Pimps Posing as “Sex Worker Activists” « My Body the City: The Secret Life of a Callgirl

Pimps Posing as “Sex Worker Activists” « My Body the City: The Secret Life of a Callgirl.

“But pimps don’t like that word. So these founders and leaders of ‘sex worker activist’ organizations say they’re sex workers. They appropriate the identity of those they exploit. It’s a bit like a plantation owner in blackface pretending to be one of the slaves they oppress. They’re trying to steal our survivor voices.
“Douglas Fox, the main ‘activist’ at the International Union of Sex Workers, claims to be a male sex worker. But he and his partner John Dottery were featured as the owners of a large UK escort agency in the British documentary ‘The Escort Agency.’ On a website he co-edits Fox states his partner owns an escort agency and argues ridiculously that pimps are ‘sex workers.’”

The piece Stella Marr links to in this post should tell you all you need to know about “sex worker unions”.  Fox claims that pimps “share equally” in the sex work business.  He whines that pimps work longer hours than any prostitute.  Hey, asshole, do you or any of your pimp buddies face rape, beatings, and dehumanization at the hands of misogynist johns?  I thought not.

Where Do You Draw the Line: Free Speech and Hate Speech

As I have navigated political life, developing, rethinking and redeveloping my political philosophies, the obstacle over which I have stumbled the most has been free speech. Should it be absolute? Should it be limited? Who gets to decide the limits? Who keeps the decision-makers in check, keeping them from trampling unpopular opinion and dissent? Does accepting free speech mean that we have to let the purveyors of misogyny and other hatred to put their ideas out there? What happens if we try to limit them? Even now, after years of thought on the issue, I am still as confused as ever.

When I was younger, I often adopted the hardline.  I agreed with those who favored bans on hate speech.  Misogyny and racism have no place in civil society, anyway, right?  Why does the marketplace of ideas need to include the abhorrent, the ideas that seek to make others less than human?  My young mind felt that it didn’t.  I believed we would never have a truly just society if we didn’t ban certain kinds of speech or expression:  rape apologia, the racist justifications and rationalizations of the U.S. South, pornography, and other hatred aimed at women.  Laws like the European laws against “inciting racial hatred” made sense to me.  I just felt they should be used to protect more groups, especially women.

As I aged, I began to question that position.  As I became more acquainted with historical moves to suppress speech, I did an about face.  My belief that misogyny, racism, and other hate-based expressions didn’t change, but my opinions about how to confront those expressions did.  I learned how so many regimes have killed, oppressed and ostracized those who expressed unpopular opinions.  The problem?  Many of those unpopular opinions were ones I actually supported.  It was the U.S. government suppressing Socialists, Communists and anarchists via deportation, incarceration, or ostracism.  It was the U.S. government using anti-obscenity laws to suppress information about birth control and abortion, to keep women from making pamphlets and giving speeches explaining basic female anatomy and reproduction to the uneducated.  People had even been executed based on their political beliefs, although the charges were usually framed as something else.  So, history told me that the shoe had been and could be on the other foot.

History and the experiences of others weren’t my only teachers.  I also learned first hand the dangers of suppressing certain types of speech based upon content.  Many of the opinions I currently hold are very unpopular–even among those on the Left.  I have been accused more than once of “hate speech” for the statement that I don’t believe anything called “transgender” exists.  I’ve never claimed that people should be ostracized for believing they are transgendered.  In fact, I think radical feminists are overly obsessed with this issue, which I believe to be tangential.  I just don’t believe the phenomenon is anything like its proponents claim.  I don’t believe in essential femininity or essential masculinity.  I don’t believe there is a “female” way to experience the world that is essentially different from a “male” way of experiencing the world.  While those who support the transgender concept claim they are against the gender binary, the very core of the concept is in opposition to this claim.  The concept of transgender says that some people are born with the gender that is “wrong”, which actually reinforces the idea that there are two separate and distinct genders.  It doesn’t smash the concept of gender binary; it simply states that people may be born with a gender different from their biological sex.  To truly smash the concept of binary gender, the very concept of gender must be destroyed.  Human experience must be recognized as a continuum.  Just because a woman doesn’t fit with the stereotype of “feminine” doesn’t make her a man; it makes her a woman who doesn’t fit the stereotype of “feminine”.  The same with men who don’t fit stereotypes of “masculine”.  They are simply men who don’t fit the cultural stereotypes of what it means to be a man.  That does not make them women.  I applaud and support men and women who refuse to conform to stereotypes of gender; I just don’t think it changes their sex.

