Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-20 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 21 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-19 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 20 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Today's Delicious Links

Today's Delicious Links


Links for 2008-10-08 [del.icio.us]

Posted: 09 Oct 2008 12:00 AM CDT

  • Hooker raped and robbed - by justice system? « Bound, Not Gagged
    A DEFENDANT accused of forcing a prostitute at gunpoint to have sex with him and three other men got lucky, so to speak, last week. A Philadelphia judge dropped all sex and assault charges at his preliminary hearing. Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni instead held the defendant on the bizarre charge of armed robbery for - get this - "theft of services."
  • Being Amber Rhea » Blog Archive » New media filling the void, for passion and (maybe, sometimes) profit
    this is where new media comes in and fills the void. No use waiting for mainstream media to get on the bandwagon and catch up; we all know how long THAT takes, if it ever happens at all. Instead, we can use the tools that are now available to us to get accurate information out there quickly, in our own voices, unpolluted by editors who are "uncomfortable" with certain topics or downright ignorant, and reach people who otherwise might not be reached (and they will have a voice, as well!).

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cult Of Gracie Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders

Wednesday, August 6th, on Cult of Gracie Radio at 9/10 PM Central/Eastern, I'm interviewing Mark Pickering, author of Story of the Sand, a novel which illustrates the world of post-traumatic stress disorder and other often-overlooked struggles veterans face upon their return home.

To prepare for his novel, Pickering conducted in-depth interviews with real-life American war veterans from WWII, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and newly-returned soldiers from the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq; so while Story of the Sand is a novel, we'll also be using this time to discuss what happens to veterans when they return as well as the issues, concerns, & policies surrounding their return. On-air callers are welcome at 1.646.200.3136.

One reviewer, Terri at A Soldier's Mind, wrote:
I almost get the feeling that this novel is an attempt to shout to the world all that Pickering finds wrong with the military and the government, while not addressing the things the military IS doing to address the problems of PTSD and TBI and the substance abuse and homelessness that unfortunately sometimes goes hand in hand with these disorders. The novel doesn’t go into the fact that often those who suffer from these disorders, often don’t see themselves as having a problem and the fact that they often refuse seek treatment for these problems, even when those treatments are readily available to them.

While I agree that the military and the American society needs to do whatever is necessary to ensure that treatment is available for our returning veterans, we also have to acknowledge the fact that the military has stepped up their care for veterans returning and more and more is being done every day, to ensure that our Soldiers and Veterans receive the appropriate care for their problems. New methods of treatment are being explored and those that are proving to be successful are being incorporated into the treatment plans of the Soldiers seeking help.

Story of the Sand, might be an entertaining book to some, however, it covers a subject that I take seriously and I believe that the way it was written does more to cause harm to our Troops suffering from PTSD and other mental disorders related to their time in combat, by possibly causing people to look upon our returning Troops as people who have the extent of problems of the character in this story. I feel this story just detracts from the issue at hand, and will do more harm to our returning Troops, than it will to help them.

I'm going to save my comments on this for the show; but now you know at least some of what's going to be discussed. *wink*

You can listen to the show live, online here; and if you miss the show, the same link is where you can listen to the archived show &/or download a podcast.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Two XXBN Shows Today

On Sunday, June 8th at noon (central), Renegade Evolution will be on XXBN discussing The Conviction of Max Hardcore for Obscenity Charges, Language, and Sex Workers & Normal People.

Click here to listen to the show live. You can call in at 1 (646) 200-3136.

Then, at 7 p.m. (central), Holly Pottle interviews Jill Brenneman regarding her vision for Sex Workers Against Rape, a campaign she is in the process of starting. Topics to be discussed include sex workers rights approaches to stopping abuse and how the criminalization of prostitution encourages abuse. Jill will also discuss how she transitioned from being part of the sex work prohibitionist segment of the feminist movement to a leader in the sex workers' rights movement.

Click here to listen live, and call in with comments and questions at 1 (646) 200-3136

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What Are They Going To Do About Jeffs?

Summer re-run, I wrote this June 15, 2005 ~ but as I know you aren't digging through the old Cult of Gracie archives...

