Friday, October 1, 2010

Trafficking of Women by Men Across the Americas and in the Caribbean: slavery, trafficking, prostituion, and pornography don't have distinct political or experiential boundaries

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Noticias de Septiembre, 2010
September 2010 News

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We present full bilingual coverage of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking

Added: Sep. 26, 2010
Dr. Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking, in a photo from an earlier anti-trafficking press conference
Condena unánime contra migración forzada y aumento de trata en AL
Pronunciamiento del II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre trata

Puebla, Puebla - Con una condena a las autoridades de Puebla, México y Latinoamérica, que han reprimido a aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar y combatir el delito de trata, y a la masacre de los migrantes centroamericanos ejecutados hace unas semanas en San Fernando, Tamaulipas, concluyó aquí el II Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas: Migración, Género y Derechos Humanos.

Raquel Pastor, Secretaria Académica del Segundo Congreso y representante del Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio Montesinos AC de México, al dar lectura al pronunciamiento precisó que las y los integrantes al evento condenan “los hechos que violentan los derechos humanos, la migración forzada, el aumento de casos de trata en la región”.

Demandamos, dijo, las investigaciones correspondientes exhaustivas para que los crímenes de Tamaulipas, no queden en la impunidad y sean restituidos los derechos de las familias de las víctimas.

De igual manera dijo, “condenamos también los actos represivos y de persecución en contra de aquellas personas que se atreven a denunciar, como los que llevan a cabo algunos gobernantes en Puebla, México y Latinoamérica para acallar y encubrir la vulneración de los derechos de las niñas víctimas de explotación sexual...

Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking concludes with a unanimous call for an end to forced migration and slavery in Latin America

Puebla city in Puebla state – The Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking ended four days of events today by condemning government authorities in Puebla State [Mexico], Mexico itself as well as governments across Latin America for repressing those persons who have dared to speak up, combat and report cases of human trafficking. In addition, the Congress also deplored the recent massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.

[Dr.] Raquel Pastor, the Academic Secretary of the Second Congress and a representative of the Antonio Montesinos Center for Social and Cultural Studies of Mexico, declared that the participants in the Congress protest “denounce ongoing events that violently deny human rights, including forced migration and the increase in human trafficking cases in the region.”

We demand, she said, exhaustive investigations into the massacre in Tamaulipas, so that this crime does not remain unchallenged, and so that the rights of the victim’s families are restored.

In equal measure, Dr. Pastor stated, “we also condemn the acts of repression and persecution that have been taken against those persons who have dared to report trafficking cases, such as those that have occurred that have been perpetrated by government officials across Latin America, including in Puebla state, Mexico [see the Lydia Cacho case], in their efforts to cover-up and silence the sexual exploitation of girl victims.

Dr. Pastor underlined the fact that the participants in the Congress are speaking-up to cause the nations of Latin America to reform and modernize their criminal justice systems, so that the definition-of and persecution-of trafficking crimes become focused on protecting the dignity of girls, boys, adolescents and women.

Dr. Pastor asked that academic investigations be undertaken with the participation of civil society and government entities to allow for the development of a body of knowledge about trafficking, as well as to support the development of public policies and protocols that will result in actions and criminal investigations that focus on those who suffer as victims of human trafficking.

We demand that nations address the proposals and the body of experience that non-governmental organizations bring to the table, and that they adopt the best practices that NGOs have developed in the field of preventing, and attending to the victims-of human trafficking. We especially call-upon Chile and Paraguay to pass laws against human trafficking, given that they are the only nations in Latin America not to have done so.

The Congress also expressed its support for organizations in Puebla and Tlaxcala states, who have developed the Agenda for the Protection of Women and Girls Against Human Trafficking in both states, and who demand punishment for public representatives and government officials at any level, who have benefited from human trafficking activities.

The creation of the Latin American Observatory in Regard to Human Trafficking was announced, with the goal of creating a common center that will allow for the analysis of anti-trafficking efforts being carried out across the nations of the region. The Congress will also create a web site, a system of statistical indicators, as well as create a space to allow for dialog and reflection among participants before and after each Congress.

The Third Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking will take place in Lima, Peru in 2010. The themes will be: “Access to Justice and the Restitution of Rights.”

Oscar Castro Soto, director of the Ignacio Ellacuria Human Rights Institute at the Ibero-American University in Puebla, stated that some 600 persons attended the Second Congress. Two hundred fifty presentations were make by subject matter experts, and 7 sessions by keynote speakers were presented.

