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Posts Tagged ‘Give It a Rest’

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom: it is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.  –  William Pitt

Nine updates and two meta-updates; two other news stories from this week will be treated in greater depth in my columns for April 29th and May 6th.

The Camel’s Nose (October 2nd, 2010)

Meet CISPA, formerly known as SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

…some people are calling it “worse than SOPA,” and it’s sponsored by a congressman who thinks the death penalty should be considered for Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking military information to Wikileaks.  Be worried:  they think we stopped paying attention after SOPA — so they made…the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) (aka H.R. 3523)…[which] has the support of companies such as AT&T, Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft…and many more.  A full list of all 28 corporate supporters is here.  The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), is also trying to get tech press to tell you…CISPA is “nothing like SOPA.”  Don’t believe it.  CISPA’s primary function is to remove legal barriers that might keep Internet companies from giving all your communication and information to the government.  It allows “cyber entities” (such as Internet service providers, social networks like Facebook and cell phone companies like AT&T) to circumvent Internet privacy laws when they’re pressured by Homeland Security to hand over or shut down — well, almost anything of yours online that the government wants, no warrant needed…

Here’s a handy graphic (click to enlarge) you can download or link and spread everywhere, and here’s a very comprehensive “tool kit” from Anonymous.  Don’t ignore this, y’all; the fascists figured out they needed to give more to the big tech companies, so this time we have to defeat it without corporate support.

To Protect and Serve (February 9th, 2011)

Another sex worker murdered by cops, and another victim of so-called “non-lethal” tasers:

Adult performer Sledge Hammer…[whose legal name was Marland Anderson, died on April 13th] after…police…shot [him numerous times] with a Taser…Anderson…“had a mild form of schizophrenia, and it wasn’t a problem until he started smoking pot and taking various things for depression,” [friend and film director Stoney] Curtis explained…On Sunday night…Anderson suffered a severe anxiety attack and his girlfriend, adult performer Alexa Cruz, called 911 to prevent him from harming himself…police showed up with an ambulance and…“instead of trying to talk to him or grab him and get him to the ground, or the paramedics giving him a sedative, they decided to break out their tasers and just tasered him excessively until the point where he went into cardiac arrest,” Curtis said…

Once again:  never, ever call the cops for any reason, not even if you think you’re dying.  Because once you do, they think you are their personal property to dispose of in any way they wish.

Not the Same Tree (February 18th, 2011)

This article about a Scottish escort service owner convicted of “human trafficking” is a perfect illustration of how the warped minds of police, prosecutors and prohibitionists project crime and evil into everything they see, and how they and their media lackeys use dysphemisms, distortion and exaggeration to create monsters out of businesspeople:

Scotland’s first convicted sex trafficker…revealed the secrets of the seedy vice empire that raked in a fortune – before landing him in jail.  Stephen Craig…described how he and…Sarah Beukan…ran their infamous Scottish Elite Escorts and recruited girls to join their prostitution ring.  Craig also claimed that footballers, actors and comedians were among the biggest clients…and…admitted taking a third of the money paid by punters to his girls…Craig denied making threats to girls or forcing them to sell their bodies…a police officer claimed one witness said Craig threatened to pour boiling water down her throat…But Sheriff Sam Clark said there was “no pressure, force or threat” on women who worked for him.  Craig now faces a proceeds of crime investigation.  He said…“Police say Sarah and I made £20,000 a week…[but actually] we probably split about £5000 on a good week”…

“Seedy vice empire”.  “Infamous”. “Prostitution ring”.  “Sell their bodies”.  “Taking money” to mean “charging fees”.  The lurid accusations totally unsupported by fact, and the wild exaggeration of his income so the cops can steal more of his property and savings.  I wish there were some way to make these asses fully cognizant of how  ridiculous they’re going to look once Western society fully awakens from “sex trafficking” hysteria.

