Monday, 21 April 2014

Child Abuse Will Continue Until We Rethink Children's Rights


We live in a society where children are constantly told to "do as their told" without explanation. The mantra "always do as adults say" passed down for generations. So when that means being told to put up with forced sexual activity by an adult and staying quiet about it, guess what sometimes happens? That doesn't mean it's isn't unconsensual - it means we should encourage children to feel free to object to things. When schools are modeled on the not questioning the authority of adults it renders children second-class citizens (I can't help but think being told to "shut up" on a daily basis makes a person anything else), we don't need to wonder why most children are not believed about abuse, if they're input into their own lives is discarded as a norm.

Let's remember children are the only people in society adults are legally allowed to assault. If you're allowed to hit children, what's the problem with a bit more physical activity they find painful and didn't consent to? It's an obvious line of logic. Why such unequal rights regarding physical assault? Why is consent for physical acts on children not needed? These double-standards exist pure upon age, not ability or development.

We seem to spend so much time trying to discipline children, their our thousands of books about the best methods. Actually, these books only reflect attempts to mould them into our own desired subjects. Parent/child interaction often becomes about modes of control - not their safety, happiness or allowing for their development. If anything, we actually need to be regulating the behaviour of adults around children a lot more. Who commits the greater number of sexual and violent crimes against others? Certainly not minors. So why are we so heavy handed with our claimed authority over children? It says more power structures within institutions, schools, charities, hospitals and our own impotence. We should always side with the weakest and most vulnerable - and children are the most vulnerable.

Why are many so quick to dismiss children's perspectives and wishes?
Children have no freedom of choice apart from that bestowed on them by the benevolence (or malevolence) of adults around them. Perhaps there needs to be a Children's Rights movement. So often adults sneer, "they don't know what's good for them" or "they don't have the ability to decide things for themselves", but when compared with the decisions adults make (the aforementioned crime statistics) actually kids appear far more levelheaded. This is often when people contradict themselves and say, "well, kids aren't capable of most things", in such a case, what's the problem then?

They don't need authoritarian control if not capable of terrible acts. I'm not asserting they aren't (I'm the same age James Bulger would've been), but both positions cannot be held simultaneously - both the denial of children's power and the wielding of power over them to control their enormous capacity. Ultimately, the whole discussion around children needs to change, from protection to education.

When a child is taken to the doctor who is typically asked to recollect the child's experience of the illness? The child themselves? No, the adult. Even at an age when a child can speak for themselves. This is how Munchausen Syndrome, a disorder involving parents fabricating a child's illnesses for attention, is allowed to continue unabated. Something so simple as taking a child's recollection of their own subjective experience into account would hamper abuse and neglect.

In a similar vain social workers are taught to spot signs of neglect from untidy houses, thinking this neglect extends to children. Social workers mainly visit council estates and are trained to spot the tells of 'social' deprivation. So if a middle-class child attending private school and looks tidy from afar is being mistreated, how is that abuse or neglect to be spotted? It commonly isn't. There's no stereotype of social workers knocking on doors in Dulwich.

Perhaps if we felt obligated to treat children better, considered them equals (what a radical concept!) because they are in fact human beings too, we'd be more outraged when we discover their maltreatment. It's very easy to get faux-enraged at a 'Pedo' headline of a red top newspaper and far more difficult to step in when abuse is taking place.

There is something Kafkaesque about the impoverished care we provide for vulnerable children in our society. Statically, over 50% of children who enter local authority care later go to prison. Should such a system really have the word 'care' associated with it? Clearly the sort of provisions and foundation in life from which to build a positive future are not present for the majority of young people it 'cares' for.

Childhood is a crucial time of life and when a great deal of the development that creates us as later adults takes place. Abuse or mistreatment at this time is all the more devastating due to children's psyche's still forming, leaving them with little chance to make sense of any trauma they may suffer. We absolutely need to become as intolerance against abuse or mistreatment of children as we are other forms of oppression in society. That starts with a fight for equality - children are not lesser beings; they should be considered our equals in terms of status and rights. Equality shouldn't ever be a radical notion.

