F is for Figuroutable

I have this framed in my bedroom next to a quote by Henry Ford. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

These are not the most common motivational quotes, or even the best. That doesn’t stop them from being right, though. In a world of collective helplessness and victimhood, I find solace in these reminders. It gives me hope that I am not alone in a sea of futility. There are other people that see the same problems I do, and are working on them too.

One quote I neglected to frame is from my son’s favorite childhood movie, Robots. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do that… now. Big Weld is the proverbial “wizard” in the lead character’s quest to save robotkind. Mr. Weld built an empire of invention and charity with a single philosophy. “See a need, fill a need.”

Perhaps, today, we can all go find a problem or a need and choose to be part of the solution?

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E is for Exploitative Reporting of Exploitation

I just saw an advocacy organization sharing a news article about two women who got roofied by some other women at a bar. The article’s claim was that the victims think they were targeted by sex traffickers. Let me be clear: I am not victim blaming or doubting. I am willing to believe that this incident happened. My commentary is about their perception of their attacker’s intent as well as the focus of the media/public.

I’ll put the link to the original article below, but the jist is, three young women went to a bar and were provided drinks by a couple other young ladies. One of the three was the designated driver. She did not imbibe; and after twenty minutes or so, saw her friends behaving overly drunk and impaired, so she intervened. Police are investigating.

The news reports that the young women think they were being targeted by sex traffickers. I actually think they are right, but not in the way they think. The fact of the matter is, kidnapping is not in the MO of traditional traffickers. Drugging and removing two or three women from a social setting [to sell on the sex circuit] would attract attention. Once they’re recovered, it would create outcry. That is in direct conflict with the current status quo of grooming vulnerable men, women, and children into burning necessary bridges, creating the proper circumstance, then leaving of their own accord. When these people are recovered, the media rarely gives the whole story. Public perception is either that everything is hunky dory or that these troubled individuals made bad decisions and need help. Very little attention is paid to how or why.

I feel strongly that this particular report is going to do more harm than good. The public is ignorant to what trafficking really is, how prolific, and really, the nature of the crimes done. It’s irresponsible to discuss this incident without the context of what typical trafficking looks like. We must be articulate to educate.

That being said, I’m a little more … alarmist… forward thinking… conservative… I’m not sure what the term would be. I do not accept that trafficking can be or should be narrowly defined or confined to forced prostitution. I foresee a day when trafficking will include all forms of exploitation in which force, coercion, threat, or authority is used to generate a profit. This would include (but not be limited to) sextortion, child pornography, amateur & professional pornography, child molestation, prostitution, and servitude. Including all these would require a massive overhaul of legal definitions and wide acceptance that bartered goods/service, digital currency, and power brokering are forms of currency and profit.

This brings us back to these young women. If things played out the way I suspect they would have, I think the likely outcome would have been in the form of amateur pornography. The details are too much for this forum, but suffice to say, there is a demand for pornography that depicts unresponsive women being exploited. A very high demand.

Therein lies the problem. Had the friend not been present and the drugging been effective, the law would not have treated their attackers as traffickers. They would have faced a slew of charges, but not that big fat federal beef that could put them all in federal prison for consecutive terms.

I know victims of this form of ambush pornography, who were drugged or taken advantage of while inebriated. I know a couple that fell prey to modeling scams and ended up in threatening situations that they didn’t know how to get out of. They don’t expect to get justice because most people view pornography as victimless and (in spite of 20 years of date rape education) still feel that partaking on alcohol or drugs, or answering an ad is consenting to anything that happens after. We pretend that this has changed, but it hasn’t.

I say this more often than I like, but I don’t know the right answer here. Do we criminalize more things? Mandatory minimum sentences? I know what I’d like to see, but I’m not an expert. The only thing I absolutely know for sure, is that we need to be talking about it. Talk about date rape, pornography, voyeurism, crimes against children, trafficking. When one is brought up, discuss them all. When NONE are brought up, discuss them all. There are a handful of things that [I know for certain] absolutely must happen if we’re going to impact the supply and demand for sex and labor exploitation, but the absolute FIRST thing that must happen is the dialogue.

Link to article here

D is for Don’t Stay Silent

As humans, Americans, we have a handful of places that we each expect certain amounts of safety and privacy. It is up to us to fight to protect thise and be verbal when they are threatened, particularly where kids are involved.

