Gatekeepers – Sexual Harassment in the Music Industry

Lady Gaga interviewed for NFL Network (2016), Author SMP Entertainment, Source Vimeo: SB50 Lady Gaga Interview https://vimeo.com/159307047 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Noel Fisher a/k/a Detail – a Grammy Award-winning music producer and songwriter who worked with the likes of Beyonce, Maroon 5, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj – was last month arrested on 15 charges of sexual assault and 5 additional charges of felony assault [1A].

The charges stem from incidents between 2010 and 2018.  Bail was set at $6.29 million.

In her song “Gatekeeper”, Jessie Reyez (co-author of the hits “One Kiss” and “Promises”) described in graphic terms being harassed by a producer she later identified as Fisher:

“Oh I’m the gatekeeper/Spread your legs/Open up/You could be famous/If you come up anywhere else, I’ll erase you.”

-Jessie Reyez, “Gatekeeper” [2A]

Reyez maintains Fisher disparaged her for not having sex to advance her career.  Singers Bebe Rexha and Tinashe had similar experiences with Fisher [2B].

In 2018, Janae Knox, a Fisher assistant, filed suit alleging he asked her to shower with him and demanded sexual favors [2C].  Isabella Mack, another Fisher assistant, filed suit alleging she was forcefully held against her will while Fisher masturbated [2D].  Fisher, also, demanded Mack pose for nude pictures and videos.

In 2019, model Kristina Buch was awarded $15 million in a suit alleging Fisher raped her [1B].

But allegations of sexual assault in the music industry are nothing new. Continue reading

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Nightmares

“Nightmare in a Mirror” by Terry Marks, Source http://www.stuckism.com/GFDL/Marks.html (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

You have a recurring nightmare.  Perhaps you are being chased by something enormous and faceless, something terrifying.  Perhaps the sight of something innocuous in a dream causes you unexplained anguish or despair.

You wake in a cold sweat (or with tears on your pillow), sure there must be something wrong with you.

Symbolic Imagery and PTSD

The language of our dreams can be puzzling.  Images can be confusing, and are often symbolic.

For abuse survivors, nightmares are a frequent symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [1].  An estimated 71% – 96% of those with PTSD have nightmares.

Short-Term v. Long-Term Memory

Scientists agree that dreams involve the mind’s transfer of short-term memories to long-term storage.

Continue reading

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Turkish Inequality

Anti-femicide memorial in Chile, Author En.el.cielo.con.diamantes, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamelia/2055714461/ (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

Women in Turkey have rallied in large numbers due to concerns that country may withdraw from the Istanbul Convention [1].  The Convention deals with systemic violence against women, and the state’s role in preventing domestic abuse.

Citing the erosion of family values and traditional gender roles, a small but determined group has lobbied Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw the country.  What seems behind the effort is an anti-Western sentiment, and the desire to revoke gender-based protections.

Turkey has a long history of femicides, the killing of women and girls by men because of their gender [2A].  Even with the Istanbul Convention in place, 417 Turkish women died as the result of domestic violence last year.  Thus far this year, 205 have been killed.

The murder of 27 y.o. Pinar Gultekin by her former boyfriend ignited the Turkish women’s protests [2B].  Anti-femicide protests have, also, taken place in France, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile in recent years.

Meanwhile, Poland, Serbia, and Croatia are considering abandoning the Convention. Continue reading

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Child Sex Trafficking Online

Graphic for child sex trafficking in the United States, Author Ebrittania (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Federal authorities have seized and taken down the website CityXGuide.com and its affiliates for advertising illicit sexual services [1].  CityXGuide.com had taken over from the now defunct 1Backpage.com as the internet’s primary source for such ads.

Minors are identified among the victims of CityXGuide.com.

The charges against Wilhan Martono, the owner and operator of CityXGuide.com and its affiliates (Backpage.co, CAPleasures.com, BodyRubShop.com, and others), include money laundering, facilitating prostitution, and the reckless disregard of sex trafficking. Continue reading

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Gynecological Abuse

Feet Stirrups Image & Photo (Free Trial) | Bigstock

WARNING:  Graphic Images

A 73 y.o. gynecologist is alleged to have raped a total of 21 women, during the course of his employment at the University of Southern California [1].  George Tyndall is said to have sexually penetrated his victims while they were unconscious.  He has pleaded not guilty.

The women, who range from 17 y.o. to 31 y.o., were being seen at the campus health center.  That Tyndall would have taken advantage of women in this setting is despicable.  That he did so while these women were under anesthesia was particularly craven.

His actions obviously violated the Hippocratic Oath Tyndall had sworn to uphold.

Not the First

But Tyndall is not the first gynecologist to have abused his patients.  Columbia University gynecologist, Robert Hadden, is accused of having sexually assaulted over 75 patients – Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, among them [2][3]. Continue reading

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Coronavirus Losses – Ten Million Children

African children with donated school supplies from Develop Africa, Author DevAfrica (CC BY-SA 4.0 International).

