Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone. [more inside]
"I once believed that that flutter came from the flapping of butterflies’ wings, but I have since learned that it came from a grown man fanning the flames of a young girl’s vulnerability...they engulfed trust and then incinerated innocence. They left scar tissue on my memory and cinders of my late childhood...I could gather those remains just as I once gathered lies in a jar, and I have learned to spread the ashes along wherever I go, so that I won’t have to rummage through debris."
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper published a special project recently: The Stolen Ones investigates the local child sex trafficking industry, and documents stories from survivors and their families. (SFW, but some readers may find the content disturbing.) [more inside]
Last June, the New York Times published an exposé of New York's exclusive Horace Mann School, detailing decades of sexual abuse of students by their teachers. The revelations prompted additional accusations and lawsuits from former students, an all-but-useless investigation, an admission by one of the school's former teachers, and a response by the school to parents (pdf). But one person who escaped the Times' notice was former English teacher Robert Berman.
"The Justice Department estimates that more than 209,400 people are sexually abused in US detention every year… A great deal has been learned about this over the past few years. The [Prison Rape Elimination Act] legislation, which charged the [Bureau of Justice Statistics] with undertaking annual statistical analyses of the problem that have proved indispensable, also created a body called the Review Panel on Prison Rape.… A commission charged with issuing recommendations didn’t do so until six years after the bill’s passage; then Attorney General Eric Holder missed by nearly two years the statutory deadline for promulgating them. But the standards that Holder’s Department of Justice finally did issue are very strong."
Irish PM condemns Vatican interference in sex abuse cases. Enda Kenny, the new Taoiseach of Ireland, has scathingly criticized the Vatican, citing the Cloyne Report and a recently-leaked Vatican letter intended to prevent sex abuse cases from going public, despite their public policy of reporting all abuse claims to the authorities. (Similar claims of the Vatican not reporting recent child abuse cases have also been made in the US.) Ireland's Minister for Justice has cited an extensive list of The Church's failures to comply with their policies, and is supporting legislation to make it a crime not to report child abuse claims. The Vatican's envoy was asked to report to Parliament and explain The Church's position on this matter quickly, with the implied threat that they might be forced to testify. Today, the Church, citing "surprise and disappointment at certain excessive reactions" has recalled their envoy. "(This) should be interpreted as an expression of the desire of the Holy See for serious and effective collaboration with the (Irish) Government."
The Pope was drawn directly into the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal last night as news emerged of his part in a decision to send a paedophile priest for therapy. The cleric went on to reoffend and was convicted of child abuse but continues to work as a priest in Upper Bavaria. [more inside]
A Prison Nightmare. On June 23, 2009, the National Prison Rape Commission released its final Report and proposed Standards to prevent, detect, respond to and monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated or detained individuals throughout the United States. More prisoners reported abuse by staff than abuse by other prisoners.
Kinky Turtle Sex. This short 1:37 video [via YouTube] features two turtles engaged in a very strange form of foreplay before the eventual act of mating. If you listen closely toward the end, you can hear the male really enjoying himself.
Mexican government bans American Catholics who sued Mexico City Prelate The Mexican government took the unprecedented and controversial step of banning Dave Clohessy of SNAP and Jeffrey Anderson, a lawyer specializing in abuse cases, from entering the country for five years. The men had filed a lawsuit against Mexico City Archbishop Norbeto Rivera, who they allege covered up sex abuse in his diocese.
KXLY News 4 Mayor Jim West of Spokane Washington has been accused of sexual abuse of a male child. Mayor West announced in the local Spokesman Review newpaper that he plans on staying on as Mayor.
No zero tolerance for ass hunting priests !! "...the group of cardinals and top bishops stopped short of developing a zero-tolerance plan to punish abusive priests" Attention all catholics ! Be sure to ask your priest if he has already used his one free, get out of jail for sexually assaulting an unsuspecting child card, before you send your kid to Sunday school. It baffles me how they cannot have zero tolerance for this.