Give It a Rest (August 18th, 2011)

Remember the Texas strip club which cops were trying to destroy via harassment of dancers and customers?  Apparently, they either succeeded in driving the owner over the edge or else just decided to get rid of him by the time-honored method of framing:

Ryan Walker Grant, co-owner of Flashdancer topless club in Arlington, was arrested after an FBI investigation revealed he tried to hire Mexican hitmen to kill two Arlington city officials whom he blamed for the closure of his business…Grant [allegedly told the FBI plant that]…he stood to lose $800,000 a year if Flashdancers closed for good…

Follow Your Bliss (November 29th, 2011)

Though most “child sex slave” fetishists restrict themselves to writing lurid newspaper stories, this one sought the opportunity for “hands-on” experience “helping” underage hookers:

A counselor at a new…shelter for prostituted children groped and propositioned a girl there…prosecutors in Seattle contend Ralph Nathaniel Wells accosted the then-16-year-old girl in late January.  Wells, 32, had been employed by the shelter as an overnight counselor…the girl said Wells called her out of her room several times…[and] made inappropriate comments and sexual advances, pulled on her clothing and touched her.  Wells was suspended without pay immediately…

Obviously Wells bought his own organization’s propaganda that the girl was “prostituted” (i.e. a passive object without volition) and a “child”, and therefore too stupid and helpless to turn him down and report his sleazy behavior.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)

I got two new presents this week!  On Monday I received a copy of Never On Sunday from Martin English, and on Tuesday a new book named The Origins of Sex from another reader who prefers to remain anonymous.  Thank you both so very much!

An Angel of Mercy (January 25th, 2012)

You don’t have to be a Catholic nun to do outreach to streetwalkers; Cyndee Clay is a lapsed Mormon who heads Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive (HIPS) in Washington, DC.  In this interview with Metro Weekly she talks about sex work stigma, “prostitution-free zones”, police harassment, harm reduction and the services HIPS provides, including “weekly support groups…daily maintenance groups for active drug users…case management, linkage to care and services, including HIV testing and drop-in syringe access…our bad-date sheet” and condom distribution.

Much Ado About Nothing (April 18th, 2012)

Well, the story’s beginning to make a lot more sense now; it turns out the argument wasn’t over $47 as initially reported, but rather $770 (the difference between the $800 fee Agent Asshole agreed to and the $30 he tried to give her instead).  Some of the agents are now making the sophomoric claim that they didn’t know their dates were whores, which is not only unbelievable to anyone in the know, but also flies in the face of reports that they met the women in a brothel.  And Dania (the lady who was cheated) insists that contrary to what the bouncer and cops claim, the agents were very discreet and she had no idea they were Secret Service.

But despite media efforts to sex up the story and to overdramatize its importance (“Eleven Secret Service agents…and nine military servicemen are under investigation for hiring 20 or 21 hookers”) the American people seem refreshingly unmoved.  My own perceptions and those of several of my sources indicate that more people are concerned with the agent’s trying to cheat a sex worker than the fact that he hired her.  A reporter who interviewed me yesterday (I’m not sure when it will appear) felt that the real story was that Colombia’s system protects women by allowing them access to police, and a Vanity Fair article which quotes yours truly points out that the whole scandal is a convenient misdirection from the issues of the Cartagena summit, which Washington doesn’t want the public thinking too hard about.  Spirit Airlines mocked the scandal in a promotion, and Dennis Hof of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch opined that Secret Service agents should only hire American whores.  But most interesting (and heartening) of all is the reaction in many mainstream media sources (including Forbes), which might be synopsized in the words used by Reason’s J.D. Tuccille: “Maybe, just maybe, we could stop pretending that exchanging money for sex is such a terrible thing.”

Hard Numbers (April 20th, 2012)

Brazil follows the example of our friends Down Under in recognizing that it is attempts to ban or regulate prostitution that cause the problems “authorities” associate with it, and that decriminalization is the best way to eliminate those issues:

A proposal before the Senate…[eliminates] criminal penalties for owners of brothels.  The legal experts…want to end what they call the moral “cynicism” of the current legislation.  In practice, they say, the ban on brothels only serves to corrupt police who extort money and services from the owners of the establishments…Prostitution itself is not illegal in Brazil, nor is it regulated by the government…the change will…permit labor unions to establish a link between the employees and the employer as is the norm in countries such as Germany and Holland.  ”It is a historical claim to the movement for prostitutes,” [said] Roberto Dominguez…legal advisor to the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes…