Author / Source: Jennifer Izaakson at Huffington Post

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Your Cellphone Is Killing You: What People Don’t Want You To Know About Electromagnetic Fields

The industry doesn't want to admit it, but the science is becoming clearer: Sustained EMF exposure is dangerous


Numerous studies have found that EMF damages and causes mutations in DNA—the genetic material that defines us as individuals and collectively as a species. Mutations in DNA are believed to be the initiating steps in the development of cancers, and it is the association of cancers with exposure to EMF that has led to calls for revising safety standards. This type of DNA damage is seen at levels of EMF exposure equivalent to those resulting from typical cell phone use.

Picture: Russell Shively, Oleg GawriloFF via Shutterstock/Salon

The damage to DNA caused by EMF exposure is believed to be one of the mechanisms by which EMF exposure leads to negative health effects. Multiple separate studies indicate significantly increased risk (up to two and three times normal risk) of developing certain types of brain tumors following EMF exposure from cell phones over a period of many years. One review that averaged the data across 16 studies found that the risk of developing a tumor on the same side of the head as the cell phone is used is elevated 240% for those who regularly use cell phones for 10 years or more. An Israeli study found that people who use cell phones at least 22 hours a month are 50% more likely to develop cancers of the salivary gland (and there has been a four-fold increase in the incidence of these types of tumors in Israel between 1970 and 2006). And individuals who lived within 400 meters of a cell phone transmission tower for 10 years or more were found to have a rate of cancer three times higher than those living at a greater distance. Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated EMF—including power frequencies and radio frequencies—as a possible cause of cancer.

While cancer is one of the primary classes of negative health effects studied by researchers, EMF exposure has been shown to increase risk for many other types of negative health outcomes. In fact, levels of EMF thousands of times lower than current safety standards have been shown to significantly increase risk for neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease) and male infertility associated with damaged sperm cells. In one study, those who lived within 50 meters of a high voltage power line were significantly more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease when compared to those living 600 meters or more away. The increased risk was 24% after one year, 50% after 5 years, and 100% after 10 years. Other research demonstrates that using a cell phone between two and four hours a day leads to 40% lower sperm counts than found in men who do not use cell phones, and the surviving sperm cells demonstrate lower levels of motility and viability.
EMF exposure (as with many environmental pollutants) not only affects people, but all of nature. In fact, negative effects have been demonstrated across a wide variety of plant and animal life. EMF, even at very low levels, can interrupt the ability of birds and bees to navigate. Numerous studies link this effect with the phenomena of avian tower fatalities (in which birds die from collisions with power line and communications towers). These same navigational effects have been linked to colony collapse disorder (CCD), which is devastating the global population of honey bees (in one study, placement of a single active cell phone in front of a hive led to the rapid and complete demise of the entire colony). And a mystery illness affecting trees around Europe has been linked to WiFi radiation in the environment

There is a lot of science—highquality, peer-reviewed science—demonstrating these and other very troubling outcomes from exposure to electromagnetic radiation. These effects are seen at levels of EMF that, according to regulatory agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates cell phone EMF emissions in the United States, are completely safe.


I presented our findings at a US Department of Energy annual review of research on EMF. As soon as I finished my talk, a well-known Ivy League professor said (without any substantiation) that the data I presented were “impossible.” He was followed by another respected academic, who stated (again without any substantiation) that I had most likely made some “dreadful error.” Not only were these men wrong, but they delivered their comments with an intense and obvious hostility.

I later discovered that both men were paid consultants of the power industry—one of the largest generators of EMF. To me, this explained the source of their strong and unsubstantiated assertions about our research. I was witnessing firsthand the impact of private, profit-driven industrial efforts to confuse and obfuscate the science of EMF bioeffects.


Read Full Article by Martin Blank at Salon

Excerpted from “Overpowered: What Science Tells Us About the Dangers of Cell Phones and Other Wifi-age Devices” by Martin Blank, PhD. Published by Seven Stories Press, March 2014. ISBN 978-1-60980-509-8. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

All About the Men

Probably the most common stereotype of anti-sex worker feminists is that they’re all misandrists, and on the surface that certainly seems true.  But a closer examination of the issue reveals a deeper motivation which more closely resembles an obsessive concern with men at the expense of women.  Feminists are willing to deny models income in order to deny lads’ mags to men, and would rather see women in the porn industry unemployed rather than know that men can watch porn videos.  “Sex trafficking” fetishists are willing to undermine the entire edifice of civil liberties for both sexes in order to stop men from having access to commercial sex.  Anti-sex worker screeds go on and on about “ending men’s demand for sex”, or “teaching men they aren’t entitled to sex”, or “look at the awful things men say about ‘prostituted women’!”  Men this, men that, men the other thing; men, men, Men, MEN, MEN!  No matter how vociferously prohibitionists insist that their motive is women’s protection or “empowerment”, sex work prohibition has absolutely nothing to do with women:  it’s all about the men.

