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Posts Tagged ‘psychology’

Save your gas money for doughnuts and leave me alone because flashing a badge isn’t going to get you a discount.  –  Alyssa Ambrosino

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

but damn, has she got chutzpah!

…Alyssa Ambrosino of [Pennsylvania]…posted a listing online Jan. 13 that read in part, “Hey guys it’s Marie or you can call me Lyssa.  I’m working…within the jurisdiction of East Stroud PD.  A police department that couldn’t find their own ass with both hands and a map, so don’t bother even trying to call and set up a date.  Save your gas money for doughnuts and leave me alone because flashing a badge isn’t going to get you a discount.  For all the REAL men out there I would love to see you”…A [plainclothes pig]…arranged to meet Ambrosino at her hotel room…[but] she [smelled him]…and asked him to leave…[then a plainclothes sow] …went up and knocked on the door…[asking] why her husband was in that hotel room…[the sow then planted] marijuana on the night stand [and arrested] Ambrosino…

If anyone knows how to get in touch with her, please ask her to email me; I may be able to help get her legal defense.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

How many times do we need to say this?

Self-labeled sex addicts often speak about their identities very clinically, as if they’re paralyzed by a scientific condition that functions the same way as drug and alcohol addiction. But sex and porn “addiction” are NOT the same as alcoholism or a cocaine habit. In fact [they]…are not addictions at all…and…don’t constitute what most researchers understand to be addiction…addicts withdraw. When you lock a dope fiend in a room without any dope, the lack of drugs will cause an immediate physiological response — some of which is visible, some of which we can only track from within the body. During withdrawal, the brains of addicts create junctions between nerve cells containing the neurotransmitter GABA. This process more or less inhibits the brain systems usually excited by drug-related cues — something we never see in the brains of so-called sex and porn addicts…porn-addiction [promoters]…are wedded to the idea that porn is an uncontrolled stimulus the brain gets addicted to because of the dopamine release it causes…But there’s a difference between compulsion and addiction…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

There’s a word for “partnering” between government and private corporations; it’s “fascism”:

State police officials are working with the Salvation Army and other organizations to help fight human trafficking in the Detroit area…Michigan has stepped up efforts in recent years to [arrest sex workers]…and [steal their possessions]…Human trafficking is a [sexual fantasy]…through which [police departments and rescue industry companies] profit from the exploitation and control of their victims.  Victims…include [sex workers, their clients, their] children…[their friends, landlords, roommates and partners]…

Legal Is as Legal Does 

Sex workers in Victoria will be able to advertise with full body pictures…under changes to the state’s sex-work regulations.  But…sex-worker organisation Vixen Collective says the government should tackle the real issues facing the industry, including full decriminalisation and an end to mandatory health testing…Advertisements are currently limited to head-and-shoulder shots.  Ads for sex workers will remain banned from radio, TV, film and video recordings but ads on the internet and in print may contain a photograph of the whole person, as long as…[it] does not show naked genitals or breasts, a sex act or a person under the age of 18 years.  Sex workers will now be able to advertise with references to [their] race, colour or ethnic origin…Jane Green…[of] Vixen Collective, said…sex workers have been calling for an end to mandatory testing because of the burden it puts on sex workers and taxpayers…25 years of medical research in Australia have shown that sex workers have lower rates of STI’s and practice safer sex than the general population…

Above the Law 

Even cops whose offenses don’t rise to the level of rape employ disgusting defenses:

[Boston cop] Edwin Guzman is currently facing charges of “annoying and accosting” a person of the opposite sex, as well as disseminating harmful material to a minor…if a classmate had sent a photo of his penis to this 16-year-old girl, he might be facing child pornography charges and a lifetime on the sex offender registry, rather than…a maximum $200 fine and 6 months in jail…what’s more disturbing is his lawyer’s dismissiveness of the teen’s response to the unwanted explicit pictures…”Kenneth Anderson…said…’You can’t tell me someone her age has never seen a picture of a penis on the Internet’…by this rationale, the teen shouldn’t be upset if an older relative, politician, church leader, trusted community figure, random neighbor or anyone else…sent her explicit photos.  After all, spend enough time on the internet and you’re bound to see a penis.  Perhaps Anderson could help her get over her fear of penis pictures by sending a few of his own her way…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The New York Police Department has gained “chilling” access to a vast array of surveillance via the use of license plate readers (LPR), the American Civil Liberties Union warns…the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) obtained the final version of the nearly $500,000 contract between the NYPD and Vigilant Solutions for access to the billions of records the company has collected nationwide through the use of its LPRs…the new system “contains over 2.2 billion location data points, and it is growing by almost a million data points per day…Surveillance is about power.  Vigilant gives the NYPD power to monitor our whereabouts and, by extension, our affiliations, interests, activities and beliefs,” the civil rights group said in its blog…“Even more worrisome…the data comes from private license plate readers that scan locations that the police are less likely to scan: residential areas, apartment complexes, retail areas and business office complexes with large employee parking areasAnd…there is no limit on how long Vigilant keeps all of this private location data…There is no incentive for Vigilant to delete any data because its business model is to profit off of selling people’s data.”  Despite promises by LPR proponents that such databases would not be abused, they [are almost constantly]

King of the Hill

What century do “sex trafficking” fetishists believe this is?

I was shocked to learn that Michigan is one of the top spots in the United States for human trafficking…Michigan ranks No. 2 in the country…No. 1 is Nevada.  Two of the things that make Michigan a primary spot is our close proximity to Canada and our waterways…

Train Wreck

Translation: They provide forged papers and provide passage for migrants who want to escape Nigeria:

…[A police] raid [resulted] in the arrest of the leaders of a Nigerian-based group running an international sex-trafficking ring in Barcelona.  It’s known as the Supreme Eiye Confraternity (SEC), or the Air Lords…[cops] first came across the group in 2011 during a forgery investigation, but quickly discovered it was a huge network trafficking…human beings and narcotics (cocaine and marijuana) and [forging] passports.  It has also facilitated the transport of stolen crude oil into Europe…Benin City, Nigeria, is a human-trafficking hub

Sexual Predators

WARNING: The badge-licking in here is so loud and fellatory, it may nauseate you:

The customer has no idea what he is walking into.  He is in his early 30s, dressed kind of schlubby, and wanting to buy some sex on a gorgeous weekday afternoon…There will be no happy ending for him today.  He will be greeted by a [cop]…posing as a prostitute…Elsewhere in the hotel, a 27-year-old woman with heavy eye makeup and a short, short skirt is sitting on a bed looking concerned.  She is a prostitute, who, like the man, was [duped by pigs] on backpage.com, a popular prostitution website.  She had come to this room thinking she was about to have a “date.”  Instead, she is being interviewed by trained advocates from the YWCA who are looking for signs of coercion and fear…

Signs of coercion and fear, when she’s surrounded by armed thugs who’ve just deceived her?  How could that POSSIBLY be? The tone isn’t surprising, though, considering that the LA Times is the only newspaper I know whose reporters are specifically forbidden to call rape, “rape” when the rapist is a cop.

Crime Against Society (#324)

Though they can’t do it as easily as they once could, New Orleans prosecutors still love condemning sex workers to the “sex offender” registry:

…She had spent weeks in Orleans Parish Prison once before, sleeping on a mat, getting in fights.  She was desperate to get out.  Plead guilty to “attempted intentional exposure to AIDS,” an antiquated felony created during the darkest days of 1980s AIDS hysteria, and the prosecutor would agree to 60 days time served, her ticket to immediate release.  She took the deal.  About a week after she got out, the 22-year-old woman received a phone call.  It was her probation officer, threatening to take her back to jail.  Why?  She hadn’t registered as a sex offender…nobody – not her lawyer, not the judge, not the prosecutor – had mentioned anything about adding her name to a list of society’s most reviled outcasts.  Nobody had said anything about the special driver’s license she would have to carry, or the expense of mailing postcards to hundreds of her neighbors.  Aaliyah had condemned herself to 15 years of frustration and humiliation, and there is no record of anybody telling her until it was too late…

The Public Eye (#593)

Laura Lee talks about how she became a sex worker:

