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Marci Bowers’ clinic in California is famous for those seeking gender-reassignment surgery. Her work as a gynaecological surgeon over the past 25 years has made her one of the leaders in this field – and also in restoring sexual function in clitorises. She is one of only a handful of surgeons who performs this surgery on women who have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM) or cutting.
Reconstructive surgery to repair the physical damage of FGM has been around a long time. But the technique to restore clitoral function began developing only a decade ago, pioneered by French urologist and surgeon Pierre Foldès. His idea was to not only reconstruct the clitoris, but also nerve networks to restore sexual sensation. After training with Foldès, Bowers performed the first clitoral repair surgery in the US in 2009. Since then, she’s operated on around 100 women.
For many women and girls who undergo FGM, it’s a traumatic experience. FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Up to 140m women and girls live with the consequences of this practice and it is widespread in 29 African countries, but it also occurs in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and among migrants from these areas.
The clitoris is an important part of a woman’s sexuality and along with the severe medical and psychological consequences that cutting can have, it can also come with psycho-sexual problems.
The clitoris is a complex organ, and when a woman undergoes cutting, only the visible part of the clitoris is cut off. But it is much larger than most people ever assume. It has a root that is about 10cm long that lies beneath the surface, arching around the vagina. It is this that reconstructive surgeons use to rebuild a working organ.
“It’s only like losing the visible tip of the iceberg,” Bowers says. The surgery, also known as clitoroplasty, involves removing scar tissue, pulling the remaining clitoris up to the surface, and then stitching it into its natural place.
According to Bowers, the restoration of sexual pleasure is possible because the whole clitoris is sensory, not just the tip. Along with better cosmetic appearance, sensation, and reduction in pain and infection, Bowers says that patients have reported having orgasms for the first time.
But it’s not just about the restoration of sexual sensation. “The number one reason is restoration of identity,” she said. Women who have been cut feel their sense of womanhood has been stolen from them and they want that back. “They want their body back and to feel more normal. It’s about not being different any more.”
The fall out
As good as all this might sound, the procedure is controversial. In 2012, Foldès and colleagues published an article in The Lancet assessing the immediate and long-term outcomes of reconstructive surgery. Over an 11-year period they operated on nearly 3,000 patients, and of the 29% who attended a one-year follow-up consultation, more than half said they were having orgasms and nearly all reported feeling clitoral pleasure.
But a group of British doctors responded in a critical letter to The Lancet. In addition to the lack of a control group, they said the Foldès’ claims were anatomically impossible in cases of type 2 FGM – the partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora. “Where the body of the clitoris has been removed, the neurovascular bundle cannot be preserved … There is therefore no reality to the claim that surgery can excavate and expose buried tissue,” they wrote.
They also said that the campaign against FGM “could be undermined by a false proposition that the ill effects can be reversed”.
Bowers doesn’t agree – both in terms of the surgery and of undermining efforts to fight FGM. “You see the clitoris every single time, 100% of the time. You can’t deny it’s there,” she says. According to Bowers, their response reflects antiquated but persistent notions of female sexuality. The work of NGOs is important, she argues, but if something can be medically fixed, it should be fixed.
And she’s not short of patients. Twice a year she leaves her reported 14-month waiting list for US$21,000 gender reassignment surgery to operate for free on women who come to her for clitoroplasty, although patients still pay a $1,700 admin fee to the clinic.
She’s adamant that she only helps those who want it and who, she says, often come to her unhappy, angry and sad with husbands and partners. “We were only there to help women who found that they were suffering as a result of FGM,” she says. It’s probably fair to say, then, that Bowers is an evangelist for reconstructive surgery.
The pleasure hospital
Bowers became involved in the FGM reconstruction surgeries because of Clitoraid, a private, non-profit organisation that helped fund her training in Paris. The organisation is backed by volunteers of the Raëlian movement – one of the world’s largest UFO religious sects – whose members believe that humans were created by extra-terrestrials. Clitoraid promote free sexuality, sexual freedom and pleasure for all women.
Bowers’ own motivation doesn’t come from a Raëlian perspective, she says, but from her own philosophy that human beings have a sixth sexual sense. “When the sexual sense is taken away, it’s no different than if someone had taken away your sense of smell or your sense of taste.”
It’s clear, though, that her belief runs in parallel with the aims of Clitoraid, which has concentrated its work in the small West African nation of Burkina Faso, recently building a hospital nicknamed the “pleasure hospital” to offer reconstructive operations free of charge. The hospital was supposed to have opened its doors in March 2013 with local medical staff and trained surgeons, but the government stopped the project because of licensing issues. Clitoraid has said its authorisation was revoked following pressure from the Catholic Church and accusations that the group would attempt to convert women to the Raelian movement. The group still intend to open next year.
