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Her Name Was Susan Cox Powell

Her name was Susan Cox Powell.

We went to high school together.  Though we didn’t know one another very well, we had a lot of mutual friends.  I remember her as someone who was gracious, intelligent, and kind.  Susan had a beautiful smile.  She disappeared in 2009.  Interviews with Susan’s friends have shown that her relationship with her husband was abusive.  He shoved her, slapped her, wouldn’t allow her to buy groceries for the family, and locked her out of the house.   Her father-in-law had a disturbing obsession with her, and took voyeuristic photographs of her.  Susan left a will in a safe deposit box that said if she disappeared it “wouldn’t be an accident”.

Her sons’ names were Charlie and Braden.

They were taken on an impromptu “camping” trip at 12:30am, in the middle of a snowstorm, by their father, the night that Susan disappeared.  Three years later, Charlie and Braden had started talking about that night.  Braden drew a picture of a car with three occupants, and when he was asked about his drawing, he said “Mommy’s in the trunk”.  One year ago today, they were killed by their father, who took a hatchet to their tiny bodies before setting a fire that would ultimately kill all three.

I am convinced that Susan’s husband killed her.  I am convinced that we will likely never find her, her friends and family will probably never have closure.  I am convinced that we should learn from this, that we should be tireless advocates for those who are abused by their partners.

  • Intimate partner homicides account for 30% of all deaths of women.
  • Everyday, in the US, three women are murdered by their partner.
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
  • Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.

It is easy to think that you are smarter than a woman in an abusive relationship.  It is easy, to look at the situation, and think “she should have left him”.  In reality, it is incredibly difficult to leave an abusive relationship, especially when you have children.  It is common for abusive partners to use children as a way to get their partner to stay in the abusive relationship.  According to her will, Susan’s husband told her that he would “destroy” her if she tried to leave him.

It is hard to be the friend or family member of someone who is in an abusive relationship.  It is hard not to have those thoughts.  It is hard to watch someone’s personality deteriorate in the face of abuse.  It is hard to be supportive, to lend an ear, to watch your friend or family member walk back into the home they share with their abusive partner.  The National Domestic Violence Hotline has some very helpful tips on how to help a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship.

Since the National Domestic Violence Hotline was established, domestic violence and intimate partner homicide has taken a drastic downward turn.  The Hotline is funded by the Violence Against Women Act.  The VAWA is currently being debated by our nation’s elected leaders, and it may not be re-authorized.  This would be an unspeakable tragedy.  Please, write to your senator, write to your congressional representative.  Tell them to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

Her name was Susan Cox Powell.

Her sons were Charlie and Braden.

I am burning a candle in their memory today.

I am also emailing my representatives, in their memory, to try and make sure that other women in her situation have the resources necessary to leave abusive relationships.

 

Edit: For those of you who would like a form letter, please see the one I have drafted below.

Dear Senator/Representative/Congresswoman/Congressman   ,

I am writing you today in memory of  Susan Cox Powell, and her sons, Charlie and Braden, to urge you to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

This act provides the funding necessary to assist women who are in domestic violence situations, and since its inception in 1994, the number of domestic violence incidences have decreased dramatically.

Decreasing domestic violence is not a partisan issue.

Sincerely,

AsapSCIENCE

There is a lot of misinformation about Plan B, also known as the Morning After pill.  I’ve found that a lot of this is spewed by the same people who fail at basic chemistry (I’m looking at you, people who believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old!), and this video does a pretty fantastic job at explaining exactly how Plan B works.  Contrary to what those protesting Planned Parenthood would have you believe, Plan B is not an abortifacient, in fact, if the fertilized egg has already implanted, it cannot harm the zygote.  I know so many people who actually believe that Plan B is the same as RU486, the abortion pill.  This is patently untrue.  Plan B prevents unintended pregnancies, and RU486 aborts unintended pregnancies.

Another cool video from AsapSCIENCE explains some of the biological responses that men and women experience during orgasm.  I’m sure that little in that video will be surprising to readers of this blog (savvy smart people that you are).  I did find it both interesting and slightly vindicating that there is actual research to prove what many men and women in the BDSM scene have been saying for ages: that pain and pleasure are linked.

I’m really looking forward to more videos explaining the science behind sex.  What did you think of these videos?

Sex Positivism In Medicine

It looks like medical professionals are getting on the sex-positive bandwagon, and it’s about time.