The Left Side of Feminism’s Facebook page has been reported for “hate speech” when I express this belief.  Nothing has ever become of it, because it is a patently stupid claim to make.  However, there are those who come out of the woodwork to label this view an expression of “hate”.  My comments on some liberal feminist sites are moderated because I have expressed this opinion.  That the statements above could be twisted into the concept of “hate speech” is ludicrous, but it happens all the time.

On a similar note, I have been accused more than once of “Islamophobia” for daring to critique Islam in the same way I critique Christianity, Judaism or any other patriarchal religion.  While the Left will applaud when one criticizes fundamentalist Christians for their misogynistic beliefs and practices, Leftists will come out in droves to condemn those who apply the same standard to fundamentalist Muslims.  In my view, holding Muslims to a different standard is condescending.  It assumes that they are not smart or moral enough to treat women as full human beings.  Again, that so many twist this opinion, calling it “hate speech”, is absolutely ludicrous.  It’s simply a way to shut down the opposition without careful consideration of what is being said.

Eventually, I arrived at a position of a free speech absolutist.  My stance was that no speech, no matter how offensive or hateful, should be banned.  To do so is to risk that the ban someday be turned on me or those with whom I agree.  If it can be used against speech I disagree with, it can certainly be used against speech I agree with.  There is nothing that keeps the opponents of justice and equality from using such bans to meet their own ends.  History tells us this is true.  My own experience does, as well.

In addition, banning speech doesn’t ban the ideas behind the speech.  One may make the speech unheard and the expression invisible, but that doesn’t mean the hate isn’t still there.  If the ideas persist and grow out of sight, how do we know what we must fight?  How do we keep the hateful from exploding in violence that we didn’t even know was coming?  How do we educate?

This position of absolutism was a comfortable place for me for a very long time.  Recently, it has become less and less comfortable.  The argument that we will never have justice when marginalized groups can be publicly degraded and targeted makes sense.  The argument that we must fight for good of the whole, not just the rights of the individual, also make sense.  After all, isn’t that at the heart of Communism?  Doesn’t it seek to destroy a system that benefits a few in order to better the lives of the majority?  Shouldn’t that be at the heart of feminism?  The betterment of the lives of women, as a group, rather than slavish devotion to the individual (i.e. the misguided “choice” doctrine of liberal feminism)?  I can’t argue with those positions, so I arrive at a place of discomfort, of uncertainty.

I haven’t resolved this conflict within my heart and my mind.  I stay along the course of absolutism, because I can’t resolve the questions of what happens to the unpopular opinion.  Communism, feminism, anarchism are all unpopular opinions to many.  Do we risk those social justice movements being targeted by limiting free speech?  I just can’t support anything that leads to that possibility.  So, I uneasily sit in the chair of free speech absolutism…and wonder if there’s a better way.

Which Choices?

In January of 2001, a woman named Joumana called 911 in Paradise Valley, Arizona, a wealthy suburb of Phoenix.  She spoke of her husband, Jason, punching her in the mouth in front of their young son.  When the 911 operator asked about her welfare, Joumana replied, “Don’t worry about me.  This is nothing compared to what I usually go through.”  Joumana’s and Jason’s last name was Kidd.  At the time, Jason was the star point guard for the Phoenix Suns.  He was arrested and plead guilty to domestic abuse.  His punishment?  “Anger management” classes, then an expunged record.  A mere slap on the wrist.

Joumana, the woman who spoke of the punch in the mouth as “nothing,” willingly returned to the marriage bed.  When Jason was shipped off by the Phoenix Suns, she followed him to his next NBA stop in New Jersey.  She publicly defended him against taunts of being a wife-beater.   Joumana was a woman of means.  A woman who didn’t face going to a shelter if she left her wealthy husband.  A woman who didn’t face a life of uncertainty for her children or herself if she refused to return to a man who she said had long abused her.  Yet, she made the choice to do so.

