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"Mishandling Rape"

on Monday, 17 November 2014. Hits 202

The NY Times

OUR strategy for dealing with rape on college campuses has failed abysmally. Female students are raped in appalling numbers, and their rapists almost invariably go free. Forced by the federal government, colleges have now gotten into the business of conducting rape trials, but they are not competent to handle this job. They are simultaneously failing to punish rapists adequately and branding students sexual assailants when no sexual assault occurred.

We have to transform our approach to campus rape to get at the root problems, which the new college processes ignore and arguably even exacerbate.

How many rapes occur on our campuses is disputed. The best, most carefully controlled study was conducted for the Department of Justice in 2007; it found that about one in 10 undergraduate women had been raped at college.

But because of low arrest and conviction rates, lack of confidentiality, and fear they won’t be believed, only a minuscule percentage of college women who are raped — perhaps only 5 percent or less — report the assault to the police. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by a relatively small percentage of college men — possibly as few as 4 percent — who rape repeatedly, averaging six victims each. Yet these serial rapists overwhelmingly remain at large, escaping serious punishment.

Against this background, the federal government in 2011 mandated a ramped-up sexual assault adjudication process at American colleges, presumably believing that campuses could respond more aggressively than the criminal justice system. So now colleges are conducting trials, often presided over by professors and administrators who know little about law or criminal investigations. At one college last year, the director of a campus bookstore served as a panelist. The process is inherently unreliable and error-prone.

At Columbia University and Barnard College, more than 20 students have filed complaints against the school for mishandling and rejecting their sexual assault claims. But at Vassar College, Duke University, The University of Michigan and elsewhere, male students who claim innocence have sued because they were found guilty. Mistaken findings of guilt are a real possibility because the federal government is forcing schools to use a lowered evidentiary standard — the “more likely than not” standard, which is much less exacting than criminal law’s “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” requirement — at their rape trials. At Harvard, 28 law professors recently condemned the university’s new sexual assault procedures for lacking “the most basic elements of fairness and due process” and for being “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.”

Is the answer, then, as conservatives argue, deregulation — getting the government off the universities’ backs? Is it, as the Harvard law professors suggest, strengthening procedural protections for the accused?

Neither strategy would get to the true problems: rapists going unpunished, the heady mixture of sex and alcohol on college campuses, and the ways in which colleges are expanding the concept of sexual assault to change its basic meaning.

Consider the illogical message many schools are sending their students about drinking and having sex: that intercourse with someone “under the influence” of alcohol is always rape. Typical is this warning on a joint Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith website: “Agreement given while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is not considered consent”; “if you have not consented to sexual intercourse, it is rape.” ...

"Inside the strange, jealous world of a married swinger couple"

on Monday, 17 November 2014. Hits 209

NY Post

by Maureen Callahan

On New Year’s Eve in 2005, Christy and Mark Kidd — six years into living in New York City, but still lonely — found an ad in Time Out for an all-you-can-drink bash. Despite several dubious specifics, including a Garment District location, house music and a $100 admittance fee, they went.

It was sleazy setting replete with red-velvet curtains and moist air. Down a hallway, they came upon an empty room lined with wall-to-wall mattresses.

“It was a relatively normal party,” Mark says. “Except we realized everyone in the back room was having sex.”

They wanted in. It would take longer than you might think.

Their new book, “A Modern Marriage,” is a chronicle of Christy and Mark’s lives as swingers: the group sex, the jealousy, the secrecy, the STDs and hygiene issues, the emotional and psychological dangers.

“The whole situation caught us off-guard,” Christy says.

“We were very naive,” Mark says.

Christy is now 43; Mark is 42. They’re native Texans who describe themselves as otherwise square: conservative accountants who live in Kips Bay, whose preferred drink is Dr Pepper and who didn’t know what constituted an orgy.

Both had unstable childhoods — Christy’s mom has been married five times; Mark’s, four — and say they’ve spent their lives searching for the stable relationship they share.

They’ve been married for 14 years, and swinging, they insist, has made their marriage that much stronger.

“This is a love story,” Christy says. “We’re normal. We have the same issues other people do.”

Until today, their friends and family have had no idea — but the time has come, they say, to share it all.

“We’re by no means trying to get people to become swingers, but there’s another way to live that can be amazing,” Mark says. “I would like to think we can touch people’s lives.”

At that first swingers party in 2005, Christy and Mark reacted with revulsion and excitement. The book is written in her voice only; they worried that a man’s perspective would be “too creepy.” ...

 

"Brace yourselves, traditionalists, for new rules of engagement"

on Monday, 17 November 2014. Hits 179

Trentonian

By David Neese

Federal Judge Jeffrey Sutton evidently didn’t get the memo.

 

The all­ important memo is a joint product of various elitist judges, activists and editorial boards.

 

The memo packs an authority suggesting it might have been brought down from Mount Sinai and lugged about in an Ark of the Covenant.

