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"Jian Ghomeshi, Former CBC Host, Acquitted Of Sexual Assault Charges"

on Thursday, 24 March 2016. Hits 425

NPR

by Merrit Kennedy

A Canadian court has acquitted Jian Ghomeshi, the former CBC radio host who was fired in 2014 amid multiple allegations of sexual assault.

 

In this case, which involved complaints from three different women regarding incidents in 2002 and 2003, Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance to sexual assault by choking.

 

"I am forced to conclude that it is impossible for the Court to have sufficient faith in the reliability or sincerity of these complainants," Justice William B. Horkins of the Ontario Court of Justice says in his published reasoning. "Put simply, the volume of serious deficiencies in the evidence leaves the Court with a reasonable doubt."

 

Horkins continues:

 

"My conclusion that the evidence in this case raises a reasonable doubt is not the same as deciding in any positive way that these events never happened. At the end of this trial, a reasonable doubt exists because it is impossible to determine, with any acceptable degree of certainty or comfort, what is true and what is false."

Each of the three women say they had a violent encounter with Ghomeshi. For example, an account from one woman identified as L.R. in court documents states that she was having a drink with Ghomeshi at his home. Then:

 

"Suddenly, 'out of the blue,' he came up behind her, grabbed her hair and pulled it. He then punched her in the head several times and pulled her to her knees. The force of the blow was significant. She said it felt like walking into a pole or hitting her head on the pavement. L.R. thought she might pass out. Then, suddenly again, the rage was gone and Mr. Ghomeshi said, 'You should go now; I'll call you a cab.' "

 

In his ruling, Horkins questions the complainant's reliability, saying that details of her testimony shifted — such as whether she was wearing hair extensions or the kind of car Ghomeshi drove.

 

The CBC describes a chaotic scene in the courtroom after the ruling. Ghomeshi embraced his mother and sister. Meanwhile:

 

"A topless female protester jumped in front of Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan yelling 'Ghomeshi guilty!'

"Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door. She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser.

"Other protesters outside the courtroom chanted 'We believe survivors.' "

Ghomeshi did not testify in the case. After the CBC fired him, he called it a "moral judgement against his taste for consensual bondage and rough sex," as NPR's David Folkenflik previously reported. ...

Savage Love Cast

on Thursday, 24 March 2016. Hits 295

Episode 491

by Dan Savage

Dan Savage comments on the George Mason University case and reads NCSF's Statement, adding, "No need to panic. They're not coming for our whips and our chains."

http://www.savagelovecast.com/episodes/491

"There's a Conversation About Polyamory We're Not Having"

on Monday, 21 March 2016. Hits 474

Connections.Mic

By Sophie Saint Thomas

A few weeks ago, I attended a Play Party Etiquette Workshop, a class for people interested in learning about how to behave at play (sex) parties). At the event, attendees were given a worksheet to express their "desires, intentions and boundaries," featuring such checklist items as, "During this party, I would like to be clear about my boundaries while connecting with strangers."

 

The Play Party Etiquette Workshop was held at Hacienda Villa, a sex-positive community in Brooklyn known for polyamory and play parties, led by sex educator Kenneth Play and relationship expert Effy Blue. Along with this worksheet, the workshop included a slideshow presentation with multiple slides on the importance of "enthusiastic consent," a concept also taught in schools, advised by feminist writers and even passed as legislature in California as the "affirmative consent" bill.

 

Both Blue and Play practice polyamory, as did many of the attendees. (While one doesn't need to be polyamorous to attend a sex party, there is often overlap between the two groups.) Polyamorous people have multiple partners, meaning they can date, love and fuck more than one person. That can make establishing consent and firm boundaries even more complicated than it is in monogamous relationships.

 

Poly people take specific approaches for everything from how to establish safe-sex boundaries with other partners to warding off aggressive come-ons. For starters, while those in committed, monogamous relationships only need to agree on a safe-sex practice for the two of them, those in poly relationships need to continually discuss it as their partners change.