Yesterday, the American Association of Pediatrics recommended that pediatricians give their young female patients advance prescriptions for Plan B.  For those of you outside the US, if you are under 18, you cannot get Plan B over the counter, and need a prescription.  Plan B has been available over the counter for those 18 and over for about a year now.

The FDA originally decided that it should be available over the counter to everyone, regardless of age, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s decision because of her doubts that young women under 18 would use it properly.  This is despite Plan B being safer to use than aspirin or ibuprofen, especially since it is impossible to overdose on Plan B.

This comes one week after the American College of OB/GYNs has recommended that hormonal birth control pills be available for everyone over the counter, just like condoms.  I can’t tell you how excited this makes me.  It is so important that young women have access to things like this, so they can engage in healthy sexual activity without fear of parental judgement, pregnancy, or the heartbreaking choice of abortion.

With studies showing that teenagers in the US have less sex than teenagers in other first world countries, but are getting pregnant more often, access to emergency birth control in conjunction with comprehensive sex education could help that pregnancy rate continue to decline.

No More Nudity, San Francisco

In a somewhat sad turn of events, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has voted to ban public nudity.

Yeah, I can understand the sentiment behind the ban.  The number of people who are grossed out or who find public nudity disturbing far outweigh people like myself, who find it mildly amusing at best.  I always giggled a little when I saw our resident nudists in the Castro, and I found it outright hilarious when one of the gentlemen decided to go to Fisherman’s Wharf and give the tourists an eyeful.  There were three women who were running from him and screaming while laughing.  I’m sure they will be regaling their friends back home with the story of “that weird naked guy” they saw in San Francisco for years to come.

San Francisco has always been the place to go to push the envelope and challenge the status quo. From the Summer of Love in 1969, to Harvey Milk, to the Pride Parade, to Folsom Street Fair (don’t google that at work, please), we are a haven for those who don’t fit in with mainstream society.  The nudists were part of that push against normalcy.

As a part of our mainstream society, it seems that people automatically equate nudity with sexuality.  Naked bodies mean sex in popular culture.  If you are a parent taking an adorable picture of your child in the bathtub, you’re suspected of child pornography, not thinking your child’s chubby thighs are cute.

If you want to sit outside and sip your coffee while naked, then you’re assumed to find the idea that someone is looking at you arousing.  But that’s not what nudity is about.  Just like any other subculture there are cultural rules, like putting down a towel before you sit down somewhere, and becoming visibly aroused is explicitly within the realm of Not Okay for nudists. It is about being free from clothing, not exhibitionism or voyeurism.  It has absolutely nothing to do with sex, and I really think that is what the general population doesn’t understand.

I find it sad that the Board of Supervisors have banned public nudity.  It seems like a cultural step backwards for San Francisco, especially considering the city’s rich history of being socially progressive.  No one was being harmed by the city’s nudists.  In fact, it forced me to re-think my attitude about nudity, and come to the conclusion that my initial feelings of “ewwww” were due to cultural conditioning.

There is nothing gross about the human body.  It’s a pity that we can’t all just grow up and say, “If you don’t like it, don’t look!”

What on EARTH Are We Teaching Children?

While engaging on twitter regarding my post on Tuesday, one of the awesome people I follow re-tweeted some very disturbing images.  The original poster’s brother came home from school with a classmate’s paper.  This paper is supposed to be a debate piece, and it argues about rape and pregnancy by citing Todd Akin and 12th century British texts.  This kid is apparently 15 years old.

I took debate for 3 years in high school.  Let’s go point for point here.

You can view the pictures of the paper here and here.  For those of you too lazy to click, here is the entire paper, that I have painstakingly transcribed for you, typos and all, with my commentary:

Ladies and gentlemen: the topic for today’s speech is that: women who get pregnant after rape were not really raped.

I firmly agree that women who get pregnant after rape were not really raped.

Firstly, this is stated in the book of Fleta published in circa 1290.

In addition, this is a long lived legal argument and is also contained in Samuel Farr’s Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, published in 1814.

In this case, young sir, you are correct.  Farr did indeed make this argument, and the Fleta did discuss this very topic.  However, Farr also believed that the normal signs of puberty in a young girl were sufficient evidence that she could not be raped (because if she was undergoing puberty, then she probably was having sex), and he also believed that an imbalance of “humours” were the way that someone became sick.