…In 2003, I moved to Scotland to take up a position with a financial institution, corporate prostitution at its finest.  Over time, my part time endeavour to top up my miniscule salary became known, and the proverbial hit the fan…In a small highland town, that’s better than a double live episode of Eastenders and various locals couldn’t wait to make their views known.  Some were to my face, but mostly it was done on social media, by members of staff during a “confidential” investigation…I was angry I had to leave the town for my daughter’s sake and start afresh.  I was angry for being judged, by the very people who’d come to me for help in the past.  But mostly, I was angry that many people spouted speeches about the sex industry, when they quite obviously didn’t have a clue…I’ve since learned that some people build entire careers on that…

Too Close To Home pompous press conference

Journalists are starting to listen:

…The women [Seattle cops pretended] they “rescued”…may not actually have been trafficked…King County’s prosecutor did not charge any of the people arrested with trafficking, only with promoting prostitution…The court documents include no affidavits or victim statements from the women themselves…[the] one woman [cops managed to catch]…said her family in South Korea was in debt bondage and that if she didn’t do sex work and pay off their debt, her family might be hurt…I can’t help but wonder about the element of coercion involved in obtaining the statement of an illegal immigrant who knows she may be jailed or deported unless she depicts herself as a trafficking victim…There is also no evidence that these women were being forced to stay in the apartments or forced to sell sex.  Indeed, the instructions on the TRB site says explicitly that “No means NO.  Regardless of your particular expectations, what is offered is completely up to the provider”…

Stupor Bowl (#608)

This is the typical “Super Bowl sex trafficking” story now; it debunks the specific gypsy whore myth while still accepting the greater “sex trafficking” myth:

On February 7, the Super Bowl will return to the Bay Area…and it’s an oft-repeated chestnut that when sports championships come to town, so too do human traffickers…the link between the Super Bowl and trafficking is, at best, unsubstantiated.  (The maybe-canard even has its own Snopes page).  At worst, it’s an attempt to link trafficking with hyper-masculine sporting events and voluntary sex work…the mayor’s anti-trafficking task force [imagined] the region to be “a hub for human trafficking and a hot spot for child sex trafficking”; the FBI has also [pretended] it to be one of 13 national “high intensity” areas for child sex trafficking crimes…Traffickers often use airplanes to transport victims through networks that span the globe

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He was very willing to speak with us and get into detail about what happened…he was very well spoken…  –  “Detective” Brian Johnson

I have to admit, this modern-style trailer for The Empire Strikes Back makes it look even more awesome.  The video was contributed by Popehat (who also supplied “confessions”), and the links above it by Eddie J CunninghamMike SiegelCharles Hill, and Claudia Cristophe, in that order.

From the Archives

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drowning in alcoholNot sure if you remember me, but I am the subject of your column “Deep Frustration“.  I want thank you again for writing that response, I really did appreciate it.  I had always intended to write back to you, so I hope I’m not asking to much for you to respond again.  Over the past three years my ED has gone through sporadic improvements mainly due to living a more healthy lifestyle, proper diet, exercise, abstaining from alcohol etc.  I relapse into my shitty habits again and again, and what little progress I make is undone, but I usually manage to claw my way back.  I didn’t mention that I’m an alcoholic in my original email, but its interesting that during 2015 I went four months without alcohol and testicles literally grew in size, then I relapsed and they began to shrink again.  My porn use has pretty much stayed the same; I’ve had several unsuccessful attempts to simply quit porn but I always relapse with really sick extreme porn.  I recently went to an FBSM girl because my ED would prevent me from enjoying full service, but even that was a disaster; I spent most of the time staring at a spot on the ceiling, and every part of my body was tense and stiff…except for my penis!  I felt sorry for the poor girl have to try engage with such a non cooperative person, but I simply could not be present.  I really enjoyed looking at this woman’s pics in her advertisement, I even jacked myself off  to them whilst imagining how great it would be, and when I actually get it I feel not one iota of lust.  My number one sexual goal is total abstinence from porn and masturbation; I want to banish fantasy and live with both feet in reality.  I’m confident that with enough time on Nofap I’ll be all the better for it.  I want more experiences so I continue to learn the truth about myself, whatever than is and where it leads, rather than remaining steeped in the childish, delusional fantasy world of porn.

