parlours…but it [does] not mean the saunas [will] close…Scot-Pep…said…”With Police Scotland persisting in its policy of using condoms as evidence of sex work against the explicit recommendations of the World Health Organisation, workers will fear to keep large quantities of condoms on their premises, as this could be used to criminalise women.”

Here’s a more surprising reaction to the news:

Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) has voted to publicly support the rights of sex workers…approximately 70 students…voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion…[which] stipulates that EUSA officially advocate the decriminalisation of sex work, offer its support to sex workers who are students at the University of Edinburgh, as well as endorsing sex workers’ rights organisations, “such as SCOT-PEP and Sex Workers’ Open University”…

The More the Better (TW3 #404)

Franck Ribery and…Karim Benzema were acquitted on charges of soliciting an underage prostitute…the…judge ruled there wasn’t enough proof the men were aware that…Zahia Dehar…was a minor at the time…

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

More on the Canadian sex worker intimidation scheme; note they are only just realizing now that most escorts advertise online:

[Halifax, NS] police who worked in a recent nationwide sex-trade operation are seeing a shift toward online communicating…A joint news release issued by a number of Canadian sex-work support groups said the operation uses deception and intimidation…male officers posed as clients to book appointments, but then had several officers arrive…and demand entry.  They…[interrogate] her…demand to see her identification and search her premises and possessions…Fiona Traynor…of Stepping Stone…criticized the police news release for saying the sex workers were under some level of control.  “There’s no [evidence] of…that,” she said…

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Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?   –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Usually when I report on a number of short news stories in a column, I have some sort of commentary on them; these stories, however, largely speak for themselves so I present them with only minimal comment.

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

Florida is well-known for its legislative and judicial excesses, but back in the Social Purity Era its legislators apparently decided that fornication should be illegal whether money changed hands or not.  The law has rarely been enforced, but a legislator now wants to get rid of it and other outdated laws; as you might expect, none of his colleagues are interested.  From the August 31st Sun-Sentinel:

…”Cohabitation” of unmarried people is currently a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by $500 or up to 60 days in jail.  The same penalty applies to cheating husbands and wives — though only to opposite-sex couples.  The laws have been on the books since the late 1800s, but are rarely enforced.  In 2006, though, a Jacksonville woman did take advantage of the law and have her husband arrested for cheating, according to a news report.  (It’s not clear how the case came out.)  Now, Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, is on a mission to repeal the statutes penalizing adultery and cohabitation, as well as other laws he finds outdated, like a requirement that all bicycle riders keep one hand on the handle bars.  He filed…the bill last week — it’s HB 4021 — though he hasn’t returned phone calls about it for the past two days.

Nobody else much wants to talk about it either.  Asked how Gov. Rick Scott felt about the measure, spokeswoman Amy Graham replied simply, “This isn’t an issue the governor is focused on.”  The bill has no Senate counterpart.  And given the almost-certain opposition of social conservatives who lobby hard on “family values” issues, it’ll face tough sledding in an election year.  Consider the response of State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who previously headed the Florida chapter of the Christian Coalition:  “I’m not ready to give up on monogamy and a cultural statement that marriage still matters,” he said.

I guess Workman hasn’t yet learned that most politicians never want to limit the number of ways they can harass, threaten and persecute people.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Posted September 1st on The Smoking Gun:

A Kansas man who called police yesterday to claim that he was robbed by two female escorts hired via an online service later admitted that he just “wanted a refund” from the women.  Ahmed Hasnain, 26, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge in connection with the bizarre incident at a Motel 6 in Wichita, according to a Wichita Police Department report.  Hasnain…told cops that he had expected only one hooker to show up and “didn’t like that there were two women.”  After paying the pair $160, Hasnain decided that he wanted his money back…So…[he] called 911 at around 5 AM to lodge his complaint. Based on his own statements, Hasnain was charged with patronizing a prostitute. Perhaps he will consider calling the Better Business Bureau the next time he wants to register a consumer complaint.

And perhaps in the future he’ll also reserve 911 for real emergencies, like McDonald’s running out of Chicken McNuggets.

The British Policy on Sex Rays

In the United States, teachers who are discovered to have done sex work in the past are removed from the classroom lest their bodies emit invisible “sex rays” which might contaminate the tender little asexual innocents who discover them by watching porn.  In England, sex-ray phobia is just as prevalent, but apparently bureaucratic inertia protects sex-working teachers despite their being officially condemned.  According to a BBC story from September 1st:

Benedict Garrett, 31…was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct but left free to continue teaching.  A disciplinary hearing was told pupils at Beal High School in Ilford had seen him in a trailer for a porn film.  Mr Garrett said:  “What is wrong about it?  I can’t see anything…I don’t think I’ve done anything that goes against my values and I worked incredibly hard as a teacher.  What a teacher chooses to do in their life outside that work is up to them.”

…Mr Garrett…whose [stage name] is Johnny Anglais, said he had no plans to return to teaching…He admitted it “might be slightly embarrassing” if students had seen his porn films, but “no more than me starring as a monkey in the school musical”.  He said students should not have seen his pornography work, as it was intended for over-18s, but added:  “It’s perfectly natural.  Get over it.”  He added he did not see himself as a role model, asking:  “If teachers are role models, why do we tolerate teachers who smoke, when smoking is linked to thousands of deaths?  Do we look at teachers who are fat and say you shouldn’t be teaching?  Obesity is linked to thousands of deaths,” he added.  “However, I’ve heard from students who have told me they believe I’m a role model because I’m standing up for what I’ve believe in.”

Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, which campaigns against pornography and supports policies which promote marriage, said:  “Benedict Garrett is being naive if he imagines that performing as a stripper and appearing in porn films is compatible with teaching responsible attitudes towards sex and relationships as a teacher of personal, social and health education.  The vast majority of parents would be uncomfortable, to say the least, to have their children taught by someone involved in the sleazy world of the sex industry.”

Presumably, the sleazy world of politics is OK with Mr. Wells.  Maybe Melissa Petro and Tera Myers should move to the U.K.

Michael Weinstein Isn’t Happy About This

More news about the porn performer mentioned in my column of September 1st, from the Huffington Post of two days later:

An adult film performer who tested positive for HIV and caused the porn industry to shut down production as a precaution has been retested and…does not have the virus…production can now resume, said Free Speech Coalition executive director Diane Duke.  “The industry will be abundantly cautious as we try to nail down the reasons for what now appears to have been a false positive result on a previous test,” Duke said.  The actor, who was in Florida, had been slated to work on a shoot for Mofos.com, but production was halted last week when the test came back positive for HIV.  Duke declined to release the performer’s name, age or gender, citing the person’s right to medical privacy.  She also declined to say how her group learned of the case…which…was found at an out-of-state clinic that does not report to California health officials, Duke said.

The porn industry was similarly shuttered in late 2010, after porn actor Derrick Burts was diagnosed as HIV-positive.  His case was confirmed, and he has since left the industry to become an advocate for the use of condoms in pornography.  The Free Speech Coalition is working on a database to track sexually transmitted disease testing among porn actors, a task formerly handled by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation before it closed in December 2010.  Known as AIM, the San Fernando Valley clinic had catered to porn stars since it opened in 1998.  It was forced to close because of inadequate licensing.

The last line is incorrect; the clinic was actually forced to shut down by an illegal “cease and desist” order from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, as reported in my column of March 7th.

One Year Ago Today

All Shapes and Sizes” discusses the huge morphological variety of human genitalia, and addresses (among other things) the oft-asked question, “what is the average penis size, really?”

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