Tag Archives: Donna Hughes

OMG moment of the day

Oh My God.  I have been out of commission for a few days doing my civic duty…Jury Duty!  So I haven’t been blogging.  Actually I haven’t been blogging or saying much on this topic lately because not much has been going on.  The law passed last November with pressure to “Help the Women and Children” and this past week we helped them…by arresting them.

Nick Horton has an excellent article at the Providence Daily Dose about the Raids

Until the details of the arrests come out, it will be impossible to say for certain whether there is any evidence of human trafficking in the spas where the arrests occurred.  All three of the women were released by the judge on bail, meaning that the state did not hold any of them for interrogation as part of a human trafficking investigation or place them in protective custody as potential victims of trafficking.  Proponents of the legislation previously argued that arresting women for indoor sex work would allow the state to remove them and protect them from dangerous situations.

Details of the arrests came out today in the Providence Journal.  Previously I was incorrect when I said there were no translators.  That was what I had heard “through the grapevine”, but the Journal reports:

Federal immigration officials and advocates from Day One, a sexual assault and trauma resource center in Providence, also interviewed the women who were working at the spas to determine if they are victims of sex-trafficking, Correia said. The law allows victims of sex trafficking to be granted immunity from prosecution.

“We weren’t able to get any information to lead us to think they were being held against their will,” Correia said.

As for the OMG moment of today, I decided to see what the men were saying about what was going on in the spas.  I went back to a website where they rate the women.  Think of this website is the 21 century version of a men’s bathroom wall.  You can’t believe half of what is said on this website,  it is not for those who value women as more than sexual objects.  On www.usasexguide.info if you check the forums in Rhode Island you will see a very interesting conversation going on started by one user named “Donna Hughes”.  Now, I don’t believe this is the real Donna Hughes, but some of the people in the site did believe that it was and what followed was crazy.  What is very ironic is the fact that the real Donna Hughes uses this board for her primary if not only source for research on the AMPS in Rhode Island.  I guess this should teach both sides one very valuable lesson…always check your sources!

CSHP is OPEN!

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health has now opened!  You may remember that this location has been subject to attacks from Donna Hughes and had to go through a long zoning process.  You can read about it here, here, and here.

Well, Good triumphed over evil! And the Center was finally able to open!  Here is the press release:

Pawtucket, RI February 2nd, 2010 – The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH), the first non-profit sexuality resource and information center on the East Coast, has won the right to open its door and provide sex education for adults.
The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health will provide one on one coaching services, group classes, drop-in hours, teaching resources, access to sexuality journals and in the fall, start an internship program and conduct sexual health studies. Megan Andelloux, a board certified Sexologist and Sexuality Educator is the founder and director of the non-profit Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.
On Monday evening, February 1st, after applying for a “special use variance,” The CSPH was granted unanimous permission to provide education from the Pawtucket Zoning Board. George Shabo, Zoning Board member, made a special note from the Pawtucket’s Planning Board who had also wanted to recommend approval, saying that the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health fit in with the master plan of “revitalizing the downtown.”  This is a huge victory for the field of civil liberties, sexuality education and advocacy”,  Andelloux stated.  “For the past five months, The CSPH has demonstrated to the public what sexuality professionals all over the country experience on a daily basis: roadblocks from politicians to open legit businesses, requirements to masquerade conversations about sex and fear of coming under personal attack for publicly acknowledging the simple fact that people are sexual and it’s ok to talk about it.”  The battle to open the CSPH was closely watched and discussed by lawyers, university professors, The ACLU, news sources and sexuality professionals all over the country.  While the introduction of The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health started off rocky, and false rumors swirled about what the CSPH would be providing, members of the conservative, liberal and libertarian,” community eventually stated that The CSPH mission, to provide adults with a safe space to access information about sex, did indeed fit in with their community values.  
The CSPH will meet with its first client today.

Congratulations to Megan, the people of Pawtucket, and Civil Liberties!!!!

Pawtucket doesn’t want “Education”

Last night I went to the Zoning Board hearing on the CPSH.  I got there at 6:00, and watched 5 people go before the board for variances.  (One was for Regal Reptile, a cool pet shop that wants to move to Pawtucket.  I have been to their Providence location a bunch of times, and the owner does shows for elementary schools and this past summer gave a demo on a campground that my sister was visiting.  Hopefully they will get approval)

But I was not there for the zoning variances, I was there for the hearing to repeal a zoning decision for CSHP.  Unfortunately  that hearing was moved to last on the docket.  I wanted to testify (since I am a Pawtucket resident I hoped it would help) but I left a little after 10:00 p.m..  I got to watch the beginning of the hearing, and the main argument from the city official was the Grant building was not zoned for education.  The official agreed that there were people in this “multi-use” building that were doing education, like the Chess Club, and said he had fined them.  I had to wonder, as a resident of Pawtucket, why are  we trying to fine and or close down businesses that are keeping the downtown area open?  Downtown has been a ghost town for years, is it really prudent to fine a chess club and not allow the opening of CSPH?  Is Pawtucket that anti-education they can’t even see a commercial or even a taxable value to these businesses?

