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Posts Tagged ‘Not So Different’

In poison there is physic, and these news,
Having been well, that would have made me sick,
Being sick, have in some measure made me well.
–  William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2 (I, i)

A collection of links, comments and items relating to previous columns.

The Biggest Whores (September 6th)

In this column I reported that Craigslist had bowed to governmental pressure and blocked its adult services section from being accessed in the United States, though it was still available to everyone outside the reach of American censorship.  But now the website has apparently bowed to pressure from the Canadian government and prohibitionist groups and removed the section entirely, thus allowing all those who advertised in it to return to posting free and unmonitored ads in other sections of the website.  An article in yesterday’s New York Post reported:

The popular classified ad website Craigslist has pulled the adult services section from its websites around the world; the section has been removed from international Craigslist sites in Canada, Asia, Europe, South America and Africa.  The adult services section was removed from US Craigslist sites in September after complaints from 17 states that it facilitated prostitution.  The section was replaced on US sites with the word “censored,” but its removal from international sites came without announcement or comment from Craigslist.  A spokeswoman for the site declined to comment on the removal of the section.

Craigslist apparently believes this will silence the fanatics, and it certainly may as the crusaders move on to annoy Backpage.  Of course, it’s also possible that a few of them will recognize that most of the whores who advertised on Craigslist are still there in the personals, massage, etc as they used to be and demand that Craigslist control them, such as by creating a ghetto in which their ads can be confined and then requiring payment so courts can order the info turned over to them.  Oh, wait, that’s what they just forced them to close.  Oops.

Think of the Children! (September 30th)

In this column I wrote:

The dogma of [the Cult of the Child] preaches that children are as emotionally fragile as soap bubbles and the merest hint of sexual imagery before puberty can cause irreversible trauma; its adherents also believe that teenagers (whom they equate with “children”) should be lied to, spied on or even criminally prosecuted to prevent them from engaging in any kind of sexual behavior, and some even believe that adults should not be allowed any form of entertainment or reading material which is inappropriate for even the youngest child, on the grounds that a child “might see it” and thereby be petrified as if he had looked into the eyes of the Gorgon.  Child cultists can be recognized by their stated belief that any degree of tyranny is acceptable “if it saves even one child,” and by their fondness for promoting unconstitutionally broad legislation lugubriously named after dead little girls.

Until the Cult of the Child again goes into decline, you can be sure we’ll keep seeing proposed legislation of this type.

Yesterday (October 20th)

In this column I opined:

What’s going to be needed [to achieve decriminalization] is for some big moneybags like Bill Gates to get behind sex worker rights so we can advertise and thereby attract a bunch of empty-headed Hollywood stars who are looking for a new cause to adopt.  In the minds of the hoi-polloi, the opinion of one celebrity who knows nothing about the subject is worth the life-experiences of a thousand veteran whores, and once the cause becomes “sexy” enough all of a sudden people will be coming out of the woodwork to support it.

Here’s a case in point from yesterday’s MTV News.  Neither Lady Gaga nor Katy Perry have horses in this race; they’re not in the military, they’re not homosexual and they’re not male.  Yes, it affects lesbians too, but let’s be honest here; the opposition to the repeal of DADT came overwhelmingly from men for reasons which should be obvious.  Yet somehow, the public considers the opinions of pop-tarts with no personal experience in the issue to be more important than those of activists who actually know what they’re talking about.

Something Rotten In Sweden (November 13th)

In this column I talked about the rise of “Swedish Model” rhetoric in American police departments; by pretending that all whores are degraded victims, they can hide the outrageous sexism of prostitution laws from the gullible.  One example of this infiltration is the increasing popularity of  “john schools”, government programs which hire brainwashed ex-streetwalkers to scream neofeminist victimization propaganda at men arrested for soliciting prostitutes.  Brandy Devereaux recently published a column in which she reports on a recent proposal for one of these so-called “schools” in Colorado, then explains her ideas of what a real “john school” might be like.

