Anyone who considers pornography a harmless diversion should talk to marriage therapists and divorce lawyers.
Comparing Sex Buyers With Men Who Don't Buy Sex
This month we're highlighting a report out of Boston, "Comparing Sex Buyers With Men Who Don't Buy Sex:
'You can have a good time with the servitude' vs. 'You're supporting a system of degradation'" by M. Farley, E. Schuckman, J.M. Golding, K Houser, L. Jarrett, P. Qualliotine, and M. Decker.
The team found buying sex to be so pervasive that they had a shockingly difficult time locating men who weren't buyers. The use of pornography, phone sex, lap dances, and other services had come so widespread that the researchers were forced to loosen their definition in order to get a 100-person control group.
The researchers finally had to settle on a definition of non-sex-buyers as:
- Men who had not been to a strip club more than two times in the past year
- Have not purchased a lap dance
- Have not used pornography more than one time in the last month
- Have not purchased phone sex or the services of an escort, erotic masseuse or prostitute.
Some of their key findings include:
- Sex buyers were nearly eight times as likely as non-buyers to say they would rape a woman if they could get away with it.
- Sex buyers in the study used significantly more pornography than non-buyers, and three quarters of them said they received their sex education from pornography.
- Over time, as a result of their prostitution and pornography use, sex buyers reported their sexual preferences changed and they sought more degrading sex.
Revealing deep misogyny, sex buyers say they often prefer the license they feel with prostituted women. One reported, "You're the boss, the total boss. Even us normal guys want to say something and have it done no questions asked. No 'I don't feel like it.' No 'I'm tired.' Unquestionable obedience. I mean that's powerful. Power is like a drug."
Read the full study for more self-reported attidues from men who buy sex.more...
Pornography: A Harmless Diversion?
A Habit That Can Destroy Lives
Gail Dines and Robert Jensen
New York Times
November 11, 2012
Assessing the effects of mass media is never simple, but the important questions about pornography are obvious: What happens when a culture is saturated with sexually explicit images eroticizing male domination and female subordination? When those images become increasingly cruel and degrading to women and increasingly racist? When pornography becomes the de facto sex education for most boys and an increasing number of girls?
These disturbing trends do not apply to all pornography. There are many varieties made by hundreds of small producers, but the porn industry around Los Angeles dominates, shaping cultural ideas about sexuality, relationships and intimacy. Just as the food industry shapes how we eat and the fashion industry shapes how we dress, the sex industry shapes the way we think about sex.
This dominant source of pornography has some consistent themes. The most extensive peer-reviewed study in the past decade found that a majority of scenes from 50 top-rented porn movies contained physical and verbal abuse of female performers. Physical aggression – including spanking, open-hand slapping and gagging – occurred in 88 percent of scenes, with expressions of verbal aggression – usually a man calling a woman derogatory names – in 48 percent.
Individual experiences as a viewer of pornography differ, and many men and some women report pleasurable experiences. But clear patterns emerge from more than 30 years of academic research and organizing informed by a feminist critique of pornography. In heterosexual couples, men who habitually use pornography sometimes withdraw from intimacy with female partners, and sometimes make demands on female partners for sexual acts that are uncomfortable, painful or degrading to the woman. Women in heterosexual relationships report that both these behaviors can destroy relationships, and men sometimes report that they are aware of the damage but cannot break the habit.
Anyone who doubts these trends should talk to marriage therapists and divorce lawyers.
Although there is little systematic research on performers, anecdotal evidence suggests it’s a harsh business for women. The industry portrays high-profile performers with glamorous lives, but producers and directors we’ve interviewed said candidly that the industry “chews up and spits out” women. According to the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which provided testing and health care for performers in Los Angeles until it closed last year, female performers are at risk for injuries and diseases. The group’s founder once said the average career of these women was “six months to three years, tops,” after which they must cope with a variety of physical and psychological problems.
Pornography is the industrialization and commodification of sex, and like all big industries, its product is generic, formulaic and plasticized. These images tend to rob sex of its creativity, playfulness and intimacy, and hence are ultimately profoundly alienating. The performers, the consumers and the culture deserve better.