I worry that identity politics has made people, businesses especially, too afraid to enforce policy and law. I’ve read the articles about men walking and lounging naked in women’s locker rooms, and so much worse. We’re supposed to accept this, because he identifies as a woman. Six months before that rule change, what he did was actually a crime that could have gotten him on a lifelong sex offender roll. What about places that have locker rooms for children only?

What are parents supposed to do when a grown man exposes himself to children to get his rocks off? What if he does this where no parents or adults are even permitted to monitor? This is something we’ve had to confront several times in the last year. This supposedly “safe space”, with its clearly marked signs and miniaturized accommodation, has repeatedly been violated. First, a grown man was taking nude photos of himself in a bathroom mirror while kids were just outside the door. When he was walked in on (by my son), he played it off and left quietly. A couple months later, a grown man undressed in the boys locker room and walked around naked.

The latter happened twice more with negligible response, until we called the police ourselves.

These are just the times I know of. More than once, I’ve spoken to groups of kids that reacted casually to these examples, “Oh, that happens all the time.” They don’t report it [in spire of being uncomfortable or feeling unsafe] because they don’t think anything can, or will, be done. several said they didn’t want to be rude! After this, I’m starting to think they’re right. But, is it because the adults are too cowardly for confrontation? Or are they scared that it’s gonna boil down to identity politics? Is drawing attention to this going to be some kind of hyphenate-shaming? Does this man identify as a child? Was he checking for hernias?

For one, I encourage children to utilize the two tools they have on hand all the time. Their voices and their feet. Be loud, “HEY! You aren’t supposed to be in here!” Then get out and go for help. Being loud draws witnesses and lets others know that its okay to say something. The locker room guy was able to do this for a long time before anyone raised an alarm. Our best guess is that everyone was unsure about saying anything to a grown naked man. Then, get to the first and highest authority you can.

Not all “adults” are created equal. My experience is that most adults don’t actually know anything about exploitation, grooming, or child predators, nevermind handling a real life situation or reporting. Conventional wisdom is “tell a parent”. This doesn’t mean, “tell the first one you see.” The same goes for “tell an employee.” For the photo guy? The nearest employee replied with astonishing horror, then told a story about her daughter nearly being molested, then went back to her crossword.

So, I advise parents and kids to have a couple adults picked out in advance. A head lifeguard, the shift manager, or an instructor they’re familiar with. If there are lots of parents present, it might be worth getting to know which is a first responder, nurse, or in a profession that might include the skills to handle these tough situations. For my own kids, I tell them that when all else fails, find the biggest daddy or military type and say they’re scared. I’ve never seen a veteran balk at a controntation when a child’s safety is threatened.

C is for Children

Day 3 of the #AtoZchallenge is brought to you by the letter C and the number 39.

I went back and forth between just talking about children, or something else, but I have something to say here. Children are delightful, miraculous, and resilient little idiots.

Are you triggered yet?

I run a parenting group oriented towards diet and lifestyle. It’s infuriating. I also work in the exploitation field, rescuing kids from monsters. That’s heart wrenchung and disgusting. Having 2 kids that, to date, are not complete assholes, I think all qualify me to have an opinion on child rearing.

Children are resilient. I’ve seen first hand, and through anecdotal reporting, story after story of toddlers surviving in the wilderness, kids defeating kidnappers, teens overcoming nightmare lives. Look around you. You are probably close to more than a few peoole that survive atrocious treatment as a child and still went on to be a normal functioning humans. Kids are fucking amazing animals. We can thank their underdeveloped frontal lobes for all of that.

That is, in part, why we make decisions for them til they reach physical and emotional maturity. Allowing these id driven sociopaths to dictate terms is very dangerous. Don’t kid yourself, your 3 year old is no more capable of deep love and affections than Jeffrey Dahmer. At this age, they simply know what side their bread is buttered on. Their behaviors are intended to be conditioned responses to ensure their own survival… at least they should be. We’ve turned a corner where we allow them to drive our lives and chase the highs of sugar, electronics, and control.

We’re finally seeing what this kind of permissive parenting is producing. Beyond making a generation of sheep that all but volunteer to be victims of monsters, we have ended up with grown toddlers that cannot handle being denied. Rather than learning how to function in an existing world, they’ve grown accustomed to molding everyone to their will. They fall prey when they fail to get what they want and turn to outsiders that make promises that cannot be kept… I’m looking at you Bernie Sanders and human traffickers.