Barbie (December 5th)

In my column on Barbie I mentioned that I played with mine as though she were an action figure, and then I saw this hilarious spoof advertisement for toys that, unfortunately, do not actually exist.  For those who slept through 19th-century English lit, I should mention that Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte avoided the Victorian prejudice against female authors by publishing their works under the male pseudonyms Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell.

Not So Different (December 8th)

For years now internet escorts have employed sites like Date Check to screen potential clients, and now our amateur sisters have gotten into the act with some of the very same sites, proving once again that the line between prostitution and dating is far too fine to justify criminalizing the former but not the latter.  And just as governments think escorts are mental incompetents who must be protected from ourselves, so they apparently think the same about women who date online; New York’s “Internet Dating Safety Act” now requires dating sites to post common-sense safety tips, like “meet in a public place,” for those who are too dimwitted to be dating without a chaperone in the first place.  And the nanny state being what it is, I’m sure other states (and eventually the federal government) will follow New York’s lead.

Bits and Pieces, Part Two (December 10th)

For weeks there have been conflicting stories about what Julian Assange has actually been accused of, but now Sweden has finally bothered to release a report detailing the exact claims.  Assange calls the case a “smear attempt” filled with “incredible lies,” but even if the report is exactly true (and it may very well be), that doesn’t change the fact that Sweden, as pointed out in Saturday’s column, doesn’t expend nearly this much energy catching alleged rapists who have not embarrassed governments.

The Red Umbrella (December 17th)

I don’t really approve of the concept of “hate crimes”; after all, if a man kills me just because I’m in his way I am no less dead than if he kills me because he hates me.  But if we’re going to have any “hate crime” laws at all, it’s only fair that whores be among the protected groups because, as we discussed on Friday, we get far more than our share of violence.  Well, the city of Liverpool is now treating violence against sex workers as a “hate crime”; what a difference from the United States, where the police themselves are among the worst perpetrators of that very same crime!

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I don’t think a prostitute is more moral than a wife, but they are doing the same thing. –  Prince Philip

In my column of November 21st I discussed “halfway whores”, and I mentioned that there are websites dedicated to helping potential sugar babies meet with potential sugar daddies.  Well, one of those sites is now in the news after a rapist used it to lure a victim into a trap.  Here’s the story, paraphrased from the original report in the Orlando Sentinel:

Marcelo Alves was convicted last Friday (December 3rd) of four counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon for the rape of a 22-year-old woman from Tampa he met on a dating website called SugarDaddyForMe.com; he faces a potential life sentence.  In the days before jurors found Alves guilty, his victim related graphic details of the explicit online chats and then phone conversations she shared with a man she knew as “Mark Garcia”; those communications eventually led to an arranged meeting outside a mansion in the Dr. Phillips neighborhood, where Alves, wearing pantyhose over his face, tackled her in an isolated driveway area, put a knife to her neck and told her to “shut up” repeatedly before raping her.

“I kept saying, like, ‘Please don’t kill me,'” the crying victim testified Tuesday. She recalled being raped in the rear passenger area of her car and outside the vehicle, as well.  Alves also testified, saying the sex was pre-arranged and consensual, but too many other factors undermined his defense, including the fact that he used a large knife, wore the pantyhose as a mask, lured the victim to an isolated location outside a vacant mansion and portrayed himself as another man online.  At the time of the attack in March 2009, Alves helped run the Valencia Community College website as a contract worker.  He also had a wife, kids, a nice home — all lost as a result of his actions.

The case, however, illustrates larger issues about the potential dangers of online dating and the way a victim’s character can be impugned when online communications are part of the criminal investigation.  Before describing the attacks, the victim explained that she registered with the online dating site, which is designed for men wanting “to mentor, pamper & spoil” and women wanting to be “pampered” by “that classy, caring and mature partner.”  The site claims it prohibits “members from offering money in exchange for sex.”  A message left with the site’s management this week was not returned.