Ultimately, Bowers claims the enjoyment of sexual activity is a human right. “Sexuality is part of what makes us human beings and what makes life pleasurable,” she says. Before transitioning to life as a woman, she herself was born male. And this, she says, gives her empathy with victims of FGM. “For me, womanhood didn’t come without my own sacrifices and struggle. I empathise with women who have to have surgery to achieve and regain their womanhood. They are struggling to regain their identity, just like I had to do once upon a time myself.”
Francisco Sanchez Oria (51 Mount Sinai Drive, Unit 04-04, Singapore) aims to establish himself as sex guru. He writes about himself: “Fran now spend most of his time helping men and women achieve their peak sexual performance though coaching and supplementation.” As credential, he publishes an article on the benefits of masturbation.
Apparently you can get a “whore” in Jeddah from the fast food outlet Hardee’s. At least according to Saudi Sheikh Ali Al Mutairi. These women are “prostitutes” – for working and earning their living to take care of their families – because men happen to be in the same place. What an embarrassment Sheikh Ali Al Mutairi is for his country and his people. Maybe it’s time to implement ‘honor killing’ of men so Saudi Arabia can restore some honor.
Where is King Abdullah and his magic ‘people eraser’ when you need it the most?
A Twitter post ignited a battle of arguments over a post tweeted by a Saudi cleric describing the newly-introduced waitress at a fast-food restaurant in Saudi Arabia as “prostitutes”.
The debated topic sparked when Saudi Sheikh Ali Al Mutairi reacted to a number of Saudi tweets calling for the boycott of popular American fast-food restaurant, Hardee’s.
The burger chain had recently allowed women – for the first time – to work as waitresses at their branches across the coastal city of Jeddah.
“At the beginning of her shift she’s a waitress. When her shift ends she becomes a prostitute. The more she’s around men the easier it becomes to get closer to her”, tweeted Al-Mutairi, whose twitter account (@4aalmutairi ) boasts more than 5,000 followers.
Despite this cleric’s views reflecting an existing frustration amongst some conservative segments in Saudi Arabia which oppose women’s right to work and fear that allowing females to mix with men may lead to unwanted social behaviours, Mutari’s rather controversial tweet was deemed too extreme to many Saudis on Twitter.
“Prostitution is not in working trying to survive but it is in corrupted minds that use religion to distort other’s reputation,” posted one male in response to Mutar’s tweet.
Many commented by telling Sheikh Al Mutairi that through doubting the morality of ‘chaste’ women and describing them in the way he did, the cleric would be committing a serious vice, according to well-known Islamic teachings.
Another tweep posted pictures of some Hardee’s waitresses posted over social media by saying “These women are all covered up that I wouldn’t look at them, plus if your sister goes to that restaurant would you prefer a man or a woman taking her order?”
Despite the reaction to Sheikh Al-Mutairi’s views being mostly critical, there were some supportive tweets like one which says, “We know your intention and we give you the benefit of the doubt; stay as you are, a splinter in the throats of liberals”.
As reactions mounted and a hashtag was created to discuss his tweet, Al-Mutairi replied to many of his critics saying:
“In the name of God, I have seen this hashtag and some are asking to apologise because they think I have defamed Hardee’s waitresses – the truth is I warned from the dangers of sexes mixing, at the beginning she is a waitress and in the end they will want her to become a prostitute and between are the devil’s steps”, tweeted the sheikh.
“As for hypocrites who shave their beards and moustache (a common way of describing liberals in Saudi Arabia), there is no apology for them because their zeal isn’t for God,” he added.
The Saudi Ministry of Labour has been implementing a strategy which aims at creating more job opportunities and workplaces for women. However, segregation of sexes is applied in most public venues across Saudi Arabia.
95 percent of the victims of work accidents are men. Because women are cowards, and just want to rule from behind.
IN THE aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, those whose job it is to think the unthinkable were conscious that, for all the carnage, it could have been far worse. Fuel-laden aircraft slamming into buildings was bad enough. But the sight of some among the rescue workers picking over the debris with test tubes, followed by the sudden decision to ground all of America's crop-spraying aircraft for several days, pointed to an even more horrible possibility. Were terrorists with so little calculation of restraint to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction—whether chemical, biological or even nuclear—they would surely use them. How real is that threat?
It is certainly not new. Among one of many warnings from American think-tanks and government agencies in recent years, a report released last December by the CIA's National Intelligence Council concluded baldly that, when it came to chemical and biological weapons in particular, “some terrorists or insurgents will attempt to use [these] against United States interests, against the United States itself, its forces or facilities overseas, or its allies.” Governments in America and Europe worry that Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda, the terrorist network thought to be behind the September 11th attacks, may already have access to such weapons, and be planning to use them in response to any American military strikes. The World Health Organisation has called on governments around the world to be better prepared for such an eventuality.