Many women make this choice, even when they have other options.  Rightfully, we realize that the societal pressures put on women play a heavy hand in this so-called choice.  We realize that telling women that marriage and relationships with men are their most important achievements leads women to accept abuse and misuse at the hands of men.  We realize that some women don’t have Joumana’s means.  They may find it necessary to “choose” to stay with an abuser so they and their children have a means of support.  We realize that there are a whole host of social pressures put on women to “make it work”, to “stand by your man”.  We realize that these pressures can lead women to make choices that are dangerous for them, and create and embolden the misogynist men who would beat them.  We realize that these choices have been used in the past to reinforce ideas that women accept abuse as a part of a relationship–and that they should accept it.  We don’t accept that a woman’s claims of “love” for the man who beats her makes this choice alright.  We sure as hell don’t call her choice “feminist” and demand that feminists support it.

For some strange reason, when you replace the word “love” with “orgasm” or “sex”, a woman choosing a violent relationship becomes something we are supposed to celebrate.  It not only becomes acceptable, but anyone who finds fault with it is labeled a “prude” and accused of condescension.  A woman who “chooses” to be with a man who gets off by torturing her isn’t fucked in the head by social concepts of female masochism.  This woman isn’t internalizing society’s twisted notions of womanhood.  Studies have shown that this woman is highly likely to have been sexually abused in the past, but we aren’t to believe that this abuse led her to twist concepts of sexuality into unhealthy practices of power and abuse.  We aren’t to believe that the constant inundation of media depictions of rough, violent, aggressive men who impose their sexual will on submissive, panting women have had the same twisted effect on this woman that the social concepts of “love” have on the abused wife.

Instead, we are to see the woman who likes violent sex as somehow empowered.  Sexually assertive, even.  We are told that she, as a bottom, is “in charge”.  I often wonder if the women who met John Robinson in online BDSM chat rooms thought that about themselves.  Did they think that traveling to have violent sex with a man they didn’t know, that signing a “slave contract”, was empowering?  Did they think that right up until they were slaughtered and stuffed in 55 gallon drums labeled “Rendered Fat”?

I’ve read articles by people involved in the lifestyle who talk about how staged photos depicting dead women are regularly included in the porn of the violent sex crowd.  In short, these people get off on the things that Robinson acted out.  If your dick gets hard at seeing a picture of a woman made up to look dead, or a woman being bound and tortured, you’re a fucking psycho.  If you get turned on by pretending to be that dead or tortured woman–or allowing yourself to actually be tortured–you’re the furthest thing from empowered that I can think of.

The Joumana Kidds of the world, the countless women who “choose” to return to violent men out of “love” are not empowered.  They are making choices, but choices aren’t all equal.  As feminists, we don’t excuse the abuse or the tendency of women to return to abusers as acceptable.  We don’t condemn those who point out how society, views of womanhood, and trauma in women’s lives all play into those choices.

I can understand the motivations of the poor or working class woman who is economically bound to her abuser.  I can’t understand the corrupted mind of the woman who does it not for love or for survival, but for an orgasm.  No one says people aren’t allowed to make their choices.  What I am saying is that your choices are fucked up.  Your choices reinforce all the twisted things about women and sexuality that misogynists thrive on.  Your choices are not feminist in any sense of the word.  And using the word “sex” instead of “love” doesn’t make your choices any smarter than those of that abused woman who goes back to that wife-beater.

The Autism “Epidemic”: More Neurodiversity vs. Cure

This piece was originally written on 12 April 2007, and published on an old blog I ran.

The fight between the neurodiversity devotees and the cure devotees is not likely to end any time soon. It has reached the point where it is purely about rhetoric and self-righteous condemnations of the other side. Charges of child abuse are thrown back and forth. Each side pronounces itself the holders of pure scientific evidence. The other side is dependent on junk science, of course. Neither will admit that they fall back on anecdotal evidence far too often.