Elizabeth Muñoz Vasquez
CIMAC Women's News Agency
Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Haitian Women at Increased Risk of Trafficking

Puebla, Mexico - The January earthquake that devastated Haiti put women and girls in the poorest country in the hemisphere at an increased risk of falling prey to people trafficking, activists and experts warn.

"The phenomenon has become much more visible since the earthquake, with the increase in the forced displacement of persons," said Bridget Wooding, a researcher who specializes in immigration at the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

"There is huge vulnerability to a rise in human trafficking and smuggling," she told IPS.

The Dominican Republic and the United States are the main destinations for Haitian migrants. The figures vary, but there are between 500,000 and 800,000 Haitians and people of Haitian descent in the U.S. and between one and two million in the Dominican Republic.

Women in Haiti "are exposed to forced prostitution, rape, abandonment and pornography," Mesadieu Guylande, a Haitian expert with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Latin America and the Caribbean (CATW-LAC), told IPS.

The situation in Haiti was one of the issues discussed by representatives of NGOs, experts and academics from throughout the region at the Second Latin American Conference on Human Smuggling and Trafficking, which ran Tuesday through Friday in Puebla, 130 km south of Mexico City.

The 7.0-magnitude quake that hit the Haitian capital on Jan. 12 and left a death toll of at least 220,000 forced tens of thousands of people to live in camps...

"We have evidence of a growth in trafficking and smuggling of persons, which is reflected in the increase in the number of children panhandling in the streets of Santo Domingo, for example," said Wooding, co-author of the 2004 book "Needed but Not Wanted", on Haitian immigration in the Dominican Republic.

The author was in Port-au-Prince when the quake hit.

Even before the disaster, some 500,000 children were not attending school in Haiti, a country of around 9.5 million people, Guylande said.

Since 2007, there have been no convictions in the Dominican Republic under Law 137-03 against trafficking and smuggling, passed in 2003, according to the U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2009.

As a result, the State Department reported that the government of the Dominican Republic "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking" and put the country on its Tier 2 Watch List.

In Haiti, things are no different. Although the government ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in force since Sept. 29, 2003, it has failed to implement its provisions in national laws.

"The penal system is fragile and the judiciary is neither independent nor trustworthy, a situation that works in favor of traffickers," Guylande said...

Emilio Godoy
Inter-Press Service (IPS)
Sep. 24, 2010

Added: Sep. 26, 2010

Puebla, entre los estados que más producen pornografía infantil, informa una ONG

México ocupa el primer lugar de América Latina en la producción y distribución de pornografía infantil, principalmente hacia Estados Unidos, España y países de Oriente Medio, señaló ayer Mayra Rojas Rosas, representante de la Organización Infancia Común, durante el Segundo Congreso Latinoamericano sobre Trata y Tráfico de Personas que se realiza en la Universidad Iberoamericana.

Los estados con más casos de trata infantil, puntualizó, son: Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, Distrito Federal, Tlaxcala y Puebla. “La gente cree que sólo son fotos o que sólo es un video, pero eso daña y los daña para siempre porque a veces son relaciones reales y otras simuladas, pero esos niños están siendo trastocados en su integridad y están siendo sometidos a una serie de experiencias que no tiene que sufrir un niño o un adolescente”, declaró.

Puebla – among the states with the highest rate of producing child pornography – NGO

Mayra Rojas Rosas, director of the non-governmental organization Common Infancy, declared at the Second Latin American Congress on Human Trafficking that Mexico occupies first place among Latin American nations in the production and distribution of child pornography. She added that most of these illicit materials are destined to be sold in the United States, Spain and in Middle Eastern nations.

Rojas Rosas added that the states with the highest levels of child porn production are Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Quintana Roo, Veracruz, the Federal District [Mexico City], Tlaxala and Puebla. “People think that it is only a video, but it damages the lives of the victims forever. Some of the scenes are simulated, and some are real, but the integrity of these children is being disrupted. They are being subjected to a series of experiences that no child or adolescent should have to suffer.

During a press conference on the subject, Rojas Rosas lamented the fact that human trafficking is being transformed into a business that is larger and more easily sold than narcotics. In response, she said, the only way to fight this crime is through cooperation and a demand that the problem be made ‘visible.’

