Advocating for the Nordic Model

Advocating for the Nordic Model is important work to change the culture of violence and exploitation of women.

Here is a quote from Sabrinna Valisce, sex trade survivor and former volunteer activist for the NZPC (New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective), who eloquently explains why she is now a Nordic Model advocate:

I worked pre- and post-law reform. The Prostitution Reform Bill passed into law to become The Prostitution Reform Act (PRA) in 2003. The good part of it was that the threat of a criminal record was removed. This would happen under The Nordic Model also. I volunteered at the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), so I was [able to compare our decriminalization] goal … to the results. I, and others who were agitating for decriminalization in New Zealand, we always wanted the power to be placed firmly in the hands of the prostituted person/sex worker. Decriminalization didn’t do that. The power went to the brothel owners, escort agency owners and johns. Immediately following the PRA, the pimps became legitimate businessmen. They introduced “All-Inclusive.” An “All-Inclusive” is a single fee paid by the john to the brothel/escort agency via the receptionist. This means that the prostituted person/sex worker has no power of negotiation. It also means that the pimp decides her earnings (most are women). The pimps gained the power to decide what a “service” would be paid and how much of that belonged to them. They also gained the power to withhold the woman’s earnings or even deny any existence of those earnings. Prior to law reform we negotiated our own money and decided our own services.

In NZ, prostituted persons are considered Independent Contractors; yet in practice women are, in fact, employees without any benefits of being employees. They are told when shifts start and finish, what the rates are, what to wear, and what to do. Some places even have a minimum amount of shifts per/week. There can be any number of fees and fines; shift fee, advertising fees (without receipts I might add), late fines, room fines, presentation fines, drivers fees for out-calls, fines for being sick and missing a shift and even laundry fees. All brothels and agencies say they are drug-free. I’ve yet to see one where this is true. I could get any drug I wanted on any day of the year in every place I ever worked.

Decriminalization also saw a 400% increase in “service providers”/prostituted persons. This wasn’t solely in response to increased demand. It was also in response to the pushing of the image of sex-work as empowering, luxurious and glamorous, through TV shows like “Secret Diary of a Call-girl.” Brothel owners and escort agency owners also increased the amount of ‘their girls’ on shift. Where once it had been 4-8 [girls], it was suddenly 15-28 per night shift. This was fueled by the johns wanting a lot of choice. Johns wanted the cheapest service, with the most extras, with the most amount of girls to choose from: the younger and newer, the better. So the pimps drove down the prices to get their patronage. This, of course, had a roll-on effect of lowering prices on the streets and in private sole contractors. It also saw girls competing by offering more and more to get the jobs.

The PRA was meant to make it safer and enforce safe sex practices. In reality, it’s done the opposite. “Passionate” is code for kissing, including deep tongue kissing. Prior to the PRA this was an absolute taboo in the trade. No one did it. After the PRA, nearly everyone does, despite the huge risk of cold sores, which is herpes simplex. I saw, for the first time, oral sex being performed without barriers. The code for this is NBJ, which stands for Natural Blow Job. CBJ is the code for Covered. We had no terms for these things before [decriminalization] because we considered it a betrayal of the sisterhood. Safe sex had been rigidly internally policed. All that has gone by the wayside since high competition and lowered rates. Girls are also now expected to let men cum as many times as they can within the booked time. It was never that way before. They paid once and received one service.

Porn has changed the trade dramatically. More johns expect a kind of violence to be acceptable. I’m not talking about punching and beating, though that can and does happen now, just as it always has. I’m talking more about gagging, throttling, spanking, and hard pounding. The rise of gonzo porn has normalized sexual violence. Under the Nordic Model, prostituted persons/sex workers would command far more power to draw boundaries because johns could be criminalized with a phone call. Under the circumstances in NZ right now, prostituted persons/sex workers are putting up with it because they desperately need the money.

So, I repeat, the power went to the pimps and johns despite that never being the goal. I respect and adore the people I worked with at NZPC because I know [that] they, like me, wanted everyone in the sex trade to have legal protections, power of conditions and negotiation, and a way to be as safe as possible. It’s been very hard to admit we failed, but I feel morally obligated to do so. I still want the original goal and I believe the Nordic Model offers the best chance of making that happen.

 

Quote from The Evidence About Prostitution That The New York Times Ignored by Rachel Moran.

Distinguishing Categories of Violence

by Lierre Keith, an excerpt from the book Deep Green Resistance, Chapter Three: Liberals and Radicals

Distinguishing Categories of Violence

It’s understandable that people who care about justice want to reject violence; many of us are survivors of it, and we know all too well the entitled psychology of the men who used it against us. And whatever our personal experiences, we can all see that the violence of imperialism, racism, and misogyny has created useless destruction and trauma over endless, exhausting millennia. There are good reasons that many thoughtful people embrace a nonviolent ethic.

Violence can be used destructively or wisely: by hierarchy or for self-defense, against people or property, for self-actualization or political resistance.

“Violence” is a broad category and we need to be clear what we’re talking about so that we can talk about it as a movement. I would urge the following distinctions: the violence of hierarchy vs. the violence of self-defense, violence against people vs. violence against property, and the violence as self-actualization vs. the violence for political resistance. It is difficult to find someone who is against all of these. When clarified in context, the abstract concept of “violence” breaks down into distinct and concrete actions that need to be judged on their own merits. It may be that in the end some people will still reject all categories of violence; that is a prerogative we all have as moral agents. But solidarity is still possible, and is indeed a necessity given the seriousness of the situation and the lateness of the hour. Wherever you personally fall on the issue of violence, it is vital to understand and accept its potential usefulness in achieving our collective radical and feminist goals.

Violence of Hierarchy vs. Violence of Self-Defense

The violence of hierarchy is the violence that the powerful use against the dispossessed to keep them subordinated. As an example, the violence committed for wealth is socially invisible or committed at enough of a distance that its beneficiaries don’t have to be aware of it. This type of violence has defined every imperialist war in the history of the US that has been fought to get access to “natural resources” for corporations to turn into the cheap consumer goods that form the basis of the American way of life. People who fight back to defend themselves and their land are killed. No one much notices. The powerful have armies, courts, prisons, and taxation on their side. They also own the global media, thus controlling not just the information but the entire discourse. The privileged have the “comforts or elegancies” (as one defender of slavery put it) to which they feel God, more or less, has entitled them, and the luxury to remain ignorant. The entire structure of global capitalism runs on violence (Violence: The Other Fossil Fuel?). The violence used by the powerful to keep their hierarchy in place is one manifestation that we can probably agree is wrong.

In contrast stands the violence of self-defense, a range of actions taken up by people being hurt by an aggressor. Everyone has the right to defend her or his life or person against an attacker. Many leftists extend this concept of self-defense to the right to collective defense as a people. For example, many political activists supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, even taking personal risks in solidarity work like building schools and harvesting coffee. Indeed some people refuse to call this collective self-defense “violence,” defining violence as only those brutal acts that support hierarchy. I believe it is more honest to call this violence, and accept that not all violence is equal, or equally bad.

