Tag Archives: Sex crime

Liberal = incontinent

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(access to) pornography has changed the landscape of adolescence beyond all recognition

I don’t quite buy that. The (intellectual) stumbling block I’ve always found with critics – mainstream critics, that is – of porn is the notion that it depraves and corrupts. I’ve read/viewed enough porn over my (near) 42 years to realise that it fairly represents my sexuality. Nonetheless, I’ve never felt license to violate human bodies to the extent that the GP in the above article describes. And what is this thing with anal sex anyway…

‘…in-vaginal ejaculation is so novel it occupies its own, minority-interest ‘kink’ category (‘creampie‘, if you’re interested): the converse ubiquity of ejaculation on faces and/or breasts (as far as possible from the vagina, note) and anal sex‘.

Male sexuality is a very simple thing. We find an opening; we insert; we thrust unto orgasm. That’s pretty much the definition of male. Which is not to say we’re not capable of more, or different, simply that this underlies more and different: fires it, motivates it. We simply have to choose better: to choose ways of expressing our sexuality that are less damaging; or not damaging at all.We need to reject the – currently trending – mode of liberalism that promotes ‘anything goes’; that damages both our bodies and our partners’ bodies; our minds and theirs.

Please share this post, or the above article. When we’re hurting others, and diminishing ourselves just to feel/be ‘normal something’s gone badly awry.

We need to choose better, because we can…

The Agency

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Sex between students and teachers should not be a crime: Washington Post

It’s disingenuous to assess a relationship – of any kind, sexual or otherwise – between two parties on the premise that said parties have equal agency when common sense and evidence declaim that this is manifestly not the case, as with teachers and students; adults and children; men and women…

This is a persistent fault in liberal thinking: some humans are more equal than others.

It’s precisely the disparity in agency that makes many such relationships immoral, if not criminal. Certainly, many men don’t see – or wilfully ignore – the immorality and don’t believe that criminalization is fair or necessary, for example this recent case in the UK.

From the Independent coverage of the same story:

“I could have been that 13-year-old girl”. She added that child victims of abuse often do not see themselves as victims at all because of the grooming process they have been put through.

Angela (not her real name), 37, said that was the way she felt during six years of sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather as a child. She said that, because of the abuse, she believed love to simply be a sexual act from an early age. “He told me that it happens in every family. I believed him because he was in a position of trust.”

“As a result of the abuse, I adopted some behaviour that could have been described as sexually predatory; in the same way as this girl’s was described. My understanding, as a young child, was that affection and being close to people was about doing sexual acts.”

When, as an adult, she said was raped again, she did not report it because she said she did not think she would be believed.

The attitude that victims, particularly children, are complicit in their own abuse means that there will be more and more stories like hers, Angela said.

“…I believed him because he was in a position of trust….” (My italics)

One of the features of moral outrage that makes it so hard for many to stomach is the hypocrisy that too often underlies it. Those who protest the loudest and abusers are too often one and the same. That teenage – and younger – victims of abuse who are popularly perceived to seek sexual relations with adults in positions of responsibility frequently masks this darker truth. Outrage, on closer inspection proves to be incredulity that the darker truth has been illuminated; that those not granted agency might have the audacity to illuminate it.

We live in a hierarchical society, for better or worse. As such, those permitted greater agency are obliged – if we wish to claim to be truly moral – to shoulder the greater responsibility. At present, as historically, we see the reverse presented as much the norm: promiscuous men projecting their abdicated responsibility onto women and girls when we label them ‘sluts’ or ‘predators’. This is a conspiracy in plain sight.

I don’t believe Betsy Karasik is a bad person; I believe in her good intentions both as a human being and as a lawyer. But the latter is significant. Lawyers – and the law – serve the state; uphold the status quo; because she has the agency over her clients that teachers have over students; that whites have over non-whites; that adults have over children; that men have over women. We have a responsibility to discharge that agency wisely and kindly, or disavow it: disputing it will not do.

p.s. Mic Wright‘s piece re bullying – a very personal subject for me, link via Telegraph article (above) – is also well worth a read

Les Miserables

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‘These are very unusual offences,’ Lord Bannatyne said during sentencing. ‘The case is clearly an exceptional one.

Well, sort of… sexual assaults committed by females are much the exception than the rule. But Bannatyne‘s judgement had little to to with her sex, and everything to do with her gender: her apprehension and his perception thereof…

The admission of Gender Identity Disorder by Bannatyne as a mitigating factor raises a question: does he mean to imply that because Wilson believed herself to be male her actions were more acceptable, by dint of being stereotypically ‘male’ actions? He said of her disorder, ‘I accept that this leads you to genuinely feel you are male rather than female. This significantly lowers your culpability.’ In other words, males are not culpable – or significantly less so – for their violent actions, in this case sexual assault and fraud.