“We are not talking about a problem of persecution here. We are talking about the need to engage in construction. We must change legislation, generate spaces to provide integral attention to the victims of trafficking, so that they are given a chance to develop a different type of life. The state must assume part of the responsibility, because at times, due to presumed acts of complicity and omission, we have had problems,” said Rojas Rosas.
In a separate press conference, Helen Le Goff, a representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mexico, called upon authorities to investigate and castigate trafficking cases based upon their own sources of information, without waiting for a formal complaint to be filed by a victim (victim complaint initiation is generally required by Mexican law before a police investigation may be initiated).

During her presentation at the Congress, Le Goff mentioned that studies conducted by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) estimate that each year, 20,000 persons are victims of human trafficking, principally in tourist cities and in frontier regions. Most victims are illegal immigrants, who have migrated from 13 nations, including Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Le Goff, “In addition to the 60% of victims who experience labor trafficking, an additional 40% were victims of sex trafficking.”

Le Goff concluded by stating that the the IOM is launching a campaign called “No más trata de personas” [No more Human Trafficking] in the cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tapachula. The project is being developed in collaboration with the the CNDH. The project’s goal is to educate the public about the risks of irregular migration and human trafficking.

Arturo Alfaro Galán
La Jornada de Oriente
Sep. 24, 2010

Human Trafficking Still Widespread, U.S. Included

By Matthew O. Berger

WASHINGTON, Jun 14, 2010 (IPS) - Ten years ago, the U.S. State Department issued its first annual review of governments' efforts to combat human trafficking. Monday, the report included the U.S.'s own struggles with the problem for the first time.

The U.S. was ranked highly for its response to human trafficking abuses, but the report also acknowledged the extent of the country's role in trafficking activities.

"I was very pleased to see the report rate the U.S. for the first time. Mentioning the U.S. as a source, destination and transit country was a courageous move," said Brad Myles, executive director of the Washington-based Polaris Project, which works to identify and provide services to trafficking victims in U.S. cities and internationally.

Myles said the report did a thorough job of describing U.S. response efforts, but that he would like to see expanded descriptions of "all the forms and types of human trafficking networks" that exist in the country.

"The United States takes its first-ever ranking not as a reprieve but as a responsibility to strengthen global efforts against modern slavery, including those within America. This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in releasing the report Monday.

The 10th annual report was also commended by experts for avoiding the politicisation that had coloured previous years' rankings, where some countries that oppose certain U.S. policies were ranked worse than some trafficking experts felt they should be.

"The current [U.S.] administration seems to have depoliticised the rankings," said Kevin Bales, founder of the nonprofit Free the Slaves. He pointed to Saudi Arabia as an example. "Now, Saudi Arabia is in Tier Three. I think this is an important statement that [the report] isn't about who pays our bills or where our oil comes from - this is about human trafficking."

The report divided countries into three tiers, ranking them from Tier 1 - those countries that fully comply the minimum standards laid out in 2000's Trafficking Victims Protection Act - to Tier 3, which includes countries that do not fully comply with those standards and are not making significant efforts to do so.

The countries in Tier 3 face the possibility of sanctions. They include Cuba, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, Myanmar, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

The report also drew praise for emphasising the variety of trafficking abuses that exist.

Kay Buck, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, was "very pleased to see this emphasis on forced labour issues in the report".

But, she said, at the same time "we want to avoid what has happened in the past where there is a 'pendulum swing' and we stop talking about other types of slavery like sex slavery."

Both the report and NGOs emphasised that despite the 10 years that have elapsed since the first Trafficking in Persons report and the United Nations' adoption of the Palermo Protocol on human trafficking, the anti-trafficking movement is still quite young and much remains to be done.

Worldwide, the State Department estimated there are 12.3 million adults and children in modern-day slavery - including forced labour, bonded labour and forced prostitution. That means just under two people in a thousand are victims of human trafficking. In Asia and the Pacific, that percentage rises to three out of every thousand people.

Yet, says the State Department, there were only 4,166 successful prosecutions of traffickers in 2009.

This points to a problem recognised by both NGOs and Washington - current resources and actions are falling far short of fully addressing the extent of human trafficking and the slavery it results in.

"Resources have increased just minimally since 2003 despite increases in victims certified to receive funding," said Buck. "What we hope is that the U.S. will follow its own recommendation in the report and increase funding, including long-term, comprehensive care for victims."

The report says that 49,105 trafficking victims have been identified worldwide, 59 percent more than 2008, the last time this number was reported.