Violence against Property vs. Violence against People

Again, some people reject that violence is the correct word to describe property destruction. Because physical objects cannot feel pain, they argue, tools like spray paint and accelerants can’t be considered weapons and their use is not violent. I think the distinction between sensate beings and insensate objects is crucial. So is property destruction violent or nonviolent? This question is both pragmatic—we do need to call it something—and experiential. Destroying property can be done without harming a single sentient being and with great effect to stop an unjust system. Can anyone really argue against the French resistance blowing up railroad tracks and bridges to stop the Nazis?

But violence against property can also be an act meant to intimidate. This is the source of the unease that many progressives and radicals may feel toward property destruction. If you have been a person so threatened, you know how effective it is. Indeed, if violence against property were an ineffective approach to instilling fear and compliance, no one would ever use it. Burning a cross on someone’s lawn is meant to traumatize and terrorize. So is smashing all the dinner plates to the floor. A friend who survived a right-wing terrorist attack on the building where she worked was later hospitalized with severe PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). Property destruction can have a crippling effect on sentient beings.

Whatever we decide to call property destruction, we need to weigh the consequences and strategic benefits and make our decisions from there. Again, “violence” is not a bad word, only a descriptive one. Obviously, many more people can accept an attack against a window, a wall, or an empty building than can accept violence against a person, and that’s as it should be. But wherever you stand personally on this issue, basic respect for each other and for our movement as a whole demands that we acknowledge the distinction between people and property when we discuss violence.

Violence as Self-Actualization vs. Violence for Political Resistance

Male socialization is basic training for life in a military hierarchy. The psychology of masculinity is the psychology required of soldiers, demanding control, emotional distance, and a willingness and ability to dominate. The subject of that domination is a negative reference group, an “Other” that is objectified as subhuman. In patriarchy, the first group that boys learn to despise is girls. Franz Fanon quotes (uncritically, of course) a young Algerian militant who repeatedly chanted, “I am not a coward, I am not a woman, I am not a traitor.” No insult is worse than some version of “girl,” usually a part of female anatomy warped into hate speech.

With male entitlement comes a violation imperative: men become men by breaking boundaries, whether it’s the sexual boundaries of women, the cultural boundaries of other peoples, the physical boundaries of other nations, the genetic boundaries of species, or the biological boundaries of ecosystems. For the entitled psyche, the only reason “No” exists is because it’s a sexual thrill to force past it. As Robin Morgan poignantly describes the situation of Tamil women,

To the women, the guerillas and the army bring disaster. They complain that both sets of men steal, loot, and molest women and girls. They hate the government army for doing this, but they’re terrified as well of the insurgent forces ostensibly fighting to free them. Of their own Tamil men, one says wearily, “If the boys come back, we will have the same experience all over again. We want to be left in peace.”

Eldridge Cleaver announced, “We shall have our manhood or the earth will be leveled by our attempts to gain it.” This is a lose-lose proposition for the planet, of course, and for the women and children who stand in the way of such masculine necessity. Or as the Vietnamese say, when the elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.

As we can see from these examples, whether from a feminist understanding or from a peace perspective, the concern that taking up violence could potentially be individually and culturally dangerous is a valid one. Many soldiers are permanently marked by war. Homeless shelters are peopled by vets too traumatized to function. Life-threatening situations leave scars, as do both committing and surviving atrocities.

But violence is a broad category of action; it can be wielded destructively or wisely. We can decide when property destruction is acceptable, against which physical targets, and with what risks to civilians. We can decide whether direct violence against people is appropriate. We can build a resistance movement and a supporting culture in which atrocities are always unacceptable; in which penalties for committing them are swift and severe; in which violence is not glorified as a concept but instead understood as a specific set of actions that we may have to take up, but that we will also set down to return to our communities. Those are lines we can inscribe in our culture of resistance. That culture will have to include a feminist critique of masculinity, a good grounding in the basics of abuse dynamics, and an understanding of posttraumatic stress disorder. We will have to have behavioral norms that shun abusers instead of empowering them, support networks for prisoners, aid for combatants struggling with PTSD, and an agreement that anyone who has a history of violent or abusive behavior needs to be kept far away from serious underground action. Underground groups should do an “emotional background check” on potential recruits. Like substance abuse, personal or relational violence should disqualify that recruit. First and foremost, we need a movement made of people of character where abusers have no place. Second, the attitudes that create an abuser are at their most basic level about entitlement. A recruit with that personality structure will almost certainly cause problems when the actionists need sacrifice, discipline, and dependability. Men who are that entitled are able to justify almost any action. If they’re comfortable committing atrocities against their intimates and families, it will be all too easy for them to behave badly when armed or otherwise in a position of power, committing rape, torture, or theft. We need our combatants to be of impeccable character for our public image, for the efficacy of our underground cells, and for the new society we’re trying to build. “Ours is not a war for robbery, not to satisfy our passions, it is a struggle for freedom,” Nat Turner told his recruits, who committed no atrocities and stole only the supplies that they needed.

Only people with a distaste for violence should be allowed to use it. Empowering psychopaths or reinscribing the dominating masculinity of global patriarchy are mistakes we must avoid.

A very simple question to ask as we collectively and individually consider serious actions like property destruction is, is this action tactically sound? Does it advance our goal of saving the planet? Or does it simply answer an emotional need to do something, to feel something? I have been at demonstrations where young men smashed windows of mom and pop grocery stores and set fire to random cars in the neighborhood. This is essentially violence as a form of self-expression—for a very entitled self. Such random acts of destruction against people who are not the enemy have no place in our strategy or in our culture. It’s especially the job of men to educate other men about our collective rejection of masculinist violence.

Editors Note: The organization DGR is founded on the ideas and analysis laid out in the book by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, and Aric McBay. To increase the book’s accessibility, especially to international audiences, we’re now making it available for free in two ways:

Counting Dead Women 2016

by Karen Ingala Smith

In 2016, at least 117 UK women killed by men, or where a man is the principal suspect. 117 women in 365 days is one woman dead every 3.1 days.