Moreover, this valid medical point is supported by many reputable, well-educated and informed people such as Todd Akin, Senator Steve King, Dr. Fred Mecklenburg and GP John C Wilke to my first argument.

I’m sorry, what?  For starters, politicians are never a good source for a medical argument, so we are striking those two right off the bat, especially since they both cite your third and fourth examples of “reputable, well-educated and informed people” for their poorly informed arguments.

Firstly:

This is stated in the book of Fleta, which was the standard legal handbook of Britain in the 13th century.

“For without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act, no conception can probably take place.  So that if an absolute rape were to be perpetrated, she would not become pregnant.”

This paragraph is from book one volume two, although this is an old point, it makes it no less valid and is stated in many other medical journals.

This clearly demonstrates both the value of the book of Fleeta and even in the 13th century that people and Doctors knew the truth about rape and pregnancy.

Yes, the Fleta was the standard legal handbook during the time of Edward IV.  You have that correct.  But that is most definitely not from the Fleta.  In fact, that quote comes directly from your second source.  Not the Fleta.  Doctors in the 13th centry also believed in trepanning, bloodletting, and that birthmarks were a sign that a child was conceived via witchcraft.  13th century physicians are not reputable sources for your arguments here.

And now to my second point,

Sir Samuel Farr, who was a reputable doctor and medical researcher with over seven published medical journals, stated that:

“If, however, the woman should have conceived at the time alleged in the appeal, it abates, for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive.”

Although this was published in 1814, this was a time of many medical breakthroughs and is still constantly being proven by doctors and medical researchers and has the full support of many people.

Oh! There’s the quotation from the Fleta!  Really, young sir, this was poor debating strategy on your part, and indicates that you were not paying much attention to your paper.

I believe that there is an underlying point to both of the original arguments that you are missing.  At both of these points in history, doctors actually believed that a woman could not conceive if she did not orgasm during intercourse. In fact, both of these treatises drew from the ideas that a woman’s sexual organs were simply the inverse of a man’s.  The vagina was an inverted penis, the ovaries were actually testes, the uterus was a scrotum, etc.  I’m sorry, was that too much for your still-developing brain to handle?  Of course, “many medical breakthroughs” that are “still constantly being proven by doctors and medical researchers” have shown this to be patently false.

Thirdly,

This has the support of many reputable people such as:

  • Todd Akin, who is a reputable politician and Republican, he is also a strong Christian and family man.
  • Senator Steve king, who is a congressman for Iowa and scored a 100% rating with the National Right to Life Committee

Ohhhhh.  I see where you’re going with this.  I’m sure that much like these men, you believe that if a woman was raped, she was “asking for it”.  Or, conversely, that those sluts who dare to have sex before they are ready to care for a child should just keep their legs closed or suffer the damned consequences, right?

  • Doctor Fred Mecklenburg, who has four published medical journals on the subject.
  • And GP John C Willke who has a distinguished career as a physician.

Once again, your failure to delve deeper into the subject at hand has failed you, young sir.  Mecklenburg and Willke used the one test performed by the Nazis on the very same prisoners who they were starving, beating, raping, and putting to death by the millions to inform their opinions regarding rape and pregnancy.

The Nazis chose women who they believed were ovulating, and put them in a gas chamber, but didn’t turn on the gas.  Because, as the Nazi researchers claimed, these women didn’t ovulate, Mecklenburg and Willke then extrapolated that data and spun it to assume that when under extreme stress, like, oh, during rape, that women were incapable of ovulating.  Never mind that most of these women were literally starving!  Did you know that women who are malnourished won’t ovulate?  Of course you didn’t.  And I bet that you didn’t know where Mecklenburg and Willke got their information.

In fact, according to research done by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (a peer-reviewed journal, unlike the publications that your illustrious doctors have published) in 1996, at least 5% of women who are raped annually become pregnant.  That’s over 30,000 unwanted pregnancies due to rape.  A separate study in 2001 showed that the number was closer to 6.5%.

You forgot one other politician in your list of crazies, young scholar.  Former Pennsylvania state Rep. Stephen Freind claimed that women have some special secretion that will kill a rapist’s sperm even before it reaches the uterus.  I can only imagine that when he was asked how this occurs, he just threw up his hands and said “I dunno, MAGIC!”

You see, your examples have been proven wrong, time and time again.  [Hold onto your seats, dear readers, you're not going to believe the next part!]