 

Within poly relationships, "consent is more complicated because you need the consent of every partner for every action," John*, a 35-year-old polyamorous man, told Mic. "I can't just start barebacking one partner, because that can have an effect on the sexual health of my other partners."

 

For this reason, polyamorous people need to discuss things like condoms perhaps more often than monogamous couples do. In fact, a 2012 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine indicated that couples who practice consensual non-monogamy generally have fewer STIs and practice safer sex than monogamous couples where one partner has been unfaithful.

 

"What is typically common is that poly people will have very explicit conversations around safe sex with other partners. What are their boundaries, what are their preferences, what are their deal breakers," Zhana Vrangalova, an adjunct professor at New York University and founder of the Casual Sex Project, told Mic.

 

Poly people also have to deal with people outside the poly community constantly assuming that they're sexually available. "On one hand, a poly person is like a single person in the sense that they are not 'taken.' So when someone else learns that someone is poly, the perception is that: 'Okay, well, they are at least potentially available. Proceed as if this is a single person,'" Vrangalova told Mic.

 

John agreed: "It's certainly happened that people have assumed I'm down [for sex] purely because I'm poly, even in the most inappropriate situations."

 

But even though people outside the community might believe that poly people are up for anything, that's far from the case: Different poly couples have different guidelines for their relationship. While John said he personally is available to play with other partners, others in the polyamory community need permission from their primary partner before starting something with someone new. Some people prefer to discuss new partners with their primary partners beforehand.

 

Additionally, Vrangalova said that people outside the poly community tend to perceive poly people to be more kinky and sexual than monogamous folks. While that can be true for certain couples, polyamory is an identity that encompasses all ranges of kink and sexuality.

 

"I think those two things [perception of availability and sexual appetite] get inflated to get people extra sexually interested in poly people — and then extra disappointed if the poly person is not responding to them," Vrangalova said. ...

"One Man Shares The Lessons He Learned From A Year Of Polyamory"

on Sunday, 20 March 2016. Hits 337

Refinery29

by CORIN FAIFE

My introduction to polyamory came when I was drunk and horny. Walking back to my house after a first date, arm in arm with a smart, attractive, olive-skinned punk girl, we burst in through the front door, giggling and kissing. There was a pause and she looked me in the eye, suddenly serious.

 

“Before we go any further I need to tell you: I have a long term boyfriend. But I don’t believe in monogamy. I hope that’s okay.”

 

“Oh, that’s fine. Totally fine,” I said.

 

Truthfully, at that exact moment I would have accepted almost anything. But it really did feel fine. We went on a series of dates over the next few months; saw films together, cooked meals, held hands. Basically, did couple stuff.

 

I often asked questions about her other relationships and she was happy to answer. When she talked about love and sex she was thoughtful and eloquent. She made me want to learn more. A door had been opened.

 

If there was a Theory of Polyamory 101, it would probably start with the principle that love is not a finite resource, and so we should stop treating it as if scarcity applies. We know that love for old friends doesn’t decrease with making new ones, or that love for our brothers, sisters or children isn’t reduced with new additions to the family; but from an early age we absorb, unconsciously for the most part, the idea that romantic love exists in limited supply, is shared between a couple, and is tainted by any affections that stray elsewhere.

 

If this idea doesn’t sit well with you, the alternatives suggested by mainstream culture are few and far between, consisting more or less of serial dating, empty promiscuity, or lonely death in a house full of cats. Hence the widespread habit of what we could call "monogamy by default" – not an active choice between a range of options, but the acceptance of the only game in town.

 

In this context, polyamory is not so much a whole new game as an attempt to renegotiate the rules: it suggests that romantic love for one partner does not have to rule out attraction to another, or that the deep fulfilment and security of long term commitment should not banish away the excitement of new sexual encounters. All these things and more are up for discussion, provided it can be done in a transparent and consensual way.

 

However, regardless of how much you support the theory, putting it into practice still brings a huge potential for jealousy, hurt and insecurity. It's not that polyamory is too good to be true, but it's definitely too good to be easy.