Metaupdates

Counterfeit Comfort in That Was the Week That Was (#8) (February 26th, 2012)

In their quest for absolute power over the lives of their subjects, politicians can’t let little things like justice, decency or the law stop them.  After a federal judge overturned a Louisiana law banning victims of the “sex offender” registry from social media, tyrants in New York realized the same thing would probably happen if they enacted a similar law, so they used political pressure to force online companies to do their dirty work for them:

Back in 2008, New York passed a law requiring…sex offenders to register all email addresses and social network accounts with the government…[now] Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has  announced the first wave of an initiative called “Operation: Game Over”…[in which] over 3500 sex offenders’ online gaming accounts with companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Blizzard have been banned completely.  AG Schneiderman applauds the effort with “We must ensure online video game systems do not become a digital playground for dangerous predators. That means doing everything possible to block sex offenders from using gaming networks as a vehicle to prey on underage victims”…[But as] the New York Civil Liberties Union [points out]…“the problem…is almost non-existent. Children are almost always abused by people they know – a friend or family member – not by people they interact with while playing video games online.

…Not only are these people blocked from playing with children through these services, they are also blocked from playing with friends and family members.  We are further eroding the ability for these people to reintegrate themselves with society, and for what?  While New York and those gaming companies that partnered with the state continue the witch hunt, they will surely earn some brownie points with parents.  After all, that is really what matters in an election year…Who cares if justice is actually being served?  Sex offenders are expendable.  They aren’t real people.  At least you can keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

A Manufactured War in That Was the Week That Was (#15) (April 14th, 2012)

While I contended myself with dispatching the New York Times’ scare story on “sex trafficking” in Spain via a quick shotgun blast, Dr. Laura Agustín preferred to vivisect it instead.  I think you’ll find the result well worth your time.

One Year Ago Today

Faerie Tale” is exactly that…but probably not in the way you’re thinking.

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The trouble with this country is that there are too many politicians who believe, with a conviction based on experience, that you can fool all of the people all of the time.  –  Franklin Pierce Adams

The last part of our monthly roundup of short news stories that remind me of past columns.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (April 2nd, 2011)

Like children playing a game of “Chinese Whispers”, fanatics repeat statistics that were weak or bogus to begin with, warping them into more and more fantastic shapes with each iteration.  The Estes & Weiner study used very questionable methodology to state that “100,000-300,000 American children and youth are at risk of sexual exploitation” based on such perilous circumstances as having their own cars or living near the Canadian or Mexican borders.  “Youth” was undefined, but included people old enough to work legally in bars or strip clubs, so I’m guessing they meant the 18-20 range.  The authors also included statistics which showed that the average underage prostitute enters the trade at 16, then in their text erroneously stated the average as 12-14, absurdly contradicting their own data!

These shaky statistics were then distorted again and again; “at risk” became “currently involved in”, “sexual exploitation” became “sex trafficking”, “children and youth” became “children”, and the wildly erroneous underage prostitution guess was added to the mixture to produce the often-heard myth that “100,000-300,000 children are trafficked for sex in the United States, and the average age at which they enter prostitution is 12-14”.  But it didn’t stop there; oh, no!  Soon “each year” was added, and the idea that child prostitutes started at 12-14 was replaced by the idea that the average “child sex slave” is currently 12-14.  By March the fanatics were stating that “100,000 – 300,000 children between the ages of 12 and 14 years old are victims of the child sex trade in this country”, and now it’s taken another step; this absurd article (which was called to my attention by regular reader Iain D) claims that there are 27 million people “trapped in modern-day slavery” (for comparison, that’s 5 million more than the entire population of Australia and almost half that of the UK) and that “The average age of sex workers is a saddening 12-14 years old.”  Shades of Melissa Farley!  Actually, I’m glad their declarations are growing so outrageous; not only is it a fascinating sociological study, it also accelerates the day when the whole house of cards comes crashing down.  Already, “human trafficking” researchers themselves are talking about a “credibility gap” in even official government “human trafficking” figures, so it’s only a matter of time before this hysteria goes the way of the “Satanic Panic”.