  1. 7 January 2016: Katrina O’Hara, 44, was stabbed to death by her ex-partner, Stuart Thomas, 49.
  2. 13 January 2016: Georgina Symonds, 25, was strangled with a rope/ligature by Peter Morgan, 53.
  3. 23 January 2016: Lisa Lyttle, 49, was strangled to death with a mobile phone charger. Her husband, Warren Lyttle, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  4. 29 January 2016: Andrea Lewis, 51, died suffering a fractured skull, broken ribs and 41 separate areas of bruising, inflicted by Rhys Hobbs 43.
  5. 30 January 2016: India Chipchase, 20, was found dead after having been declared missing. Edward Tenniswood, 51, has been convicted of her murder and rape. She died as a result of ‘blunt force trauma’ and ‘pressure on the neck’, 33 separate injuries were found on her body including haemorrhaging across her face, consistent with having been strangled.
  6. 31 January 2016: Guida Rufino, 38, was found dead with neck injuries. Her partner Anthony Roberts, is suspected of killing her before killing himself.
  7. 31 January 2016: Elidona Demiraj, 25, was stabbed/slashed in the throat. Arben Rexha, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  8. 2 February 2016: Geraldine Newman, 51, was killed by head injuries, her two children, Shannon, 12, and Shane, 6, were also stabbed to death. Her husband, and the father of the two children Paul Newman, 42, killed himself after killing his family.
  9. 3 February 2016: Bethany Hill, 20, was killed by a blade wound to the neck. Jack Williams, 21,  and Kayleigh Woods, 23, are on trial for her murder.
  10. 4 February 2016: Caroline Andrews, 52, was strangled to death by her husband, Stuart Andrews, 54.
  11. 6 February 2016: Sheila Jefferson, 73, and her husband Dennis, Jefferson, were killed due to head and neck injuries before their home was set on fire. Norman Williams, 70, who was Sheila Jefferson’s brother-in-law, was suspected of killing them and died of injuries sustained in the fire.
  12. 7 February 2016: Maylyn Couperthwaite, 52, was stabbed to death by her neighbour Oliver Faughey, 62. Her mother, Audrey Couperthwaite, who was also hurt in the attack said her had subjected them to a campaign of harassment for 6-years
  13. 8 February 2016: Kerry Gascoigne, 43, died of “pressure to the neck”. Her partner, Stephen Fretwell, 44, has been charged with her murder.
  14. 12 February 2016: Leanne Wall, 36, was head-butted them strangled. Her (ex) partner, William Mack, 39, has been charged with her murder.
  15. 12 February 2016: Jessica McGraa, 37, was found dead. Bala Chinda, 25, was charged with her murder.
  16. 13 February 2016: Maria Byrne, 35, was found dead. Her husband, Darren Byrne, has been charged with her murder.
  17. 21 February 2016: Lisa Reynolds, 31, was killed by multiple stab wounds. Her partner, Barry Knapper, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  18. 22 February 2016: Natasha Bradbury, 28, was found dead. Luke Jones, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  19. 26 February 2016: Julie Hill, 51, was found dead alongside her mother, Rose Hill, 75. Christopher Whelan, 20, has been charged with their murders.
  20. 26 February 2016: Rose Hill, 75, was found dead alongside her daughter, Julie Hill, 51. Christopher Whelan, 20, has been charged with their murders.
  21. 26 February 2016: Christine James, 65, was murdered by Kris Wade, 36, who slit her throat in a sexually motivated attack. He had been sacked from previous jobs due to reports of him carrying out sexual assaults but police action had not been taken.
  22. 29 February 2016: Julie Archer, 49, died a number of days after being doused with petrol and set alight. Her brother, Stephen Archer, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  23. 2 March 2016: Dawn Green, 69, was found dead along with her husband Malcolm Green, 70. Police said they were treating her death as suspicious but were not looking for anyone else in relation to the deaths.
  24. 3 March 2016: Gemma Stevens, 32, was found dead in a house fire in the early hours of the morning. Gary Tyson, 35, has been charged with her murder, arson and attempted wounding. He had also been accused of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to her on February 26.
  25. 11 March 2016: Lyndsay Smith, 42, was stabbed to death. Gavin Wilson, 41, of the same address, was charged with her murder.
  26. 14 March 2016: Robyn Mercer, 50, was found dead outside her home. Her head had been beaten so severely the police who found her ‘thought she had been shot’.
  27. 19 March 2016: Paige Doherty, 15, was killed through stab wounds to her neck. John Leathem, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  28. 21 March 2015: Carrie Ann Izzard, 47, was stabbed to death. She had split up with her boyfriend, Gerry Palmer, 50, only days before. He has been charged with her murder.
  29. 23 March 2016: Lynne Freeman, 46, was stabbed to death by her partner Alan Bennett, 34, he also murdered his ex-partner Jodie Betteridge, 30.
  30. 23 March 2016: Jodie Betteridge, 30, was stabbed to death by her ex-partner Alan Bennett, 34, who also murdered his partner, Lynne Freeman, 46.
  31. 23 March 2016: Joanna Trojniak, 29, was stabbed in the chest. Her partner, Pawel Sroka, 33, has been charged with her murder.
  32. 24 March 2016: Amina Begum, 47, was found outside her home with multiple stab wounds. Her son, Javid Ahmed, has been charged with her murder.
  33. 29 March 2016: Natasha Sadler, 40, was stabbed. Foster Christian, 53, has been charged with her murder and that of Simon Gorecki, 47, as well as two counts of GBH.
  34. 30 March – 3 April 2016: Laura Marshall, 31, was found dead on 4th Her partner, Gary O’Dowd had a long history of subjecting her to abuse and had threatened to kill her. He is currently on bail.
  35. 31 March 2016: Elizabeth MacKay, 60, was killed in what has been described by police as a “sustained and brutal assault”. Michael Taylor, 70, has been charged with her murder.
  36. 2 April 2016: Marie Johnston, 44, was found dead. Matthew Dean, 34, has been charged with wounding with intent and sexual assault.
  37. 2 April 2016: Norma Bell, 79, was found dead after a fire at her home, she had been killed before the fire started. Gareth Dack, 32, has been charged with her murder.
  38. 10 April 2016: Tracy Cockrell, 51, who had moved to a new area was found dead alongside Nigel McGrath. Police said that they were treating Tracy’s death as murder and were not looking for anyone else.
  39. 11 April 2016: Helen Bailey, 51, was last seen alive. Her body was found three months later in a sceptic tank in the grounds of her home. Her partner Ian Stewart, who had reported her missing, has been charged with her murder and perverting the course of justice.
  40. 12 April 2016: Leigh-Ann Mahachi, 22, was killed with multiple stab wounds. Tapiwa Furusa, 37, has been charged with her murder.
  41. 13 April 2016: Jean Ryan, 67, was stabbed to death. Her husband, Shaun Ryan, 61, has been charged with her murder.
  42. 17 April 2016: Coleen Westlake, 48, died of blunt force trauma and strangulation. Craig Bird, 31, has been charged with her murder.
  43. 18 April 2016: Nasreen Khan, 39, was killed with multiple stab wounds inflicted by her husband Imran Khan, 39.
  44. 24 April  2016: Laraine Rayner, 53, was killed by a stab wound to the neck.  Steven Stocks, 43, has been charged with her murder.
  45. 24 April 24: Faye Daniels, 30, was killed by multiple stab wounds. Phillip Barlow, 36, was charged with her murder.
  46. 26 April 2016: Xin Xin Liu, 39, was stabbed to death. Her husband Robert Kerr, 38, has been charged with her murder.
  47. 28 April 2016: Louise O’Brien, 36, was found dead and wrapped up in a carpet after having been strangled between 24 and 28 April. Her partner, David Anderson, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  48. 1 May 2016: Natalie Hemming, 31, was last seen. Her family reported her missing on 3 May. Her husband Paul Hemming, 42, was arrested on 4 May and later charged with her murder. Her body was found on 22 May.
  49. 1 May 2016: Becky Morgan, 17, was pulled dead from the sea. Michael Bowditch, 21, was found guilty of manslaughter for not helping her or summoning help as she drowned.
  50. 3 May 2016: Iris Owens, 75, was found dead. Her son, Robert Owens, 47, has been charged with her murder.
  51. 4 May 2016: Julie Cook, 44, died in hospital a day after sustaining a head injury. Daniel Bragg, 36, has been charged with manslaughter.
  52. 7 May 2016: Khabi Abrey, 30, was killed as a result of a fire in the flats where she liked. Lillo Toisi, 47, has been charged with her murder, plus arson with intent to endanger life, and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
  53. 8 May 2016: Anne-Marie Nield, 44, was found dead with multiple injuries. Richard Howarth, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  54. 19 May 2016: Maria Mbombo, 46, was stabbed to death. Her husband Jose Leonardo, also known as Jeff Mbombo, has been charged with her murder.
  55. 20 May2016: Marina Erte, 33, was found dead. Her ex-husband, Gytis Griskevicius, 32, has been charged with murder.
  56. 21 May 2016: Sonita Nijhawan, 38 was stabbed 124 times with an axe and a knife by her husband Sanjay Nijhawan, 38. He was found guilty of manslaughter.
  57. 2 June 2016: Dawn Rhodes, 38, was found dead. Her husband, Robert Rhodes, 42, has been charged with her murder.
  58. 3 June 2016: Sylvia Stewart, 69, and her husband Peter Stewart,73 were reported missing. Peter Stewart was later found stabbed to death. Ali Qazimaj, 42, fled the country and was arrested in Luxemburg in relation to the Stuarts’ death. Police have indicated that they have no expectation of finding Sylvia Stewart alive.