Last night, I spent some time perusing neurodiversity.com, a site with an obvious viewpoint. The owner of the site, Katherine Seidel, inspires slavish devotion from the neurodiversity proponents. They trumpet her recent efforts to get a scientific study removed from a journal. Apparently, censorship is something to be applauded. They accuse the men who did the study of junk science and bias. These particular men are the regular targets of their hatred. They use this success as an opportunity to bash those who believe in the possibility of curing autism. Again, the devolve into name-calling and self-righteous pontificating. Whatever the “misrepresentations” of these two men, the tendency of the neurodiversity crowd to consistently take part in ad hominem attacks and accusations of bigotry weakens any credibility they might have. Both sides of this argument behave like children on the playground. 

For all their claims of the scientific basis of their claims versus the pseudo-science and misrepresentations of the cure proponents, the neurodiversity group commonly resorts to the same tactics they find so objectionable when used by the opposing side. While accusing the other side of relying on anecdotes, they trot out their own anecdotal “proof” of a genetic cause for autism: they have seen evidence of it in other family members or themselves. Does that constitute proof? Would it if the other side placed their faith in such personal testimonials? That’s highly doubtful. While I personally believe that the primary cause of autism is genetic, the behavior and tactics of this group does nothing to advance that theory. Their hysterical screeching, finger-pointing and name-calling does little to back up the idea that they are the rational parties in this debate.

Underlying this debate is the question of an autism “epidemic” over the past several decades. Of course, proponents of the cure blame this on environmental factors, specifically vaccines. The neurodiversity crowd, quite logically, point to the change in diagnostic criteria and practices. They have proof of liberalization of the diagnostic criteria. What they don’t have, however, is proof that diagnostic practice has changed–and they don’t seem to think they need to produce any. If they are to stake their claims to the consecrated ground of scientific proof, then they do, in fact, need to produce such proof. 

There is certainly anecdotal evidence that current diagnostic practice includes a certain amount of intentional misdiagnoses. This can best be summed up by the oft-quoted statement of National Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist Judith Rapoport that she would “call a kid a zebra if it will get him the educational services [she] think[s] he needs.” In fact, I have personal knowledge of such practice. A child that shares a therapist with my own son was given the diagnosis of autism despite the reservations of the psychiatrist involved and her therapist. The grandmother insisted that the child had Asperger’s Syndrome (also doubtful), which the psychiatrist said he’d be more comfortable diagnosing. However, the state of Arizona does not provide services for those with AS diagnoses as it does for those with diagnoses of autism. The psychiatrist agreed to give the child the diagnosis so she could continue to receive her services. 

While I do not blame the family for working to get the child services at all costs, and I understand the actions of the psychiatrist, this kind of behavior does a lot to undermine the legitimacy of claims of “epidemic.” If this kind of misdiagnosis is at all common, it could account for a significant portion of the increase in autism in the U.S. The U.S. health care system is squarely to blame in this case. Our practice of care for the wealthy and neglect for the poor and middle class forces desperate families to take desperate measures.

There is already evidence that a significant portion of the increase is a result of liberalized diagnostic criteria, specifically the creation of the PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental delay, not otherwise specified) diagnosis and the increase in Asperger’s Syndrome diagnoses. AS was not added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) until 1994. PDD-NOS was added seven years before that. There are indications that as many as three-quarters of the increase in Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnoses has occurred in these two categories.

Finally, the very claim that autism has genetic causes is as unproven an assertion as the claim that mercury in vaccines has led to an “epidemic” of autism. Several studies have found various genes that are present in some people with autism. However, there has never been any study that has linked autism to a specific gene definitively. In most cases, these genetic indicators are present in some individuals, but not others. What conclusions are we to derive from that? That only those with these markers are “real” autistics? That the genetic markers are coincidental? That there is a confluence of genetic and environmental factors that cause autism? It could be any of these three possibilities or it could be none of them. The fact remains, however, that the neurodiversity crowd has hitched its wagon to a star that is just as questionable as the one the cure crowd is following. It is not that I disagree with all of the assertions of the neurodiversity devotees. It is that I disagree with their claims that their position is based on pure science, while the other side is based purely upon emotionally charged pseudo-science worthy of ridicule and disdain.