For groups prepared to engage in the kamikaze tactics seen on September 11th, the easiest way to spread poisonous or radioactive materials might simply be to fly into repositories of them, or to use lorries full of them as suicide bombs. As Amy Smithson of the Stimson Centre in Washington, DC, observed in a report released last year, there are some 850,000 sites in the United States alone at which hazardous chemicals are produced, consumed or stored. The arrest in America last week of a number of people who were found to have fraudulently obtained permits to drive trucks that carry such hazardous loads looks like a worrying confirmation of such fears.
It is, nevertheless, likely that terrorist groups around the world are working on more sophisticated approaches to mass destruction than merely blowing up existing storage facilities, or hijacking lorry-loads of noxious substances. Mr bin Laden himself has, in the past, called it a “religious duty” to acquire such weapons. He is reported to have helped his former protectors in Sudan to develop chemical weapons for use in that country's civil war, and has since boasted of buying “a lot of dangerous weapons, maybe chemical weapons” for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that now harbours him.
Even for determined terrorists, however, merely getting hold of chemical, biological or nuclear materials is not enough. Do-it-yourself mass destruction—whether of a nuclear, chemical or biological variety—is far from easy (see article). First, you have to acquire or manufacture sufficient quantities of the lethal agent. Second, you have to deliver it to the target. And third, you have either to detonate it, or to spread it around in a way that will actually harm a lot of people.
The difficulties in doing all these things are illustrated by an attack carried out in 1995 on Tokyo's underground railway. Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese cult, released a potent nerve agent called sarin on five trains. The intention was to kill thousands. In fact, only 12 people died, and some 40 were seriously injured—bad enough, but no worse than the casualty list from a well-placed conventional bomb.
The cult's researchers had spent more than $30m attempting to develop sarin-based weapons, yet they failed to leap any of the three hurdles satisfactorily. They could not produce the chemical in the purity required. Their delivery mechanism was no more sophisticated than carrying it on to the trains in person in plastic bags. And their idea of a distribution system was to pierce those bags with umbrella tips to release the liquid, which would then evaporate.
The attack, in other words, was not a great success. Yet, of the three classes of weapon of mass destruction, those based on chemicals should be the easiest to make. Their ingredients are often commercially available (see table). Their manufacturing techniques are well known. And they have been used from time to time in real warfare, so their deployment is also understood.
Biological weapons are trickier; and nuclear weapons trickier still. Germs need to be coddled, and are hard to spread satisfactorily. (Aum Shinrikyo attempted to develop biological weapons, in the form of anthrax spores, but failed to produce the intended lethal effects.) Making atomic bombs is an even greater technological tour-de-force. Manufacturing weapons-grade nuclear explosives (“enriched” uranium, or the appropriate isotopic mix of plutonium) requires a lot of expensive plant. Detonating those explosives—by rapidly assembling the “critical mass” needed to sustain a chain reaction—is also notoriously difficult.
Terrorist groups working from first principles are thus likely to run into formidable obstacles if they want to get into the mass-destruction business. Nevertheless, there may be ways round these. One quick fix would be to buy in the services of otherwise unemployed or ill-paid weapons specialists from the former Soviet nuclear-, biological- and chemical-weapons establishments. At least some of these people are known to have washed up as far afield as Iran, Iraq, China and North Korea, but none has yet been directly associated with any terrorist group.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of this happening, the United States has, over the past ten years, spent more than $3 billion dismantling former Soviet nuclear weapons, improving security at Russia's nuclear storage sites, and keeping former weaponeers busy on useful civilian work. But, as Ms Smithson points out, only a tiny fraction of this money—itself a drop in a bucket when measured against the scale of Russia's sprawling weapons complex—goes towards safeguarding chemical and biological secrets. And even the nuclear side of things has sprung the odd leak.
Over the past ten years there have been numerous attempts to smuggle nuclear materials out of the former Soviet Union. There have been unconfirmed suspicions that Iran, for one, may have got its hands on a tactical nuclear warhead from Russia. So far, though, police and customs officers have seized mostly low-grade nuclear waste. This could not be turned into a proper atomic bomb, but with enough of it, a terrorist group might hope to build a “radiological” device, to spread radioactive contamination around (see article). Fortunately, the occasional amounts of weapons-grade stuff that have been found so far fall short of the 9-15kg of explosive needed for a crude but workable bomb.
Yet even if a group got hold of enough such explosives, it would still face the hurdle of turning them into a weapon. Hence the most effective way for a terrorist group to obtain one would be to find a sponsoring government that is willing to allow access to its laboratories or its arsenal.
After the Gulf war, UN special inspectors discovered that Iraq had been pursuing not one but several ways to produce weapons-grade material, and had come within months of building an atomic bomb. The effort, however, is thought to have taken a decade and to have cost Saddam Hussein upwards of $10 billion. Much of this was spent on acquiring the bits and pieces needed from foreign companies—sometimes through bribery, sometimes through deception.
