What’s Current: It’s not only Oxfam — men across the charitable sector traffick women and children

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • Julie Bindel explains that it isn’t just Oxfam, the abuse of prostituted women and trafficked children is epidemic among men working in the international charity and rescue sector. Meanwhile, Oxfam is facing new allegations that staff used prostituted women in Chad, and the Haitian government is demanding Oxfam hand over their files on staff who paid for sex.
  • Brendan Cox, former husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in Cambridge, MA, weeks after he resigned from Save The Children amid complaints that he’d sexually harassed female colleagues.
  • The laws in 35 US states allow police to claim that individuals in their custody can “consent” to sex, and potentially avoid misconduct charges for abusing their authority.
  • Phillipine President Rodrigo Duterte has directed soldiers dealing with guerrilla rebels to shoot-to-mutilate when fighting women, saying, “We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina… If there is no vagina, it would be useless.”
  • Members of the famous women-only swimming pond on Hampstead Heath in London met to discuss “perspectives on transgender swimming” after a controversial decision to allow trans-identified men access. Activists from radical feminist group Mayday 4 Women stood outside the meeting urging members to lobby to “keep the Hampstead Heath ladies’ pond a sanctuary for women.”


Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • lk

    Oxfam CEO: “With hindsight, I would much prefer that we had talked about sexual misconduct, but I don’t think it was in anyone’s best interest to be describing the details of the behaviour in a way that was actually going to draw extreme attention to it.”

    So your male aid workers raped women for money and you don’t want to draw attention to it?!

    This makes perfect sense: Why would we want to draw attention to men who rape women?

    Oh my god…

    “Our code of conduct now stipulates: ‘I will also not exchange money, offers of employment, employment, goods or services for sex or sexual favours.’”

    That should have been in OXFAM’s code of conduct from day 1. How sad is it that this has to be explained to men in the charitable world?

    They are using their power, money and connection to the charity to take advantage of extremely vulnerable, impoverished women and girls. The women and girl in Haiti who lost literally everything in the earthquake and were suffering daily did not “choose” to prostitute..they did it to survive and any man who would buy a woman in those conditions is deeply lacking in any sense of right or wrong and basic human compassion.

  • lk

    And the trans movement continues to erode at the existence of women-only spaces…..

    “I understand that people are frightened of men, that’s why we have female-only spaces. [Excluding trans women] says you see these women as men but they are not, they are women, just trans women. There is more to being a woman than your genitalia.”

    This is not a matter of seeing transwomen as men…it is just a matter of fact:…Transwomen ARE men.

    I continue to be confused at women’s support of the trans-movement…I have no idea how it can benefit women to always have men around, to never have any space that is truly female only..

  • Rachael

    Mumsnet (mostly U.K. forum) are full of newbie radfems right now. It’s amazing! Loads of gender critical posts. It’s the most openly rad fem forum I’ve seen this side of the pond.

    Talking of ponds, much love to Mayday! <3

  • Amy

    I hope Terf does that too. They can call me any name they want, say any horrible thing about me, if it helps women find radfems, then its a good thing to me.

  • FierceMild

    Radicalism is scary. Most women don’t want to devote their lives to the cause of feminism; they’d rather be authors or scientists or actors etc. if you look at Patriarchy head on you have to then grapple with the fact that you will never make a decision free from its influence. That’s a bitter pill, friend.

  • Ada

    Yes, but my main point is that these men are like pedhophilles who intentionaly seek out jobs and positions with access to most vulnerable. Doing with woman whatever they want without impunity is most mens dream come true, they are just sick f*cks.

    • Jani

      Yes. I definitely think there are those who get into those jobs because they can get at the vulnerable without any fear of getting caught because they believe that they will be seen as above suspicion, being such “good” people. But I’m not so convinced it’s just the “predatory” sort. Or perhaps the culture has been gradually normalising this kind of behaviour, through the abhorrent mainstreaming of porn and porn culture, the proliferation of lap dancing and strip clubs and sexualised imagery selling just about everything. It’s now considered no big deal for a group of men from the UK to go off on a “lad’s weekend” to a European sex tourism destination, such as Amsterdam
      (Not that I’m a fan of the Daily Mail but I found this link on Julie Bindel’s Twitter)

      So, if it’s becoming more “normalised” to consume increasingly violent and misogynistic pornography, get a woman to strip in front of you for your loose change and go off for a weekend of all-inclusive brothel sex, is it any surprise that men will feel entitled to rape and prostitute vulnerable women and girls in parts of the world where women have no power, no authorities to protect them, nobody to believe them? I’m not surprised. Maybe I’m just damaged. I don’t know. But although I accept that there are manipulated predators who infiltrate many organisations, I also believe that we’re living in a rape culture that’s getting worse as misogyny and sexual abuse are quite literally sold as “fun”.

  • Bleeps3

    Libfems dishonesty on porn and the bathroom issue, as well as their total unwillingness to talk about actual goals, like increasing the rape conviction rate. It became clear that they would rather things regress than give up having the proper opinions and the social reinforcement they get from that, even anonymously. I sympathize with trans* and have for many years, but the shutting down of women who worry about men doing the fucked up things they do now having cover JUST by stating they are women really blew my mind. I was headed in a stronger feminist direction before, but that was the kicker. Classism was a big part of why I didn’t want to listen to their preaching about “inclusivity” anymore, either. It’s OK to look down on poor people as long as they’re white, in their minds, and I do think that fueled a lot of anger that helped elect Trump.

  • OldPolarBear

    Good night grief! I was in elementary school in a small Iowa town in the 1960s and no way would this have been a policy. It was a rather authoritarian place and time but I don’t think they would have even thought of this. Be respectful, be kind, be polite yes but you didn’t have to dance with somebody if you didn’t want to.

