“Pornography has socialized a generation of men into watching sexual torture,” Dines said. “You are not born with that capacity. You have to be trained into it. Just like you train soldiers to kill. If you are going to carry out violence against a group you have to dehumanize them. It is an old method. Jews become kikes. Blacks become niggers. Women become cunts. And no one turns women into cunts better than porn.”

-Gail Dines, quoted By Chris Hedges in “Pornography is What the End of the World Looks Like“.

   Listening to survivors prostitution is important.  Their voices need to be heard.  Jacqueline S. Homan shares her experiences with, as she describes it, the commercial rape industry.

 

“Do you REALLY want the truth from real sex trafficking survivors? Because those of us sex trafficking victims/survivors who HAVE BEEN trying to speak out about how wrong this whole shit show is have NO money to even live on let alone mount a media campaign to protect our interests as we are NOT a $32 billion dollar a year industry—unlike the rapists, pimps and traffickers you seem hell-bent on protecting.

We have NO resources, NOTHING to enable us to protect ourselves when we DO speak out about what was done to us and then we get stalked, harassed, libeled, discredited, and threatened for speaking our truths.

This has happened to EVERY survivor who wants the Nordic model AND solid economic supports for women wanting to exit the commercial rape trade. And as a sex trafficking survivor, that is EXACTLY what prostitution is: COMMERCIAL RAPE.

So let’s be honest, shall we? You people who continue to stand on YOUR privileges (middle/upper class privilege and/or male privilege) to shout survivors down and subvert OUR human rights (yanno, like the right to NOT be pressed into commercial rape) don’t want to hear from the 90% who want out but can’t exit and you damn well don’t want to hear from destitute survivors like me who ARE out and who have had to resort to eating out of garbage cans and sleeping in cars for YEARS after escaping because of NOT being allowed ANY OTHER PLACE IN SOCIETY EXCEPT THE GUTTER AND AN EARLY GRAVE rather than go back to what your side glibly euphemizes as “a job like any other.”

You would prefer us to be PERMANENTLY silenced by being left to DIE from poverty, or DIE at the hands of violent abusive johns (either from deadly incurable STD’s since the majority of johns REFUSE to wear condoms and DELIBERATELY infect their victims, as revealed by Dr. Jay Silverman from Harvard Medical College in his 2007 report published in JAMA) from being economically forced to return to the very same sexual slavery hell we have fought so damn hard to ESCAPE from (often with NO help at all from ANYONE else in society, mind you).

So how about asking the the REAL question here: Whom does the Grail serve?

FACT: Only 15% of men are johns. At least 60% of them are married or are in a long-term relationship. Most are white and from the middle and upper classes. And many of them already have plans in mind to seek out women and girls specifically to TORTURE OR KILL when they seek out prostituted women—as revealed by recent john busts in Ottawa, Canada and also in the state of Virginia in the US where one john seeking a trafficked 14 yr old “for sex” was found to be carrying a loaded gun.

WHY are you more interested in protecting the profits of pimps, brothel owners, traffickers and johns—RAPISTS AND KILLERS—whose money and male privilege entitles them to do this shit with society’s full blessing and support and protection than you are in protecting the human rights of the VICTIMS of the commercial rape trade in the name of supporting women’s autonomy?

Is it because you think it’s perfectly OK to sacrifice an entire class of women and kids (and even young men too) as human shields to bear the brunt of life-threatening poverty due to job discrimination against racialized groups and poor, unvalued women (made worse by the lack of a social safety net thanks to Welfare Reform) and to bear the brunt of male sexual violence and cruelty just so that YOU can continue to unjustly benefit from it?

Or is it because you are really a paid shill for those at the apex of this trade in human flesh and blood and possibly have BLOOD MONEY in your bank account to protect?

Want to hear from some MORE survivors? How many MORE victims of the commercial rape trade do you need to hear from before you decide that OUR claims for some restorative justice and human rights are valid?

I tagged some brother and sister survivors as well as a male anti-trafficking ally. Whether they choose to participate in a convo dominated by johns, pimps and their cheerleaders where they know that they can expect to just get stomped into the ground yet again by those with privilege who don’t give a fuck about us is another matter.

I spoke out. You heard from me, a REAL sex trafficking survivor. If you will NOT listen or give a crap about me and my quest for justice and human rights, or Rebecca Mott’s or Rachel Moran’s or Stella Marr’s, then you won’t give a shit about what the rest of my fellow survivors have to say either. Your side never has. Which is why the Happy Hooker myth and the Pretty Woman Hollywood fantasy continues to dominate the public discourse in this matter at the expense of trafficking victims’ human rights.

There is NOTHING “objective” about this issue. Side 1 believes that a class of women and girls should continue to be set aside to be dehumanized and sacrificed as human shields to bear the brunt of poverty and male sexual violence and entitlement and allowed NO OTHER PLACE in society other than the gutter and an early grave, while Side 2 believes that women are human beings that deserve lives with dignity, to NOT be stripped of basic human rights by being reduced to disposable commodities for the sake of maintaining male privilege.”

hijabI’m always impressed with La Belle Province and her ability to serve up controversy.  Recently a judge in Quebec decided that a hijab was considered not to be suitable attire for her courtroom and dismissed a case when the litigant refused to comply with her request.  The judge’s words courtesy of the CBC:

“Hats and sunglasses for example, are not allowed.  And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either,” Marengo says in the recording.

“The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.”

The stage is set and the result:

“When El-Alloul first appeared before Marengo, the judge asked her why she had a scarf on her head. El-Alloul replied that it was because she is a Muslim. The judge then said she would take a 30-minute recess.