Oh yes, I remember; every time I’ve run across that column for one reason or another I’ve thought about you and wondered how your situation had developed.  The extra information you’ve given me here helps me to give you a little more advice; I really hope you take it, because I don’t think your situation is in any way hopeless.  First of all, you absolutely need to get off the booze; though it’s legal, alcohol is actually one of the hardest and most damaging of drugs, and heavy drinking has a host of negative effects of which your chronic “whiskey dick” condition is probably the least serious.  You haven’t mentioned what you do for a living, and I don’t know what kind of health insurance you have; I suggest you research your local mental health resources, find out what programs you can afford and enroll without delay.  Note that I said “resources”, plural; I don’t think drinking is your only problem, though it’s a major one.  I’m not a mental health professional, but it seems obvious to me that your problems are more serious than you can solve alone; you need the help of a caring person who will listen to you without judging and help you get to the bottom of this.  You wrote “I want…to learn the truth about myself, whatever than is and where it leads”, and I think that’s a great philosophy to have; a good therapist can help you to accomplish that.  But remember, the therapist is only a guide; he can’t “fix” you or “cure” you, because you have to do that yourself.  And let me tell you, it’s not a quest for the faint of heart; I can tell you from painful personal experience that it’s terrifying, humiliating and excruciating.  But when you at last win through to the truth, it will be as though a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders; it won’t happen all at once, but once it starts you’ll know and you’ll be encouraged to continue through to the end.

I do want to address one thing in your letter directly, though; I can understand why you might want to quit watching porn, because you’ve developed a kind of love-hate relationship with it and that’s not healthy.  The problem isn’t the porn itself, but rather your relationship with the porn, which you seem to be using as a barrier between you and some sexual issues you are uncomfortable with confronting directly.  However, I honestly don’t think you need to stop masturbating; there’s nothing harmful about it, no matter what the “NoFap” cultists preach.  If you’re uncomfortable with porn, stop watching it for now, but denying yourself the release of masturbation when you feel the need for it isn’t going to help you; it will simply increase your frustration, driving you back into fantasies you find distressing and perpetuating what has become a highly destructive cycle.

(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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Siren

I’ve been a hobbyist since 2007 and have been with many ladies, but a year ago I started seeing a young woman less than half my age and became utterly intoxicated with her.  I see her about twice a week now, always paying more than her full posted rate; despite this she never stays longer than the time we agreed on, even though she sees other people at a lower rate.  She does, however, text with me every day, though most of them are rather short.  I take her shopping, bring her many presents, and loaned her a lot of money; I have also told her I love her and even proposed.  She has never said she loves me, but she says she has more feelings for me than she does other clients; she gets a little angry if I push her to explain her feelings, and says she’s not in the same place I am.  Last autumn I was in alcohol rehab for a while, and she was very annoyed that I did not keep in contact while I was in the facility (because I couldn’t use my cell phone there).  After that I started getting very obsessed with her and have figured out her real name, where she lives and other personal information.  She won’t commit to a relationship, but says anything is possible.  It’s beginning to get around the local escort/client community that I’m infatuated with her, and the other providers I know tell me I’m not the only one, and that she’s known for using people.  One of my hobbyist friends tells me I should stop seeing her for at least six months, and see other providers instead; I’ve tried that, but no other woman makes me feel like she does.  Help!

I’m afraid I have to echo what everyone else is telling you:  you need to walk away from this if at all possible.  You are completely infatuated with her, and though I won’t say she’s using you because she isn’t lying to you, that doesn’t make this a healthy relationship.  There’s absolutely nothing morally wrong with her refusing to overstay her time, or insisting on full rate; though I do think it’s a bit strange that she gives other people a cheaper rate than her most regular client, on the other hand she also gives you a lot of “off the clock” interaction via texting and the like.  What makes it unhealthy is your level of emotional investment in something that isn’t going to go where it’s obvious you desperately want it to go.