The good news is, the newer generations that effing hate being forced to dodge predators in bathrooms, get called bigots by blue haired whales, or have to clean up the pieces of a broken family are reproducing and trying to fix it. You can do your part by bringing back traditional values, turning off the devices, and telling your kids the truth. No one cares about their opinion. Feelings are not facts. If they want to be heard, they need to earn their audience with hard work, patience, reason, and maturity.

If you’re concerned that this “heavy handed” approach will screw them up, I’ll defer to my original example. I’ve seen many overcome much worse, thanks to the developmental miracle of deflated frontal lobes. It really cannot be worse than not parenting them at all.

B is for Books

I’m on tap to help on a couple different writing projects, but find myself utterly distracted. It makes me wonder if , like everything else, technology has ruined the, once, proud and elite title of “author.”

I am hard pressed to consider some of the self published sludge to be much more than digital neurosis or self delusion. Kind of like those singers that have youtube channels and consider themselves professional entertainers. Yeah, we got Christina Grimmie, but we also got that Asian guy that is so bad that he got famous. *cough* Fifty Shades *cough*

Anyhow, yesterday, was day 2 of a 100 day goal. It has nothing to do with books, but I’ll be tracking my progress and plan by hand, just to get back to my own roots or venting my creativity on paper first. The process makes me more discerningnof what I write, keeps me from pushing on when I’m tired, and if I really like it, I can type it later. That’s a vital step, that I think is missing for a lot of people.

Day 3 of my 100 day goal is today. Today’s “microaction” is planning out 2 weeks worth of daily activities, and finding my keycard for the gym. Wish me luck!Screenshot_20180331-083116

A is for April Fool’s Day

A friend reminded me of the #AtoZchallenge. Year after year, I forget or find out too late. Don’t ask me how, but “write something daily in April” is actually quite difficult to remember. I wish I could say that the timing aligning with Eastertide would provide great content ideas, but the reality is, I’m just not that creative.

Day one is the Letter A. Being the creative genius that I am, the topic invariably will be about April Fools….

Screenshot_20180331-083116

On April 1 we celebrate 2 things. First, our children’s liberation from the public school system. Second, our affinty for a good joke.

I say “liberation”, because I view the confines of institutional learning to be particularly opressive and limiting. Yes, I know there are good schools and great teachers and all that, but not here.

The last IEP meeting I attended, for my autistic son, had me pitted [alone] against 11 representatives from the district, including a Sheriff’s Deputy, lawyers, social workers, and administrators I’d never heard of. All because my husband and I refused to accept that our child’s full potential had already been met. We’d been urged to consider long term planning for him and to stop fighting for tutoring and services. His “educational impairment” was too significant to overcome with special ed. He would never be independent, employable beyond menial tasks, or able to take care of himself.

With glowing support like that, who wouldn’t take their kids out of school? We figured that if he was beyond help, we couldn’t screw up any worse than doing nothing. If nothing else, he’d be relieved of the daily stress and emotional toll that attending school put on him.

Our younger son was at the other end of the spectrum… literally. He’s brilliant and social but getting questioned and punished daily, by his school principle, destroyed his work ethic. By the end, even his teacher wasn’t coming to work. His behavior was out of control and nothing I said or did helped.

Mind you, my o

Mind you, my autistic son got his share of maltreatment too. At one point, we learned he’d been placed in a closet to think, then forced to wear a “tattletale hat.” They excused this because his tattling had become disruptive. Tattling on what? Kids stealing, fighting, saying bad words…

Anyhow, we got them out and started detox at home. It only took a few weeks to get our old happy kids back. In the 8 years since, my older son was properly diagnosed with a form of atypical autism, caused by a genetic deletion. With the right help, his IQ was measured at nearly double the school’s guesstimates. With the right therapies and diet, he is completely mainstream and functioning above his age group.

My younger son recently discovered rocket science, and is switching his studies from criminal justice to physics and math. He gets to chat with astronauts online and our proximity to NASA has him up close and personal with the real deal. Overall, I think celebrating today is worthwhile.

As for April Fools… well, I like a good joke now and then. Like the time I changed my mom’s stock hub caps for chrome ones… with clip on spinners. Or the time she asked me to advertise a fundraiser at her store. Unbeknownst to her, I advertised it as a Hula themed event… old people really did show up scanilty clad. Of course, I don’t need a holiday for a good joke, but I view today as a great day to look back on them fondly. Let’s see your jokes!