Join Our Biker Gang
Unreasonable Hope! That is REED's posture towards the global sex industry and the bundle of oppressions surrounding it. It's also the name of our team this year in the Ride for Refuge, REED's main fundraiser.
Want to join us our biker gang? You are welcome to participate by forming your own team, joining Unreasonable Hope, or sponsoring us in the Ride. Just click follow this link (only Canadian funds receipted).
"It was like buying a baby pig."
A new study of Cambodian men who buy sex. The findings echo what we've seen in reports from other countries: a horridly low view of women, the ability to compartmentalize and objectify women, and downright mysogyny. Read it here.
New Tool Available!
Tell your elected officials that you want to see prostitution treated as a form of violence against women.
Gather your community group, church circle, book club, class, men's group, etc. and fill out the postcards together.
It's a great way to learn and take a step towards collective action!
To order postcards contact email@example.com.
Criminalize Only the Buying of Sex
Criminalize Only the Buying of Sex
by Max Waltman (New York Times)
Not to be bought and sold for sex should be a human right. Sweden effectively recognized this in 1999, criminalizing buying sex and decriminalizing being in prostitution. This law has been adopted in full by Norway and Iceland, partly in Korea, Finland, Israel and the United Kingdom. France may enact it.
The Swedish model recognizes that prostitution is an institution of inequality. Most people in prostitution enter as children after being sexually abused. Lacking education and resources to survive, often destitute and homeless, they are easy prey to pimps and johns. Sexism and racism lock them in, as in the United States, where African-American women and girls are overrepresented in prostitution, as are native Canadian women in Canada.
When Sweden banned the purchase of sex, prostitution decreased.
Prostitution generally inflicts such trauma that escape is virtually impossible without social support. A study of 854 prostituted persons in nine countries, indoors and outdoors, found that 89 percent wanted to escape prostitution but felt they could not, and that two-thirds met clinical criteria for post-traumatic stress equal to that of treatment-seeking Vietnam veterans and victims of torture or rape. A Korean study in 2009 found prostitution strongly related to post-traumatic stress, even controlling for prior childhood abuse.
The wrong people are arrested in the United States when prostituted persons are criminals. Their situation of discrimination and subordination merits protection from official complicity in their victimization under the 14th Amendment. Sweden’s law identified prostitution as a form of sex inequality connected to gender-based violence, with johns as central in the exploitation and abuse.
Under the sex purchase law, prostitution and trafficking have drastically decreased in Sweden even as the number of prostituted women has increased in neighboring countries. Some claim that the Swedish law made street prostitution more dangerous, but an official 2010 evaluation found such allegations, with those of a “hidden” market, to be unfounded.
The superiority of the Swedish approach contrasts with the Ontario Court of Appeal’s. Compelling evidence shows that across-the-board decriminalization supports sex trafficking without improving health, safety or control of organized crime, as demand for unsafe and dangerous sex rises exponentially. Decriminalization is a failed experiment.
In 2011, Sweden amended the law so survivors can claim damages against johns for violating their equality and dignity, supporting crime victims' social welfare assistance, hence the ability to leave prostitution that its victims overwhelmingly say they want, and human beings deserve.more...
Plain Speak on Ontario Prostitution Ruling
REED is deeply concerned about the recent ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal that seeks to legalize brothels and pimping, yet criminalizes women being prostituted on the street who are most at risk. We are also extremely worried that the court has not challenged men's right to buy women and makes no distinction between those being prostituted and sex buyers.
On the bright side the ruling does admit that prostitution is inherently dangerous and we must have laws that support women's safety and equality, thus allowing for the government to rewrite the prostitution laws in the coming year.
At this point the laws are not binding in Ontario and will most certainly go to the Supreme Court of Canada. The pimping restriction will be lifted in 30 days in Ontario, while the brothel ban will not lift for a year. Whatever is decided by the Supreme Court of Canada will be binding on the entire country.
For more information on the legal implications of the case go here.