According to the memo, you don’t mention polygamy and such when the topic under discussion is same-­sex marriage.

 

Absolutely not.

Not ever.

It is forbidden.

 

It is not politically correct to do so

 

If you do so, you run the risk of ... well, who knows what? Maybe of being felled on the spot by a bolt of lightning. Or at the very least of being vilified as a backwoods snake-­handling fundamentalist or a homophobe dragging a red herring across the path of rational dialogue.

 

Judge Sutton out in Cincinnati and a fellow Sixth Circuit jurist opined, against the grain, that setting the rules for marriage falls within the jurisdiction of the states, not the federal government. So it has been through historical epoch after epoch, the two George W. Bush nominees noted. A Bill Clinton­-nominated judge held to the contrary.

 

The 2­1 ruling, involving cases from four states, departs from other more fashionable court auguries. Thus it likely will bring the gay ­marriage issue before the (trumpet flourish here) Big Court.

 

In the midst of this party­-pooper decision, Judge Sutton proceeded to commit his egregious, politically incorrect faux pas. He brought up the no-­no of polygamy and such.

 

If after countless millenniums marriage can be redefined to include same-­sex couplings, then why can’t it be redefined by judicial decree to include other arrangements? Why not also, besides polygamy, maybe polyandry, polyamory and what-­have-­you?

 

If, as the activist litigants argued in the Sixth­ Circuit case, it is “constitutionally irrational to stand by the man- ­woman definition of marriage” after eons, said Judge Sutton, “it must be constitutionally irrational to stand by the monogamous definition of marriage.”

 

Altering the definition of marriage dating to “the earliest days of human history” is better done through the democratic legislative process than through judicial fiat, he added.

 

Elsewhere, another federal judge already has ruled that a Utah law criminalizing polygamy violates the United States Constitution’s guarantees of freedom of association and the right to due process of law.

 

Polygamy, of course, has ancient roots – Abraham, Moses, Jacob. Gideon, David, Solomon, et al., not to mention Mohammad. Polygamy pressure groups are making their voices heard through organizational and legal advocacy.

 

So are advocates of polyamory – cohabiting arrangements involving multiple participants. Hey, the polyamorists even have their own 501(c)(3) advocacy organization to promote themselves and contest the “monocentric dominator culture.” ...

"Ghomeshi video showed woman's bruises, cracked rib"

on Friday, 14 November 2014. Hits 181

CBC fired host Jian Ghomeshi after he showed them a video depicting bruising on a woman he had dated, apparently caused by a cracked rib, sources say.

The video was on Ghomeshi’s phone. The scene was the King Street West offices of Denton LLP, a law firm retained by Ghomeshi, who was facing allegations that his alleged rough treatment of women was about to become front-page news.

Leading up to the weekend of Oct. 25-26, with Ghomeshi’s professional future hanging in the balance, two CBC executives were invited to the Denton offices to hear and see Ghomeshi’s side of the story.

When CBC executives Chris Boyce and Chuck Thompson left Denton on Thursday, Oct. 23, they reported to their bosses that it was “much bigger than we ever thought,” a source told the Star. Ghomeshi was put on leave of absence that day.

According to sources, the CBC executives were shown a variety of information, including a video and text messages, by the Denton lawyers in attendance at the meeting.

Sources say the video is of a woman whom Ghomeshi had dated in the past 10 years. The video shows bruising to the woman’s body (she is partially covered in the video). And information provided to CBC that weekend, including text messages Ghomeshi had on his phone, refer to a “cracked rib.” A large bruise could be seen on the side of her body. ...

"Consent Explained by a Porn Star"

on Friday, 14 November 2014. Hits 371

What exactly is consent? We went to a porn star’s sex dungeon with Jill Soloway to find out.

Wifey creates and curates videos with women as the subject, not the object. It’s brought to you by Transparent creator Jill Soloway and Gurl.com founder Rebecca Odes.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/hillarylevine/wtf-is-consent

"Bashara trial: Ex 'slave,' Gentz friend testify"

on Thursday, 13 November 2014. Hits 176

Channel 4

by Hank Winchester

Bob Bashara was back in court Tuesday sporting sunglasses because of eye surgery over the weekend, Local 4 is told.

More wild and salacious stories were heard about "Big Bob," the dungeon and his apparent obsession with his former mistress Rachel Gillett.

Terese Giffin is a former Bashara slave. She's also a former Chicago police officer. She met Bashara before his wife Jane's murder, but it was after the murder says that things became more intense. She said Bashara repeatedly called Giffin while he was locked up, begging her to get in touch with Gillett.

The court also heard from Frances Natalie, who met Joe Gentz on a dating website. They became friends. She revealed to the court that after the murder Gentz was nervous, agitated and living in fear.

The court will soon hear from a woman who first helped expose Bob Bashara's secret sex life. She's a former slave who Local 4 first interviewed days after the murder. Later, she took us inside Bashara's dungeon and soon she will tell her story in court. ...