August Updates, Part Two (August 4th, 2011)

In this update to the earlier “Against Their Will” I reported South Korean whores’ massive protests against the persecution inflicted on them to satisfy American state department propaganda.  Here’s a short item published in Huffington Post on September 22nd, which features eight pictures of a recent protest by 1600 workers; note the odd inclusion of the pejorative “pimp” (presumably used to mean “brothel owner”) as I pointed out in the previous article.

Give It a Rest (August 18th, 2011)

The organized crime rackets which do business as “the police” in Texas continue their campaign of terror against scantily dressed women; this time, forty cops in Edinburgh, Texas literally committed armed robbery of a strip club (as reported in The Monitor on September 12th):

About 40 police officers descended on [Jaguars Gold Club]…looking for drugs…[they] did not find any…but took about $1,500 in cash and another $8,000 worth of club “tokens”…Jaguars’ owners filed suit against the city Aug. 26, accusing it and [Police Chief Rolando] Castañeda of attempting to strong-arm the all-nude club out of business.  They ask for monetary damages and for property seized by police to be returned.

For years, the club…sat outside the city limits.  But as Edinburg expanded, it eventually annexed the property…[which now] violates several of the city’s development codes.  But because it first existed in rural Hidalgo County, the establishment is grandfathered in and may continue to operate…Jaguars’ owners maintain its problems came “Once Castañeda assumed the position of the city’s police chief…unable to close down Jaguars on zoning grounds, he began a campaign to eradicate” the club…[It] began in late May, when three marked police units staked out the nude club for three nights…to intimidate potential customers…[then in] August…dozens of officers swarmed the club…zip-tied each person’s hands…and handcuffed Tony Hadaway, the club’s manager…Beyond taking the cash and club tokens, officers allegedly seized laptop and tablet computers, backpacks and one manager’s wallet.  Hadaway asked officers to keep an inventory list of the seized items, which “they declined to do and have never done,” the lawsuit states.  A second manager’s wallet was seized and never returned…

In other words, the city invaded and stole the land on which an established business already existed, and because it can’t force that business to abide by its arbitrary rules has simply decided to force it out of operation instead by frightening away its employees and clientele and robbing the owners blind.  So much for the “rule of law”.

Tyranny By Consensus (September 1st, 2011)

In this column I reported the latest attempt by Michael Weinstein and his “AIDS Healthcare Foundation” to force porn performers to use condoms whether they like it or not, even if such use would create more problems than it solved.  Following that article regular reader Marla posted a very informative comment in which she called attention to this video called AHF: Follow the Money which reveals a few things Weinstein would prefer people didn’t know:

Michael Weinstein of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is a man with an agenda, and it’s got nothing to do with public health…Weinstein opposes government funding of research to cure AIDS; instead, [he] wants those billions of government dollars to be diverted toward treatment and prevention services, the kind that he and his organization provides.  Michael Weinstein and AHF even sued Pfizer over Viagra, alleging it encouraged risky sexual behavior…after Pfizer turned down his multi-million dollar funding request…Weinstein is an opportunist who shamelessly exploits the misfortunes of others.  When news hit that a single adult industry performer had tested positive for HIV, Weinstein revealed his plan to make the world a better place by demanding that adult performers be required by law to wear condoms.  And which AHF supporter provided the picket signs for AHF’s protests outside the Hustler Hollywood store?  LifeStyles Condoms.  Want to know the key to Weinstein’s real agenda?  Follow the money.  Michael Weinstein sure does.

I have maintained since the beginning of this “controversy” that the porn actors themselves should be allowed to decide what’s best for them, so you may be interested in the viewpoint of porn actress Lorelei Lee on Weinstein’s latest shenanigans, published in Tits and Sass on September 19th.  She explains how the AIM system (which was closed down by a lawsuit from AHF) kept performers safe, and points out that:

…at least half of the positive HIV tests that Weinstein touts as being ‘proof’ of the need for a condom mandate occurred due to circumstances in the performers’ private lives.  Mandatory on-set condom use would not change this…six positive tests in ten years, among thousands of performers in hundreds of thousands of shoots, strikes me as a shockingly low number…we don’t know how safe or unsafe we are as adult film performers because we don’t have comparable statistics from other populations.