The victim acknowledged she was looking for just such a Sugar Daddy-type relationship; she had problems paying bills and wanted to meet someone who could help her financially, she testified.  So she created an online profile on the site, stating she was “fun, outgoing and crazy.”  She even set an allowance on her profile, in other words the monetary amount she expected to receive periodically.  Alves, 40, discovered her profile on the site, where he went by the screen name “ReadyToSpoilYou37.”  He then contacted her through Yahoo Messenger and they chatted several times, discussing the possibility of sex and also the exchange of money.  “We talked about possibly $1,000,” the victim said.

This admission prompted prosecutor Kelly Hicks to ask the victim, “Were you a prostitute?”  The victim answered in the negative, claiming that she was willing to meet with the man she knew as Garcia even without the expectation of money.  But she said when she arrived for the date, Alves wasn’t the man she expected to be there.  Still, defense attorney Timothy Berry asked the victim about the encounter with Alves and about online conversations in which they discussed having sex.  Alves testified that he was supposed to pay the woman $1000, but the amount changed as the sex progressed and he refused to pay.  The woman then threatened to contact police and say he had raped her, he claimed.  But in her closing argument, Hicks stared at Alves, saying the woman involved “is a real victim” of an attack she will remember for the rest of her life”; pointing at Alves, she then said, “That is a real rapist …Find him guilty because he is.”

Jennifer Dritt, executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, said casting doubt on a victim’s character or suggesting she somehow deserved what happened are common defense strategies; she also said the case is troubling because of its origins online.  “While most online dating relationships don’t end up this way, you really don’t know who you’re talking to,” Dritt said.  “I think, potentially, they’re very dangerous.  And where money is exchanged, people can have different interpretations of what’s offered and promised.”

Alves, originally from Brazil, told detectives soon after the crime that he had met about 10 other women online in the same way, but denied raping any of them.  As for the victim in this case, Alves told the detectives, “I didn’t want to hurt her.  I am not like that.”  Aside from the sexual battery counts, Alves was also found guilty of false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon while wearing a mask and witness tampering.  He is set to be sentenced on February 9th.

I’m very glad to see Alves get what he deserved; like so many other rapists, he clearly considered a whore to be a safe target whom a jury wouldn’t convict him for raping even if they did believe her, and it’s good to see that the jury proved him wrong.  But I have to wonder if the outcome would’ve been the same had his victim been a full-fledged professional rather than a would-be sugar baby.  From the way the article is written it seems the prosecutor and reporter both wanted to call attention away from the fact that the victim fully intended to transact a compensated sex arrangement; the report coyly refers to SugarDaddyForMe as a “dating site” when it’s obviously much more akin to an escort site, and the prosecutor accepted the victim’s rather incredible claim that she was willing to meet “Garcia” even without the promise of money despite the fact that she was specifically looking for a sugar daddy.  Now, obviously it did not behoove the prosecutor to question further because she was trying to convict the rapist; had she been Alves’ defender I’m sure she would’ve tried to roast the poor girl alive.

But what about the reporter?  Certainly it’s possible that he’s a bit naive, but it seems more likely he was attempting to downplay the commercial nature of the transaction in a vain attempt to avoid arousing the “dirty whore got what she deserved” crowd.  But whatever his motivation, it was not really the right thing to do; pretending that a sugar daddy arrangement is a form of dating rather than “hooking lite” perpetuates the myth that whores are intrinsically different from other women and our clients intrinsically different from other men, which is exactly what vice cops, trafficking alarmists and “Nordic Model” crusaders want the public to think.  But such arguments don’t carry the weight they once did; more and more people are awakening to the realization that harlots aren’t really all that different from our amateur sisters, and our clients aren’t at all different from other men.  The author of this Jezebel article set up a profile at SugarDaddyForMe for research purposes and was surprised to discover how normal most of the members were; perhaps she can next be prevailed upon to join an escort site, where she will discover exactly the same thing.

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