Enslaving Sex Objects
Every day, girls are kidnapped and forced into sexual slavery. Stella Marr was attending Columbia University, working to make a good life for herself and escape the abuses of home. But the more she succeeded, the more violent her mother became. Her mom finally kicked her out of the house. A friend knew a friend who needed a roommate. But when she got to the apartment three men beat and raped her and locked her in a tiny room with no window. Next, they forced her into prostitution. Men bought her for sex, and some who knew she was enslaved didn’t care.
Not so long ago, even Osaka’s Mayor, Toru Hashimoto, excused sex slavery – at least in times of war — explaining that soldiers need “comfort women”:
When soldiers are risking their lives by running through storms of bullets, and you want to give these emotionally charged soldiers a rest somewhere, it’s clear that you need a comfort women system.
Then there are men who kidnap girls for their own uses. Like Cleveland’s Ariel Castro who was arrested last month for locking three young women in his house — even chaining them in his basement in the early years — while he emotionally, physically and sexually abused them.
And right now trial has begun in the Bay Area over the gang rape of a 16-year-old Richmond girl who was lured by a “friend” who saw her walking home early from a high school dance. The girl was “slapped, punched, kicked, robbed, urinated on, groped and raped by both people and objects,” according to a news report. As many as 20 men were involved. Some laughed and took pictures. The ringleader said he wanted to “pimp her out.” Her enslavement was more short-lived, but nearly fatal.
Do these men have no sense of women as human beings? Are they mere objects that exist to sexually satiate men?
Instead of living fulfilling, growing lives, developing their potential and creating bonds with family and friends, these women are kept in small, dark rooms, beaten and raped. They are denied health care. Some are starved. One of the women Castro kidnapped was starved and beaten to induce miscarriages — from five pregnancies. About three quarters of Japan’s sex slaves died, while survivors were often left infertile from trauma or from STDs.
Kris Mohandie, a forensic psychologist who works with long-term kidnapping cases says, “These are some of the most catastrophic kinds of experiences a human being can be subjected to.”
He also says that when a man abducts a woman for his own personal pleasure — and for her pain — he has “had longstanding fantasies of capturing, controlling, abusing and dominating women.”
And that, in turn, comes out of a pornified culture that objecifies women and ties eroticism to their abuse.
You don’t find sexuality and violence tied together in every culture. Indians of America’s east coast were free from that sort of violence when Europeans first arrived. The Arapesh still don’t “get” rape.
But inside of violent, objectifying porn cultures, some men both find violence against women arousing and enact their fantasies in real life.
All the more likely when women are seen as mere objects that don’t deserve empathy as a result of objectification.
Violent pornography is also correlated with both aggressive behavior and men becoming more callus toward women who are sexually assaulted, says Robert Johnson of the University of Texas.
But the whole culture has become pornified, so it’s not just pornography that’s at fault. As Slippery Rock University’s women’s studies director observed about the Ariel Castro case:
Sadly, in a world that endlessly replicates and sexualizes male domination of women, I am not surprised that this “fantasy” narrative has been literalized. Though there are doubtless myriad factors that contributed to this nightmare crime, I hope that one positive outcome is broader critical analyses of how pornography normalizes the domination and degradation of women in pervasive and damaging ways.
Some wonder why we don’t talk about this. Maybe because critiques of violent, degrading porn seem anti-sex. But there are plenty of non-violent and non-degrading ways to enjoy sex!
Posted on June 14, 2013, in feminism, objectification, pornography, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged feminism, objectification, pornography, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.