There also remain serious questions as to how best to aid victims once they are identified and how to encourage them to seek assistance if possible.

In sex trafficking, for example, "services for survivors are as rare as programmes that address the demand for their victimization. And if they are found, women are repatriated as a matter of first instance, or are locked in 'shelters' that look more like prisons than the safe haven that a survivor needs," said Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca, who directs the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

"Particularly, immigrant victims are harmed because victims must cooperate with law enforcement," and immigrants may fear deportation or imprisonment.

"We still have a long way to go in terms of removing the barriers preventing victims from coming forward. They still fear for their own safety and the safety of their family back home," said Buck, adding that victims usually "really want to move on with their lives" rather than relive their experiences through activities like being subpoenaed.

CdeBaca emphasised that progress has been made. Globally, "116 countries have enacted legislation to prohibit all forms of trafficking. This last year saw more victims identified, more services provided, and more traffickers convicted than any year in history," he said.

But, he added, "enslaving someone still carries too little risk. Remediation, fines, or warnings are too small a price to pay – those who would profit by stealing freedom should lose their own."

Toward this end, last year's 4,166 successful trafficking prosecutions represent a 40-percent increase over 2008. But 62 countries have yet to convict a trafficker under the laws laid out by the Palermo Protocol and 104 still lack laws or regulations to prevent victims' deportations.

Twenty-three countries moved up a tier the rankings in the 2010 report while 19 countries were downgraded.


Be Part of History: Join the Anti-War March on Washington, October 2, 2010

Photo by Ellen Davidson Veterans' 25 x 17 banner tells it straight to Obama at 555 PA Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Image is from here
What is above and below is from @ Please click on the title below to link back to their site.


We'll be marching to move our money from wars and weapons to jobs, housing, schools, and green energy!

10 2 10 DC: This One is Going To Be Big! -- Watch livestream!

Are you ready to march for peace with new allies, new strength, and the same determination that has kept us out of Iran, that has reduced the War on Iraq, and that will bring U.S. occupying forces out of 150 more countries before we're finished?
Come on October 1st When the War Makers Are in Town!

  • On October 1, walk the halls of Congress for jobs, justice, peace, and healthcare for all. Learn more here.

  • Attend a reception on the Hill with Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, Rep  Dennis  Kucinich and Bill Fletcher, Jr., on Friday, October 1, 4:00 – 5:00 PM, at the Capitol Visitor Center. Get details and RSVP here.
  • March with US Labor Against the War and our other allies in the peace contingent. Meet at 10:30 AM at 14th & Constitution Ave. NW.

More information:

In Case Anyone Needed Yet More Redundant Evidence of Iraq War Lies, Here Ya Go:

The Answer Is In The Numbers, by Bruce Gagnon

Clogging and Facilitating, by David Swanson

Get your congress member to sign a letter to cut military spending

Mohawk Nation News needs support as do two women falsely accused of beating fascistic border guards and cops

Please click on the title below to link to original source, at Censored News.


Mohawk Nation News Needs Help!

Horn V. Canada Border Service Agency
Kahentinetha Horn Hospitalized

Dear MNN Readers,

On June 14, 2008 two grandmothers supposedly beat up a squad of well-built muscular border guards and police officers. The impression being created is that these two women scared them and beat them to a pulp.

In fact, Kahentinetha suffered a trauma-induced heart attack and has been in and out of hospital since. Two years later the Canada Border Services Agency CBSA has brought charges against her for assault and obstruction. A date for this important trial will soon be set.

We want the truth to come out. It appears we are being used as examples of how those who oppose the fascist buildup of power at the Canada-US border will be treated.

The government of Canada and their agents are using the money and power of the state to stop people from expressing their legal rights.

We must stand together to protect ourselves against tyranny. Kahentinetha should not be alone. You are needed to get behind those who are standing up.

For twenty years MNN has raised awareness of the political, economic and social issues of people who are oppressed everywhere in the world. In particular, MNN has defended everyone who want to cross the border freely and not be harassed or abused.

MNN website has been hacked, crashed and interfered with, causing untold difficulties. We have never given up being a voice for freedom for the average person. MNN needs your donations for Kahentinetha's defense so we can properly defend ourselves from the might of the Canadian government.

Please help me any way you can. It doesn't matter how much. Just let us know you are standing with us. Monetary support is needed as this will be a long term fight - a 70-year old grandmother is doing this on your behalf.