  59. 9 June 2016: Andrena Douglas, 53, was found dead when police went to her home to inform her that her partner, Henry Galbraith, 50, had been found badly injured in a caravan fire. Her death is being treated as murder. Police are said to be ‘not looking for anyone else’.
  60. 13 June 2016: Karen Hales, 53, and her daughter Jade Hales, 28, were killed by blunt force trauma injuries to the head. Anthony Showers, 42, has been charged with their murders.
  61. 13 June 2016: Jade Hales, 28, and her mother Karen Hales, 53, were killed by blunt force trauma injuries to the head. Anthony Showers, 42, has been charged with their murders.
  62. 16 June 2016: Jo Cox, 38, Labour MP, was shot and stabbed multiple times following a constituency meeting. Thomas Mair, 52, has been charged in relation to her death.
  63. 20 June 2016: Helen Fraser, 50, was stabbed to death. Her partner Stephen Bernard, 50, was also found dead with a self-inflicted stab wound. Police are not looking for anyone else.
  64. 20th June 2016: Jean Irwin, 83, was strangled to death. Her husband John Irwin, 77, was found hanged. Police are treating Jean’s death as murder and are not looking for anyone else in relations to the crime.
  65. 21 June 2016: A 61-year-old woman who has not yet been named was stabbed to death. Vaclovas Liubavicius, 61, who is believed to have been her partner, has been charged with her murder.
  66. 23 June 2016: Agnieszka Szmura, 30, was stabbed to death. Toryino Williams, 22, has been charged with her murder.
  67. 23 June 2016: Sarah Nash, 37, was strangled and beaten by her partner Lee Guntrip, 25. He had  attended a Building Better Relations Programme and a Domestic Abuse Programme after pleading guilty to charges of actual bodily harm and assault by beating. Guntrip also killed himself.
  68. 6 July 2016: Albertina Choules, 81, died of a head injury before her body was set alight. Tautuydas Narbutas, 23, has been charged with her murder.
  69. 12 July 2016: Allison Muncaster, 48, was shot dead. Her husband Stephen Muncaster, 47, is believed to have killed her then shot himself dead.
  70. 15 July 2016: Fiona Southwell, 60, was found dead. Daniel Edwards, 21, has been charged with her murder.
  71. 18 July 2016: Aimee Spencer, 27, died of her injuries after having been reported pushed/thrown to her death.
  72. 18 July 2016: Emma Baum, 22, died from severe head injuries after a “sustained attack”. David Davies, 25, has been charged with her murder.
  73. 18 July 2016: Claire Hart, 50, was shot dead, alongside her daughter Charlotte Hart, 19, by her husband Lance Hart,57, who then shot himself dead.
  74. 18 July 2016: Charlotte Hart, 19, as shot dead, alongside her mother Claire Hart, 50, by her father Lance Hart,57, who then shot himself dead.
  75. 19 July 2016: Tracy Gabriel, 40, was stabbed to death. Her ex-partner, Hugh Gallacher, 57, is thought to have killed her and a friend, before jumping to his death.
  76. 20 July 2016: Samia Shahid, 28, is believed to have been raped by her ex-husband Choudhry Shakeel and then strangled by Shakeel and her father Mohammed Shahid.
  77. 22 July 2016: Nicola Haworth, 33, was strangled to death. Gary Fletcher, 34, has been charged with her murder.
  78. 19-22 July 2016: Lenuta Haidemac, 28, was found dead. Casey Scott, 28, has been charged with her murder.
  79. 24 July 2016: Hannah Pearson, 16, was pronounced dead shortly after having been taken to hospital by emergency services. James Morton, 23, has been charged with her murder.
  80. 28 July 2016: Margaret Mayer, 85, was found dead after her husband Angus Mayer, had tried to throw himself under a train. He was later arrested and detained in relation to her death.
  81. 3 August 2016: Darlene Horton, 64, an American tourist visiting London, was stabbed to death by Zakaria Bulhan, 19.
  82. 4 August 2016: Gregana Prodanova, 38, was last seen alive. She was reported missing on 8th August and ‘human remains’ now confirmed to be hers, were found on 16 August. Her ex-partner Kostadin Kostov, 42, has been charged with her murder.
  83. 4 August 2016: Lynne Braund, 54, died of critical injuries after being taken to hospital with severe burns. Raymond O’Connell, 63, has been charged with her murder.
  84. 12 August 2016: Donna Williamson, 44, was stabbed to death. Her partner, Kevin O’Regan, 37, has been charged with her murder.
  85. 19 August 2016: Xixi Bi, 24, was found dead after being reported to police as ‘experiencing breathing difficulties’. Her boyfriend Jordan Matthews, 23, has been charged with her murder.
  86. 23 August 2016: Mia Ayliffe-Chung, 21, was stabbed to death whilst backpacking in Australia. Smail Ayad, 29, has been charged with her murder and that of Tom Jackson, 30, who died of injuries sustained when trying to save her.
  87. 25 August 2016: Shana Grice, 18, was found dead at home after failing to arrive at work. Michael Lane, 27, has been charged with her murder.
  88. 13 September 2016: Alison Farr-Davies, 42, was found dead. Dean Jones, 37, has been charged with her murder.
  89. 15 September 2016: Melinda Korosi, 33, died of her injuries shortly after police were called to her home. Miklos Verebes, 29, has been charged with her murder in  what was described by police as a ‘domestic related’ incident.
  90. 16 September 2016: Hayley Dean, 38, was killed through blunt force trauma injury to her head. James D’Arcy, 50, has been charged with her murder.
  91. 17 September 2016: Annie Besala Ekofo, 53, and her nephew Bervil Ekofo, 21, were shot dead. Obina Ezeoke, 24, has been charged with their murders.
  92. 19 September 2016: Zofia Sadowska, 20, was found dead. Ashan Hassan, 28, has been charged with her murder.
  93. 24 September 2016L Nasreem Buksh, 43, is believed to have been killed through a head injury. A 54-year-old man, believed to be her husband Asghar Buksh, is being held in custody in relation to her death.
  94. 28 September 2016: Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Simmons, 33, were stabbed to death. Andrew Saunders, 20, has been charged with their murders.
  95. 2 October 2016: Jackie Pattenden, 53, was stabbed in the chest. Her partner Michael Rough, 55, has been charged with her murder.
  96. 2 October 2016: Natasha Wake, 26, was stabbed to death. Jay Nava, 26, with who she had recently ended a relationship, has been charged with her murder.
  97. 6 October 2016: Mandy Gallear, 42, was stabbed to death. Her husband Stuart Gallear, 41, has been charged with her murder.
  98. 8 October 2016: Lucy Jones, 35, suffered multiple injuries in a prolonged attack. Liam Fletcher, 29, has been charged with her murder.
  99. 9 October 2016: Vicky Bance, 37, died in hospital after being stabbed multiple times. Robert Bamce, 53, has been charged with her murder.
  100. 12 October 2016: Alice Ruggles, 24, was found at home with serious injuries and declared dead on the scene. Trimaan Dhillon,27, has been charged with her murder.
  101. 14 October 2016: Sophie Smith, 17, was subjected to a sustained attack and died of her injuries. Her partner Morgan Banks, 18, has been charged with her murder.
  102. 17 October 2016: Jodie Wilkinson, 27, was stabbed to death. David Waterston has been charged with her murder.
  103. 17 October 2016: Pardeep Kaur, 30, was reported missing. Her body was found 5 days later. It is believed that she was attacked as she walked home from work. Vadims Ruskuls, 24, has been charged with her murder.
  104. 29 October 2016: Ellia Arathoun, 29, was last seen alive. Her remains were found on 3 October. Andrew Proctor, 39, has been charged with her murder.
  105. 15 November 2016: Belen Tripp, 52, was stabbed to death. Her husband Peter Tripp, 70, has been charged with her murder.
  106. 20 November 2016: Natasha Wild, 23, was stabbed to death. A 31-year-old man was being held in police custody.
  107. 22 November 2016: Deeqa Ibrahim, 41, was stabbed to death. Bashir Ali,  41, said to be known to her,  has been charged with her murder.
  108. 23 November 2016: Lisa Skidmore, 37, was found dead after a fire in her home. Her post-mortem found she had been strangled before the fire started. Her 80-year-old mother told police she had  disturbed an intruder who had then assaulted her.  Police are looking for a man in his 20s.
  109. 3 December 2016: Rebecca Johnson, 26, was stabbed to death. Her boyfriend Radec Kovac, 36, has been charged with her murder.
  110. 8 December 2016: Linda Ordinans, 61, was found dead at home after being alerted by her husband Nigel Ordinans, 63, who told them that he had killed her. He killed himself shortly afterwards.
  111. 8 December 2016: Holly Alexander, 37, was stabbed to death along with Ronnie Kidd, 40. Krzysztof Gadecki, 37, has been charged with their murders.
  112. 10 December 2016: Andraya Webb, 39, was killed in a house fire that had been deliberately started. Anthony Porter, 32, has been charged with her murder.
  113. 12 December 2016: Umida Eshboboeva, 29, died after a suspected assault in her home. Adkhamjon Tovasharov, 34, has been charged with her murder.
  114. 15 December 2016: Angela Best, 51, was found unresponsive after a call to police and medics and was later declared dead. A man who was taken to hospital is being treated as a suspect.
  115. 16 December 2016: Clare Paton/Nagle, 38, was killed through ‘pressure on the neck’. Her husband, Vincent Nagle, 44, who died shortly afterwards in a car crash, is suspected to have killed her.
  116. 22 December 2016: Hayley Wall, 25, died 9 days after being assaulted.  Christoper Wall, 58, has been charged with her murder.
  117. 26 December 2016: Nicola Woodman, 39, was stabbed to death. James Hutchinson, 42, has been charged with her murder.