How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls
How Pimps Use the Web to Sell Girls
In November, a terrified 13-year-old girl pounded on an apartment door in Brooklyn. When a surprised woman answered, the girl pleaded for a phone. She called her mother, and then dialed 911.
The girl, whom I’ll call Baby Face because of her looks, frantically told police that a violent pimp was selling her for sex. He had taken her to the building and ordered her to go to an apartment where a customer was waiting, she said, and now he was waiting downstairs to make sure she did not escape. She had followed the pimp’s directions and gone upstairs, but then had pounded randomly on this door in hopes of getting help.
Baby Face said she hurt too much to endure yet another rape by a john. She told prosecutors later that she was bleeding vaginally and that her pimp had recently kicked her down a stairwell for trying to flee.
That 911 call set in motion the arrest of Kendale Judge, then 21. Judge has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking, kidnapping, rape and compelling prostitution. He is in jail, and we haven’t heard his side of the events yet.
The episode also shines a spotlight on how the girl was marketed — in ads on Backpage.com, a major national Web site where people place ads to sell all kinds of things, including sex. It is a godsend to pimps, allowing customers to order a girl online as if she were a pizza.
Lauren Hersh, the ace prosecutor in Brooklyn who leads the sex-trafficking unit there, says that of the 32 people she and her team have prosecuted in the last year and a half — typically involving victims aged 12 to 25 — a vast majority of the cases included girls marketed through Backpage ads.
“Pimps are turning to the Internet,” said Hersh. “They’re not putting the girls on the street so much. Backpage is a great vehicle for pimps trying to sell girls.”
Craigslist backed out of this sector after public protests. Pimps then moved to Backpage.com, which is owned by Village Voice Media, owners of The Village Voice weekly newspaper.
Attorneys general from 48 states wrote a joint letter to Backpage, warning that it had become “a hub” for sex trafficking and calling on it to stop running adult services ads. The attorneys general said that they had identified cases in 22 different states in which pimps peddled underage girls through Backpage.
The attorneys general cited a 15-year-old girl who was being forced to have sex with men last year in Dorchester, Mass. The pimp marketed the girl through Backpage.
But Backpage isn’t budging. Indeed, it has fought back with personal attacks on those, such as Ashton Kutcher, who have linked it to human trafficking.
Steve Suskin, legal counsel to Village Voice Media, gave me a lengthy statement in which he argued that the company is already cooperating closely with law-enforcement authorities. He cited a 16-year-old girl in Seattle who was rescued as a result of a tip the company had made.
“Censorship will not rid the world of exploitation,” Suskin asserted.
It’s true that there’s some risk that pimps will migrate to new Web sites, possibly based overseas, that are less cooperative. But, on balance, that’s a risk worth taking. The present system is failing. Pimps aren’t the shrewdest marketers, and eliminating a hub for trafficking should at least chip away at the problem.
Backpage suggests that it is battling censors and prudes. In fact, what drives it seems to be greed. In their letter, the attorneys general said that Backpage earns more than $22 million annually from prostitution advertising.
On Backpage, the pimps claim adult ages for the girls they market, but Hersh scoffs. “I see 19,” she said, “and I immediately think 13.”
“I’m not seeing a lot of cases where there’s not coercion,” she added. “The average age where a girl is forced into prostitution is 12 to 14. And most of these 16- or 17 year-olds are being run by pretty vicious pimps.”
While there are no reliable figures for human trafficking, the more we look, the more we find. The Brooklyn district attorney, Charles J. Hynes, says that in the year before he set up a sex-trafficking unit in June 2010, his office prosecuted no trafficking cases. Since then, the office has become a national model, indicting 32 people, with 10 convictions and no acquittals so far.
Among those rescued was Baby Face, who had run away from home in September. Judge allegedly found her on the street, bought food for her and told her that she was beautiful. Within a few days, he had posted her photo on Backpage and was selling her five to nine times a day, prosecutors say. When she didn’t earn enough money, he beat her with a belt, they add.
When Baby Face ran away from her pimp and desperately knocked on that apartment door in Brooklyn, she was also in effect pounding on the door of the executive suites of Backpage and Village Voice Media. Those executives should listen to her pleas.less...