    Anyway, why is an elementary-school “Valentine’s Day Dance” even a thing? Can’t we wait until at least junior high for the full-court press on compulsory heterosexuality? Give these kids just a bit of a break in the relentless sexualization.

  • Can’tUnseeIt


  • acommentator

    I was in law school in the late 80s and had access to law review articles for a few years afterwards. Radical feminism was pretty influential in the law schools. Catharine MacKinnon was widely read and there were others. There were liberal feminists writing too, of course (and a few “different voice” feminists too, I think), and the quality of the debate between the schools of thought was, to my mind, higher in that setting than in most others.

    My significant other at the time was interested in feminist legal issues, which sparked my interest, so I read a lot of law review articles on the subject (from various perspectives) as long as I had access to them. (You needed access to the hard copies, or a computer research system such as Westlaw).

    My sense is that radical feminism had a lot of staying power in the law schools.

    I wonder what the situation is now? Maybe someone on here has more recent exposure to this? The time I was familiar with were before the ascendency of identity politics.

    • Jani

      I just see “radical” feminism as just straightforward feminism. This so called “liberal feminism” is really about buying overpriced shit and pleasing men. That’s not feminism. That’s just being a good little consumer and being a conformist people pleaser.

  • Cassandra

    TERF is *definitely* helping women discover true feminism (again). The transgender issue was definitely a major factor in what cleared things up for me.

    • Jani

      Haha! Yes! TERF is such a stupid word too. If anyone uses it as a term of abuse, I just laugh at how idiotic and ignorant they are advertising themselves to be.

  • Cassandra

    When I first read that hideous man’s words I *almost* laughed. First of all, there was no actual point to what he said but pure misogyny. How do you really shoot a vagina? You’d have to shoot the abdomen, which likely *would* kill a person.

    Second, wouldn’t having a useless vagina be an advantage for women in so many ways? It’s like Wanda Sykes’ detachable pu**y! You couldn’t be raped (the traditional way at least) and you couldn’t be impregnated and forced to be an incubator. I mean, unless they kill you for not being rape-able or having incubator potential (not unheard of or totally unlikely), it would be a relief during your childbearing years to be of no use to motherfucker males, which, unfortunately, so many of them seem to be.

  • lk

    ” Women who disagree with the ‘movement’ are ‘bigots’ (that’s my favorite one so far, shocked they haven’t started calling us Nazis yet)”

    Give them time…I’m sure they’ll be accusing of us of being just like Nazis any day now…

    TRA’s love to use terms like hatred, bigotry, discrimination, bias to describe anyone who acknowledges the biological existence of male and female…

  • lk

    “It is unbelievable that this has to be WRITTEN INTO A POLICY in this day and age. It is similar to the other story that cops must be told not to rape women and girls in their custody in the US. There must be a specific law enacted for police to refrain from RAPE?”

    IKR….like why should we have to explain to men who are arresting females not to rape them? Why should we have to explain to men who are their to help women in crisis like in Hatiti to not rape the women…

    I’m familiar with driving while black/poor…but I’ve never heard driving while pretty….I’m not surprised though. So often men in power seem more interested in using that power to use and abuse women than in actually helping them.

  • lk

    There is more to being a woman than your genitalia…Who you are is between your ears not between your legs..Being a woman has nothing to do with plumbing..

    They repeat these mantras over and over. But I have yet to read a rational explanation of what it means to be a human female..since according to TRA’s reproductive systems have nothing to do with it.

  • Jani

    The first of what will probably be many accounts of sexual assaults perpetrated by Oxfam staff. Here, a female aid worker tells of her ordeals in Haiti and South Sudan:

    I just hope that the vulnerable women and girls who were in need of aid and assistance — the people who the public believed their donations were helping — are going to feel confident enough to come forward and tell of the injustices committed against them.

    I don’t know about the women who comment here, but every day since #MeToo kicked off I feel so distressed at these accounts by women of what they have endured. Perhaps as a survivor I have some unresolved trauma and perhaps I find it difficult to distance my own feelings when I read or hear these stories, but are other women feeling it too? The sheer number of personal experiences in the mainstream media is overwhelming yet I feel that every voice should be heard and every perpetrator made to accept responsibility for his actions and face the legal consequences. No rapist should go unpunished and no victim should ever be afraid to come forward and seek justice. And the depressing thing is, the perpetrators have had their backs covered for so fucking long, they’ve created a system that has so far protected them. I so want to see an end to this injustice.

  • Jani

    I get confused. When I was growing up in the UK it was either socialist feminism or revolutionary feminism, and there were separatist feminists too. I found the squabbling between leftist groups was always their downfall. I don’t know what happened. All the various movements fizzled out anyway. These days it’s the causes of radical feminism that are the real deal. I’ve always been politically on the left. That’s the culture I’m from – working class, from an area of social and economic deprivation. I’m a slum clearance kid who grew up with the welfare state. I was raised to be a worker, not a wife, and not to rely on a husband who’ll only drink his wages before supporting his family. So I’m left in my politics because I believe in the fair distribution of wealth and equal opportunities for all in housing, education and health care. But I am also against sexually based oppression of women. I’ve grown up where domestic violence is “normal” and sexual violence against women goes unreported. I was critical of the middle class bias in feminism when I was younger but we were addressing issues of class and race in the UK as far back as the 1980s. I hate this garbage that masquerades as “liberal feminism” now. No fucking wonder Weinstein and Terry Richardson got away with their abhorrent behaviour. The culture,which they helped to shape and influence, trained women to believe sexualised oppression equals “empowerment”. Like wearing some stupid dress on a red carpet actually means anything other than being controlled by what the (patriarchal) culture says a woman is.