Awaiting information regarding the deaths of Gurpreet Kaur,  Tanussum Winning,  and an as-yet-unnamed woman from West Bridgford, Nottingham, Sandra Gill, Michelle Wright, Jean Constant, Debbie Wilkinson, Linda Harding, Kelly Machin, Tracy McPartland and Stacey Tierney. Any updates on these women or others missing from the list gratefully received.

 

Follow Counting Dead Women on Facebook and Twitter.

Can we please stop talking about rape like it’s an accident?

by Alicen Grey / The Fifth Column

Washington, DC (TFC) – A topless female at a Slutwalk with Still not asking for it scrawled on her skin. Facebook-ready memes that declare, My little black dress does not mean yes! A never-ending array of fun slogans like, “Consent is sexy!” “Ask first!” and “Fuck rape!”

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the liberal feminist approach to solving rape culture.

Rape culture, as you probably know, is the term used to describe the way society normalizes sexual violence, blames victims, and makes excuses for sexual predators.

“Consent culture” is its counter-concept, intended to override rape culture by teaching people 1) what consensual sex is, 2) how it’s different from rape, 3) how to consent, and  4) how to ask for consent. The implication of the consent culture movement seems to be that if rapists were simply informed that “yes means yes” and “no means no,” they would suddenly realize the horrors of their rapey-ness and not-rape anymore. Problem solved!

No, for real, this is an actual quote from an actual website: “Some ways you can generate consent culture are by… not raping people.”

Seriously? This suggestion is tantamount to shouting “Swiper, no swiping!” three times at a potential assailant and expecting them to slouch away while groaning, “Oh, maaaaaan!”

While this campaign to state the obvious may stop like, .002% of rapes (and I’m being generous here), what are we to do about soldiers who use rape as a weapon of terror in war? How are we to approach the man at the bar who buys an excess of drinks for his target with the conscious intention of making it harder for her to say no? What are we to tell the rapist father or the rapist uncle who believe their diapered babygirls to somehow be asking for it?

I’d wager a fortune that most rapists already know what “no” means. But apparently we need to be reminded that sexual predators are, um, predators.

Rapists are strategic in picking their victims. They test your boundaries, stepping too close during conversation, putting their hand on your arm or knee to see if you’ll be bold enough to say “stop touching me,” and in their twisted mind, your obviously nervous response (or lack thereof) is their signal to keep going. They get aroused by your discomfort, your shrinking, your silence. Even if you pretend to be interested, they can tell you’re only pretending because you’re too afraid to say “no.” And that’s exactly what they’re aiming for. Rapists don’t want your consent, or your enthusiasm, or your desire. Those things turn them off.

Most rape is not driven by an ignorance of what healthy, consensual sex looks like, but by sadism. And considering the severely gendered nature of this sexual crime, we must acknowledge that this sadism is generally a male phenomenon. We’re talking men hating women. Men wanting to own and dominate and punish women. When men rape women, it’s not an oopsie-daisy or a my-bad. When men rape women, it is a taking-of-pleasure in female pain. It is fear-mongering, it is woman-hating, it is a reminder to stay in your place.

Image Source: roga muffin, Flickr, Creative Commons slutwalk

And when rapists claim “b-b-but I didn’t know her little black dress didn’t mean yes!” or that they “didn’t know she was too drunk for sex,” they’re taking advantage of your gullibility and exploiting your empathy to cast themselves as oblivious victims. In harsher terms, they’re lying to you. By creating educational campaigns supported by thought-stopping slogans in lieu of critical analysis, in the hopes that next time they’ll behave themselves, you’re falling for it. Rapists don’t need it spelled out for them. Stop catering to their bullshit. Stop empathizing with predators. Stop.

If the push for consent culture accomplishes anything, it’s validating the pain of rape survivors. Too many victims don’t know that the “sex” they experienced was, in fact, assault, and that they do, indeed, have the right to feel victimized by it. The consent culture movement may provide them with a linguistic and conceptual framework in which to make sense of their emotions and trauma. Plus, it never hurts to learn to communicate more clearly and assertively in an intimate context. And I’m sure events like Slutwalk give survivors a sense of safety and community of which our system otherwise starves them.