In similar ways, he amassed the materials and equipment, much of it with legitimate civilian uses in fermentation plants and vaccine laboratories, for his vast chemical- and biological-weapons programmes. Although most of Iraq's nuclear programme had been unearthed and destroyed, along with much of its missile and chemical arsenal, the inspectors were convinced, when they were thrown out of the country in 1998, that important parts of the biological effort remained hidden.
A glance at the list of state sponsors of international terrorism maintained by America's State Department makes troubling reading. Most of the seven countries included—Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Cuba, North Korea and Sudan—have chemical weapons already. Five are suspected of dabbling illegally in the biological black arts, and several have covert nuclear-weapons programmes, too. America's Department of Defence estimated earlier this year that more than two dozen countries have already built weapons of mass destruction, or else are trying to do so.
So far, there is no evidence that any of these governments has helped terrorist groups to acquire such deadly goods. That may, partly, be because of widespread moral revulsion against their use. But self-interest on the part of the states involved is also a significant factor. It is one thing to give terrorist groups financial and logistical support and a place to hide—a favoured tactic of governments on the State Department's list as a deniable way of furthering their own local or regional ends. It is quite another to share such awesome weapons with outfits like al-Qaeda, which no government can fully control.
On top of that, since the September 11th attacks, American officials, from the president down, have gone out of their way to emphasise that not only the terrorists involved in any future assaults, but also the states that shelter them, can expect to find themselves in the cross-hairs.
Iraq has been the worst offender when it comes to wielding any of these weapons. It used chemical weapons in its war with Iran and in attacks against its own Kurdish population. Yet Saddam Hussein's failure to use his chemical and biological-tipped missiles, or the radiological weapons he also had, against western-led coalition forces during the Gulf war showed that, even when morality plays little part, deterrence can still work. America had made clear that, if he had deployed these weapons, he would have brought down massive retribution on both his regime and his country.
The big distinction between the dangers of states obtaining such weapons and the danger of terrorists getting their hands on them, argues Gary Samore of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in London, is precisely that, however hostile they may be, states are more “deterrable”. Mr bin Laden's network has shown that it will stop at nothing. But are states such as Iraq and North Korea, which operate in other ways largely outside international law, deterrable enough to prevent them lending a secret helping hand to a group like Mr bin Laden's?
America's defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, argued this week that it takes no “leap of the imagination” to expect countries harbouring terrorists to help them get access to weapons of mass destruction. Testimony from the trial of four bin Laden operatives convicted earlier this year for the August 1998 bombing of America's embassies in Kenya and Tanzania revealed that their past military interest in Sudan went beyond helping the regime make chemical weapons for its own war. In one case, Mr bin Laden was attempting to purchase uranium via intermediaries.
Meanwhile, intelligence officials trying to assess the range of threats they now face worry that Iraq's past military links with Sudan may have been no coincidence either. In 1998 America bombed a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant which it said showed traces of a precursor chemical for VX, a highly potent nerve gas that inspectors believe Iraq had put into weapon form. Some observers speculate that, even if Sudan's denials that it was manufacturing any such stuff are true, the country may have served as a trans-shipment point for supplies to Iraq. Might some weapons assistance have flowed the other way, possibly reaching Mr bin Laden's network? Iraq denies it has had anything to do with Mr bin Laden, but there have been unconfirmed reports that one of the New York hijackers met a senior Iraqi intelligence official earlier this year in Europe.
Yet even if no direct link is ever proved between a reckless foreign government and last month's terrorist attacks on America, western officials have long fretted that groups such as Mr bin Laden's will be able to exploit emerging new patterns of proliferation to gain access to nuclear, chemical and bug bombs. Despite attempts by western-sponsored supplier cartels—the Missile-Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Australia group, which tries to track the trade in worrying chemicals or biological agents—the number of such suppliers has expanded over the past decade. Countries that were once entirely dependent on outside help for their covert weapons programmes, mostly from Russia and China, are now going into business themselves.
This is particularly disturbing in the context of the third obstacle to the use of these weapons: delivery. Working from original Russian Scud missile designs, North Korea has created a thriving missile- and technology-export business with Iran, Pakistan, Syria and others in the Middle East. Iran, in turn, has started to help Syria and possibly Libya (which had past weapons ties with Serbia and Iraq) to improve their missile technology. Egypt is still building on the expertise developed by a now-defunct missile co-operation programme with Argentina and Iraq.
It is unlikely that such ballistic-missile technology would find its way into terrorist hands any time soon. But two things are true of almost all technologies: as the years pass, they get cheaper, and they spread. Even if there is no immediate threat, it may eventually not be just hijacked aircraft that are flying into places that terrorists have taken a dislike to. And their “warheads” may consist of something even worse than aviation fuel.
Porn stars dangle their dicks in front of super subwoofers to produce super erection. Do it yourself shockwave therapy.