 

When I first actively decided on polyamory as a lifestyle choice, I felt like I’d stumbled upon a way to hack the rules of relationships – to have all the benefits of romance, but without the inconvenience of compromise.

 

It was just over a year ago, January 2015, and I was starting two new relationships at the same time. Both of these people were unique: creative, unconventional, attractive to me on many levels. But instead of being blissfully happy with these two wonderful partners, I felt like I was in a constant state of crisis: neither relationship felt stable, and after a short while, each one was constantly on the verge of collapse. It was as if two plates were spinning slowly at the end of long sticks, far apart, and I was caught in the middle, frantically sprinting between them.

 

Looking back now, I can see the mistakes I made, but I wanted to know if it was typical to struggle when starting to experiment with non-monogamy. So I called Mel Mariposa Cassidy, a radical relationship coach and self-described “queer polyamorous relationship anarchist” to ask about some of the problems that she helps her clients to address. One of the biggest hurdles, she told me, is being absolutely honest about the reasons for exploring open relationships in the first place:

 

“You might be wanting to open up a relationship because you're not sexually satisfied by your partner, or you might open your relationship because you want to leave your partner and you feel like this is a safe way to do it. Some people explore polyamory because they want to consciously challenge the societal norms around monogamy and ownership dynamics in relationships, and jealousy and so forth. I try not to judge anyone’s reasons, but where I see problems is when people are not honest with themselves or their partners about it. Often people have core needs which aren't being met, and instead of really talking about those things they just decide to go and get them somewhere else.” ...

"Lots of people like kinky sex psychologists call abnormal"

on Sunday, 20 March 2016. Hits 365

Reuters

by Lisa Rapaport

Reuters Health - Lots of ordinary people are into sex with a dash of voyeurism, fetishism and masochism – all habits classified as deviant in the manual doctors use to diagnose mental health disorders, a survey of Quebec residents suggests.

 

Researchers focused on what the manual calls paraphilic disorders – sexual behaviors labeled as abnormal, illegal or inducing suffering or impairment – and so-called normophilic, or typical, activities.

 

Most people have probably never heard of the guidebook in question, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

 

But this book that once called homosexuality a deviant act can still help create and reinforce negative stereotypes for perfectly healthy sexual behavior, said lead study author Christian Joyal, a psychology researcher at the University of Quebec Trois-Rivieres.

 

“The adjective `abnormal’ is judgmental,” Joyal said by email. “I don’t think it should appear in a psychiatry manual.”

 

“Paraphilic disorders are rare because people who practice kinky or atypical sex are virtually all happy with it,” Joyal added.

 

Researchers surveyed 1,040 adults in Quebec to see how often they desired or practiced eight sexual behaviors defined as outside the norm in the manual – fetishizing objects, wearing clothes from the opposite sex, spying on strangers, displaying genitals to unsuspecting strangers, rubbing against a stranger, pedophilia, masochism and sadism.

 

Overall, almost half of the respondents expressed interest in at least one of these eight sexual behaviors that the manual labels as deviant, researchers reported in the Journal of Sexual Research.

 

Roughly one third of the people surveyed said they had experienced one of these behaviors at least once, the survey found.

 

Participants either practiced or fantasized about four behaviors so often that it’s difficult to consider them outside the norm, the authors point out.

 

Slightly more than one third of people were interested in voyeurism, while 26 percent expressed interest in fetishism or rubbing up against strangers, and 19 percent liked masochism, the survey found. ...

"Lots of people like kinky sex that psychologists call abnormal"

on Saturday, 19 March 2016. Hits 295

Fox News Health

Lots of ordinary people are into sex with a dash of voyeurism, fetishism and masochism - all habits classified as deviant in the manual doctors use to diagnose mental health disorders, a survey of Quebec residents suggests.

 

Researchers focused on what the manual calls paraphilic disorders - sexual behaviors labeled as abnormal, illegal or inducing suffering or impairment - and so-called normophilic, or typical, activities.

