What’s Current: The purchase of sex has been criminalized in the Republic of Ireland

Today, the Sexual Offences Bill passed in the Republic of Ireland, criminalizing the purchase of sex. Big congrats to our sisters who worked so hard to get this bill passed!

A trial in Newfoundland raises the question of whether or not child sex dolls constitute child porn. Pedophilia apologist and psychologist James Cantor comments:

“It is a piece of latex. So, if there is no victim where is there, exactly, a harm being committed?”

Cantor argues society should be more accepting of pedophiles, stating, “By stigmatizing [pedophiles] so strongly, we’ve just driven them underground.”

In his new book, the “Cannibal Cop” (Gilberto Valle), discusses his wife’s discovery of his plot to kill and eat her (and other women). Valle writes:

“It was not that I thought anything was wrong with me; I was just aroused by certain things, just like everyone else. Just because my template was different didn’t mean I thought that it was a big problem. I would never harm anyone in real life, so why did I care what turned me on?”

Maybe these men are right, and it’s no big deal! It’s not like destigmatizing male violence against women and children leads to actual violence… Oh, wait, never mind: Russian city sees domestic violence incidents double after Putin decriminalizes beatings.

Researchers find that 50 Shades of Grey depicts rape and emotional abuse by legal and clinical definition. Caitlin Roper writes:

“Despite this, Fifty Shades has become a global phenomenon, inspiring a range of merchandise including lingerie, wine, sex toys, hotel packages, hardware stores selling Fifty Shades packs including rope and duct tape, and even baby onesies emblazoned with handcuffs and the slogan ‘I pretend Christian Grey is my daddy.’

So what happens when a film series of this magnitude frames domestic abuse and male violence against women as sexy and desirable? What message does it send to women and girls, and also to men and boys? Who benefits from widespread acceptance of the belief women and girls secretly want and enjoy sexual violence?”

Luckily, some U.S. law enforcement agencies are sending the message that male violence is unacceptable. The National Johns Suppression Initiative led to the arrest of 522 johns and 30 pimps on Super Bowl Sunday. Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Thomas J. Dart comments:

“Sex trafficking continues to destroy countless lives, and this broad national movement should send a strong message to prospective johns that their ‘hobby’ is much more than a ‘victimless’ crime… It’s particularly meaningful that this sting culminated on the day of the Super Bowl, which unfortunately has emerged as a prominent haven for sex trafficking.”

Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.