It is tragic that these warring groups of “concerned” parents can’t realize that their behavior is far from helpful. Both sides are doing more harm than good to the welfare of people with autism. The insistence that autism is just “different,” and we should all celebrate it is foolish. My son’s autism is not just a matter of difference. It is an impairment. If he is unable to deal with the world around him, he will be in continuous danger throughout his life. This will keep him from ever being able to live an independent life. This inability to cope with the environment without significant help is an evolutionary dead-end. Organisms that cannot adapt to their environment are prone to dying out–on the individual and group levels. That is not what I want for my son. Anyone who is so in love with “diversity” that they think the inability to adapt is something to be celebrated really needs a remedial course in evolution. 

On the other side, the proponents of cure are willing to put their children through one medical procedure after another, whether there is evidence to support the efficacy of these procedures or not. Like the parent of a terminal cancer patient who inflicts painful procedures on the dying child in desperate, unrealistic hope of cure, these parents forget about the child they have; instead, they form tunnel-vision focused on the child they wish they had. They are willing to put their children in schools were “aversive” treatments–including electrical shock–are inflicted on their children. In essence, they are willing to forego all semblance of scientific method or ethical behavior in hopes of a cure that probably doesn’t exist. Individuals with autism can be helped to deal with their environment. It is unlikely that their fundamental autistic nature can be changed, however. Focusing on helping them integrate their autism into the world around them is the best thing we can do for these kids. Neither of these militant factions seems interested in that. They are too busy trying to prove their own rational and moral superiority.

On Autism: “Neurodiversity” vs. “Cure”

I originally wrote this piece on 10 April 2007 for a previous blog.  I am reproducing it here, because the issues still concern me.

The other night was typical for me: I went to bed around 10 p.m., then began waking up promptly an hour later. Try as I might, I couldn’t get back to sleep and stay that way. So, as usual, I eventually gave up. While times like this cry out for staying in bed, maybe reading a book or watching TV until I can fall back asleep, those options don’t work so well for my husband, who doesn’t face the insomnia that haunts me. The only option was to move out to the living room. But what to do once I was there? Get online, of course.

I’m horrible about reading and answering my email, so I decided this was an opportune time to do that. As I opened my email, I found a message from a local listserve. The organization is called P.A.S.S., short for Parents for Autism Support & Services. It’s basically a self-help group here in Tucson that puts parents of children with autism in touch with each other. When we need advice on schools or therapists, suggestions about getting the state to provide needed services, or just support, we can contact this source of first-hand information and advice. Most of us face a lot of struggles getting needed services for our children. On top of that, we get tired. Like it or not, taking care of a child with autism is harder than taking care of most neurotypical (NT) children. Just keeping these kids safe is often a 24/7 job.

On this day, however, the email from P.A.S.S. wasn’t a parent asking for a recommendation for a speech therapist or school. Instead, the woman who runs P.A.S.S. was letting us all know about a memorial service. She mentioned the service was for a local autistic boy whose mother had murdered him. As I’ve been caught up in my own son’s needs for the past few months, this tragedy was news to me. I had to find out more.

The story is one of horror: a 5-year-old autistic child was given 12 Tylenol PMs by his mother, resulting in his death. I’m assuming his mother was overwhelmed with his behavior and was trying to quiet him. That’s the only (twisted) explanation I can determine for the murder. It also turned out that she had been forcing the child’s feet and legs into extremely hot water to discipline him. A sheriff’s deputy had come the day before the child died and found him with his legs bandaged. The mother explained them as the result of a fall. The deputy thought that was perfectly reasonable. We now know they were covering burns caused by the scaldings inflicted on this child.

It came to light that this was one of the woman’s three children. The other two–both teenagers–had been removed by CPS after the oldest attacked the 5-year-old. The youngest was left in the household. The woman was living with two “friends,” one of whom apparently helped her “discipline” the child. The father was out of the picture, as the mother was not in contact with him. I’m not thinking he would have been much help, though, as he had been charged with child abuse for choking the middle child–whom also had been diagnosed with autism.