We like to believe that we have complete free will, but the truth is that chemicals dramatically affect our thinking and emotions.  People with mental illnesses caused by chemical imbalances can find their whole lives thrown into turmoil for no apparent reason, and the right medication can make them feel dramatically better.  Recreational drugs can profoundly affect the way we feel or view the world, and can even lead to powerful insights or religious experiences.  And given that you have suffered from alcoholism yourself, I don’t think I need to remind you of the powerful effect that chemical has on the brain.  Well, the feeling of being in love is also caused by chemicals, though they’re ones which originate within the body rather than outside of it; the primary culprit is dopamine, but norepinephrine and phenylethylamine are also important, not to mention the “love hormone” oxytocin (which is released during skin-to-skin contact, including cuddling, even in situations where no sex or erotic attraction is involved).  So while it’s not possible to be addicted to sex (as I have explained many times in my blog), it is indeed possible to be addicted (in a way) to the feeling of being in love.  And just as the compelling need for alcohol or other drugs can cause erratic or even dangerous behavior in the addict, so can the compelling need for the “fix” provided by that potent neurochemical mixture one’s brain releases during interaction with the subject of one’s infatuation.  The good news is that, as with any other addiction, the hold of love can be broken; the bad news is that I don’t know of any way to do it other than cold turkey withdrawal.  I would strongly counsel you to take your friends’ advice:  stop seeing your siren and try to distract yourself with other ladies and other pastimes, before you go broke and/or get yourself arrested for doing something you will regret, which I fear is a very strong possibility in this situation.brain in love

(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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Not long ago, a young man named Justin Kardel, who was totally unknown to me, approached me via Twitter and asked if I’d consider featuring an essay of his.  Now, my initial reaction was to decline; a lot of strangers ask me to publish their stuff, and if I did that I wouldn’t have room for much else.  But something in his quiet, respectful manner captured my attention, and when I read his essay I found it a well-written and thoughtful look at a topic which isn’t discussed often enough: rape in which the victim is male.

Just over two years ago, on October 31st, 2013, I was raped by a man I had recently started dating.  We had only gone on one other date and he was a perfect gentleman; he constantly complimented my looks and my style, we had great conversation and he seemed kind and considerate.  He even paid the check, which is quite the godsend for a starving graduate student.  So we decided to go out to a club for Halloween.  I remember being handed a lot of drinks but I don’t particularly remember him having many; however, I was paying more attention to the costumes, the beautiful young men and women in the club, and dancing.

1800 tequilaWhen last call came, we went to his place, where he continued to give me mixed drinks (constantly topping them off with 1800 tequila).  He started kissing me, and I felt somewhat uneasy about it but went along without saying anything; I was lit and not really able to voice my concerns.  Then he pulled out his penis and attempted to force me to perform oral sex on him.  I protested and refused, but he kept trying, pleading and cajoling me until I eventually acquiesced.  And then he raped me.  At first it seemed normal; I didn’t enjoy it, but they are all different and you never know what it will really be like with a new partner during the first one.  In my inebriated state, I thought the reason I didn’t enjoy it was because he was an incompetent lover; I was upset that he couldn’t satisfy me and I was angry that he went through with all this trouble without being able to seal the deal.  But the next day I knew it was much more than that, so I blocked his number and purposely attempted to forget his name and face.  After about a month I had largely succeeded, or so I thought; I had a sense that the incident might qualify as a sexual assault, but I convinced myself that it hadn’t affected me.  Furthermore, I’ve suffered from worse assaults, like the time I was stabbed by an acquaintance; in that case I didn’t go to the police or even tell anyone for years because I took the attack as a strong sign that I needed to leave that circle of friends.  Additionally, I didn’t want to waste my time and risk interaction with the police, nor did I really want to see him put in jail as I do not believe in the effectiveness of incarceration at preventing crime or reforming criminals.  I felt the same way about the sexual assault, only more so.