When Marengo returned, she told El-Alloul she had a choice: remove her headscarf immediately or apply for a postponement in order to consult a lawyer. El-Alloul replied that she couldn’t afford a lawyer and that she didn’t want to postpone the case. Marengo then adjourned the case indefinitely.”

Boom.  Tinder meet match.  Religious freedom versus the institutional values of a secular court.

There are a multitude of ways to look at what transpired in the courtroom but here are two that I think represent both sides of the argument.

A.  In a secular court of law, the secular values and rules of a society must be followed.  If a judge rules that what you’re wearing to be inappropriate for the proceedings it behooves you to follow the same standards that everyone else must follow.

B.  Canada is a multicultural society and we respect and treasure the cultural practices that every Canadian brings to the table and, if secular protocol can be reinterpreted to allow for the diversity of cultural expression within secular institutions we should do so. 

Before we go into further discussion we should note the reaction from El-Alloul, it was one of shock and dismay:

“[…] But what happened in court made me feel afraid. I felt that I’m not Canadian anymore.”

“El-Alloul said she’s speaking out because she doesn’t want what happened to her to happen to any other Muslim woman.  When she insisted I should remove my hijab, really I felt like she was talking with me as … not a human being. I don’t want this thing to happen to any other lady. This is not the work of a judge. She doesn’t deserve to be a judge.”

El-Alloul is rightly quite upset at the outcome of her hearing (or lack thereof).  There should be a more amenable solution available to the parties involved – a transfer to a different judge that has a more liberal interpretation of ‘suitably dressed’ might have saved a lot of ink and electrons as this story blossomed across Canadian news networks.

This seemingly simple case of what “suitably dressed” means and how it is enforced speaks to how intersectional an issue multiculturalism is.  Institutional power in Canada remains largely white and male and thus reflects the normative values of what is considered ‘normal’ culture here in Canada.  From this orthodoxy we get the notions such as:

1. Why should our Canadian institutions cater to every whim of the minorities?

2.  If it is good enough for everyone else, what is the problem here?

3.  Why aren’t secular Canadian values being learned by new Canadians?

Under the assumption that we are a multicultural society, clearly, point 1 is out to lunch.  The very point of having a tolerant open society is that we appreciate and try to accommodate the everyone and their preferences within the state structure of Canada.

Point 2 is problematic because the words “everyone else” usually uses the dominant culture as a touchstone thus, by play of words, avoids the obvious racism associated with similar statements.

Point 3 has the most merit as new Canadians do adopt Canadian values and standards, but the process of acculturation takes a great deal of time, often generations before the values of the dominant culture are ingrained.  It is unrealistic however to expect that somehow Canadians of all types have a switch that can be flipped instantaneously that would guarantee cultural assimilation.

The Hijab should be allowed in Canadian courtrooms as it does not interfere with workings of the court or the dispensing of justice.

However, as an open and tolerant secular society we should also have the ability to rightly name and not adopt cultural practices that would be corrosive to our society.  For instance, honour killings and female genital mutilation, have no place in Canadian or any other civilized society and I can assert this claim with a good deal of confidence because we need only to discuss the negative impacts these practices have on those societies who still practice these modalities (cultural relativism be damned).

 

 

 

24 new horses have arrived at Rescue 100, bringing the total up to 36 horses in care. Of this new bunch, 13 are stallions! There are some very interesting-looking horses in the new herd. Probably the prettiest is Bowie – named for his flamboyant eye makeup.
eyelinerstallion1

And this guy caused a flame war in an equine genetics group, when I asked the simple question, what colour would you call him.
specklystallion

I enjoy many musical modes of expression – this isn’t one of them – but performing good music despite technical limitations is a worthy undertaking.

And really, the V is only a few steps away from the trombone… :)

 

 


The shit hits the fan, and somehow you make it through, with amazing panache. Then, when it’s over, you lose it.

patriarchyissues   Sometimes its hard to put your finger on what exactly this mysterious patriarchy is.  Robert Jensen does a good job of offering an explanation.

Patriarchy

“This past year I have written about rape culture and trans ideology, in both cases anchoring an analysis in the problem of patriarchy. I’m often told that the term “patriarchy” is either too radical and alienating, or outdated and irrelevant. Yet it’s difficult to imagine addressing problems if we can’t name and critique the system out of which the problems emerge.

The late feminist historian Gerda Lerner defined patriarchy as “the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over women and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over women in the society in general.” Patriarchy implies, she continued, “that men hold power in all the important institutions of society and that women are deprived of access to such power. It does not imply that women are either totally powerless or totally deprived of rights, influence and resources.”

Like any resistance movement, feminism does not speak with one voice from a single unified analysis, but it’s hard to imagine a feminism that doesn’t start with the problem of patriarchy, one of the central systems of oppression that tries to naturalize a domination/subordination dynamic. In the case of feminism, this means challenging the way that patriarchy uses the biological differences between male and female (material sex differences) to justify rigid, repressive and reactionary claims about men and women (oppressive gender norms).

How should we understand the connection between sex and gender? Given that reproduction is not a trivial matter, the biological differences between male and female humans are not trivial, and it is plausible that these non-trivial physical differences could conceivably give rise to significant intellectual, emotional and moral differences between males and females. Yet for all the recent advances in biology and neuroscience, we still know relatively little about how the biological differences influence those capacities, though in contemporary culture many people routinely assume that the effects are greater than have been established. Male and female humans are much more similar than different, and in patriarchal societies based on gendered power, this focus on the differences is used to rationalize disparities in power.

In short: In patriarchy, “gender” is a category that functions to establish and reinforce inequality. While sex categories are part of any human society — and hence some sex-role differentiation is inevitable, given reproductive realities — the pernicious effects of patriarchal gender politics can, and should, be challenged.”

The rest of the article can be found on Nation of Change.

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