Warren Jeffs is getting attention again. I've written about him before, but the more I learn, the more I am interested ~ in a creepy sort of way. The latest press is all up in arms about the so-called 'Lost Boys', teenage boys split off from the group & left to fend for themselves. By ridding the community of teenage boys, Jeffs lowers the competition of men for claiming multiple wives, sort of like a stallion. Unlike that wild life scenario, it seems none of the strong males came sniffing back around to challenge him... Well, as far as we know. We think he's in hiding somewhere, but if a body shows up, there's a group to consider.

Meanwhile, the law figures the only charge they can file is that of Jeffs arranging the marriage of an underage girl. Never mind they had this knowledge in 2002. And in 2004, others noted the irony: "As Arizona Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl go on Sunday talk shows to argue for the rights of women in Iraq, Jeffs ascends the pulpit to tell his followers that a man must have at least three wives to secure a place in heaven, while a woman will get there only if invited by her man, local residents said."

But, they are only women in the USA. So who cares? We need to focus on what other men do to other women. Men in the USA are exempt.

*ahem*

Seems Jeffs hasn't been violent enough. Nor do the problems of his ignored assets etc seem to be enough to warrent any legal action. They are a-scared of Mr Jeffs, they are.

(The idea of acting as if he's a murder victim might be the best approach: "Hey, Jeffs, no harm, no foul, we thought you was dead & we went looking for ya. Now that we see you're a-ok, we'll let you be on your merry way..." Then they can follow him back to his lair & monitor him... or not, I guess.)

But Jeffs' civil liberties aside, what I want to know is, are we going to blame Mormons & religion, or is this another lone gunman?

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Friday, May 23, 2008

High-Five Fridays #17

#1 Speaking With Authority: "One of the things I’ve noticed in my time as a sex educator is that people often talk about their sexual experiences, desires and preferences as if they don’t really deserve them."

#2 Virgin Sacrifice: Father/Daughter Dance: "What’s really safer: upholding your daughter to an unrealistic moral standard so you can avoid the awkward sex talk or teaching her how to take care of herself and her needs in a way where she can respect her sexuality?" (Via Silent Porn Star.)

#3 Guns: Bang Bang, Who's Dead?: "If I succumb so easily to a cheesecake, how does a person react to a gun?"

#4 Haunt Hunt, But No Goth Cunt: "But I am no latitudinarian when it comes to the current use of the word "Gothic" and have even less use for those who call themselves "Goth"; for the most part they've taken all the quest, questioning, and longing out of it." (Shameless plug: I interviewed Nikki here.)

#5 How to Be a Super Secretary: "Judging by the advice, a secretary was expected to be part-wife, part-maid, part mistress. The perfect woman their wives could never be; Hiding their feelings, looking perfect, acting pleasant, remembering her place, and always putting her boss before herself. Outside of going to Japan and getting a Geisha, a secretary was the next best thing." (Via Kitschy Kitschy Coo.)

PS High-Five Fridays is on an official hiatus; but you can still participate.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Domestic Violence & Child Custody In The Courts

Today on XXBN, Barry Goldstein discusses the crisis in the custody court system that has resulted in thousands of children being sent to live with abusers.

I love how his website credits him:
attorney, teacher, author and advocate for women abused by their partner (and too often the courts)
I love it, not because the situation is good or funny, but because he dares to say it: The courts are abusive.

It's not like it should be surprising; it's a male dominated place. And I don't care how non-pc it is ~ men's groups be damned ~ domestic violence is a woman's issue. One that's long been ignored.

Domestic violence is like rape: It's directed at far more women than men, is about controlling women via violence, and, because no one wants to face those facts & deal with them, the courts are not only still stuck in stereotypical dark ages but perpetuating the problem.

