Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Prostitution, violence and

So a Canadian study has found that “people who buy sex are no more violent than the general population, and any legislation about prostitution should not be based on the incorrect belief that all johns are abusive”, says a Simon Fraser University sociologist researching the subject.

Chris Atchison surveyed more than 1,000 johns between June 2008 and April 2009 for his controversial study, entitled Johns’ Voice.

Based on about 1,000 anonymous online responses and 24 in-depth interviews, Atchison concluded that johns do not appear to be any more aggressive than the rest of the population and should therefore not be painted as uniformly evil.

He said 1.9 per cent reported having hit, pushed or physically attacked a prostitute, one per cent reported having raped or sexually assaulted a prostitute and 1.7 per cent reported having robbed a prostitute.

“The question becomes, ‘How different are sex buyers from any other member of the population?'” said Atchison.

OK, the dankprofessor must have been pretty naïve- I didn’t know that people believed that men who patronized sex workers were more violent than men who did not.  I guess this is on the same level of the idea that pornography causes male viewers to go out and rape. Of course, everyone knows that pornography overwhelmingly causes men to stay home and masturbate.  But then again masturbation is a form of self-abuse.  So I guess one just can’t get away from the idea that sex is harmful to self and if not to self then to others.

But there is more as reported in the Vancouver Sun

The study drew strong criticism from some quarters.

“It’s an outrageous study and it really works towards normalizing sexual assault,” said Aurea Flynn of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter.

“I’m really angry about the emphasis on the compassion for johns that the study provides and I’m very concerned about its impact on the continued normalization of prostitution in Canada because I believe prostitution is violence against women.”

Flynn was particularly angered by what she called the demonizing of a marginalized population that is often forced into the sex trade due to a lack of options.

Atchison said 79.9 per cent of johns surveyed wanted prostitution legalized for “altruistic reasons,” such as to protect prostitutes with health and safety regulations.

But Flynn said: “I believe that is the johns wanting to protect themselves from contracting diseases, which they are very afraid of.

“If they really wanted to help women, they’d be fighting for better welfare rates, universal child care, universal education and job skills training.”

She believes the legalization of prostitution would increase human trafficking and the exploitation of women.

The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter — which defines prostitution itself as an act of violence — actively campaigns for its abolition.

And so it goes- prostitution is violence even though it be consensual sex. But what the dankprofessor has learned in this short blog posting is that money is the ultimate arbiter.  Consensual sex turns into violence if you add a financial component. The money does the talking. So the dankprofessor’s advice to men who want to play it safe- empty your pockets before engaging in any kind of sexual fraternization.

OK, one more note- Aurea Flynn of the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter says she is really angry regarding the results of the study. She fears that people may become more empathetic toward johns.  As for my empathy, I can feel Ms. Flynn’s anger. I suggest she take her anger home and in the privacy of her home, she relax and try to get some relief.

January 19, 2010 Posted by | consensual relationships, masturbation, prostitution, rape, sex, sex work, sexual politics | 3 Comments

Sex Week at Yale: What’s missing?

(The dankprofessor got his dates wrong. Actually, the Yale Sex Week this post deals with was held last February.  I guess I should read my google alerts more closely.  In any case, irrespective of my being dated, my criticisms are still valid.)

Sex Week at Yale starts on February 10 and there will be some excellent speakers and sessions.  Of course, there are sessions dealing with pornography since the Yale Sex Week is partially sponsored by the largest porn producer in the world vivid.com, but there is also a partial Christian sponsorship by xxxchurch.com  And, as to be expected the so-called Christian participation is minimal with participation only occurring on February 15 in the context of the debate on porn.

The director of the Sex Week at Yale Joseph Citarrella states:

There is no ideology behind Sex Week. Its mission is simple: present students with a range of perspectives about sexuality to get them talking, so that they can begin to reconcile serious issues of love, sex, and relationships in their lives. Let the discussion begin.

But the dankprofessor has some difficulty with the assertion of no ideology.  If there is no ideology, why are there no sessions and no speakers on gays and lesbians as well as bisexuals and the transgendered?  If ideology was not relevant to the exclusion or omission, then one might conclude that similar to Iran there are no gays at Yale.  And certainly the creators of this Yale Sex Week could have concluded that some Yale students might have an interest in gay marriage.  Possibly some of the sessions include matters relating to homosexuality, but such is not explicitly stated.  However, looking at the sessions on porn, it is quite clear that there is nothing on gay porn. 