 

Most people have probably never heard of the guidebook in question, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

 

But this book that once called homosexuality a deviant act can still help create and reinforce negative stereotypes for perfectly healthy sexual behavior, said lead study author Christian Joyal, a psychology researcher at the University of Quebec Trois-Rivieres.

 

"The adjective `abnormal' is judgmental," Joyal said by email. "I don't think it should appear in a psychiatry manual."

 

"Paraphilic disorders are rare because people who practice kinky or atypical sex are virtually all happy with it," Joyal added.

 

Researchers surveyed 1,040 adults in Quebec to see how often they desired or practiced eight sexual behaviors defined as outside the norm in the manual - fetishizing objects, wearing clothes from the opposite sex, spying on strangers, displaying genitals to unsuspecting strangers, rubbing against a stranger, pedophilia, masochism and sadism.

 

Overall, almost half of the respondents expressed interest in at least one of these eight sexual behaviors that the manual labels as deviant, researchers reported in the Journal of Sexual Research. ...

Silicon Valley Welcomes the NCSF Coalition Partners!

on Friday, 18 March 2016. Hits 361

March 18, 2016 – The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s annual Coalition Partner Meeting took place March 4-6, 2016, in San Jose, CA. For the first time, the annual meeting was made accessible by video conferencing for Coalition Partners and NCSF staff members, so they could actively participate in the meeting.

“Opening up the NCSF annual meeting to everyone regardless of whether they can travel will allow more people to get involved in our work,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “NCSF has made a lot of progress over the past 19 years fighting for our rights, and we are seeing a drop in persecution because of our successful efforts with the American Psychiatric Association. We look forward to more progress with our new American Law Institute project to make consent a defense to BDSM in criminal proceedings.”

“Opening up the NCSF annual meeting to everyone regardless of whether they can travel will allow more people to get involved in our work,” says Susan Wright, spokesperson for NCSF. “NCSF has made a lot of progress over the past 19 years fighting for our rights, and we are seeing a drop in persecution because of our successful efforts with the American Psychiatric Association. We look forward to more progress with our new American Law Institute project to make consent a defense to BDSM in criminal proceedings.”

Some highlights from NCSF:

· The first NCSF Consent Summit will take place on April 23rd in Seattle

· Over 60 people have signed up to take NCSF’s BDSM and Intimate Partner Violence Training with workshops scheduled through the next quarter

· NCSF worked with the American Association for Sexuality Educators Counselors and Therapists Alt Sex SIG to produce “A Taste of Kink” at the AASECT annual conference in Minneapolis last June

· NCSF introduced the new Got Consent? brochure on communication and negotiations

· NCSF launched a series of FAQs for groups and events on how to deal with consent violations

· NCSF directly helped 198 people, groups and businesses in 2015 through our Incident Reporting & Response

· The Kink Aware Professionals database was accessed by 1,800 people, a 30% increase over 2014

· NCSF exhibited and presented at over 33 events in 2015

· NCSF gave 38 interviews last year including a big media push around the 50 Shades of Grey movie launch

The annual reports and financial statements are posted on the NCSF website:

https://ncsfreedom.org/images/stories/ABM/2016_meeting_packet.pdf

 

Saturday afternoon was devoted to discussing the services NCSF provides to people who are non-monogamous, and how to further develop the resources people need, like help with housing, child custody and legal forms of protection. The CPs and Board members also discussed a proposal on Disabilities and Sex Workers, which dovetails with NCSF’s mission to defend the right of consenting adults to have freedom of sexual expression.

Saturday evening, the NCSF staff, Board members and Coalition Partner reps attended the San Francisco’s Leather Alliance Weekend main event, the Mr. SF Leather Contest, where 10 amazing contestants vied for the sash. NCSF congratulates Mr. San Francisco Leather 2016: Cody Elkin (Mr. Lonestar 2016)!

The Consent Counts Discussion on Sunday drew a crowd of 38 people who were eager to discuss various issues of consent. It was a wonderful showing of interest and support from the local San Jose community.