It was obvious that CSPH was targeted for what they were teaching…Sex.  The zoning official was very upset that he was portrayed as using the zoning codes to keep out a business that he disagrees with.  It was also obvious that the board was using zoning codes to keep out this business out.  Repeatedly the official said this has nothing to do with sex, but I wonder how many businesses that go for a license have the zoning board call the police? (Police were testifying as I left).  This particular zone allows counseling and reproductive centers, but officials say that they will not allow for education.

I wonder, as a tax payer, how much this war on semantics is going to cost me?   Steve Brown of the ACLU was there, and it is obvious that if the board does not allow for this Center to open, a lengthy legal battle will begin.

This whole battle began when Donna Hughes sent an email to the members of Pawtucket’s city council.  Donna Hughes is anti-sex (mostly anti-heterosexual sex, you can draw your own conclusions on that).  It is sad that one woman’s radical agenda is costing the tax payers money to fight this in court, and she doesn’t even live in Pawtucket.  For a brief moment I thought she would show up to the hearing, but she didn’t.  It looks like she might be basking in the glory of passing a prostitution law (albeit so far unenforced prostitution law), and leaving the mess she caused to unfold at it’s own pace and direction.  I guess it doesn’t really matter if she was there or not, I am sure she will have to testify if and when this goes to court.  I wonder if Hughes thinks it was worth it?  I guess this is one of those “cutting off the nose to spite your face” deals.  Who is this really hurting?  I know the publicity that the CSPH has received is probably worth the aggravation.  There were many media outlets there last night; tv, newspapers, magazines, and bloggers, you can’t pay for publicity like that!

The Other side of the camera…

The Other Side of the CameraI hate being on the other side of the camera.  It is mostly based on vanity.  I hate seeing myself.  (But I must admit, I love hearing myself! God bless Talk Radio!)  I love being the one making the films, but I hate to be the one in it.  With that said, I put my vanity aside and agreed to be part of 2 new documentaries on the subject of RI’s prostitution law.

Two groups of law students are currently making documentaries on the subject I covered in “Happy Endings?”.  I was interviewed by one of the groups (Suffolk Law Students) yesterday, and I will be interviewed by another group of students today.

Also interviewed yesterday was Mimi Budnick of D.A.R.E. (who also appears in Happy Endings?) and Marc from Citizens Against Criminalization and Matthew from Providence Daily Dose (both of whom I met after finishing the film)

The students were interviewing all the people involved in the recent legislative battle.  During the interview they said they could only find people who were for the law.  They wanted to hear why we were against it.  One thing I realized while being interviewed: Does my opinion even matter?

I don’t think it should matter what I think, just like it really shouldn’t matter what Donna Hughes or Citizens against Prostitution Trafficking think.  I am not a sex worker, as far as I know Donna Hughes is or was not a prostitute, so why does it matter what outsiders think of the industry? (I am talking about prostitution not human trafficking, it is unfortunate I have to keep reenforcing that point)

Why is it when the government debates healthcare the loudest voices are from the insurance company and health care industry.  Yet when the debate on prostitution, we don’t hear the voices of those in the industry?   If they are brave enough to speak, they are often attacked by those who claim to want the law because it “helps women”.

To me, it all goes back to privacy issues.  Why should anyone (including government) have a point of view on what two consenting adults do behind closed doors?   When you strip away all the propaganda, that is what this law is all about.  Actually if you look even closer you see that essentially all the time and energy spent on this is moronic when this is a response on 40 or so Korean women who were giving massages and hand jobs, very few of these places are “full service”. (The new law even has specific language for hand jobs)

I do think it is interesting that so many homosexuals were fighting for this law.  Actually, with the exception of Providence’s openly gay mayor, the majority of this anti-prostitution push comes from lesbians.  Yes, I am a lesbian too, one of the few who fought against it.  Why does it really matter to all these homos?  I would think they would be more focused on legislative efforts for gay marriage in Rhode Island instead of working on a law against commercial heterosexual sex, especially when the law will have disproportionate effect on women.  Where is the sisterhood?

People Over Politics

PawnsThis morning, 30 women from spas all over Rhode Island met to discuss the upcoming prostitution legislation.  These are the women who will be effected by the change in the law, and their voices must be heard.

Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking was at the meeting, offering services to the women.  All women were given a card with a number to call if they need help, and some of the women spoke to RICAHT one on one about their personal situations.

Three legislators were also present to ask questions of the women and answer questions about the legislation.  While there will be hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday on this legislation, the new bill has not been made available to the public.

Many of the women voiced concern over how the law will be implemented and what punishments they will face.