Her conclusion says it all: “How dare Michael Weinstein claim that we as an industry have shown a disregard for each other’s health and safety? His is the only outrageous disregard I’ve seen exhibited lately.”

To Spite Their Faces (September 6th, 2011)

Leftover second-wave feminists are desperately trying to keep women from moving forward, rediscovering their femininity and abandoning the sex war aggressively promoted by neofeminists for decades.  So it’s no surprise that feminist journalists have tried to trash Dr. Catherine Hakim’s reputation in order to discourage women from reading her new book, Erotic Capital, which advises them to use their natural advantages.  What’s sad is that, as reported in this column, the Guardian gave two of them a pulpit from which to spout their hatred.  Fortunately, the Sunday Times had more sense and invited Dr. Hakim to write a response to those criticisms; it was published in the Sunday Times Style magazine on September 11th under the title “Know Your Assets”, but since no online copy is available Dr. Hakim kindly provided me with this copy, which I have stored in PDF form for my readers.

One Year Ago Today

All in the Family” examines the relationships between escorts and their relatives, which range from the strained to the supportive.

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A man hears what he wants to hear/And disregards the rest.  –  Paul Simon, “The Boxer”

Several stories about “authorities” seeing and hearing exactly what they want to see and hear.

Give It a Rest

I guess the cops in Arlington, Texas aren’t satisfied with just going “booga-booga, I see you!” to escorts and shaming clients any more, especially since what they imagined would be their big chance to look like big shots fizzled exactly as I and other rational people predicted it would.  So now they’re resorting to harassing strippers and strip-club patrons instead:

Dozens of employees and patrons were arrested late Friday during a raid at the Flashdancer strip club.  In all, 44 people were arrested on narcotic warrants, charges of possession of controlled substances or outstanding felony or misdemeanor warrants, police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said…Richard said the location had a history of illegal drugs and prostitution.  Recently, undercover officers had been at the nightclub where they bought drugs from employees and saw prostitution, Richard said.  No arrests Friday were related to prostitution.  “Based on what they saw, there was a need to take action,” Richard said…

Don’t you just love Copese?  They “saw prostitution”; obviously their Super Police Vision allows them to see other abstractions such as “criminality” and “guilt” as well, which is why their testimony is so much more credible in court than that of us ordinary mortals who lack super powers.  Of course, that raises the question of why such gifted beings are wasting their time bullying strippers instead of pursuing international gangsters or something, but we’re not supposed to think about that.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere!

The American desire to be the world’s moral arbiter, combined with its simple-minded view of reality, has resulted in its attempting to impose “trafficking” mythology on countries which have heretofore largely ignored this largely Euro-American moral panic.  Note the subtly sardonic tone of this July 24th story from New Zealand:

New Zealand is risking an American rebuke over one of this country’s pet aid projects, which brings hundreds of Pacific Islanders here to work for minimum wages picking fruit and grapes, warn high-level US sources.  Wellington sees the recognised seasonal employer scheme as charity, but Washington views it as verging on human trafficking and debt-bonded labour…Last week US Human Trafficking Ambassador Luis CdeBaca came with a delegation to talk with government officials, unions and lobby groups.  No statement followed, but sources say the Americans were alarmed at a lack of recognition of trafficking in New Zealand.  The Americans are investigating bonds used to bring minimum wage workers from Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.  “The burden of illegal costs and debts on these labourers in the source country, often with the support of labour agencies and employers in the destination country, can contribute to a situation of debt bondage,” a source said.