Sexually abusing kids is about the worst thing you can be accused of in our society. The hatred reserved for those who do it is so intense that moral values we otherwise hold sacrosanct can be thrown out of the window in an instant in the rush to condemn. In the summer of 2013, for example, residents on a housing estate in the English city of Brighton burned a 44-year-old disabled man to death who they accused (wrongly, it turned out) of being a pedophile.
But pedophilia can be especially hard to live with for those who haven't committed a crime, and are forced to come to terms with an identity that most people regard as monstrous. For many pedophiles, that reality is the source of major depression.
"When I hear other pedophiles tell me that they are even relatively happy in life, I sometimes am tempted to ask them what fucking planet they live on," said Brett (not his real name), a 40-year-old landscaper who lives with his parents in the suburbs of a major US city and has suffered with depression since his early teens, when he first realized he was attracted to children. "How in the world can anyone go through every day living with this curse and not want to fling themselves off the nearest bridge on a daily basis?"
Sure enough, happy pedophiles seem to be the minority. A 1999 study of pedophilic sex offenders by the University of Minnesota's Department of Family Medicine and Community Health found that 76 percent had suffered from major depression in their life and another 9 percent met the criteria for mild depression.
"When you have a sexual preference that is as stigmatizing as pedophilia, then there's nowhere to go with it, there's no one to really talk to about it," said Professor Michael Miner, one of the study's co-authors. "So you stew in your isolation, which certainly makes one depressed."
Todd Nickerson is a 42-year-old pedophile from Tennessee. Struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity caused him many years of crippling depression. "I look back on it now and find it amazing that I never got to the point where I picked up a gun and ended it," he told me. "There were days when I got up and it was all I could think about. I'd tell myself, 'I just want to die. I just want to die.' All day, for days on end."
Nickerson's depression was made worse when, in his early 20s, he made the mistake of confiding in a cousin his attraction to young girls.
"Maybe it was an act of conscious self-sabotage because I knew my cousin and I knew he would spread it around," he said. "I live in a small southern town so I thought the whole town knew. I couldn't go out in public. I was constantly anxious and didn't want to leave my room."
Nickerson is a self-identified pedophile, but he insists he has never acted on his attractions and believes strongly that any sexual contact between adults and children constitutes abuse. Since most pedophiles are secretive about their sexuality, it's impossible to know how many share Nickerson's stance, but there are at least enough to have spawned an online forum, Virtuous Pedophiles, for those who acknowledge their taboo sexual interest without acting on it.
One of the co-founders of Virtuous Pedophiles, who goes by the pseudonym Ethan Edwards, said depression is so common among members that they have an ongoing poll on suicidal thoughts. While he acknowledged the results aren't scientific, they are nonetheless startling: Nearly 90 percent of responders said they have thought about killing themselves; 20 percent said they have tried.
Edwards, 60, who claims only to have realized he was a pedophile when he was well into middle age, said there are common reasons members give for feeling depressed. "Some just hate the awareness of the attraction itself. Some hate keeping a secret. Some hate having to be single. And a few worry about offending against a kid. I think a lot worry about not downloading child porn, which is a very compelling desire."
It's hard to feel sympathetic for someone who is depressed because they're resisting a temptation to watch child pornography. But even those who work with victims of child abuse stress the importance of separating pedophilic desire from behavior.
"Pedophilia refers to a strong sexual attraction to prepubescent children," said Dr. Ryan T. Shields, assistant scientist for the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at John Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Many people who commit sex crimes against children are not pedophiles—they are situational offenders who are actually more attracted to peers. Likewise, many pedophiles never act on their attraction because they don't want to hurt children."
Of course, these nuances are largely overlooked in mainstream media, which tends to use the terms "pedophile" and "child sex offender" interchangeably. The truth is that not all pedophiles are child molesters, and not all child molesters are truly pedophiles, according to Dr. Shields.
"When we assume that only 'monsters' or total strangers are capable of hurting our children, we fail to see, much less act on, evidence that something might be wrong in our own social circles, because none of us believes our friends, relatives, or partners are 'monsters' and therefore they couldn't possibly be trying to engage a child in sex," said Dr. Shields.
Yet in reality, he said, "most of the time child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows. In fact, half is committed by other children."
The "pedophile as monster" trope has also helped encourage the kind of vigilantism which, even when it doesn't lead to the horrific violence in Bristol, England, can still have terrible repercussions.
In 2013, someone accused 48-year-old Steven Rudderham of being a pedophile in a Facebook post. It's not clear what prompted the post (Rudderham had no record of sex offenses, and no one had complained to the police about him) but the post, which called him a "dirty perv," was circulated hundreds of times and Rudderham began receiving death threats. Three days later, Rudderham hanged himself.
The zenith or, depending on how you look at it, nadir of the vigilante justice movement came with Dateline NBC's show To Catch a Predator, which ran for three years until 2007 and featured stings operations where men seeking sex with children would be outed on TV. (The series was rebooted last year, and is now called Hansen vs. Predator.)