The implications of such judgements are worrying, as much for what they appear to say about the victims as the perpetrators: that men (including Trans*men) should expect to be excused from the consequences of their actions by dint of being (or believing themselves) male; that females should expect to be victimized and bear those consequences.
Males are more typically violent, but male and violent are not synonyms, any more than female and victim are. The condition of men under patriarchy simply affords them access to a wider choice of victims; and such conditions conspire to protect them from the consequences to themselves of their actions. The consequences for their victims are not held to be terribly significant, if at all, and both theirs and the perpetrators’ debasements are equally feted as natural and desirable. When females do engage in violent abuse – which of course they do, as these cases show – they invariably victimize women or girls less enfranchised than themselves, children; or themselves. But they’re punished twice – think Myra Hindley, Rose West – both for their violence and for being ‘aberrant’ females. As atypical as these cases are, it’s striking how the words and decisions of the presiding judges are seen to reinforce gendered codes of behaviour rather than treat the protagonists as individuals. Wilson was convicted as a female, but punished as a male: i.e. barely (though she’ll no doubt continue to suffer psychological issues, possibly pose a risk to other girls) whilst Adie has been left – all too typically – high and dry.
Surely what matters here is the HUMAN trauma inflicted upon one HUMAN by another HUMAN. Physical assault hurts. Deception hurts. Both physically and psychologically such trauma has been shown throughout history to have repercussions for years afterward. That these girls suffered sexual violence at the hands of other women does little to diminish those repercussions, excepting the risk of pregnancy that might arise in instances of male rape. Adie was nonetheless hurt. That is the point. And the law, in its capacity as gender policeman, has seen fit to hurt her again.
The mutability of male and female behaviours is a matter for debate; though in the light of opportunities created for women by the actions of suffragettes and others since, it’s notable that ambitious females haven’t been shy of stepping up to the plate in the business and political worlds, albeit by co-opting ‘masculine’ values to an extent, and in spite of often violent backlash and having to carry the ‘second shift’ in the home. In different ways, women’s successes and failures within an andro-centric (and hetero-normative) system teach us lessons about the false norms – of both sex and gender – on which that system is founded.  If women have shown themselves able to adapt to the – frankly, often unreasonable – demands of the masculine world and still thrive, or at least survive….
Perhaps the bigger lesson here is that, far from trotting out ‘male’ (masculine) as a handy ‘get out clause’ for female bad behaviour; we might hold up ‘female’ as a standard to aspire to for – rather more often – badly-behaved males.
Maybe we should look for the strength inherent in our sex, rather than play to the weakness enforced by gender.

Integrity: the power of independent action

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An article in today’s Independent newspaper by columnist Jasmin Alibhai-Brown reveals how an anonymous letter sent to her by one of TV presenter Stuart Hall‘s child victims was instrumental in securing his recent conviction for the sexual abuse of young girls. (This article contains upsetting details of sex abuse.)

Whilst recently re-watching TV footage of Mark Williams-Thomas‘ ITV ‘Exposed’ documentaries and the subsequent Panorama episode, I was once again struck by a certain pattern of behaviour: how many players in the Savile scandal – over the course of four decades – visibly squirmed whilst trying to explain how they managed to ignore both persistent rumours, first-hand witnesses and their gut instincts about Savile’s violent, predatory tendencies. To varying degrees they knew, but did nothing…

How refreshing then, to see someone with a moderate level of media clout actually take up the baton and, like Williams-Thomas, use her position for the greater good. Reporting the – anonymous – complaint may have come to naught, she may not have been believed; but she listened to her conscience and took the chance and as a result a dangerous criminal has been apprehended. Unlike Savile he is still alive to face punishment.

Some, including the Mirror‘s FleetStreetFox have argued against the publicising of investigations into public figures accused of historic offences, citing the old saw of damaged reputations. The conviction of serial offenders such as Hall firmly refutes this position. Hall initially feigned innocence and vowed to fight the allegations; but publicity surrounding his case encouraged fresh witnesses to come forward and in the face of overwhelming evidence he capitulated and pled guilty.

There’s a lesson here: honesty, integrity and co-operation bring results. The old boys network, built on career-insecurity and awe that protected the likes of Savile is not insurmountable. Two days ago it was announced that Yewtree detectives will fly to Sydney, Australia to interview a 43 year-old witness to improper conduct on the part of Rolf Harris back in the ’90s. Like so many witnesses to such crimes, her fear of not being believed was an overwhelming factor in her failure to come forward previously. This is what hierarchy, what patriarchy does: it creates artificial power structures where the word of one person is worth less than that of another; where concealment of wrongdoing, of criminality is a surer way of maintaining an illusion of personal, or career safety than is honesty.