Kahentinetha, MNN Mohawk Nation News
For more news, books, to donate and to sign up for MNN newsletters go to

Bullying, Harassing, and Exploiting Gay Youth: an analytic and personal discussion

image depicting the practically unimaginable world of "heterophobia"
This article focuses on "gay" youth because of the recent cases of gay male youth killing themselves. I've been thinking and feeling a lot about these horrible stories. One thing I think about is how lesbian girls and the abuses gender non-conforming girls are generally ignored or classified as something else other than "homophobia", "transphobia", and "heterosexist violence". If girls are abused it may be called misogynistic, sexist, or patriarchal harm. But to miss the heterosexism involved in various forms of violence against queer youth is to really "not get it" about what's going on.

The reality is that in most abuse, class, race, gender, and sexuality, as well as age and ability, all coalesce to produce more or less violence. Some of the boys who were picked on--bullied--harassed--tormented--terrorised--were abused because they were smaller in stature, because they didn't want or desire to wear "popular" expensive clothes, or because they were deemed to be "gay" based either on heterosexist, misogynistic, classist, and racist stereotypes or because the child was "out" as gay and was mercilessly mistreated because of that fact.

What is often missed in discussions about these cases is how anti-gay bullying, harassment, terrorism, and exploitation is "sexual abuse". It does what sexual abuse does: it causes deep and overwhelming shame which shapes the self-esteem and behavior of people abused sexually. It causes victims to blame themselves for harm done that they didn't invite or welcome.

To live in a heterosexual world means that one's own non-heterosexuality will inevitably be experienced as "different" at least, and "abnormal" and "bad" in all likelihood. When I hear grieving parents speak about how when they found out their male child was gay they told him they'd accept him no matter what, this perpetuates, however unintentionally, an idea that there is something wrong with being gay. Because if a child expresses "heterosexual interest" parents do not remark, "I love you anyway." And, of course, many parents do not accept or tolerate their child's gayness, instead wanting to frame it up as a phase or something that will hopefully go away. What this leaves some children feeling is that for their parents to be happy the child must go away. And sometimes that leads to thinking about suicide.

Race, ethnicity, ability, class are usually left out of conversations about anti-gay bullying and terrorism. But the more marginalised someone is, the more difficult it may be to "come out" about being tormented. It might also be the case that torment isn't experienced as specifically anti-gay, if one is hearing racist epithets all day long as well as anti-gay ones.

There can be advantages to experiencing a few forms of marginalisation, even while there are obvious detriments. Here's an example. I grew up in a middle and working class area in my "formative years". The region was largely white, and ethnically Italian Christian and Ashkenazi Jewish--Italian Jews were a rarity, but at least some physical characteristics of both groups blended together without much notice. I observed racism and anti-Semitism before I recognised heterosexism and homophobia. Classism wasn't so much on my radar, due to being class-privileged for the most part. I got it about boys being valued more than girls. That was blatant.

You only need to see how shaming it is for a boy to be told publicly he throws like a girl to know that girls are not considered capable, physically (and that boys are expected to be). Girls are perceived by boys, often enough, to be disabled. Chronic physical incompetence is what is assumed to be true about most girls, even while some do excel in sports, especially since Title 9 made girls sports mandatory in any school where there were sports for boys. But class and race factor into how girls are perceived. White girls often stigmatise Black girls as "tough" for example, or as more prone to being angry. I see how this carries into adulthood, where Black women are often seen as simultaneously lesser-than, and also more able to endure abuse. There's a paradoxical sub-human/super-human determination made by whites about Black women, in my experience of whites. How does this get complicated when a Black girl or woman is lesbian? Is it assumed she is both more sub-human AND more super-human? I see Black lesbian women being stigmatised as "courageous" and "strong" and "brave" as if they aren't women enduring all manner of abuse, daily--which hurts the way any insult and abuse hurts.

Stats show that queer kids and disabled kids are VERY likely to be both emotionally/verbally and physically/sexually abused. What then are the chances of disabled queer youth coming through childhood with a healthy sense of self? What is being done to ensure that disabled queer youth CAN come through and be regarded and treated as the fully human people they are? If you are nerdy, or awkward, or shy, small, or fat, how does this impact your experience of queerness, where, particularly when older, being queer and male is assumed to mean you are into being buff and shallow? What is the intellectual to do? I am thinking here of James Baldwin, and how the many points of social discord informed his view of his worlds, and led him from one to another: from Harlem to Paris, for example.