“The Temptation of St. Anthony” by Jacques-Antoine Vallin (1826) 

Nearly every Western society has a long tradition of viewing sex as something “dirty” and “demeaning”; the idea of punishment is inextricably bound up with the concept of “correction”, so buried in the misandrist rhetoric spouted by prohibitionists is the notion that if Big Nanny just spanks men hard enough and often enough, they won’t have those dirty thoughts any more.  The underlying pretext of punishing men for male sexuality, and restricting them from enjoying same, is not to hurt them but rather to “help” them by making them more like (asexual, idealized) women.  To be sure, “fallen” women are to be “helped” as well wherever possible, but when it happens it’s merely a happy byproduct of the campaign to “improve” men; those women who refuse to be “saved” and to dutifully recite the feminist catechism thereafter will be thrown under the bus without the slightest hesitation.  While this motive is obvious in most Christian prohibitionism, it’s often less so in the feminist variety; that is not, however, the case in Katha Pollitt’s remarkably-transparent jeremiad in The Nation, whose lede included the feminist shibboleth “male privilege.”  But rather than quote from Pollitt’s polemic itself, let’s instead look at Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s excellent criticism of it in Reason:

…Pollitt is upset about what she perceives as widespread leftist support for legalized prostitution.  This is, in itself, a strange perception…I am far from alone in noticing a recent surge in anti–sex work passion among progressives.  But more problematic/annoying are the reasons Pollitt gives for criminalizing prostitution, reasons which turn on an unsavory belief that restricting liberty is justified if it leads people to better (read: more progressive) views…Giving sex workers more rights…would also mean giving johns less punishment—a point which Pollitt expects women to find scary.  Have you thought about the fact that men you know might visit prostitutes, young ladies?  “This faceless man could be anyone:  your colleague, your boyfriend, your father, your husband…When feminists argue that sex work should be normalized…they accept male privilege they would attack in any other area…Maybe men would be better partners, in bed and out of it, if they couldn’t purchase that fantasy,” Pollitt [writes]…

Despite its “feminist” trappings, Pollitt’s argument rests on the premise that men’s attitudes, ideas and feelings are so important and so central to our society that the state is justified in criminalizing and marginalizing some women and endangering all women in order to shape men in some way.  The goal of making them better bed partners for “good” women justifies dispatching thugs to stalk, entrap, humiliate, brutalize, rape, chain, abduct, cage and torture the “bad” women who want no part of this social engineering project; or failing that, at least to starve, ostracize and endanger them via the “progressive” Swedish model.  In either case, what the prohibitionist philosophy boils down to is that it’s perfectly acceptable for women to be endangered, harmed or even killed if it keeps some men from thinking Bad Thoughts; whether the aim is to control men or to “improve” them, women must be limited, subjugated or even sacrificed to accomplish the goal.  One way or the other, it’s all about making men acceptable to the state and to “good” women, and what happens to “bad” women in the process is neither here nor there.

Author / Souce: Maggie McNeill at Cliterati

Friday, 18 April 2014

Engineered Vaginas Grown In Women For The First Time

Vaginas grown in a lab from the recipients' own cells have been successfully transferred to the body for the first time.

The surgery was carried out on four women who were born without vaginal canals because of a rare condition. The women, who were teenagers at the time of the operation, now have fully functioning sexual organs.

"After the operation they were able to function normally. They had normal levels of desire, arousal, satisfaction and orgasm," says Anthony Atala at Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina, who led the research. He published the results only after four to eight years had elapsed following surgery, enough time for him to be sure there were no long-term complications.

The four women had undeveloped vaginas because they all have a severe form of a condition called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MKRH), which affects about 1 in 5000 women. They also had some abnormal development of the uterus, although they did have a vulva – the external part of the sex organ which includes the labia and the clitoris. They were not able to have penetrative sex or menstruate. One of the women was diagnosed after her menstrual blood had collected in her abdomen.

As well as having physical implications, a diagnosis of MKRH is also a huge psychological burden for women.


Read Full Article at NewScientist

Author / Source: Catherine de Lange for NewScientist



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