And finally,

The bulk of people opposed to this argument are feminists and people wanting to cash in on child support.
Evidence of this is that the mother of a child can receive 10% of the father’s income, which can amount to large amounts of money.

You’ve got to be kidding me.  10% is a large amount of money?  According to the US Census Bureau, in 2006, the average wage for a man in the US is $39,403.  Do the math, kid.  10% is $3,940.30.  The average cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is currently estimated to be $295,560.  No, that piddly 10% figure that you have quoted does not mean “large amounts of money” to the average person.

[Here's where we veer into the territory of the truly crazy.]

With the issue of Feminists, these people are women, usually with poorly paid jobs with no skill or training who wish to receive more money than men doing the same job and are more often than not balding.

I laughed so hard at this point that I had tears streaming down my face.  No, young sir, we are not.  More often than not, we are college educated, have high paying jobs, we just want to be paid the same amount as a man doing the exact same job, and we have hair in all colors and styles.  Yes, some feminists are bald, but I imagine that’s only because they choose to shave their heads.

I suppose that, being all of 15 years old, you have embraced the popular culture’s idea of what a woman should look like, right?  Thin, gorgeous, impeccably dressed, perfectly shaped big breasts, long hair, makeup (but not too much, or she looks like a whore).  Well, kid, you’re in for a rude awakening when you learn that not everyone lives up to your impossible standards.  I’m a feminist, but I have long hair.  I’m a little overweight, and I prefer to wear jeans in my everyday life.  Your idea of what a real woman (and a feminist!) looks like is skewed so far that I feel sorry for you, and any girl you date.

So look at the facts, would you trust a balding woman attempting to cash in on child support or many reputable people, including doctors.

I’ll take the bald feminist any day of the week over the men you cited.  At least they will research their positions thoroughly, and have credible sources to back up their viewpoints.

I hope your teacher is a feminist.

Oppa Condom Style! And a Poll!

With reports from North Korea showing that the general populace has a hard time finding any sort of contraception, a group of South Korean activists have launched several balloons, hoping they will drift across the border and find their way into the hands of North Koreans.

Among other essential items like sanitary napkins, toothpaste, underwear, socks, anti Pyongyang information, and flashlights, over 5,000 condoms were airlifted to drift north.  According to this article, the groups who normally send balloons like these are North Korean defectors, Christian groups, and the South Korean right wing party.

Does anyone else find it somewhat incongruous to see that list?  I did a double take.

[I would like to give thanks to someone on the Jezebel fan page for the title of today's post.  I'm unsure if I should thank them by name, due to Google searches, but thanks anyway.  It made me giggle.  If you don't know the reference, what, have you been living under a rock this whole time?  Treat yourself to the magic that is the Gangnam Style video.  Heck, do it even if you've seen it before.]
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Today, the Director of the CIA, David Petraeus has resigned his post, citing an extramarital affair as the reason for his resignation.  While I know that within the military there are laws against adultery, and his affair could have had the potential for blackmail and a subsequent security breach, I am outright disgusted at the way the media is treating this entire situation.

I have seen no less than 10 news stories questioning who he had the affair with, and, sure enough, someone has dug it up.  Why are we, as a nation, delighting in what has to be an incredibly painful situation for General Petraeus, his family and friends, and his alleged mistress?  He has resigned his position, and is effectively bowing out of the public life, and has done so with dignity and grace.  To be quite honest, I am looking forward to my imagined utopian-esque future when non-monogamy is no longer a Big Deal for the media.  Give the man some peace.  He’s done the right thing here, and no one should be getting blasted by the media.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

San Francisco has decided to no longer prohibit gender reassignment surgeries from the list of covered medical treatment under the city’s Healthy San Francisco program, a sliding scale health care coverage system that can be used by everyone in San Francisco.  Though the city currently does not have the capacity or surgeons who are skilled in this particular type of surgery, so this is a mostly symbolic move for the city.  Transgender patients currently are able to receive hormone therapy, counseling, and regular medical care under Healthy SF.

While I am glad that the city takes these concerns seriously, gender reassignment surgeries are extremely expensive, and can go into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the specific services provided.  As someone who is cisgender, I can’t imagine the mental anguish of someone who doesn’t feel that their body matches their identity and mentality.  I am glad that there may be a solution for the transgender in my community in the next few years.