But my concern remains, that mainstream feminism has become too comfortable with its non-strategy — so much so, that it’s practically an anti-strategy. Consent culture, as it currently operates, unintentionally enables rape culture by oversimplifying it, gender-neutralizing it and hyperfocusing on semantics rather than examining sex-based power dynamics. (For more on this, please see Freya B.’s excellent article, Let’s Talk About Consent.)

What we’re doing might have some vague benefits for a handful of people, but it sure as hell isn’t stopping rapists from raping — which should be our goal. It’s time to go back to the drawing board:

For starters, we know that teaching women self-defense significantly reduces their chance of being sexually assaulted. There are also a handful of women’s groups taking matters into their own hands, like India’s all-women police force, Charlie’s Angels. In an ideal world, of course, we’d figure out how to stop rapists from wanting to rape in the first place, so that the burden of preventing rape didn’t fall on women’s shoulders. Perhaps that part would require an overhaul in how we raise our children altogether.

The sheer volume of women and girls who live in constant fear of sexual violence is a global emergency. So we need to consider our options. We need to formulate actual strategies. We need to optimize results. But before we can do any of that, we need to stop talking about rape like it’s an accident.

 

Read more about rape culture on the Deep Green Resistance News Service.

What is radical feminism?

There are many branches of feminism. Radical feminism takes aim at the root cause of the crisis facing women: the system of violence that keeps people divided by sex with a dominant class (men) and an oppressed class (women).

This system of violence is called patriarchy, and over the past two thousand years it has come to rule most of the world. Patriarchal civilization is based on exploiting and consuming women, living communities, and the earth itself.

Radical feminists seek to liberate all women from oppression. We side with women resisting male violence in all its forms, including rape, pornography, prostitution, female infanticide, and forced birth. We are dismantling misogyny (hatred of women), biophobia (fear and hatred of nature), and lesbophobia (fear and hatred of lesbians).

Radical feminists in Deep Green Resistance are committed to overturning this brutal patriarchal culture in defense of the earth, the source of life; and our sisters, women around the world.

The Ignored Reality of Male Violence

The accounts of rape, wife beating, forced childbearing, medical butchering, sex-motivated murder, forced prostitution, physical mutilation, sadistic psychological abuse, and other commonplaces of female experience that are excavated from the past or given by contemporary survivors should leave the heart seared, the mind in anguish, the conscience in upheaval. But they do not. No matter how often these stories are told, with whatever clarity or eloquence, bitterness or sorrow, they might as well have been whispered in wind or written in sand: they disappear, as if they were nothing. The tellers and the stories are ignored or ridiculed, threatened back into silence or destroyed, and the experience of female suffering is buried in cultural invisibility and contempt. Because women’s testimony is not and cannot be validated by the witness of men who have experienced the same events and given them the same value, the very reality of abuse sustained by women, despite its overwhelming pervasiveness and constancy, is negated. It is negated in the transactions of everyday life, and it is negated in the history books, left out, and it is negated by those who claim to care about suffering but are blind to this suffering.

Andrea Dworkin

(Quote from Right Wing Woman page 20)

Prostitution isn’t a Choice

My experiences show that a woman doesn’t choose prostitution. She is choosing survival. Prostitution isn’t a choice. It is the absence of choice. Nobody makes the choice to be poor, low caste, or female. Society and individuals take advantage of this lack of choice.

Language is politics. I use the term ‘prostituted woman.’ People wonder, ‘Who prostituted her?’ The system of inequality is what prostitutes women and girls.

–Rachira Gupta

 

Ruchira Gupta is the Founder and President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide – a grassroots organization in India working to end sex trafficking by increasing choices for at-risk girls and women. She has striven over her 25 year career to highlight the link between trafficking and prostitution laws, and to lobby policy makers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators.

 

Read more about our views on prostitution on the Deep Green Resistance News Service.

Deconstructing The Patrix

by Madam Nomad

This post is made up of a few relevant entries from Madam Nomad’s personal journal.

OCTOBER 17TH, 2016

Madam NomadFeeling comfortably detached as I wait here for the end of the world.

I’m in an odd place because I left behind all the guideposts I used to rely on the explain the world and shape my views and behavior. I have gone into the Outer Darkness, far beyond what I leaned from all the philosophers and gurus and I don’t believe ANY of it anymore. I see now that ALL of it was presented from the male point of view, everything I learned, everything I read, except for the work of a few feminist authors and teachers.

The only teaching that has any value is the one that directs me to become aware of my body and my breathing and to work on maintaining my awareness in the present, here and now.

I am keenly aware of just how powerless I am to affect what is happening on this planet. Some moments I desperately want to be released from this disaster, but at others, like right now, I’m just grateful that my own little life makes some sense and has beauty in it.

It would be great to stop taking patriarchy so personally.The whole point of rape culture is to reduce me to an object, a non-agent. My “beingness,” my uniqueness, my personhood is irrelevant.

Men seek revenge on women because men can’t have babies. This is the whole primal truth of the matter. This truth is rabidly suppressed, just like the truth about climate change and the mass die-off of pollinators from industrial petrochemicals, for instance. These are truths that I am never allowed to speak aloud in public. People do not want to hear it. It makes them uncomfortable to hear the truth.

I spoze I need to write another blogpost about this – about Marge Piercy’s conjecture that technology will solve this problem of male jealousy over women’s reproductive capacity by growing babies in artificial wombs and shooting up men with female hormones so they can breastfeed, as she proposed in her book, Woman On The Edge Of Time. Tranzing is the tech solution to inequality between the sexes and this is a problem because medical science and technology are capitalist, masculinist enterprises and as such, don’t particularly care about women and the natural world, which are simply “resources” that exist to make profit from.

I’m coming to accept that I’m not responsible for patriarchy. I didn’t cause it and I can’t cure it, as they say around the 12-step groups that deal with addiction. It seems that my yelling at the delusional masses in online forums (and frantic emails to former women-only spaces like rape crisis centers that now permit men who say they are women into their support groups) is just my attempt to blow off steam in my mind-shattering grief over what is taking place,  over the harm that is being done to women and the very basis of life on earth, and for all the life that is being lost.

The violence that I have been subjected to throughout my life from this rapist culture gave me a distorted sense of responsibility. I am not responsible for patriarchy and it’s brainless, gynocidal, SUICIDAL ecocide.

A patriarchal family is a slave family and is a shame-based family because shame is what molds people into slavery. All of the implied and actual violence is deliberate and intended to produce shame within individuals such that they are unable to stop the violence. The Circle of Death.

I am still coping with the injuries I sustained in my marriage. The man I married is an automaton who acts out a rigid role. I used to explain his behavior by the fact that he grew up with an alcoholic father. I did not exist as a living, autonomous sentient being. I was also only a ROLE, an object, an economic unit, as he actually stated about me and our children. I was a function and a means to his own ends.

About a year ago I was trying to write about addiction and slavery and attachment theory and was unable to find the heart in it…because I was not consciously considering the role of male supremacy and rape culture. Male privilege is always the elephant in the living room. It’s the silent oppressive fog that surrounds all of our social structures. So I wasn’t able to put together the severed parts, I had a jumble of facts, but the essence was missing.