According to Save the Children, one billion children worldwide are currently out of school because of coronavirus lockdowns [1A].  Roughly half these do not have access to distance learning.

Children kept home from school are likely to lose learning and fall behind.  They are, also, more vulnerable to abuse, as there is no one to intervene on their behalf.

Expenditures on the coronavirus (and increasing poverty as a result of the lockdowns) are expected to create a $77 billion gap in education funding for the world’s poorest children, over the next 18 months [2A].  Those living in overcrowded migrant camps and conflict zones will be the hardest hit [1B].

As many as ten million children will not return to school at all, forced into the labor market or early marriage [2B].  These will be mostly girls, further deepening the educational divide which already exists along wealth and gender lines.

Teen pregnancy and child marriage are both predicted to increase. Continue reading

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God’s Relationship to Abuse – Fate and Justice, Part 2

Gentian blossoms, André Karwath a/k/a Aka (CC BY-SA 2.5 Generic)

We continue our examination of God’s relationship to fate, justice, and abuse.

Justice

God created human beings in His image.  That is the reason we have a sense of justice at all.  Our sense of justice cannot be greater than God’s, since it derives from His.

Yet, because ours is a fallen world, we do not always see justice done.  The innocent suffer, as abuse victims can attest.  That is deeply disturbing to us…and it should be.  The question is whether we can trust a God who allows innocent suffering.

The answer to that rests with the character of God.  God is love personified.  He is holy beyond all measure, entirely incapable of evil.  And God is all powerful.  He is not, therefore, overcome by evil.

If we trust in Him, God is capable of sustaining us, despite our suffering.  God’s justice, however, plays out on a grand scale, against the backdrop of eternity.  We may not see justice done in our lifetime.  The Jeffrey Epsteins of this world may triumph for awhile.  But, in the long run, they do not escape justice (Gal. 6: 7).

Knowing these things about God, we can fully place our trust in Him.

Continue reading

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God’s Relationship to Abuse – Fate and Justice, Part 1

We abuse victims often rage at God for our circumstances.  Given the pain we endured, that is only natural.  Is it, however, appropriate?  Is God responsible for fate and justice, by inference, for innocent suffering?

Blind Fate

“The Three Fates” by Alexander Rothaug (c. 1910), Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH (PD)

The Fates are a common feature in polytheism.  They are often depicted as a group of mythological goddesses weaving the destiny of mortals on a loom.  The ancient Greeks called them the Moirai.  The Norse called them the Norns.  They controlled the thread of life for every mortal from birth to death.

A belief in fate or blind chance can give rise to resignation, a stoic submission to events which largely removes free will from the equation.  This is a way of coping with the gross injustice of abuse.  It eases the pain, but reinforces a hopeless victim mentality.

What such a belief does not do is place responsibility where it truly belongs, i.e. on the predator.  That can be appealing, since we need not confront the excruciating truth that we were not loved as we deserved. Continue reading

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Another Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Cartoons: Wolves in priests clothing | Cartoons | standard.net

Courtesy of Standard-Examiner, https://www.standard.net/opinion/cartoons/cartoons-wolves-in-priests-clothing/article_5ab23648-a66a-5f8d-a162-bb6108eb6722.html

From his photo, Fr. Robert McWilliams, 40, would appear jovial and harmless.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Ohio priest has been indicted for child pornography, child exploitation, and juvenile sex trafficking [1].  McWilliams had been on administrative leave following a 2019 arrest for possession of child pornography.

McWilliams posed as a woman on social media to entice young boys into providing explicit photos/videos of themselves.  He then threatened to share the embarrassing material with their family and friends, if victims did not provide him additional material.

Some of McWilliams’ victims were known to him from his work as a parish priest.

Cleveland’s Bishop Nelson Perez has expressed the willingness of the Diocese to cooperate with law enforcement.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7; 15).

[1]  CNN, “Ohio priest indicted on charges of child pornography and juvenile sex trafficking, US attorney says” by Rob Frehse, 7/3/20, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/03/us/ohio-priest-child-pornography-sex-trafficking-indictment/index.html.

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Domestic Violence in Japan

Neon signs in Kabukicho, a “red light” district in Shinjuko, Tokyo, Author Basile Morin (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Domestic violence is not solely a Western phenomenon.  As of June 2017, there were 72,455 cases reported in Japan [1A].  That set a new record.  However, only 2.2% of the victims of spousal abuse there actually contact police.

A Private Matter

Japanese law does allow courts to issue restraining orders [2].  However, domestic violence is largely viewed as a private matter.

In one survey, 58.2% of the 650 victims injured did not feel their problem warranted police help [1B].  Another 34.3% did not seek police intervention because they believed themselves partly at fault, while 22.3% felt police intervention would be pointless.  Many did not recognize that they had been victimized. Continue reading

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