Men were lured via online chat rooms to safe houses where they would find themselves confronted by the show's host, Chris Hansen. In 2006, the show's crew joined police at the property of Louis Conradt, an assistant district attorney accused of grooming young boys online. After SWAT team members burst down the front door of his home in Murphy, Texas, Conradt shot himself in the head.
Much of the investigative work behind To Catch a Predator was carried out by volunteers from Perverted Justice, an online vigilante group that has made it their mission to expose pedophiles. Nickerson was targeted by the group after he outed himself as a pedophile in an online pedophilia forum.
"They called my job—I was working at Lowe's at the time—and got me fired," he told me. "Then someone in town found out and printed out my biography from the website and started leaving it around town. My dad's boss found out and fired him. My dad was mad at me and threw me out of the house."
Nickerson left town and went to live with a friend in Michigan. His depression grew worse and he started seeing a therapist. Before then, he had always steered clear of therapy, fearful that if he told a therapist about his sexual preference they would be bound by professional ethics to report him to authorities. This therapist didn't report him, but told him upfront there was little she could do for him since this was his sexuality and it wasn't likely to change.
While some people are unbothered by the idea of persecuting someone not because he committed a crime but because of a sexuality they didn't choose and don't want, there are good reasons to be against this kind of mob justice. While studying adolescents who sexually abused other children, Miner, the professor from the University of Minnesota, found these individuals had often grown up socially isolated and that this isolation "more likely predicts committing sex crimes against children as against committing other sorts of crimes."
"The less they have to lose, they less likely they are to adhere to social convention. It seems like it's to society's advantage to have those individuals with a propensity for acting out in some sort of deviant way to have better contact with social institutions, social norms, social involvement. That's a protective factor," Miner told me.
So pushing pedophiles further into the shadows by persecuting them at every turn may well increase the possibility that they will offend. Distancing pedophiles from society has also made some adopt extreme stances, like Tom O'Carroll, a British pedophile activist, who during the 1980s chaired a notorious pressure group called the Paedophile Information Exchange, which advocated abolishing consent laws completely. O'Carroll, who has been jailed for child pornography charges, admits on his blog that his views remain at odds with mainstream thinking with regards to "children's sexual self-determination."
Brett, while self-identifying as a pedophile, has "nothing but disdain and contempt" for people like O'Carroll, who are known within the pedophile community as "pro-contacters."
"It's partly because of that crowd so many people are unwilling to listen to me and pedophiles like me," he told me.
At the height of his depression, Todd Nickerson found himself being pushed towards the "pro-contact" agenda while using a pedophile forum, which he describes as being "like a cult" dominated by a few influential moderators.
"That's both the advantage and disadvantage of the internet," said Miner. "It allows these isolated people to reach out and find a likeminded community. The problem is that in reaching out they might make contact with those who encourage them in negative ways."
Nickerson said he eventually abandoned the forum and as he emerged from his depression was able "to see things for how they are, and not for how I want them to be."
It was around this time he also discovered Virtuous Pedophiles, which he credits with helping saving his life. Like Brett, he now works as a moderator on the site and is committed to helping other non-offending pedophiles find a way to learn to live with themselves in a world that still regards their existence as anathema.
"There are a lot of people out there who want to paint pedophiles as ticking time bombs and when you think that way it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy," said Nickerson. "But I'm here to say it doesn't have to be. I've been out for ten years and I've never abused a kid."
And while most of us are understandably horrified by Tom O'Carroll's belief system, it's worth considering how he believes he got to it. He told me that when he was younger he "accepted the general view that pedophilia must be harmful."
"Seeing only a bleak future with nothing to offer to a family or society or myself, I tried to take my own life," said O'Carroll. "If I had received some sympathetic help before it reached that point, my life might have taken a course for the better as many would see it: not so confrontational, working with society, not against it."
There is a new solution coming up for ugly old women. Normally they would just become man-hating feminists. But soon they can have their brains transplanted into a sex doll, and feel beautiful again.
In 2010 there were 38,364 documented suicides in America. This is roughly 1/10th of unsuccessful attempts (or parasuicides) committed. Though many of these are “cries for help” and are intentionally foiled by the person committing the act, some are genuinely unsuccessful. 25% of parasuicide victims will go on to success within a year. By far the most common and successful method of committing suicide is by gun, with 53-55% of successful suicides in the US using them. Second in popularity and success to suicide by gun is suicide by suffocation/hanging with roughly 22-25% using this method. Third to suffocation is poisoning, which includes intentional drug overdoses and consumption of toxic substances. About 18% use this method.
There are many other methods used, some uncommon due to circumstances such as the high amount of pain and discomfort experienced, or the fear associated with these methods. Some of these methods are downright unsuccessful, or are accidents occurring whilst crying for help.