Of course, everyone wants a quick, easy explanation for what happened. The mother is a monster. The father is a monster. It must have been caused by drug use. You name it, someone has claimed they know the whys and wherefores of this case. It couldn’t possibly be a complex issue that takes some time to come to grips with. The saddest thing is that this vulnerable child, whose communication was likely stunted enough that he would have been unable to get help, was left behind in a house where violence was not new. At the very least, the state should have been providing extensive respite services for this family. There were clear signs that they lacked the ability to deal with the children. If any of these kids was going to be left behind, the mother needed a lot of help coping with some of the more difficult aspects of raising a child with autism. The mother, in turn, clearly failed to reach out for help that she obviously needed. When the police came, she lied about the injuries she had inflicted on her son. Instead of asking for help from friends, family or the state, she chose to injure and drug her child. The other adults in the home sat on their hands or actively helped her torture this sweet boy. Clearly, jail is where these people belong. Unfortunately, that does not absolve the state of Arizona or Pima County for failing to protect this vulnerable child when there were clear signs that he needed them.

That’s not where the story ends, however. In my efforts to research the case, I stumbled upon a site and message board for parents of autistic children. This site is run and frequented by devotees of a philosophy known as “neurodiversity.” In essence, they argue that autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorder, which includes autism and several related disorders) isn’t “wrong,” it’s just “different.” Parents are expected to celebrate the fact that their children have autism. Anyone who dares suggest that a NT life would be easier or preferable for their child is attacked as a moral monster. Those who seek to make their children’s lives safer or easier are reviled as bigots.

As the mother of a six-year-old boy who has autism, these people infuriate me with their tone and sense of moral superiority–not to mention the danger they pose to my son’s future. My son is prone to self-injury. He bites himself. He hits himself. He runs and crashes into the furniture. He climbs on things with no concern for his safety. Leaving him alone in a room long enough to go to the bathroom puts his safety at risk. I never know what he will be doing when I come back. When taken outside, I must keep physical contact with him at all times to keep him from injuring himself or wandering off where others may injure him. This is not “normal.” This is not merely “different.” This is dangerous. This is something that must be treated through therapies. This is something that my son will always need help to cope with. This is not a good thing, as the neurodiversity devotees would claim.

The unfortunate part is that the other side of the debate is equally out-of-touch. These are parents who claim that autism is a new disease, having emerged in the second quarter of the 20th century. Its cause? Mercury-poisoning, primarily from vaccinations. Their rants are equally intolerant and off-base. They have no proof for their claims. They rely on anecdotes. They ignore evidence that doesn’t support them.

So, where does the truth lie? The fact is that I agree with the neurodiversity advocates that autism is rooted in genetics. That is not to say that I think it is only genetic. There may be environmental triggers that exacerbate the genetic predisposition. However, I agree that genes play a significant role in the development of autism. That is not to say that autism is just fine and dandy and should not be treated in any way. Unfortunately, that is the position of the neurodiversity crowd. They would leave a child to injure himself because it’s simply his way of dealing with the world. He’s just “different.”

The fact is, many mental disorders are genetic in nature. Schizophrenia appears to have a significant genetic component. That does not mean it is “normal” and should remain untreated. In fact, like autism, it can lead those with the disease to injure themselves or otherwise place themselves at risk. Many medical conditions are genetic in nature. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even some cancers appear to have genetic components. They still pose significant risk to life and to health. They still need to be treated. “Genetic” does not inherently equal “good” or “normal.”

To see the danger posed by neurodiversity advocates we only have to look back on the release from institutions of thousands of mentally ill individuals in the last half of the 20th century. In the U.S., the state of institutions was atrocious. People were locked up for life, abused, and left to fester, rot and die. There is no doubt this was deplorable and had to come to an end. However, the method of ending it was simply to open the doors and turn the mentally ill onto the streets. Laws pertaining to involuntary commitment were made stringent. People would be stabilized, then returned to the streets where they soon fell back into their previous ways. They put themselves in danger. Some of them put others in danger. They were easy targets for “normal” people who exploit those who are weaker than themselves. Most of the mentally ill population certainly did not live “better” lives than they had in the institutions. So, they went from the frying pan into the fire. Instead of taking a considered approach–figuring out which individuals truly needed the kind of ’round-the-clock care of an institution, deciding which individuals were likely to flourish on their own or in less restrictive environments, improving the care and conditions in the institutions, and acting accordingly–they simply threw the baby out with the bath-water. The neurodiversity crowd would have us do the same with individuals with autism. Stupid. Foolish. Deadly.