How does sexual abuse that is physical not verbal, compound sexual abuse that is verbal not physical?

Back to my story. Because I was white and Jewish, I saw how I was marginalised and ostracised as not quite white enough in ways that were experientially similar to being seen and treated as not quite boyish enough. Because I had some esteem around my Jewishness--or, at least, I knew it wasn't a characteristic of my being that was "a phase"--I could determine anti-Semitism to be stupid and wrong. This gave me a framework for understanding anti-gay bigotry as similarly stupid and wrong. Having some consciousness around sexism and racism being messed up also helped, but in those cases I wasn't oppressed or ostracised for being of color or a girl. Curiously, though, being Jewish and white, and gay and male, did render me targetable for many of the terms used to degrade and humiliate people of color and girls.

Sexism is the foundation of heterosexism, and there's no social space in which being like a girl, if you're a boy, is "socially staus-giving". I am thinking now of an old song:

Enough with the analysis. Here's the deal. Hearing about these stories of queer kids and young adults taking their lives, or of "only" being mercilessly ridiculed, is heart-wrenching and terribly painful. It makes me feel both rage and despair. I want to hug every queer child and tell them how valuable they are, while knowing that any grown male having contact with any youth is seen as problematic particularly and especially when the adult male is queer. I want to create safe spaces for queer youth. I want queer-dominated elementary and high schools. I want all children to be taught about how some of us are and will be queer in exactly the same way we are taught that there are other differences among us: such as some of us being left-handed and taller, or stronger and better at learning languages. I want sexual orientation to not be stigmatised at all, to not be seen as something we have to protect children from learning about, including very young children. If a child is old enough to register anything we might call "heterosexuality" they are old enough to register and integrate knowledge about being non-heterosexual too. And they should be learning that it is all very deeply human.

When's the last time you heard of a heterosexual man being diagnosed with "patriarchal personality disorder"? Two articles by Sandra L. Brown on the impact of being in abusive relationships with men.

image is from here

There are some pretty ridiculous assumptions out there, such as the one that "relationships" are healthy most of the time. I'd argue relationships are likely to be healthy if the society is founded on healthy values, not oppressive ones. And if people in relationships have the necessary skills--to express themselves clearly, to set appropriate boundaries, to state needs and make expectations known, to support and validate others--then relationships stand a good chance of being more functional, healthy, and sustainable. Obviously what's functional for some will be seen as highly dysfunctional to others. Rigidly gendered expectations and valuing male supremacy in one's relationship will shape what it looks and feels like. If it is assumed women exist to satisfy men sexually, marital rape is likely. If men assume women exist to serve men and be available to men on an as-needed basis, emotional and physical abuse are likely.

That this sort of analysis is called "anti-sex" or "anti-family" means that those who criticise these understandings want to keep male supremacist abuse a normal and inevitable practice in intimate relationships. It means we assume sex = sexism and family = dysfunction. I'd call those views anti-sex and anti-family.

In heterosexual relationships, women as a class suffer disproportionate harm and injury from male supremacist relationships. This is partly due to the fact that our economic systems are male supremacist, benefit men, and keep women poor or poorer relative to men, generally and globally.

In lesbian and gay relationships founded on male supremacist values, anyone can suffer and be harmed. This isn't to say men aren't harmed in relationship. In relationships, abuse can happen in any number of ways. I've known women who hit men, but not women who beat the shit out of men. I have known relationships where men beat the shit out of women, terrrorise women, and are grossly sadistically abusive in ways I've never seen a woman be to an adult man. I see abusive men fight for custody of their children, so they can hurt their ex-wives and further abuse their children. I don't see women fight for the right to abuse their children. I wish when men are diagnoses as "inappropriately controlling and manipulative" that this would be seen in the context of patriarchal mandates and imperatives that need to be challenged on every level, not just on the interpersonal one.

When this doesn't happen, and when women are harmed by men in intimate relationships, the evidence of that harm is usually misogynistically "diagnosed" as a form of psychiatric illness, not a political problem that warrants radical social change. See below for more.

I'm not a huge fan of advice that tells women how to avoid abusive men and doesn't tell men how not to be abusive, or, that even just "assumes" men will naturally and inevitably be abusive. Men aren't naturally abusive: they learn how to be and are structurally positioned to be, and their ways of being abusive are socially and institutionally normalised and "what comes with the territory if you're going to be with men romantically and sexually". The following two articles by Sandra L. Brown touch on these themes.