Anyway, I didn’t think much about the incident, at least not consciously, until I was dumped by my girlfriend recently; since I really loved her and thought we had a great relationship, I started reexamining my past lovers to see if I could get an idea of what I had been doing wrong.  When I did, my assailant shot to the front of my mind and I immediately recognized what I had denied for so long: I had been raped.  I was devastated, and didn’t know who to tell (if anyone); I pride myself on my independence and I felt he had taken away my sexual agency because I haven’t been attracted to men ever since the rape.  Also, I am a large, 6’5” male and should have been capable of warding off a man 7″ shorter and 60 pounds lighter than me; even given that, I was unable to stop him and became his accomplice during the rape.  That fact has been very hard to deal with; even  though I know the sentiment is retrograde, I cannot help but feel that I’m less worthy as a victim because I should have been able to resist.  Eventually I started talking to one of my most trustworthy, easy-to-talk-to and open-minded friends, and then came the tears.  I was finally able to accept it.  It. Wasn’t. My. Fault.

I was violated, but it didn’t diminish my value as a human being.  I may have been robbed of some of my sexuality, but we change as we age and grow and I don’t think I will be any less happy for that in the long run; to believe and act any differently would just give more power to his sexual violence.  It’s water under the bridge—the best thing to do is not to hang onto the past, especially when there is nothing you can do to erase it.  I forgave him, but only for my sake; I will never see or hear from him again and he will probably ever admit that he raped me.  But I don’t particularly care.  Prison wouldn’t solve anything, and the courts are loath to prosecute date rape cases and even less likely to prosecute homosexual rape.  I forgave him so I would not carry that grudge, the kind of grudge that can corrode one’s heart, mind and soul; I know too many who have, and their lives are diminished by it.

sad manBut even given all that, I wanted to write this article because of the dearth of conversation on the rape of males in America.  I hesitated for so long because of the stigma associated with it, but I think my story and those of thousands of other sexually-abused men must be told.  Much like other marginalized groups such as sex workers, the only way to get any change in this country starts with wide exposure.  It’s true that far fewer men report being raped than women; the CDC does not even report numbers for male rape, and men report sexual abuse at a rate only 58% that of women.  But this is still a massive number of people, and is surely hugely under-reported because the stigma against men claiming they were raped is even worse than it is for women; furthermore, it does not include the most widely known type of male rape:  prison rape.  Over 200,000 men are sexually assaulted in prison every year, and the popular response is another hoary old “don’t drop the soap” joke or a statement that it is justified by their conviction for a crime.  It’s sick how popular this sentiment is; rape rates in prison approach or even surpass those in sub-Saharan African war zones, yet few care because they think men who get raped are not “real men” and prisoners deserve that kind of treatment anyhow.  It’s disgusting, and it’s got to change.  I forgave my rapist so I could move on to do better things and live a fulfilling life.  But I will never forget him, and he will forever inform me of the extreme brutality and trauma of rape, and why it must be addressed honestly and effectively.  And for that I thank him.

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You will hear our voices, because they are becoming louder and louder and you can’t drown us out any longer.  –  Laura Lee

Above the Law 

Well, this is different:

Male strippers stopped by gardai for having no tax disc performed for female officers to get out of a fine…They…entered the Garda station and began their performance.  But one female is understood to have fallen during the incident, injuring her back…an internal investigation is underway…the officer who brokered the “deal” is also being investigated…

The Rape Question rape rate by age

I’ve been saying this for 30 years:

In…1975…Susan Brownmiller…asserted that “rape is about power, not sex.”  Ever since, the conventional wisdom has been that rapists are misogynistic men seeking domination and power over women, not violent men seeking sex…there has been no significant empirical research to support her claim.  Yet, almost everyone repeats it…Social science has demonstrated a strong relationship between age and sexual attractiveness.  Heterosexual men are sexually attracted to young women, while homosexual men are attracted to young men…If rapists are primarily motivated by the desire for power and domination, then one would expect them to prefer middle-aged, career women.  However, if rapists primarily desire sex, then one would expect them to prefer young women and men…The percentage of female victims who are over 50 is close to zero…A 15-year-old male is more likely to be a victim of a sexual assault than a 40-year-old female…An analysis of whether female robbery victims are sexually assaulted during the incident suggests that the sexual attractiveness of young people is an important factor.  Since the robber has already established dominance over a vulnerable victim, the effects of opportunity and vulnerability are removed, and only the effect of the offender’s age preference remains.  In such cases, robbers are much more likely to rape victims between the ages of 15 and 29…The reason most rapists target females is that a larger percentage of males are heterosexuals, not that they hate females…Gay men are just as likely to attack males as straight men are to attack females…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Plus the fact that so-called “virtually reality” doesn’t involve actual touch:

Virtual reality technology is unlikely to kill off real sex work, according to people working in the business, even if the biggest predictions about it come true…Virtual reality allows people to strap on a headset and move around a world as if they are really there, with the image changing as they move their head for an immersive experience. But that experience will never be enough to threaten the business of real sex workers…

Imagination Pinned Down

I’ll just leave this right here:

Stories are so natural that we don’t notice how much they permeate our lives…That’s precisely why they can be such a powerful tool of deception.  When we’re immersed in a story, we let down our guard…[and] may absorb things…that would normally pass us by or put us on high alert…In his book Actual Minds, Possible Worlds, Jerome Bruner…proposes that we can frame experience in two ways:  propositional and narrative.  Propositional thought hinges on logic and formality.  Narrative thought is the reverse.  It’s concrete, imagistic, personally convincing, and emotional.  And it’s strong…What kind of person do you need to be to make up a history of…sex trafficking?  For one thing, you need to have an intimate grasp of the workings of human psychology—you have to understand that this story, above any other, will elude scrutiny even when the facts that justify it are sparse.  Victims, in the right light, stand above reproach.  No one questions an escapee from human trafficking…

The central example of the article is the case of Samantha Azzopardi, but I don’t think you need me to point out dozens of other important examples.

Shift in the Wind (#134)

Mary Emily O’Hara of the Daily Dot published a very decent review of the year’s top sex work stories; however, in the course of preparing the article she used some materials without permission, possibly endangering sex workers.  Though the materials were removed when their original author protested to O’Hara, the incident just goes to show how little even sex-worker-friendly journalists stop to think about the effect of stigma on sex workers’ lives.

Little Boxes (#138)

Anyone who would be “alarmed” at the sight of a nipple needs to just stay home with a coloring book:

A proposed law in New Hampshire would charge women with a misdemeanor for exposing their nipples in public, with an exemption for the act of breastfeeding. Toplessness is currently legal for both women and men under New Hamphire state law, although some local ordinances forbid it…[the] bill would update the state’s indecent exposure and lewdness statute to include “a woman [who] purposely exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts in a public place and in the presence of another person with reckless disregard for whether a reasonable person would be offended or alarmed by such act.”

Oscillation (#312)

This is what prohibition looks like when given perspective by time:

Hundreds of letters were received by [Irish] President Patrick Hillery in 1985, urging him not to sign legislation that allowed condoms to be purchased without prescription…In a file…released as part of the 30-year rule, letters warned of the “imminent dangers to which young people will be exposed” and claimed the “lives of decent people” would be “threatened in the streets and even in their homes” if [people could buy condoms]…A woman from Clontarf, Dublin, reminded Hillery that it wasn’t long since the people “voted to protect unborn life” in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.  “This Bill is totally opposed to the whole concept of unborn lifescreaming loony because it closes the door to the right of unborn life to be conceived,” she said…

Under Every Bed

I found out that human trafficking affects every single community.  Places big, small, urban or rural, human trafficking is everywhere.  The realities of human trafficking are disturbing and unsettling.  Experts at a conference I attended in September said the multi-billion dollar industry has now surpassed the drug and arms trades…

Uncommon Sense (#337)

Once again, myths and agency denial convince Switzerland to narrow the bottleneck for legal sex work:

…Switzerland began awarding eight-month permits in 1995 to women from outside the European Union who wanted to come to the country to work as strippers…The programme was meant to protect people who may have otherwise been vulnerable to sex traffickers…But…Swiss authorities…announced that [blah blah blah sex trafficking so]…the programme will formally be cancelled as of the new year…the visas, called “L permits”…gave women a chance to earn significant money in wealthy Switzerland which they could send home to their families…

This will, of course, result in these women working illegally, thus making them vulnerable to persecution by cops.  Progress!