The cost to our individual and collective conscience, integrity and health is high, however. I hope Savile‘s – on occasion, inadvertant or naive – colluders, as well as his victims can live with that. I suspect both will continue to be troubled.

Alibhai-Brown has shown herself to be a woman of integrity; and thru her example, several of Hall‘s victims are, one hopes, on the road to regaining theirs.

Aside

A post that women and men everywhere should take the time to read – the public response of Indians in the wake of a 23 year-old student’s rape and murder can be an inspiration to many across the world…

Olio talk by Suchitra Kaushiva

 

So then, what is it about this 23 year-old girl who raised the conscience of India on December 16, 2012?

Was it the barbaric way in which she met her end?

Was she the last straw that broke the back of an overladen camel?

Was it her young age, her thwarted ambitions and aspirations, or her
parents’ unfulfilled hopes, dreams and expectations?

Was it her last wish, to be able to survive and make it out of her nightmarish ordeal?

All the above perhaps, and maybe just something more.

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State of denial

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And the revelations continue. Today, comic Jim Davidson is identified as the latest in a succession of celebrities to be questioned as part of the ongoing Yewtree investigation into the culture of sexual crime and misdemeanor within the media.

Like Max Clifford‘s ‘…birth certificate…’ interview, Davidson‘s blog comments (apparently now deleted, see extract below) could be read as a cynical disclaimer in advance of his impending questioning. Was he one of the ‘dirty dozen’ who contacted Clifford? Did he know he was in the firing line? Pure speculation, of course…

‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

‘The Jimmy Savile witch hunt is going a bit silly now. We all are starting to speculate and accuse… even in jest. So no I don’t know who’s next. Well, if I was in the pub with the lads it would be a different story.

‘Everyone has had the nod. Everyone is now an expert. Just pick someone you don’t like and say it’s them. So I’ll be the first one to knock it on the head and belt up. How’s about that then?’

DAILY STAR

‘Front page eh?……Well I was only stating the obvious (Jim’s Newspaper). It just goes to show how much interest this Saville (sic) thing is having. I read a thing today (in The Express) some one saw Jimmy Saville (sic) pinch some girl’s bum . Apparently that is a sexual assault. Where will all this end. As odd as he was, Saville (sic) can’t defend himself.The bloke’s dead for Godsake (sic).

‘Let’s move on and get some important stories in the paper. I haven’t heard anything about Jordan lately. What’s happened?

‘Fund raising for the British Forces foundation tonight. Monday sees me, Bobby Davro, Claire Sweeny and Mike Osman off to entertain the Navy on HMS Dauntless.

‘Spare a thought today for the two British troops KIA. There’s news.

‘Oh and do I really know who the next exposed pervert is?….well, have a guess,because that’s what the press are doing,that’s what we’re all doing!’

PANORAMA

‘How come the BBC can make a program blaming the BBC?

‘It’s like having yourself arrested and then being your own prosecuting barrister!

‘The BBC has finaly (sic) gone mental. This hot bed of leftyness has asked itself the question: “Should we have known?” The answer is yes. We all knew didn’t we?

‘A bloke who’s a loner dresses and acts like a nonce and thinks he is the most important person in the world. Hmmm. I knew… and didn’t do anything. Mind you I had no proof. To me he was just another pervert.

‘There are lots of them in Showbiz. There seems to be more gay ones than straight, but that’s because there are probably more gays in showbiz than most professions.

‘Who’s next to be the victim of a media feeding frenzy? I have the answer to that but like Jimmy Savile it’s only rumours… but when these rumours come out… WOW!’

In the comments section from the DM article, ‘Tenerifediver’ added:

‘This overblown witch hunt is a publicity manoeuvre to divert attention from the Asian paedophile gangs. They are alive and active NOW, and are far greater threat. But they’re not so easy to catch or to prosecute are they? … The Asian paedophile gangs have the Human Rights bill to protect them and the spineless lawmakers who allow it to continue. No. Go for dead people! They have no defense (even if they were guilty)…’