When Your Symptoms Look Like Something Else

by Sandra L. Brown, M.A.

Women tell me other therapists have diagnosed them with a variety of diagnosis which has made the women not only confused, but often MAD! They have been diagnosed, for instance with disorders like Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, Paranoia, and other not-so-fun labels.

We recognize that this happens a lot which is why we have instituted a therapist training program so that the therapists can understand what they are seeing in context to what you have experienced. (Therapist trainings are Nov 2010 in LA and January 2011 in FL).

To come to bat for the undertrained therapists, the reason you are being diagnosed with various disorders is because your symptoms are similar to various disorders--they are mimicking true mental health symptoms.

For instance, when your moods are swinging all over the place and you are depressed and anxious, you look Bipolar. When you are cranky, highly reactive and want vengeance you look Borderline. When you are scared about what he will do next, fear you're being followed, or afraid he is sneaking around to see you do something so he can accuse you, you look paranoid. When you think things are happening that you can't prove to other people, you look delusional.

The issue is, these are ALL normal reactions to what is called Coercion, Stockholm Syndrome, and your basic prisoners of war, or in other words Aftermath of Pathological Love Relationship. In THAT context, your symptoms make perfect sense! You were coerced, your mind was played with, and you felt stuck and held in a pathological relationship against your own spiritual will. You did fear that your emotional and/or physical existence was in jeopardy. And the pathological DOES do things he never gets caught for and that you can't prove.

In pathological relationships, women emerge with signs of PTSD, Stockholm Syndrome, and Coercion. Unfortunately, not all therapists understand the overlap between PTSD, Stockholm and Coercion--which is why you are often diagnosed 'other things.'

The symptoms of Stockholm are:

Perceived threat to one's physical or psychological survival and the belief that the captor would carry out the threat.

Perceived small kindnesses from the captor to the captive.

Isolation from perspectives other than those of the captor.

Perceived inability to escape.

(My note: A lot of this was also discussed in the book 'Women Who Love Psychopaths' in which I talked about the Pathological World View and how you acquired HIS view of the world and how that entrapped you in the relationship).

In Coercion, these symptoms are:

* Isolation: Deprives individual of social support, effectively rendering her unable to resist.

Makes individual dependent upon interrogator/captor.

Victim then develops an intense concern with self.

(My note: This too is discussed in the 'Women Who Love Psychopaths' book during the Honeymoon and Luring Stages of the relationship).

Monopolization of Perception: The captor fixes their attention upon immediate predicament; fosters introspection in the victim; eliminates outside competing stimuli with the captor so the victim can only focus on him, he frustrates all actions not consistent with her compliance to him.

(My note: In the mid-relationship dynamics in the book, this is talked about. Your Super Traits are very high in what we call relationship investment and cooperation which means you are highly cooperative because you get so much enjoyment out of your relationships that you will 'bend over backwards' to make things work. The book discusses when the mid-relationships 'shift' and what happens to the woman's perspective).

Induced Debility and Exhaustion: People subjected to this type of abuse become worn out by tension, fear and continual rushing about in an effort to meet his standards. They must often avoid displays of fear, sorrow or rage, since these may result in ridicule or punishment. Rigid demands and requirements make the exhaustion and ability to resist even worse.

(My note: All the women who show up at the retreats show up in bodily exhaustion. This too is discussed in the book).

Occasional Indulgences: This provides motivation to her for compliance.

(My note: The TCI test we gave the women show that you test very high in compliance).

Devaluing the Individual: Creates in her a fear of freedom and dependence upon him; creates feelings of helplessness; develops lack of faith in her individual capabilities.

(My note: In the book, women who are doctors can't remember how to care for themselves, women who are attorneys can't remember how to file their own restraining order, women who are therapists can't remember why this is sick behavior....)

When you look at it through the eyes of a mixture of PTSD, Stockholm and Coercion your symptoms make perfect least to me! While that doesn't mean you 'can't' also have Bipolar or other disorders---it's too early to know. Very often much of the symptoms of other disorders fall by the wayside when effective and appropriate treatment is begun. Many of the women do, however, meet the criteria for PTSD. PTSD is most associated with war vets (and yes, you too lived through a war!) and trauma victims (yes, you were traumatized)! To that end, you probably do have a disorder but it is related to PTSD or other Acute Stress Disorders.

Our hope is that as we train more therapists we will help you most by making available effective and knowledgeable help for what you have lived through and stop the erroneous diagnosing so often associated with you and your symptoms.