These methods are as follow: Falling/jumping, cutting/piercing, drowning, self immolation, and transportation related suicides such as driving into walls, throwing yourself into a train, bus, car, etc. All methods, of course can be used in combination. ex: Slash your wrists, eat 80 Benadryl, douse yourself in gasoline, light a cigarette, and throw yourself off of an overpass in front of a Greyhound, semi, truck, Prius, etc. This will make a particularly newsworthy story, getting you the attention you sought in life for all of four days.
Suicide by Gun:
Chances of success increase when a shotgun is used in comparison to a rifle or handgun. This is due to the energy delivered on impact, as well as the scatter of projectiles, rather that one. However, a shotgun is harder to aim at more fatal points, such as the side and back of the head. Aiming at the head is of course a more fatal delivery point, as opposed to the chest or abdomen. By far the least successful method and delivery point being a handgun to the chest and/or abdomen. For a best possible result, use shotgun equipped with a solid lead slug, or double-aught (or larger) buckshot. Chances of success fall when using an unmaintained firearm, or old ammunition, as aged ammunition may not reach proper velocity or even discharge. The same effect applies to an unmaintained firearm. FMJ (full metal jacket rounds) also have a lesser chance of success as the round when expelled does not expand, creating a cleaner wound, and inflicting less damage on impact. A firearm is not suitable for a suicidal gesture, as the chances of success are much higher than other methods. Possible effects of failing: Disfigurement, paralysis, pain, infection, brain damage, damage to liver, spleen, diaphragm, and collapsed lungs.
The scene left behind, of course will not be pleasant for the person who finds you. Blood, bone and/or brain fragments spread over the area, facial disfigurement, and significant blood loss.
Suicide by Hanging:
There are two basic methods of hanging: simple suspension and drop. In simple suspension, death is most likely caused by asphyxiation due to the weight of the body being suspended in the noose. Death is also possible by arterial and/or vein compression, cutting off blood supply to the brain, or heart and lungs. In drop hanging, a platform is kicked out from under the person, and the person drops, instantly breaking the neck and rupturing the spinal cord, causing an almost instant death.
A key part of hanging is the knot. Tie a simple noose with some sturdy rope, such as hemp or manila. Test the noose, as it should tighten with applied pressure. The knot should sit behind your neck. The other end of the rope should be attached to something sturdy that will not move, or break, such as a hook, rafter, or railing. The knot should be tied securely to ensure that it doesn’t slip off of the surface. Strangulation can be achieved by sitting down, bending the knees, laying down, or kicking a platform (such as a chair) out from under you. Of course, it should be mentioned again that the rope should be sturdy, as the body will thrash in its death throes.
If the hanging is interrupted by discovery, rope breakage, or slippage, brain damage can occur. As with before, the scene left behind will not be pleasant for those who discover you. Often, the tongue will swell and protrude from the mouth; the face will often turn blue due to oxygen and blood deprivation. In all cases there will be defecation and urination.
Suicide by Drug Overdose:
When used as a sole means of suicide, drug overdose is seldom successful. The potency of street drugs commonly used (such as heroin) is commonly unreliable. MLD (minimum lethal dosage) is often hard to calculate and is somewhat unreliable due to outside factors such as weight, tolerance, and whether not a meal has been eaten recently. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a quick and painless method. It takes anywhere from 3 to 10 hours on average, depending on the drug taken. Several drugs cause convulsions before death. Even more drugs cause vomiting, fever, heart palpitations and pain. Drug overdose a risky and unreliable method.
An exit bag is a suicide apparatus that brings about a relatively quick and painless death. Manufactured out of a large plastic bag with a draw cord or a Velcro strap for neck fastening and an inert gas such as helium or nitrogen; it brings a quick end to things, without unwanted pain or panic. Unconsciousness sets in within minutes and death sets in within twenty minutes. The result is a quick and painless death with a body that seems serine and at peace. Of course if the act is interrupted it can result in brain damage, which is why it should be carried out in an undisturbed setting. A suicide bag is sometimes used along side with a drug overdose, in order to ensure the desired result.
Suicide by Jumping:
Death by jumping is effective if done from a sufficient height, and while it is not common in the United States, it makes up a large amount of suicides in many cities and countries around the world, such as Hong Kong. A jump should be performed at a height of 150 feet or higher above land, or 250 feet or higher above water. Of course, care should be taken to land on your head, as it would result in a quicker death. It is key to avoid a foot first water landing, as this could result in nonfatal injuries. Jumping is a difficult way to commit suicide as the natural self preservation instinct is to not fall from a great height. This is hard to overcome. This method, of course results in a fairly gruesome corpse.