But to be honest, as someone who is currently covered under this program, I’d like to see Healthy SF start providing some other services first, specifically preventative and non-emergency dental care.  So many other medical problems can be circumvented with regular cleanings and filling of cavities that seems rather odd to me that there hasn’t been a big push for this sort of service.

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In other news, I am considering offering a weekly podcast compilation of each week’s posts.  Do me a favor, and cast a vote below to let me know if you’d like to hear my dulcet tones reading my posts each week!

Post Election Recap

Last night was a night of things both wonderful and heartbreaking.  Here’s my pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Same sex marriage (also known as “marriage”) has been legalized in three states (Maine, Maryland and Washington), and a fourth (Minnesota) struck down a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage.  I’m pretty proud of my former home state, Washington.
  • Wisconsin elected the first openly gay Senator, and she’s their first female Senator!  Congratulations, Tammy Baldwin!
  • The first Asian American female Senator, and the first Buddhist Senator, is Mazie Hirono from Hawaii.
  • Bonus points to Hawaii for electing the first-ever Hindu Senator too.
  • There are now 20 women in the Senate.  That’s an additional three from the previous record!
  • All of New Hampshire’s delegates, AND their Mayor are women.
  • Most of the candidates who made headlines with ill-conceived notions regarding rape, abortion, or contraception were defeated!

Cons:

  • Proposition 35 in California won by a landslide.  But there’s some good news, as the EFF and ACLU have already filed suit to strike it down as unconstitutional.  I will remain heartbroken about this until it is struck down.  I have friends who are sex workers, and I am very concerned about how this will affect them.
  • Some really awful people decided that calling our President a monkey, and the “N” word were totally acceptable on Twitter.
  • Donald Trump completely lost his mind last night.

Overall, I think that it was a great night, with impressive leaps forward for women and the fight for equality.  I am proud of my country for making huge strides forward.  Now let’s fix that economy!

PS: This marks the 100th post for Nice Girls!  Thanks for joining me on this ride, and here’s to a few hundred more.

Californians, Please Vote NO on Proposition 35, Part 2.

So, I know that I already had a blog post about this, but honestly, this issue is too important to me and people I care about to let it sit.  If you haven’t read it already, please take a look.

There’s even more to the story. People need to know that the proposition with the “feel good” name isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

From this post:

Another HUGE problem with Prop 35 is that it mandates that anyone convicted of lewd conduct since 1944 register as a sex offender. Lewd conduct is what the police like to charge women and men working on the street with when entrapping them for solicitation seems like too much of a hassle. So thousands of people who are not traffickers and were never accused of being traffickers are going to have to register as sex offenders. And here’s another kicker – throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, when it was practically illegal to be queer, the police had a tendency to charge gay men with lewd conduct. So now thousands of gay men will be required to register as sex offenders – because they’re gay. Yes, there are people being exploited, sexually and otherwise, and they should be getting help. But Prop 35 is not the way to do it. Maybe the police should start enforcing the laws we already have against rape, statutory rape, assault, and kidnapping.

This bill has over $1.85M backing it, and the people who oppose it have no budget to buy commercial time on the radio, or TV, or for big splashy advertisements in local papers.  Please.  Please share this information.

Naming and Shaming

Have you heard the name Amanda Todd?  Hers is a heartbreaking story of a young teenager who was relentlessly bullied by an anonymous online man, and then in person by her classmates because of a youthful indiscretion.  Specifically, she was encouraged to lift her shirt and flash someone on a cam-chatting site, and the man who encouraged her then shared a screenshot with others, including her classmates.  The man has been identified by Anonymous, they of the “we are legion” variety, and his personal information is now available for any person who has the desire for vigilante justice.   I admit, I felt a little thrill of joy when I saw the video on the Anonymous YouTube account, stating the name of Todd’s harasser, but I immediately felt guilty about it.

How about the name Violentacrez, also known as Michael Brutsch?  He’s been outed from his anonymous screen name as a chief moderator and expert troll on several unsavory subreddits.  He’s also been targeted, and he has subsequently lost his job, and his wife has become a target as well.

I have shared my opinion on “naming and shaming” publicly before, and I am going to do it again.  Right now.  I find it all incredibly distasteful.