But you don't need to just take my word for it. Read this information from Battered Women, Abused Children, and Child Custody: A National Crisis:
'I am concerned about his mental stability.' Judge to attorneys just before signing an order removing custody from a protective mother to an alleged sexual abuser. The same order stated that the mother was 'fit'.
So a mentally unstable father with a history of abuse is deemed more appropriate than a fit mother?
'She [the primary caretaker mother] sees herself as primarily a 'mom', and that is too much of a burden for the children to bear.' Open court statement by a NC Family Court judge in a hearing where full custody of the children was taken from a protective mother and given to an alleged abuser.
Ah, it would be easier for the children to bear an abusive father as primary care giver. :snort:
Familiar patterns of abuse simply shift ground to the legal arena where current child custody laws and prodecures present opportunities for new tactics of domination and control. [The National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges, Synergy - The Newsletter of the Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Child Protection and Custody, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 1999-2000, J. M. Bowermaster, Relocation Restrictions: An Opportunity for Custody Abuse, p.4]
And the courts reward their efforts with improper placements, thus making the courts at best a tool, and at worst perpetrators of abuse themselves.
Despite the powerful stereotypes working against fathers, they are significantly more successful than is commonly believed. The Massachusetts [gender bias] task force, for example, reported that fathers receive primary or joint custody in more than 70% of contested cases. Lynn Hecht Schafran, Gender Bias in Family Courts, American Bar Association Family Advocate, Vol 17, No. 1, p.26
I've seen this with one of my dear friends, DeeDee, who was abused and then suffered more horrific abuse in court ~ at the hands of those who should know better. It boggles my mind as much as it burns.

And it makes me very passionate about the issue of family court and domestic violence. It's a screwed up place where, as DeeDee and I say, "The only reason justice is blind, is due to a head injury from her domestic partner."

And no body seems to give a crap.

And if you disagree, call in and raise the issue with Barry Goldstein.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You Know You're A Woman When...

Via Amber Rhea, two excellent reads:

Rape Is Trivial, And Other Ways Women Are Non-News: "It’s very easy to trivialize discriminatory attitudes against women’s sexuality, because who cares about your right to screw around while people are dying!"

Mint Jelly on the Pöpemöbile ~ which is a fun to say/read, but rather misleading... Here's an excerpt: "Unless you’re a female you just don’t get the experience of catcalls and “playful” followers and hard-held stares."

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Abolition And "Saving" Of Sex Workers

The well-intentioned, misinformed, and even the righteous haters all proclaim to save us ~ sex workers and society itself ~ from the sin and abuses of sex work.

On one hand, there are the myths which blame the sex worker for taking ~ nay, making society run this path to ruin. Like the cliched woman who seduces a man away from his family & home, sex workers force uninterested citizens to fornicate. It would be silly if they weren't so loud & insistent in their claims to condemn the lives and livelihoods of those involved. The mere notion that "a sex worker is out there, somewhere" does not induce partaking of her services, nor even having sex in general.

It's the continual misrepresentation of the facts of sex work and the sex industry which perpetuate gross myths.

Just one of which is the matter of rape.

And as Jill and I discussed during my last XBN interview, the claims that sex workers cause & teach men to rape is ridiculous. It's frightening that such out-right lies (and they are out-right lies, not supported by any facts, studies or findings because rape has nothing to do with sex) are still touted as truth.

On the other hand, there's the myth that all sex workers are to be saved from their situations. Some sex workers are victims of trafficking; but that's not all of them. As discussed, some sex workers have drug issues; this can be found in any industry or occupation. And some sex workers have abuse in their pasts. As Jill and I also discussed in my last interview, abuse knows no limits ~ no economic limits, no professional limits. Like drugs, abuse cuts along all layers of society.

The stereotype that "all sex workers are," or have been abused, physically or otherwise, only further stigmatizes and victimizes survivors of abuse. It forces them to remain quiet on the issue; or, for those who admit such things (and by virtue of standing up, become the tallest nail to receive the hardest pounding), it adds to their past pain of reliving via telling the tale (again & again) as well as (and this is what kills me) acts as if the abuse victim had ability to make the choice to become a sex worker.

Now, you may think this sort of well-intentioned absolution is kind, but it's not. This thinking wipes away any notion that the survivor has any ability to think for herself, to evaluate and make choices. It's as if the abuse has now retarded, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, the victim, reducing her to nothing more than an unthinking, unresponsive statistic. How insulting. It would be insulting enough for anyone, but for a person who has survived and overcome? It's horrific.

This proves the need for more sex worker media. And the need for mainstream media to actually interview actual sex workers, in many areas of the industry, in order to begin to glimpse the magnificent differences and the honest realities in our profession. Free speech is supposed to protect all speech, even if it's on taboo topics; and one presumes that those viewing media want the real story.

Since the US is a nation of gluttons, who, feel both entitled to excess as well as duty bound to create laws which will protect them from themselves, the debates on "society" and "culture" should continue.