Suicide by Train:
Suicide by train is a rather uncommon and extremely gruesome method to end your life with. Death can be rather quick, but it can also be drawn out and extremely painful. If you aren’t decapitated, there is a chance that you could bounce off of the train, and find one of your limbs on the tracks. Injuries can range from broken bones to amputations, and severe brain damage. Suicide by train can be traumatic to many people such as train drivers, cleanup crews, and the family member/ loved one that will have to identify your body later on at the scene or in the morgue.
Wrist cutting is mostly practiced as a method of self harm rather than suicide, though it occasionally leads to death due to unchecked bleeding that can lead to shock, and loss of consciousness. Often survivors find that they have limited use of their hands due to severed tendons and loss of nerve use and the ability to touch. Though it may seem like the only option or a quick way out of your problems, suicide is effectively stealing everything from your, as well as your loved one’s future. Often the reasoning behind it is faulty, selfish, and subjective. One should always look at every available option and make an educated decision when it comes to serious situations and decisions such as suicide. When you say you’re alone in something remember that there are over seven billion others, most living and functioning in worse condition than you.
You probably have to look at imagery of death and dying regularly to stay focused on what really counts in life: great sex before you are gone anyway.
While human rights activists strive to prevent human trafficking, others voluntarily turn to trading their bodies and seem to be okay with that. For a girl named Kim, swapping her virginity for some wheels and a good education seems like a pretty good deal.
Have you ever thought about the bounty your own body could represent? The ways to sell it are more varied than you might expect. Donating blood is probably the most widespread and noble method of legally selling yourself — or, in most cases, giving it away. Selling a kidney would definitely mean more money, but it's not legal everywhere, and can also bring truly terrible long-term side effects. It's generally discouraged — unless the organ is needed to save someone's life, of course.
Kim is harkening back to one of the oldest trades in the world: she's set up an auction… to sell her virginity to the highest bidder! And at quite a price: Kim set the starting bid at $112,000.
"Should I give my virginity to a man who later on maybe will break up with me or is it better to take a lot of money instead?" her offer, published on the Cinderella Escorts website, reads.
Cinderella Escorts is a website from Germany, where prostitution is legal. The company agreed to become an intermediator for Kim in exchange for as much as 20 percent from a successful deal.
"You can send us a binding offer for her virginity. The buyer can check her virginity of course again from a doctor the buyer trusts," the website reads.
Kim says she wants the money to fund studies in Germany or Austria.
But why would she do that? Turns out, Kim is going to put the money to a good use: to study in Germany or Austria. Education is a noble cause, no doubt — so noble that Germany not long ago made its public universities tuition free. (Though according to topuniversities.com, this is not going to last long. Hurry up, Kim!)
The teen also says she hopes the sale will bring in enough to pay her for an apartment and "maybe also buy a car." With the change, apparently.
Kim's not the first person to sell her virginity — one might say Western society only recently abandoned that practice, in fact — but if she does, she's got a high bar to reach. Eighteen-year-old Aleexandra Khefren in March sold her own virginity to a Hong Kong businessman for more than $2.5 million, and pledged to spend the money on an Oxford University. There is no news on whether the transaction has been finalized.
Restore freedom: No taxes on alcohol and nicotine. When feminism cripples male sexuality, there must be something else that feels good before we die anyway.
A horrific video allegedly showing soldiers burying a man alive has been posted online.
It shows four men wearing camouflage uniforms and balaclavas throwing the man into an open grave.
The man is clearly alive and his feet can be seen moving once he is lying in the ground.
A voice can reportedly be heard in the background saying in Ukrainian: 'He is not dead yet.'
The shocking film was first broadcast on Russian channel TV Zvezda, which claims it shows Ukrainian soldiers murdering a pro-Russian separatist.
The 'soldiers' shovel earth on top of their 'victim' until he is apparently completely buried.
One then rams his shovel upside down into the soil as a rudimentary grave marker.
The latest video follows on from a clip in February this year, also shot in Ukraine, that reportedly showed Russian militants torturing a drug dealer.
The victim was seen being brutally whipped while tied to a wooden post in southern Ukraine's Donetsk Oblast region. He begs for his life as he is repeatedly beaten with electrical cables by a masked militant, leaving him with a bruised and bloodied back.
The man was then reported missing and presumed dead following the shocking 'punishment' in the town of Communar, which is currently occupied by pro-Russian rebels.
The latest video, this time from pro Ukrainian forces, has gone viral after being posted on video-sharing websites however many viewers have doubted its authenticity.
They point out that TV Zvezda is a propaganda channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defence and say viewers should be sceptical.
Tensions remain high between Ukraine and Russia following the annexing of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea by Russia in 2014.
It followed a military intervention by Russia in Crimea, which took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine considers the annexation to be a violation of international law and agreements by Russia and it has been condemned by the UN and many world leaders.
This site teaches an understanding of reality. Reality is brutal. Death is often brutal. And if death isn't brutal for the way it happens, then it is still brutal as a fact of life. We are all goners.
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