"Kinky Sex Survey Says: You're Not as Deviant as You Think"

on Thursday, 13 November 2014. Hits 172

Reason

by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Being sexually dominated. Having sex with multiple people at once. Watching someone undress without their knowledge. These are just a few of the totally normal sexual fantasies uncovered by recent research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. The overarching takeaway from this survey of about 1,500 Canadian adults is that sexual kink is incredibly common.

While plenty of research has been conducted on sexual fetishes, less is known about the prevalence of particular sexual desires that don't rise to the level of pathological (i.e., don't harm others or interfere with normal life functioning and aren't a requisite for getting off). "Our main objective was to specify norms in sexual fantasies," said lead study author Christian Joyal. "We suspected there are a lot more common fantasies than atypical fantasies."

Joyal's team surveyed about 717 Québécois men and 799 women, with a mean age of 30. Participants ranked 55 different sexual fantasies, as well as wrote in their own. Each fantasy was then rated as statistically rare, unusual, common, or typical.

Rare fantasies: Only two of the 55 sexual fantasies—sex with children and sex with animals—were found to be rare, occurring in less than 2.3 percent of the survey population.

Unusual fantasies: Nine fantasies were determined to be unusual: urinating on or being urinated on by a sexual partner, crossdressing, forcing someone to have sex, "sexually abusing a person who is drunk, asleep, or unconscious", watch two men have sex, being naked or partially naked in a public place, having sex with three or more men, and having sex with a stripper or prostitute. Less than 16 percent of all respondents said they fantasize about these things, although there were some notable gender differences. For instance, nearly a third of women have fantasized about having sex with three or more men, compared to 13 percent of men who've fantasized about it. Nearly 40 percent of men have fantasized about fucking a sex worker, compared to 12.5 percent of women. Men were also more likely to fantasize about forcing someone to have sex (22 percent versus 10.8 percent). ...

"The Foggy Edge of Sexual Consent"

on Friday, 07 November 2014. Hits 554

Pacific Standard

by Jillian Keenan

Responsible BDSM practitioners realize, perhaps more acutely than anyone else, that “yes” is not enough. We could all learn something from this stigmatized community, if only we’d talk more openly.

The first time I learned about safe words, I’d just been spanked.

“If we ever do something you don’t like, just say ‘red’ and I’ll stop,” my boyfriend told me later that night, as I squirmed on a hard chair during dinner. “You know that, right?”

I did not know that, actually.

“Like red light, yellow light, green light?” I asked.

My boyfriend—let’s call him John—nodded.

“Exactly,” he said.

I was 17 years old. John, my first boyfriend, was 24. (In the country where we lived at the time, that combination was perfectly legal.) We were young. We didn’t know anything about responsible BDSM even as we explored our kinks together. How were we supposed to learn? Neither of us owned a laptop, and I wasn’t about to research our unusual sexual fixation from a public Internet café. John and I were merely following our impulses into murky—and potentially dangerous—territory.

Consent is critical in every sexual expression. But those boundaries and responsibilities are heightened in kink. And they’re not always obvious. After all, it was only after a spanking—one of many—that John finally thought to introduce a safe word into our play. Before that, it would have been entirely possible for our consensual and mutually satisfying encounters to cross the line into assault. When hurting your partner as he or she cries and begs you to stop is part of the fun, how do we know where the fun stops? Can the foggy edge of kink teach us anything about sexual consent in general? ...

...The isolation of stigma also leaves kinky assault survivors with few ways to report crimes without exposing themselves to the victim-blaming, scorn, and condescending pity that are directed at sexual minorities even under the best of circumstances.

“There is such a strong stigma against BDSM that even people within the community are afraid to reach out and learn how to do things safely,” says Susan Wright, the spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “They’re more afraid of being ‘outed’ than they are of being assaulted. That stigma creates a haven for predators.”

It’s a cruel and dangerous cycle. To fight prejudice and misconceptions, we defend ourselves and our community. But the need to incessantly remind people that kink is not abuse makes it hard to admit that kinky relationships—just like vanilla relationships—sometimes do become abusive. When we’re made to feel that we must defend ourselves, we become afraid to perpetuate the stigma against us by calling out abuse. (Even FetLife.com, ground zero for sexual fetishists online, has refused to blacklist known predators in its midst.) One BDSM blogger described abusers in the kink community as “missing stairs” in a familiar house: people who have lived in the house for years avoid the gap automatically, but visitors are at risk of falling through.

A consent advocate and activist for marginalized sexual communities, who asked not to be named, told me that stigma adds an additional layer of risk when it forces BDSM practitioners to express our sexualities from behind the veil of pseudonyms.

“There are major figures in the BDSM community who have multiple restraining orders against them,” she says. “But how would their partners know that? When everyone uses pseudonyms, criminal histories are easy to hide. You can’t look up restraining orders under a fake name.” ...

Latest Reader Comments

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    Daisie

    23. March, 2015 |

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    15. March, 2015 |

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    11. March, 2015 |

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