More News

// 25 November 2008

The UK now has specific legislation to try and prevent forced marriages. This includes the right to issue an injunction to prevent a young person being taken abroad and to force family members to disclose the location of a person who may be forced into marriage. Of interest is also the Conservative spokesperson’s woeful lack of knowledge in effectively claiming forced marriages weren’t already illegal in the UK – when, of course, they are. Never let a fact get in the way of political point scoring though…

A British man is being tried for raping his two daughters over a 25 year period and making them pregnant a combined total of at least nineteen times. The elder daughter has two surviving children and the younger daughter five surviving children. The man apparently “took pleasure” in the harm he was causing to his children.

Amazingly the sex industry has claimed lap dancing isn’t sexually stimulated (I am sure that will disappoint and deter many lap dancing clients). Simon Warr, Chair of the Lap Dancing Association made the claim to a Parliamentary Select Committee. Additionally worrying is Peter Stringfellow’s claim that “a little girl flashing away with her knickers showing” is sexually stimulating. So at least we know where he stands then.

Also in UK news, health professionals are concerned about the rise in young women diagnosed with STIs. By young, here, we’re talking under 20 years old. Scotland saw more than 3,000 STI infections in this age group in 2007 plus another 3,000 in females aged 20-24 years. Most diagnoses were for chlamydia (68% under 20s and 63% 20-24 year olds) followed by genital warts (37% under 20s and 30% 20-24 year olds). 70% of chlamydia diagnoses are to under 25s. This is against a background of rising STI infections in heterosexual men and women. Obviously this may be a sign that more young women are being tested for STIs but a rise in infection rate is worrying.

Kath Viner has a moving retrospective on Andrea Dworkin in the Guardian. And Jennifer Drew has a powerful story over at Global Sisterhood Network on Jeffrey Marsallis – a date rapist who evades punishment.

And in case anyone misses it in the comments on the Reclaim the Night write-up, here’s a low res video clip from a reader which give a much better sense of the excitement and energy of the march.

Comments From You

JENNIFER DREW // Posted 25 November 2008 at 6:59 pm

As always when reporting cases of rises in STI’s the focus is consistently on numbers of women contracting these diseases. STI’s are predominantly passed from male to female via intimate sexual contact not the reverse. So the real worry is the numbers of men carrying STI’s who then infect female partners. But of course when giving numbers of women contracting STI’s the inference is such women are ‘sexually promiscuous’ never the fact men are ‘sexually promiscuous’ in passing STI’s on to women.

I would be most interested to know the numbers of men who have contracted chlamydia because this disease is not just a woman’s one it also resides in men but the difference is men pass it on to women not the reverse.

Stringfellow’s claim that a young girl inadvertently showing her underwear is sexually stimulating obviously shows where his ‘sexual desires lie.’ Young girls do not deliberately show their underwear in order to sexually entice adult males. It is adult males and older boys who re-interpret such actions as ‘sexually stimulating to them.’ This neatly proves ‘sexual stimulation’ is a social construction because males are taught what is supposedly ‘sexually stimulating to males.’ Therefore, a pair of old boots can be ‘sexually stimulating’ to a male if he is taught by society such an image is ‘sexually stimulating to men.’

Lisa // Posted 26 November 2008 at 10:39 am

I’m not sure I follow Jennifer’s STI point. How do the men become infected with the STI in the first place ? Surely STI’s are gender-blind and are passed on male-female, male-male, male-female-female-male-male (depending who and how many are in a group sex session) and even female-female (oral sex with an infected women, sharing of sex toys etc). Women are more likely to be tested either because they are more likely to have symptoms or more likely to have routine tests.

Sex with anyone carries a risk of virus-bacteria transmission and whilst some acts are riskier than others EVERYONE has to practise safe sex. There’s a responsibilty to educate young people fully about the realities of sexual hygiene for want of a better word and these statistics show that this is sadly not happening. Far too many adults confuse ignorance with innocence and in an attempt to maintain the latter, promote the former.

Rumbold // Posted 26 November 2008 at 11:18 am

Forced marriages weren’t illegal in the UK, as there was no specific offence of ‘forcing someone to marry’, until now. There were of course laws relating to aspects of forced marriages, such as kidnap.

Louise Livesey // Posted 26 November 2008 at 12:01 pm

I think what we’re grasping around is that forced marriages were prohibited but weren’t criminal (as in legally all marriages undertaken on UK soil had to be freely entered into but there was no law criminalising forced marriages).

But the forced marriage laws solve the loophole that UK citizens were being taken abroad to be forcibly married and there was no specific offence for that situation. We’re all welcoming that it’s a way forward – I just lament the fact that rather than saying “This is a good step” the Tories felt the need to say “We would do more than this”. I’d wonder what more there is to be done – you shouldn’t be able to have forced marriage on UK soil already and now you can’t force someone abroad for marriage.

Rumbold // Posted 26 November 2008 at 8:27 pm


I agree that the Tories don’t seem to have any better ideas.

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