Ten thousand years of female slavery shaped the relations between my ex-husband and me. He was grown the same way that my father and brothers and all males are made, secure in their positions of dominance over women and their right to our labor, our bodies, the products of our wombs, our care and attention.

I could not be a moral agent until I was able to walk away from all of this. I could not be responsible until I was able to separate myself from the constant violence from males that shaped my choices. Instead of being sorrowful I know I need to be grateful that I woke up and that I have this opportunity to come to real life, to the real world, dying as it is. I still have this moment of autonomy and clarity.

muriel“WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF ONE WOMAN TOLD THE TRUTH ABOUT HER LIFE?
THE WORLD WOULD SPLIT OPEN.”

Muriel Rukeyser

Since all indications point to the fact that we are living in a virtually inescapable trap that I have come to call The Patrix , and that this trap, this machine,  is busily in the process of destroying all capacity of the Earth to sustain life, I have decided it is time for me to lay out my own truth.  There is nothing left to lose. It is time to split the world open.

 Deconstructing The Patrix

The Patrix (a Gaia University coinage meaning the ‘patriarchal matrix’ or matrix of oppression) is an ever present, potent and frequently invisible shape-maker of human cultures. It consists of thousands of dysfunctional thought patterns (memes) that function as a mutually supporting complex, interlocking system. These memes are installed in our individual, community, and cultural operating systems sometimes by contagion or by accident, and more often by patterns of oppression.

Silencing

#WhenIWasMy father threatened me over and over that if I told anyone what he was doing to my body that I would lose my family. To a three-year-old child this is nothing less than a death threat, a threat that I would be ostracized out in the wilderness and die of starvation. He was not lying to me. I have lost my entire family, the one I was born into as well as the one that I created from my body, because I would not shut up about being raped and beaten by my father, from early infancy until my mother died of DES-related cervical cancer when I was twelve years old.

When I first began blogging in 2012 it was my hope to be able to post actual entries from my daily journal online. I chose not to do this out of concern for the privacy of family members with whom I still maintained contact. But I have had to separate myself from even these individuals because they continued to be abusive toward me.

I will be placing these entries under their own heading (My Journal) in order to distinguish them from my other work and interests.

So, here goes:

October 8, 2016

My first though upon waking this morning was about the similarity between my daughter’s and my mother’s behavior,  how I cringed in their presence,  how they made me feel inferior and unsafe and unwanted. They both very much wanted me dead.

I woke up this morning with the thought that my parents actually tortured me. I am who and what I am because of the torture I endured throughout  my childhood. This is why I always resonated with stories about what the worldwide androcratic religion has done to women everywhere throughout history – murdering widows in India,  butchering vulvas in Africa and the Near East, burning “witches” during The Enclosure Movement of the Middle Ages. It is because I physically lived this kind of mindbinding torture every day of my childhood.

All of the torture was intended to prepare me for an adulthood of being eaten alive, exploited and then discarded by men and by my children.

It wasn’t persona,  and it wasn’t even particularly conscious – it was reflexive on the part of my caretakers. Because, of course, my mother had,  herself,  been tortured and exploited all through her own life.

ww1-d-533-shame-jpgThe way I see it now we were of the social class known as “cannon-fodder.” Boys were raised to be fighters and soldiers in the endless patriarchal wars of acquisition of land, women and resources, and girls were raised to service the soldiers. This was fairly explicit. I was beaten many times for screwing up household chores and told I would be subject to the same from my future husband if I didn’t straighten up. And I watched my father beat my mother over and over for minor infractions of household service.

That was the pattern. So, of course I blindly married into a military family (my father-in-law was a veteran, both brothers-in-law were lifetime military men,)  even though MY soldier wore a white collar and became a different kind of government functionary. He axed people’s jobs instead of their throats.

All humans are now under a spell brought about by deep conditioning and virtually nobody is awake and aware and able to act freely. My recurring childhood nightmare of being the only one left alive after the bomb falls seems to literally true. It’s as if I am the only one awake in a world full of automatons.

I knew it as a child, I knew it then and I know it now. I have been frantically searching for others who are awake. I see a spark sometimes, but these moments fade quickly and they add to my despair. No-one seems to be able to maintain the fire of truth and PRESENCE. The conditioning we are subjected to all our lives is absolute.

The Target

What I am remembering is always being my mother’s target, never knowing when she would, without warning, reach out and slap me hard across the face. I never knew what behavior would make her hit me. I was always in a heightened state of tension, just waiting for the blows. The cruelty of this was that my anxiety would make me clumsy and that enraged her even more.

And there was the torture of the “medical procedures” I was subjected to, for instance the frequent enemas and  being laid naked on the floor to be swathed in the sulfur laden cotton batting they was supposed to heal the rash between my legs. (I had that rash from my father’s beard as he rubbed my genitals and inner thighs raw, but I was under threat of death not to tell.) The torture of the sexual abuse and being held responsible for this abuse and all of the drudging housework I was forced to do for my father and brothers, because I was female and my mother was dying of cancer from DES exposure (Which was a form of medicalized male violence against women.)

Psychopaths

My father was a psychopath in a culture designed and forcible perpetuated by psychopaths. The worst thing about this for me was that my brutal early conditioning led me to become the victim of these types of individuals throughout my life, from my lovers, my husband, the pill-proffering doctors, my own children. The behavior seems so familiar. I misinterpret the words and actions of these people as care and concern because I was dependent on monsters for food and shelter as a child. The attentions of vampires feel like love.

My ex-husband and my last and only lover after him were both this type of man. They were identical in their beliefs about their natural entitlement and my existence as an object to be exploited for personal gain. I am still not clear about how both of my daughters came to be psychopaths. The closest explanation I can come up with is the dynamic that exists throughout patriarchy whereby daughters witness their mothers being tortured and are tortured BY their mothers in many cases. Girl children react to this by dis-identifying with their mothers and holding rage toward them.

juryI kept trying to force my daughters to look at all of this. But the damage was too deep. They refuse to see the pattern. My daughters are ruined. They will never emerge from the evil enchantment they are under. They will never question who are the actual agents of the destruction. They won’t even face the fact that the destruction has taken place, that it was deliberate and calculated. That is was done by my grandfather, who protected his pedophile son and paid for the doctors and lawyers who testified against me in court when I was nine years old. It was done by my father, by their alcoholic grandfather, by their own narcissistic father, by the cops and the judges and the doctors and the CEO’s and politicians.

Internecine Destruction

Patriarchy has won its internecine battle and all life on Earth is now threatened with extinction.I am now able to make the connection that the abuse and torture that we were all subjected to as schoolkids was directly analogous to what was happening “in private” in my house. We were continually threatened with mass annihilation, we were controlled on the minutest levels by ritual shaming and the threat of humiliation if we stepped out of line.

That’s what the nuke drills were intended to do to the entire population. This was the purpose behind being put in restrictive desk seats in precise rows inside of concrete and brick boxes. Patriarchal terrorism at it’s finest: domestic abuse in the home, psychological torture in the schools.

duck-and-cover-100413736-primary-idge

 

 

Read more about the violence of patriarchy on the Deep Green Resistance News Service.

But What About Feminist Porn?