 

The new NCSF Board of Directors consists of:

Kevin Carlson – Chairman (Boise, ID)

Keira Harris – Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator (New Orleans, LA)

L.V. "Sassy" Reese – NCSF Treasurer (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN)

Jim Fleckenstein – NCSF Foundation Treasurer (Manassas, VA)

Susan Wright – Media and Incident Reporting & Response Director (Phoenix, AZ)

Judy Guerin – Consent Counts Director (Washington, DC)

Julian Wolf – Newsletter Director (Albuquerque, NM)

Mercury – Literature Director (Nashville, TN)

Devin MacLachlan (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

Allena Gabosch (Seattle, WA)

Billy Lane (Philadelphia, PA)

Jackie "Bebe" Harris (St. Louis, MO)

 

NCSF looks forward to seeing you in the Midwest for the 2017 Annual Coalition Partners Meeting.

Please support NCSF by becoming a member, volunteering or donating today! NCSF is here to help you, so please help us! www.ncsfreedom.org

"Sexual Assault Survivor Stages Powerful S&M Photos At Frat Where She Was Raped"

on Tuesday, 15 March 2016. Hits 515

Huffington Post

by Priscilla Frank

During her freshman year at Wesleyan University, Karmenife Paulino was raped in the basement of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. Up until her junior year, Paulino said nothing of the assault, feeling that, as a woman of color, the attack on her body and mind would go unrecognized.

 

On campus in Middletown, Connecticut, Paulino saw her rapist everywhere. As she explains in her short memoir Sea Salt and Sandalwood (she was an English major with an emphasis in creative writing): "I would see him in the eating hall, in the coffee shop, in the campus grocery store. I would see the length of his limbs stretching over the steps of the library. I would smell his presence wafting through the mailroom. I'd freeze, my brain begging my legs to stretch and take me away from his frame, his eyes. M.'s eyes would shoot straight into my abdomen, twisting my insides until I found myself in a bathroom assuming the position."

 

Paulino also saw her rapist's name all over campus. He came from a wealthy background, she said, and two of the buildings in which Paulino had classes bore plaques reading his family name.

 

But, during her junior year, the same frat, Psi Upsilon, was hit with a separate sexual assault lawsuit, and Paulino couldn't stay quiet any longer. "I felt so powerless on campus," she explained in an interview with The Huffington Post.

 

In September of 2015, Paulino reported her rape to the university administration and Eclectic House, the co-ed housing collective of creative-minded individuals. "They were my best friends, my family," Paulino said. However, when she asked the house to ban her rapist from the property, Paulino said she was verbally attacked in return, interrogated and asked to explain why she was with him in the first place. "It turned into this horrific cycle with all of these people I considered to be my people," she recounted. "I had to deal with not only with my attacker on campus but this house full of people who would either look at me in disgust or not at all."

 

Because of the lack of support she received from her classmates and administrators, reporting her rape only made Paulino feel more powerless. "It was a very dark time," she said. "The administration basically laughed at me. My anxiety was so bad I couldn’t leave my room for days. I had hand tremors and anxiety-induced vomiting."

 

So Paulino found a source of strength through making art. Her first artistic endeavor was a performance piece addressing themes of campus sexual assault and accountability. "I had people dress up as Eclectic members and I did a monologue about everything that happened to me, and then these people violently tied me up in front of the audience," she said. "The audience then had to decide: am I going to help her or am I going to watch her writhe in pain? On a campus, that's really what it's like. People know what happened and they don’t do anything. We’re all a part of rape culture."

 

For the first time in a long time, Paulino felt empowered. And she wanted to do more. Specifically, she wanted to use art to make her school feel safe again. "I thought: I need to do something where I can reclaim this space and just exist."

 

For the resulting photo series, titled "Reclamation," Paulino collaborated with friend and photographer Tess Altman to reclaim her campus, her body and her life. In the images, Paulino dons dominatrix attire -- "something I feel powerful and really beautiful and confident in" -- and revisits both Psi Upsilon and Eclectic House, assuming positions of authority and control. ...

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