For now though, if you cannot locate a therapist, we do offer phone sessions, tele-support groups, Retreats, and one last 1:1 Intensive Session with Sandra Oct 4-8th.

Be hopeful that what you live with today in symptoms may not always be as problematic as it is in your current life. There is hope and healing available!

*          *          *

Five Ways To Find Love

The month of 'lluuuvvvv'--Valentines Day--the time where everyone thinks about their relationships. But at this time of year, we are thinking of it mostly in romantic terms. In our surveys, we have found that women spend far more time on learning how to 'attract' or 'keep' a relationship, then looking at the health of it, or leaving it.

If you look at most of the relationship books, it's all about how to find him, attract him, keep him, and get back together with him. But what if what you always seem to attract is unhealthy men? Then your Guy Magnet is not a good thing. Women who have been in dangerous relationships are often more 'attracted to' the bad boys then healthy men. In fact, most women say that if given the choose between the 'nice guy' and the 'edgey bad boy' they would pick the guy with 'the edge.' Women say they often don't even know what 'healthy is' in a relationship. Even knowing that they don't know what 'healthy is' does not slow them or stop them from dating until they figure out what healthy looks like. They keep doing the same thing and getting the same thing--dangerous relationships.

TIME OUT: GAME OFF! If your last 3 or 4 relationships have been unhealthy or even down right dangerous, STOP. Put yourself on a 'Do Not Date Program' until you get some help to find out 'how to spot' unhealthy and dangerous relationships. YOU CAN'T CHANGE WHAT YOU DON'T SEE.

What are some ways to find 'Safe' love?

1. Stop dating until you can learn to recognize the difference between healthy and unhealthy. If you can't name the 14 signs of a bad dating choice, you shouldn't be dating! If you want to know what those are--get the Dangerous Man book.

2. How are your break up skills? Women worry more about their dating skills then their break up skills. But if you keep picking the dangerous guys, you better know how to quickly and safely end it! These guys do not break up like normal men do. Additionally, women who have been in more than 1 dangeorus relationship tend to be women who wait to be 'released from the relationship'--that means, they wait for him to end it and stay far longer than they feel safe doing. However, since they don't know 'how' to end it, they don't. To find 'Safe' love, learn how to break up.

3. You steer the ship. Women often let the man decide the pace of the relationship--how often they see each other and how fast they get serious. Guess what? Predators have agendas. They want to see you 24/7, they want you to 'think' you have this fast and deep relationship when you've only been dating a few months. You are their 'soul mate' and it's 'never been like this with anyone else.' 24/7 does NOT mean he's 'that into you.' It is often a red flag for predatory agendas. Women should be in charge of the pacing. If you have been doing the 24/7 Tango, pull the plug. Tell him you need a breather for a few days and would like to get to a normal dating schedule (a few times a week). Normal men will accept it. Pathological and dangerous men will: guilt you, rage, blame you, accuse you of seeing other people, threaten to break up, call you/text you 40 times a day. That's NOT normal. But it's best you see that now rather than when he has moved in. Women should always PLAY with the pacing and see what reaction they get.

4. Learn his history. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. What is his past? If you feel like you can't take his word for it, then for $29.95 you can find out ALOT about what he has been up to in the past. Things I always look for as a therapist are, his criminal history, his relationship history, his mental health history.

And contrary to what he might be saying, all the other women weren't 'witches, psycho, or ignorant.' His relationship history is his alone and points to how successful he is at handling the challenges and hurdles of relationship life.

5. Listen to others. STOP 'dissing your girlfriends when they tell you the TRUTH about him. The people around you are your best opportunity to hear about him--to tell you if they are concerned about something, to tell you if you have changed for the worse during this relationship, or to point out patterns that notice in the men you choose. Take your fingers out of your ears and hear it.

Women who want healthier and safer relationships have to begin by acknowledging what they have been in up until now and take the steps to learn and change. If we can help, please let us know.

Here's to Safe Relationships in 2007,

Sandra L. Brown

Psychotherapist & Author

How to Spot a Dangerous Man

Counseling Victims of Violence

Sandra L. Brown, holds a Masters Degree in Counseling and is the Director of The Dangerous Relationship Institute: A Women’s Relational Harm Reduction and Public Psychopathy Education Project. She is the author of ‘How to Spot a Dangerous Man’ and is a psychotherapist and author.