Amanda Todd and her parents should have gone to the police with the information she had regarding her harasser.  He was ACTUALLY distributing child pornography, and blackmailing her in the process.  When her classmates were harassing her in person, she and her parents should have gone to the principal, or called the police.  The Gawker writer who outed Brutsch should also have turned over his information to the police, as he was also distributing child pornography.  Yet no one is talking about the things that could have been done to stop these people from hurting others.  There is no discussion of how the legal system is the proper venue for reporting harassment, or turning in evidence that someone is committing illegal acts.

Instead, there are Facebook pages about how the man who was accused of harassing Amanda Todd is going to die; two men are being held up as the worst that society has to offer, but that’s okay because now they’ve been caught and aren’t we glad that now we know their names?

Knowing their names does nothing but allow other assholes on the internet to use the same tactics of bullying and harassment, which sinks these would-be white knights down to the same level as those they purport to abhor.  It allows those who are innocent in these dealings, like Brutsch’s wife and children, to be caught in the crossfire as the internet burns and pillages real names in a virtual world.  It creates a mob mentality that makes scapegoats out of the unsavory in their thirst for blood, and we are better than that.

Use experiences to educate about the bad situations and behaviors you want to see changed, but don’t give the internet the names of those who are guilty of perpetuating the bad situations and behaviors.  Allowing a particular person to become a scapegoat for broader problems only allows the group who accepted or encouraged the behavior to disavow that person, and then claim that they have changed.  It is the best form of misdirection, and allows the group to continue, essentially unchanged.

Using the heartbreaking story of Amanda Todd as a tool to educate other young women about how to deal with coercion, blackmail, mental illness, harassment, and bullying would be a much better way to make sure that this happens less frequently.  Turning in Brutsch privately would have given the US justice system a much better chance at a fair jury trial, and would have prevented his family from being vilified along with him.

Don’t get caught up in the sensationalism of the story, learn and teach the lessons that the story has to offer.

Californians: Please Vote NO on Prop 35

Proposition 35, also known as the Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery sounds like the kind of bill that no one can argue with, right? I mean, no sane person actually thinks that human trafficking or (non-consensual) sex slavery is a good thing, right?  Right.  That’s why these things are ALREADY illegal.

So why has Prop 35 been introduced?  There is more to the bill than what meets the eye in the small blurb in your voter guide.  This bill would broaden the definitions of human trafficking and sex slavery to a point where the terms could include people who have chosen to be prostitutes, as well as their customers, and people who have chosen to be adult entertainers (working in porn or as strippers).  These people (men and women) who have chosen to engage in sex work could be prosecuted as “human traffickers” and sentenced to a decade in jail, with a $500,000 fine.  If the police chose to do so, you could be charged with human trafficking merely by having sex with a date that paid for a meal.  There’s nothing okay about that.

Here’s an excerpt from The Myth of Sex Trafficking, regarding Prop 35,

Here’s a riddle:

Q: Under §6(h)(2) of the CASE Act, what makes a sexual act into a “commercial sex act”?

A: That it occurs on account of anything of value being given or received by any person.

Here’s another riddle:

Q: Gee, does “anything of value” include buying someone dinner?  A ticket to a movie?  A drink?

A: “Anything of value” is not defined — but if it meant “money or its equivalent” it would say so.

Here’s a final riddle:

Q: Do you really think that prosecutors will think that they can get a jury to convict for a 19-year-old boy who takes a 17-year-old girl (or boy) to a concert, leading her to be grateful and to engage in a sexual act with him, under the CASE Act?

A: Maybe not.  But if it’s your son facing 12 years in prison and being branded for life as a registered sex offender as a result of the conviction, would you be more likely to tell him to accept a plea bargain just in case?  And don’t prosecutors like plea bargains to pad their conviction statistics?  And have they ever been known to deploy their prosecutorial discretion somewhat selectively?

(By the way, that could be your daughter in the above example rather than your son.)

I highly recommend that all of my California readers go to the websites that discuss the pros and cons of Prop 35 (especially the blog linked above, for the cons) and educate yourself.  While the proposition title sounds like a great idea, in reality, it will only increase the number of frivolous arrests and prosecutions of legitimate sex workers, and will increase the already overloaded court system.

I will be voting “no” on Prop 35.   Instead of going after women and men who work in the sex industry by choice, why not help the women and men who have asked for the court’s assistance?  I’d much rather see that energy, manpower, and judicial resources going towards processing the over 180,000 rape kits that are languishing in California.

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