I stand with Corey

I remember the first time my dad told me about the evils of pedophilia and child predators. At the time, I could never imagine what made him tell me that day. It was perfect. I was maybe 9 years old. We were sitting out on the picnic table, stargazing, talking about his youth. He sobered and says, “Kimberly, do you know about the wolves?”  I was still cheery from a story about a lhasa apso and neighbor child.  “No, what wolves?”A tiny piece of my youth ended that night.  He didn’t talk in euphemism or gentle terms. He told me what darkness looked like, what it wanted, how it hid. “I don’t care if it’s a friend, a teacher, or the president, there is not a threat or force on Earth more powerful than me. You know that. So, when I give you permission to say or do whatever you need to, you will never be in trouble for protecting yourself… or anyone else…”

When he trailed off he was looking down at our neighbor’s house. My best friends lived there. Two little girls. That pause and his quiet darkness, still makes me so sad. He was a superhuman force of nature. My daddy was everything he promised, but he couldn’t be everywhere. He had to give me some of his superpowers.

It wasn’t planned, but tonight, I had to tell my kids almost the same thing. They’ve always been told to speak up and get help. Because of my work, they have been told about grooming and certain types of deviants. Yesterday, my son saw what happens when no one around them has been told… given permission to fight to protect themselves. Or maybe, they weren’t even taught to recognize danger. So much paraphilia has been normalized and celebrated, it’s hard to tell.

“You will never ever be in trouble for confrontation. Use your tools. Speak up. If you say it, the other kids around you will know it’s okay to fight too! You are stronger than you know. And no consequence from a bunch of administrators could ever be worse than what will happen to your body or your soul, if you do nothing.” In a lot of ways, I know that this won’t make our kids invincible, but we can’t be everywhere.  All we can do is share our superpowers with them.

If you’ve been reading long, you can probably guess that my kids think I inherited my dad’s mantle of superhuman force of nature. I can’t let them down. As adults, we’re not released from that obligation or permission to stand up and be vocal when we see evil. It won’t always work. We’ll be met with opposition, ignorance, and complacency, but we still have to keep fighting. I think that’s why the trafficking world found me. My dad never gave me permission to quit fighting. I’ll never give it to my kids.

So, when I see a survivor speak out, I have to be sure they know they’re not alone. Corey Feldman grew up in a world of institutional rape and vile atrocity. Compared to stories of the survivors I’ve met from Appalachia, take out the glitz factor, and their stories are so similar. Day after day, he and his costars were subjected to casting couches, passed around parties, plied with drugs and booze, and when they get too old, thrown out.  He survived. The same can’t be said for all his contemporaries. He’s probably been drowning in the survivor’s guilt forever.

I’ve spent my whole life watching child stars fall, crash, fade. I’m not surprised by the current Hollywood shake-up. When it’s not on some heart rending “where are they now” interview, you can see the open secret being broadcast in the movies these criminals make. Don’t believe me? Watch Scream 3.  Weinstein isn’t the only guy from the credits that is being called out for rape and abuse.

What IMDB is too polite to spoil is that Sidney Prescott’s mom was an actress that got raped at a casting party (apparently, she was told to expect it) which caused a pregnancy, that produced a serial killer. From there, said psycho was unleashed on a 3 film killing spree.  This, concluded with the murderer going after of a bunch of actors, that were also exploited for sex so they could get in the very movie that would be their doom. There’s a literary term for what that is, but I just see it as open bragging.

Still not convinced? He and Corey Haim talked openly about it in 2007 and 2008. Then, the ladies of The View (Bawbwa particularly) blew him off.  This is another interview from 2013. How hypocritical, that when a man cries rape, no one gives a shit?

 

If Corey wants to make this film and do what no talkshow host or publisher has been willing to, let’s make it happen. I’m not completely selfless.  I hope that this will help fight trafficking and exploitation too. I figure, we have to cut off demand and  demand isn’t limited to powerful Hollywood types and politicians. This might put a pretty decent dent in it.

One last thing. Watch the video I link to for “bawbwa”. Look at her body language and dismissive gesture when he says “People want me dead. People do not want me here.” I remember her interviewing Anne Heche during a psychotic break. Bawbwa kept a sympathetic and interested face, the whole time the actress talked about how she was a 4th dimensional being. But she couldn’t muster a shoulder pat for a man she’s known since he was 14? If that’s not a clue….