Matters relating to homosexuality and gender reflected the most major exclusion, but there are other major exclusions- S & M completely omitted, nothing on prostitution and no mention of the the most prevalent sexual behavior at Yale- masturbation.  Certainly, pornography generally ends up being about masturbation, but the dreaded M word is infrequently mentioned.  Masturbation  appears to be cloaked at the Sex Week at Yale under the rubric of “pure romance”.

On the positive side for the dankprofessor, there is no required sexual harassment training component, and nothing about how consensual student professor relationship “always” harming the student and the university.  In fact, there is absolutely nothing about consent in the whole program; such does not represent a positive since the mixing of sex and alcohol I trust is commonplace at Yale.  And without any mention of consent there is, of course, nothing on rape.

The entire schedule for Sex Week at Yale can be seen by clicking here.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | consensual relationships, ethics, gay marriage, higher education, homosexual, masturbation, prostitution, rape, sadomasochism, sex, sexual politics, student professor dating, Uncategorized, Yale University | Leave a comment

Rape on film at Yale

It was only a couple of weeks ago, February 13 to be exact, that the dankprofessor blogged on the escalating rhetoric at Yale regarding male fraternity members holding up a “Yale sluts” placard in the front of the Women’s Center; the Women’s Center Board characterized the placard incident and photos of the incident being circulated on email “as fraternity- sponsored or enabled sexual harassment, assault and rape”. Certainly, the fraternity members use of this placard was untoward, but the statement that the placard in essence sponsored rape seemed to the dankprofessor as inflammatory, and ultimately functions to “trivialize” rape. Name-calling should not be conflated with rape; words should not be conflated with actions. Social scientist know based on decades of research that words are not predictive of deeds.

Presently Yale is having its annual “Sex Week at Yale”. The dankprofessor was not surprised to learn that a component of sex week was on pornography. As reported by L. Brent Bozell on on the Media Research Center blog, the sex week organizers invited Paul Thomas of Vivid Entertainment to show films and have a question and answer period. The Vivid films were shown without any pre-screening by the sex week organizers. “Some of the footage shown by Thomas included graphic rape fantasies and the labeling of a woman as a “slut” who “deserved” violent sexual degradation.”

Before the films excerpts were completed, feminists from the Yale Women’s Center entered and “Presca Ahn, who is the “fellowship coordinator” there, declared: “In porn, sex is not a normal, healthy part of normal, healthy lives; it’s fetishized, exaggerated or embellished. Porn isn’t honest. We need to talk honestly about it: it hurts women.” Then the session went right into Q and A.

The Yale Daily News reported that Colin Adamo, Sex Week event coordinator, called the screening a grave mistake. “We really dropped the ball on this one,” he said. “No one watched the movie before Paul showed it to the audience.” But the Vivid representative “insinuated that he (Adamo) was a prude and just needed to watch more porn.”

The dankprofessor has no comment on the prudishness characterization of Adamo; certainly Adamo can be characterized as naïve. To assume that Vivid porn DVDs would not cause offense to some of those in attendance is naïve. I would also consider it to be naïve that holding a sex week which would not be offensive to some of the Yale students some of the time is extremely naïve. To have a completely inoffensive sex week one would have to go back to the American tradition of sex censorship. To really deal with the offensiveness issue, Yale would have to prohibit sex week.

As for the Yale Women’s Center rep indicating that porn “hurts women”, such is a problematic characterization. What we do know about porn is that porn leads most of the time to viewer masturbation. Just about everyone knows this, the producers, the actors, the observers, the condemners, the viewers. So if one holds that male masturbation hurts women then the Yale Women’s Center rep has a point.

However, solitary “consensual” masturbation, or mutual consensual masturbation is now ofen viewed as safe sex. But obviously some hold that so-called safe sex is actually hurtful sex. And when it comes to masturbation from an historical perspective, those believing in the hurtful scenario carry the day.

So I do not think I am going out on a limb when I state that too many campus feminists, too many Yale campus feminists, too often engage in traditional anti-sexual Puritanism, an anti-sexual Puritanism that has not been unknown in Yale’s home state, Connecticut.

(Click here for an addendum on this post.)

—–
If you wish, you can write to me directly at dankprofessor@msn.com
Guest commentaries should also be submitted for consideration
to the same email address.

Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

March 6, 2008 Posted by | ethics, feminism, higher education, masturbation, pornography, rape, sex, Yale University | 2 Comments

   

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