Even if I believe that we must first become a better parent to our children, monitoring, modeling, and then mentoring them on their way to becoming both educated consumers and tolerant of others, even to the inclusion of the rights of others to participate in things feared to result in damned souls. (Isn't that what god is for, to decide in the end?)

So, leave the judgements of things which do not harm another to your individual deity, please. Laws are to protect us in this world; the afterworld, should you believe there is one, may be what you live your life for, but souls are not what we legislate for or against.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Domestic Violence History Lessons

In Wife-beating in Ancient Rome, Joy Connolly, professor in the Department of Classics at New York University and author of The State of Speech: Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome, explores the issue of domestic violence and more.
Uncountable by any statistic was the abuse that might be dealt out by a violent husband. As in modern times until very recently, wife-beating was not much talked of by classical writers beyond the odd aside, as when Augustine in his Confessions recollects the bruises he saw as a child marking the faces of his mother’s friends, or when Herodotus and Suetonius report that the Corinthian tyrant Periander and the Emperor Nero beat their pregnant wives to death. Plutarch hints at the frequency of abuse in his Roman Questions, a quirky study of Roman religion and customs, when he wonders why Romans avoid marrying close relatives. He suggests three reasons: Roman men may seek to expand their influence by marrying into different families; they may fear that domestic over-familiarity breeds contempt; or they might prefer an exogamic system where sisters and daughters, should they suffer abuse, could seek help from male kin unrelated (thus under no obligation) to the abuser. The Greek preference for endogamy, Plutarch implies, caught women in a familial trap from which there was no easy escape.
One, or at least this one, cannot help but wonder if these are the very same reasons for the "moral" dictate given for marriage laws. Science has proven that marriage and its breeding practices are not harmed by offspring between cousins, for example, so there's no reason for those without knowledge of genetics to even think of such problems. (See also.) In fact, there is quite a bunch of historical documentation of such marriages, and there seems to be evidence that favors such family ties:
One of the basic laws of modern evolutionary science, quantified by the great Oxford biologist William D. Hamilton in 1964 under the name "kin selection," is that the more close the genetic relationship between two people, the more likely they are to feel loyalty and altruism toward each other. Natural selection has molded us not just to try to propagate our own genes, but to help our relatives, who possess copies of some of our specific genes, to propagate their own.
So, it stands to reason that the notion of forbidden familial marriages has more to do with something else... Perhaps it is even more horrible than the notion, expressed in Forbidden Relatives: The American Myth of Cousin Marriage, that "the U.S. prohibition against such unions originated largely because of the belief that it would promote more rapid assimilation of immigrants".

Maybe, it has more to do with the ability to control ~ and even abuse ~ women.

It certainly is a common step for abusers today to isolate their victim from friends and even their own families.

But let's get back to Connolly's article.

Using Sarah B. Pomeroy's The Murder of Regilla: A case of domestic violence in antiquity, and Caroline Vout's Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome, Connolly brings up one historical case study, if you will, and the practical matter of interpretation from our current cultural vantage point.

The case study, of sorts, in our historical lesson on the acceptance of domestic violence is the story of Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla.

A Roman woman born into a powerful family closely linked to the Antonine dynasty, Regilla married "far outside her family, to the celebrated Greek politician and orator Herodes Atticus". Regilla died in her mid-thirties, eight months pregnant with her sixth child ~ punched or kicked in the belly by a freedman acting on orders from her husband. Regilla's brother, Braduas, brought Herodes, Regilla's husband, up on a murder charge, "but the absence of witnesses, Herodes’s insistence that he had not intended his freedman to administer such a violent beating, and his extraordinary public expressions of grief (including the dedication of the Acropolis Odeon to his dead wife) got him off."

Connolly takes issue with Pomeroy's work, saying, "Pomeroy’s reconstruction of Regilla's life, especially her education and her relationship with her husband, seizes most of many opportunities to cast the Roman matron as a victim."

I cannot fully agree. How else would you paint a woman (and her unborn child) who were murdered? "Victim" seems apt here.

However, there is, if not a twist, then at least a point to consider...

Enter Vout, whose work poses the question of our ability to "ever be able to understand the degree to which sexuality is a 'locally constructed' or a transcendent, 'trans-historical experience of Eros'". This begs the question: Is the story of Regilla's murder even true?

I must read the books in order to be close to the answer; and thanks to Connolly, I'm too intrigued not to. The wish list & reading pile grows...

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