Innocence Never Had

People are so unwilling to let go of the ridiculous “pimps & hos” myth and the “enslaved children” wanking fantasy, that even when they question a few of the elements they can’t let go of the rest:

While headlines tout stories of women and children trafficked from overseas…you need look no further than the streets of Los Angeles to find America’s sexually exploited kids.  Over 90 percent of [young people] under 18 [arrested by LAPD]…have not been kidnapped and stuffed into the back of a van, which is Hollywood’s version of sex trafficking…While “trafficked” implies transportation of victims across borders, anyone…under age 18 performing commercial sex acts is considered a trafficking victim…whether or not there is…force or coercion…When [a vice cop] suspects someone on the street is underage, he approaches her and introduces himself as an officer from the trafficking unit…Then, instead of arresting her, he [arrests her]…But girls like this aren’t usually rejoicing to be “rescued.”  In fact, they are usually afraid of law enforcement and attached to their pimp…

The Public Eye (#407)

Laura Lee published an open letter to prohibitionists:

…You’ve decided I’m the “dirty girl”, the one who ought to be ashamed.  You pour scorn on me when I don’t feel that shame…You tell me I must have been abused as a child, that can be the only explanation.  You tell me I’m irrational, I have PTSD or I simply don’t care about myself.  You tell me I can’t possibly parent, I can’t look after myself, let alone my daughter…You tell me that if I like what I do so much, I should work for free…you even tell me I target vulnerable disabled men, without one thought for their ability to make their own choices.  You lie, you do it all the time.  You tell the public that the country is awash with victims of trafficking when you know that simply isn’t true.  You put your own funding and career above my life…

No Other Option (#420)

In the US, this business would be violently suppressed and its customers and workers shamed, robbed and caged: “A 24-hour brothel in central Bankstown [NSW] will include…seven rooms for clients, including one [specially fitted] for people with a disability…

Checklist (#542)

A ridiculous and insulting new law takes effect in Florida:

Posters are going up in adult businesses, airports and other places where human trafficking victims might see them throughout Florida.  They are aimed at combating sex trafficking.  The FBI says Florida ranks third when it comes to human trafficking.  A new state law goes into effect Jan. 1 requiring adult businesses and other locations to display posters with telephone numbers and other information to assist potential human trafficking victims…

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Then, I was inspired;
Now, I’m sad and tired.  –  Tim Rice, Jesus Christ Superstar

Life Shattering by Martz90 (2012)This has been a year of dramatic change in my life, and to a slightly lesser extent in this blog, and so I’m sure most of you won’t be surprised when this column breaks the tradition of New Year’s Eve columns that I maintained for five years.  In the past, I would write a thorough synopsis of the year’s events, with copious links to the columns in question; this year, I’m afraid that I have neither the time nor the energy for such an exhaustive reiteration.  Whereas I used to prepare non-news columns weeks in advance, now I’m lucky if I’m two days ahead; most of the time it’s only one, and sometimes I hit “schedule” just hours (and in a few cases, mere minutes) before press time.  The main reason for this is that my life is a lot busier now: rather than living in semi-retirement on a ranch in the country with an estranged husband and a minimum of face-to-face interaction with others beside Grace, I’m now back to work full time in Seattle with a girlfriend recovering from a severe motorcycle accident, and I have to make a specific effort to get the time and privacy I need to write.  That’s why I haven’t managed to get another book out; I’ve only barely managed to keep the blog going, and I can’t recall a time when I was so continually exhausted yet so unable to obtain adequate rest and recuperation.  On top of that I’m almost six years older now than when I started – I’ve gone from not-much-past-forty to nearly-fifty in calendar years, and I couldn’t even estimate how much I’ve aged experientially.  Barely anything about my life is the same now as it was two Decembers past, and even my self has changed to a point that would cause the Maggie of 2010 to reel in shock.  I spend hours every day processing my thoughts, feelings and newly-acquired knowledge, and yet the sheer volume and gravity of the stuff I have to process precludes my getting it all done anytime soon.  But if there’s one thing I know with certainty, it’s this: my commitment to the cause of sex worker rights is greater than it has ever been, and if anything it will only increase in the year to come.

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