 Talk of ‘witch hunts’ and ‘publicity manoevres’ has its consequences, though: it serves to dilute in the public mind, the severity of the implications of the proliferation and sheer mundanity of sexual violence in our societies; and Davidson‘s remarks and Tenerifediver’s message board comments exemplify perfectly most of our misconceptions around violence in general and sex abuse in particular
  • violence/sex abuse are exceptional – far from the truth: under a system of hierarchy violence is inevitable, and the circumstances under which it is condoned are largely a matter of political expediency.
  • specific allegations against – purportedly – ‘soft’ targets are part of a campaign of misdirection from ‘real’ culprits – again, misleading: ‘tip of an iceberg’ would be accurate. One of my major concerns from the outset – the surfacing of allegations against Savile in the wake of his death – was finger-pointing towards specific organizations (e.g. the BBC) at the expense of recognizing (sexual) violence as an inherent feature of hierarchy/patriarchy. The distinction to be made – if any – between ‘legitimate’ violence as perpetrated by soldiers in the ‘theatre of war’ (telling phrase) or by parents under the aegis of ‘discipline’, and ‘abuse’ is, at best, a murky one. Patriarchy inheres a parent/child relationship model between state/authorities and population which tacitly legitimizes a significant proportion of violence in interpersonal/intercultural/inter-class situations (and I admit Dworkin‘s definition of women as a class unto themselves).
  • That the outing of offenders is part of a left wing agenda – if exposing an undercurrent of violence in society is on anyone’s agenda, it’s a feminist one: historically, the left and right demonstrate much of a muchness in their adherence to the patriarchy/hierarchy which gives rise to conflict and abuse.
  • the conflating of gender and race – history is littered with examples of attempts to tie the tendency towards violence onto genes specific to certain ethnic groups. This is troubling and misleading on two counts: that such pronouncements are almost without exception made by majority/oppressor populations against minority/oppressed populations, and, that it locates the cause of violence primarily in nature when, in fact, nurture is overwhelmingly causal. This has implications in gender terms, as well as racial ones. Taboos around violence perpetrated not only against, but also by women remain hugely problematic in today’s societies, as well as historically. Women do commit acts of violence – though to date no women have been implicated in the Yewtree investigation – and find themselves judged not only by the ‘normal’ standards applied to male offenders but additionally as contravenors of ‘natural law’ in societies terms. Patriarchy shafts us all (too often literally) but some more than others.
  • The spurious correlation between homosexuality and sexual abuse – read Guy Kettelhack‘s insightful Dancing Around The Volcano to hear how the Gay community is coming to terms with with ‘deviant’ sexuality (arguably better than their straight counterparts) and foreground the fact that 95% of sexaual violence is male on female, like this
  • perpetuation of the notion of an arbitrary ‘line’ between acceptable behaviour and abuse – of course, no-one would pretend that bum-pinching=rape, or that sexist ‘jokes’ or comments are equivalent to financial sex-discrimination, but – and it’s a big but – they all sit on a continuum of attitudes and behaviours that characterize an inherently unjust, undemocratic society and culture. It was telling that Jamie Kilstein’s ‘rape jokes’ drew abuse from sexist men and approbation from feminists – we all know what’s going on and too many of us would rather it was kept quiet. A sense of entitlement is bred into males and milking that to the max is the gold-standard for climbing the ladder: this certainly appears to be the case with Savile who ascended to ‘untouchable’ status within a plethora of organizations. Who on God‘s earth would think it reasonable having a pop DJ on the board for Broadmoor? If there’s a better example of the failings of the ‘old boys network’ I’ve yet to hear…
What’s becoming clear is that – Yewtree‘s three, Savile, Savile and others and, others categories aside – there are two categories of police witness in the YT investigation: those who allow their names to be published and – in Davidson‘s case, presumably, since he’s yet to issue a formal statement – make public their denial – those who hide behind injunctions. If Harris, and the several thusfar un-named protagonists in the Yewtree investigation are innocent of any wrongdoing they would be well-advised to peek out from behind the curtain of injunction and allow their testimony into the arena of public debate as the likes of Clifford and Starr have done. (Aside: the vast majority of hits on my blog are via search engine terms ‘Rolf Harris‘ + ‘Operation Yewtree’ – none for Clifford/Starr). If they feel they’re being made guilty by implication, or association then let us hear their denial. Harris is, if reports are to be believed suicidal. The fault for this rests with a hierarchy which privately rewards the very abusive, violent and discriminatory behaviour that it purports publicly to find morally repellent. Taboo and fetish are old-accustomed bed-fellows and the ‘high’ inherent in practising taboo behaviour is proportional to the moral indignation and shame of being outed. With such a deep rooted double standard in place is it any wonder men deny allegations of sex crime, well-founded or not. But there’s denial and denial and for all our sakes – especially for our future women and children – we need to know what and who we’re dealing with. If it’s left up to the gossip-mongers, they’ve already been found guilty, whilst our culture walks free and we all lose.