Rebecca Whisnant / Sexualization, Media, & Society

Rebecca Whisnant

For over two decades now, I have taught, written, and spoken publicly about pornography from a feminist perspective. In the 1990s, the most common critical questions I received involved censorship and the law. In recent years, the focus has changed: when there are critical questions, they most often concern feminist pornography. What about it? Does it exist? Could it exist? Do I, or would I, object to it? What is it like, or what could it be like?

I do not find the ‘‘what-if’’ and ‘‘could-there-be’’ questions particularly illuminating, nor am I skilled at prognosticating what media forms might exist in possible postpatriarchal futures. Furthermore, as in discussions of pornography generally, sometimes people are motivated to defend ‘‘feminist pornography’’ in the abstract while knowing little to nothing about the actual material in question. Thus, it seems more fruitful to bring the discussion down to cases: that is, to investigate what some of those who claim to be making feminist pornography are actually making, and what they are saying about what they are making. People can then judge for themselves whether that material reflects a sexual ethic, and a conception of feminism, that they wish to endorse.

Case Study: Tristan Taormino

This article focuses on one self-described feminist pornographer who looms large in the contemporary ‘‘sex-positive’’ and ‘‘sex radical’’ firmament. Tristan Taormino first came to prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000s as, among other things, editor of the lesbian porn magazine On Our Backs and a sex columnist for the Village Voice. In 1999, she collaborated with mainstream pornographer John Stagliano and fetish porn producer Ernest Greene on The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, a porn film based on her book of the same title. In more recent years, Taormino’s porn productions have included the Chemistry series, the Rough Sex series, and Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guides to various sexual acts.

Author, speaker, educator, editor, TV host, filmmaker, and more: when it comes to the various self-styled sex-positive movements, venues, and endeavors of roughly the last twenty years, Taormino has done it all, and she has been at the center of much of it. The variety and reach of Taormino’s work illustrates that, as Comella (2013) observes, ‘‘Feminist pornography is not a series of stand-alone texts that exist outside of a much wider cultural context—and history—of sex-positive feminist cultural production and commerce’’ (p. 91).

In addition to being prominent, Taormino is intelligent, reflective, and articulate about the choices she has made and about the politics and assumptions underlying those choices. Furthermore, her body of work exemplifies themes and commitments that are largely consistent among those who produce, perform in, and/or support feminist pornography.

My discussion is based partly on Taormino’s published writings and interviews as well as on an admittedly small selection of her films—one full-length and several extended clips. While I see no reason to believe that the selections I viewed are unrepresentative of her film work as a whole, readers should take into account that my critique is based on a limited sampling of that work.

As will quickly become evident, Taormino’s feminist politics are different from my own, and my take on her work is a critical one. My aim is not to write a hit piece, however, but rather to articulate clearly the political and ethical worldview that underlies Taormino’s body of work—thus, again, enabling more informed discussions of feminist pornography and related issues.

‘‘An Industry Within an Industry’’

Feminist critics of pornography frequently emphasize that, whatever else it may be, contemporary pornography is above all an industry within a capitalist marketplace. As Jensen (2007) points out, ‘‘the DVDs and internet sites to which men are masturbating are not being made by struggling artists who work in lonely garrets, tirelessly working to help us understand the mysteries of sexuality’’ (p. 79). Even once we understand that mainstream pornography is driven by profit, we may tend to assume that feminist pornography emerges from utopian enclaves, where people produce exactly what they want to
produce based on their own unique, creative, and egalitarian visions of sex.

Of course, no such enclaves exist, or if they do, then few people will ever see whatever erotic materials are created therein. As Taormino, Parreñas-Shimuzu, Penley, and Miller-Young (2013) write in their introduction to The Feminist Porn Book,

feminist porn is not only an emergent social movement and an alternative cultural production: it is a genre of media made for profit. Part of a multibillion dollar business in adult entertainment media, feminist porn is an industry within an industry. (pp. 15–16)

In a 2014 interview, Taormino comments further that

In the United States there is not necessarily a clear, discrete division between ‘‘feminist/queer/indie porn’’ and ‘‘mainstream porn’’… . I situate my own work in both worlds: I make feminist pornography that is funded and distributed by mainstream companies and features primarily mainstream performers. (Voss, 2014, p. 204)

In fact, perhaps more than any other figure, Taormino has occupied and helped to shape both mainstream and alternative spaces within the sex industry—as evidenced by, among other things, her having repeatedly won both Adult Video News awards and Feminist Porn awards.

Taormino is well aware of the trade-offs attendant on working with mainstream porn companies and reaching mainstream audiences. As she puts it in the 2003 documentary Hot and Bothered, ‘‘Funding is always an issue… . people always ask why isn’t there more feminist porn, why there isn’t more lesbian porn, and the truth is, you need money’’ (Goldberg, 2003). She continues,

I basically had two different ways to go. I could try the feminist way, which is that you beg, borrow, and steal, you do it on a shoestring, you ask all your friends to do stuff for free, and then you try to distribute it yourself. Or, I could go directly to the man and sell out, and go to a mainstream adult company, where I would have to compromise some of my, like, artistic integrity. (Goldberg, 2003)

Indeed, one can only be so critical of mainstream porn if that is the venue within which one works and within which one hopes to maintain friendly ties and funding sources. Similarly, one can only diverge so far from the tropes of mainstream porn while still appealing to any reasonable subset of its consumer base.

Like all pornography, and indeed all media, feminist pornography can be analyzed in terms of its production, its content, and its consumption (Jensen, 2007); and when media is produced and sold within a capitalist marketplace, such analysis must keep a clear eye on how each dimension is shaped by the
imperatives of profit.

Porn is violence against women

References

Comella, L. (2013). From text to context: Feminist porn and the making
of a market. In T. Taormino, C. Parren˜as-Shimuzu, C. Penley, & M.
Miller-Young (Eds.), The feminist porn book: The politics of producing
pleasure (pp. 79–93). New York, NY: The Feminist Press.

Goldberg, B. (Director). (2003). Hot and bothered: Feminist pornography
[Film]. U.S.: National Film Network.

Jensen, R. (2007). Getting off: Pornography and the end of masculinity.
Cambridge, MA: South End Press.

Taormino, T., Parreñas-Shimuzu, C., Penley, C., & Miller-Young, M.
(2013). Introduction: The politics of producing pleasure. The feminist
porn book: The politics of producing pleasure (pp. 9–20).
New York, NY: Feminist Press.

 

(Excerpted from ‘‘But What About Feminist Porn?’’: Examining the Work of Tristan Taormino)

No space for women

by Purple Sage

A friend of mine went to an event recently and found the washrooms like this:

gender-neutral-washroom

The women’s washroom has been turned into a gender neutral washroom, and a sign on the door indicates women, men and in-between. The men’s washroom remains unchanged. Note: these are not single stall washrooms, they are group washrooms.

It’s starting to become a noticeable pattern that when one washroom is made into a gender neutral one, it’s the women’s that gets converted. This means that men can go anywhere but women cannot have any space just for ourselves. If you enter an establishment and find the women’s washroom taken away, please complain to the manager and stop using the business until they provide a washroom for women. Any male allies out there? You can do the same thing. Complain to management that there should be a women’s washroom and do not give them your business until they give it back.

Women, please document this whenever it happens. Take a photo and put it on social media. We need to keep records of our spaces being taken away.

Transgender activism works to remove women’s right to safety and privacy and does not allow us to set boundaries. We need to oppose it with full force.