Still, the other side poses dangers, as well. There are so-called treatments and cures out there that are barbaric. I agree with the neurodiversity crowd when they say that ethics often go straight out the window as soon as autism is mentioned. Just a few weeks ago, I watched a television news magazine on ABC that followed the Rotenberg Center, a “treatment” facility in Canton, Massachusetts. The same institution has been investigated by other news outlets, as well. It was founded by Matthew Israel, a student of behaviorist B.F. Skinner. This monster had created a program that involved putting electrodes on the skin of children with autism. Any time the child showed “behaviors,” s/he was shocked with a very strong charge of electricity. The reporter allowed herself to be shocked with the device these children are forced to wear. She writhed and jerked in intense pain for quite a long time. The “nurse” administering the shock told her that a child who continued behaving in an undesirable way would receive repeated shocks until s/he stopped. The barbarity of such a practice is nauseating. How such individuals could not be charged with child abuse is unfathomable. Such averse behavior would never be allowed when dealing with a NT child. In all likelihood, if the diagnoses of autism and mental retardation was not connected to these children, this “doctor” would be in jail, as would his staff. Instead, he receives millions of dollars from school districts to torture some of their exceptional education students.

The problem is that we can’t turn to the opposing camp for answers. They are too busy ranting about mercury poisoning. They climb to the rafters and scream about every new “cure” for autism. They turn their children into guinea pigs. I will not do that. What’s more, I don’t buy into their mercury-poisoning theories. The first blame placed on a vaccination was levelled at MMR. My own son developed symptoms of autism before he had that vaccination. I had been holding off getting some of his vaccinations for a variety of reasons–one of them, the storm about autism and vaccines. Once he already had the signs of the disease, it seemed foolish to leave him at risk of curable diseases by failing to vaccinate him. Put simply, he was autistic before he ever got that vaccine. So, now do they claim it is all vaccines, not just MMR? What proof do they have? The ability to move from one “cause” to another with such ease just smacks of unscientific grasping at straws.

Like the neurodiversity crowd, the cure crowd feels very self-righteous about the course they’ve chosen for their children. It’s not enough that they think they are doing the right thing; everyone who makes different choices must be convinced to do the same. If that should fail, these obstinate parents must be condemned and vilified. I have experienced this firsthand. Approximately 18 months ago, my son and another boy sat in a therapy room together. My son was getting speech therapy, while the other boy received sensory integration. It wasn’t the boy that made the impact, though; it was his mother. She began loudly and forcefully expounding on the benefits of some new injection her son was getting. It made all the difference, she claimed. Every parent should do it. In fact, she flatly told me, I was running out of time. I had to get on the ball and get these injections for my son right now or I was failing him. To do so, I should change doctors, I was informed. She gave me her doctor’s name. The fact that I adore my children’s doctor, have no desire to change, and must choose doctors approved by my insurance plan didn’t phase her. She was so far into her spiel that my comments weren’t even heard. Needless to say, my son never got those injections. What he has received is a lot of therapy, a lot of help at home, and a lot of help at school. He has made amazing progress without chelation or any other anti-autism elixir d’jour.

When it comes to our children, it’s expected that parents will be passionate. When it involves something as misunderstood as autism, that passion is bound to increase exponentially. However, logic, understanding, and basic decency needs to prevail. There are valid arguments on both sides. Autism is not simply an example of diversity. However, it is also not caused by vaccines. It is life-long. It can be managed, but it cannot be cured. Most importantly, acting like self-important judges and juries of other parents does nothing to help anyone’s child. It’s time to knock it off.

Because you should have clocked in at 7 … | libertélocke

Because you should have clocked in at 7 … | libertélocke.

“This letter is for every woman seen as disposable.  This letter is for every woman that’s been lost to violence, for every woman attacked while trying to get to or from their work.  This letter is for each woman walking in the dark to a minimum wage job while holding their keys between their fingers, hopefully ready to strike back.  This letter is for me, a survivor of too many close calls and too many founded fears.”

And every woman is seen as disposable in this society…