…The Americans also believe trafficking of sex workers – especially from Asia – is taking place.  But Catherine Healy of the Prostitutes Collective told them the collective does not believe this.  “We haven’t come across sex workers who are victims of trafficking yet,” she said, adding the word trafficking was “such a dramatic catch-all…What we are asking for is old-fashioned labour rights.  We explained that sometimes sex workers are made to work exceptionally long shifts and have their money withheld by some brothel operators.”  Healy said some managers and operators are “dreadful to work for” and the Department of Labour should deal with them.  The collective told the Americans it was pleased sex workers had the right to say yes to sex work and that this was getting rid of exploitation.  “[CdeBaca] acknowledged it was important to not conflate prostitution and trafficking, as has been our recent experience in dealing with the American administration and their overall response to sex work”…

I’ve heard several US government officials claim lately that they believe it’s important not to conflate prostitution with trafficking, yet they keep doing it both in this country and in others.  The success of decriminalization in New Zealand must drive prudish American officials bats.  But as for Americans chiding New Zealand about the use of migrant labor in harvesting crops…

{ring! ring! ring!}

“Hello?”

Hi, Kettle?  This is Pot.  You’re black.

Waking Up

It’s good to see so many educated people beginning to recognize the truth about sex work, though it’s rather sad to think so many of them (including the self-described “sexologist” who wrote this July 27th Huffington Post article) were ignorant enough to believe all the lies and stereotypes in the first place:

Think “sex worker,” and “affluent,” “educated,” and having a “strong family background” and “access to resources” are not the descriptors that come to mind.  But a University of Arkansas study recently found that many U.S. women joining the “high quality,” illegal prostitution market encompass all of those qualities…Far from desperately trying to fund their next drug high, childrearing expenses, or bills, they bare their wares for the very same reasons most people look for work — for money, stability, autonomy, and job satisfaction.  Such research joins a string of flabbergasting findings on who would consider joining the “world’s oldest profession.”  A British study, published in the journal Sex Education, found that 16.5% of undergraduates would consider sex work, with 93% pointing to money as the primary incentive.  Another Leeds University study, involving over 200 lap-dancers, reported that one in three participants engaged in such work to fund their schooling…a Berlin Studies Centre study has reported that one in three university students in Berlin would consider sex work as a way to pay for their education.  (It further found that over 29% of university students in Paris and 18.5% in Kiev would contemplate such.)  Some 4% of the 3,200 Berlin participants reported already having engaged in some type of sex work, like erotic dancing, Internet performances, or prostitution.  Researchers speculated that greater student workloads and higher fees have made sex work’s high hourly wages quite attractive.

While many people can’t wrap their head around a person’s desire to engage in sex work, this field’s potential to become your “average day job” changes depending on what the sexual exchanges involve.  With the term “sex work” encompassing a wide range of jobs, like erotic modeling, stripping, lap dancing, erotic massage, being a dominatrix, and webcam work, a person can make money doing ‘tamer’ activities than prostitution…Often involving zero physical contact, those sorts of jobs seem much less demeaning and threatening, hence, in some realms, become more socially acceptable.  These “artistic performers,” as they’ll often call themselves, often don’t feel victimized…

Dr. Fulbright, if you consider these findings “flabberga­sting” it’s because you were previously reading anti-sex work propaganda instead of talking to real women (which causes me to question your credibility as a sexologist).  For intelligen­t, educated women to choose sex work is nothing new; we’ve been doing it at least since ancient Sumer, and the Golden-Age Greek hetaerae and Renaissanc­e courtesans were the most educated, accomplish­ed women of their times.  The idea that sex work of any kind, even prostituti­on, is “demeaning and threatenin­g” exists largely in the minds of ignorant outsiders like yourself, not in the minds of the free adult women who make up the vast majority of our profession and always have.

If You Want Something Done Right…

The families of several of the women who were murdered by the Long Island Killer are (unsurprisingly) dissatisfied by the lackluster efforts of police, who (unsurprisingly) don’t appear too anxious to catch what appears to be a cop raping and murdering hookers.  So (as described in this July 30th article from CNN), they’ve decided to hire private detectives and to place Craigslist ads looking for information from other working girls who are too smart to trust cops; as Amber Costello’s sister put it, “I worked for a service when I was younger…We knew we had to protect ourselves. Police were not an option.”  Don’t expect CNN to understand this; they’re too busy pumping up their ratings by advocating further criminalization so more girls like Costello will be murdered in the future.

One Year Ago Today

The Empress Theodora” is a short biography of the woman who was inarguably the most successful whore of all time; she rose to become a Byzantine empress in life, and an Eastern Orthodox saint after her death.

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