(The Providence Journal and WRNI were present and I am sure they will have a report on what they saw.  WRNI recorded audio of the meeting)

The legislators explained to the women that this legislation is a response to the public outcry in the Providence Journal to change the law.  They see this legislation as a response that will put the needs of the community above the safety and needs of the women.

This public outcry has been led by Donna Hughes, and we all know her version of reality is not based in truth.  (A great post on Hughes and Citizens Against Trafficking most recent propaganda riddled with inaccuracies  is shown here).

While there are many reasons not the pass this bill (economic impact, civil rights, and plain old common sense) there is only one reason to pass this bill….Politics.

There is a saying that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and Hughes has been squeaking for the past 4 months.  This squeak will get her oil this week, and the women of the spas are the pawns in this whole game of politics. With a bill that will have a huge economic and human impact, it is time that we put people over politics.

Anti-Sex Crusade

no_sexThere are radicals in every group.  Radical Republicans, Radical Liberals, Radical Feminists.  What is unfortunate is when the media decides to focus on those groups and alludes to  them representing the larger majority.   For some reason these radicals are vocal minorities, sometimes bullying people in their own group who even share some but not 100% of the same views.

Donna Hughes is the perfect example of radicalism, taking over groups and media with scare tactics and propaganda.  As the force behind the “close the prostitution loophole” drive, she bullied women out of Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking, falsely promoted the idea that the Senate  did not pass an anti prostitution law (and they did as Senator Jabour and Senator McCaffery stated), she has attacked the 50 academics that support keeping indoor prostitution decriminalized, and she even attacked the women in the massage parlors (these are the women she is trying to help).

I understand that prostitution is a heated and controversial issue, but I have always been taught that time is  better spent  promoting your own ideas rather than tearing down the people that may have different ideas, and I find it incredulous that she would spend time attacking women that share some of her ideas but are not in complete lock step with her.

Now, it seems that Hughes has gone and attacked another women, this time not for prostitution or human trafficking, but for wanting to open a Center for Sexual Pleasure and Education.  The Phoenix reports

The trouble started with an e-mail sent a couple of weeks back by University of Rhode Island professor Donna Hughes, best known for her crusade to close the state’s prostitution loophole, to members of the city council. Utilizing the suggestive power of well-placed quotation marks, the missive read, simply: “Hello, A center for ‘sexual rights’ and ‘sexual pleasure’ is opening in Pawtucket,” and included the web site for the center. Deputy City Clerk Michelle Hardy said Hughes’ e-mail was the first time any of the council members had heard of the center.

The Providence Journal reports that

She (Megan) and her husband went to City Hall. They met with Mayor James Doyle and his chief of staff Harvey Goulet. Goulet says they seem like very nice people. He just doesn’t like what they want to do.

“You have elderly living near there,” says Goulet. “And, usually, the elderly are not too much in favor of stuff like that.”

Education?  The elderly are not in favor of education?  Good thing we have Donna Hughes an educator keeping us away from education!!!  How ironic.  Also ironic is the city not supporting a center for education when the state of Rhode Island is #1 in New England for teen birth rate, with Pawtucket being the 3 in the state.  The ironies are piling up when you figure in the fact that businesses are leaving RI at a record pace, one would think a city would welcome a new business.

With this attack on a business that A) is not a brothel B) is not part of human trafficking and C) women owned, I truly believe that Donna Hughes should not be able to cast herself as anything more than an anti-sex zealot.

I am sad as a feminist that this women is able to harm so many.  I will pray for her 😉

(Also for your information all links are included to the articles so you can read user reactions, if you visit the CAT website, you will notice that articles are written anonymously, or if they are newspaper articles they are in pdf form so viewers will not get to see the readers comments, another great way of censoring the public!)

Censorship

CensorshipDonna Hughes doesn’t like some censorship.  She doesn’t like it when she is told not to do or say some things, even if those things are not based in science or fact. ( As Senator Levesque says, Donna M. Hughes has a “slender relationship with truth” and “Professor Hughes has clearly left behind any concept of the academic pursuit of knowledge and is in the employ of propaganda and advocacy.”)

In 2004 the ACLU defended Hughes when the University of Rhode Island made Hughes remove her writings from her website.  These writings were libelous, and prompted a lawsuit for defamation, yet in the vein of free speech and against censorship, the writings were put back up on the website.

One would think that someone who was attacked for their free speech would be less likely to try and censor others.  Well that is not the case here.

Hughes has now began a new attack on Megan Andelloux.  You might remember Hughes’ first attack on Ms. Andelloux for testifying at the Senate hearing.  That attack Ms. Andelloux responded to quite well with her own letter to the editor.  Now Hughes has stepped up her attack, sending letters to Pawtucket City Hall because Megan is planning to open a Center for Sexual Health and Pleasure in Pawtucket.

Just a few things to remember about this.

1.  Donna Hughes does not live in Pawtucket.  Remember Hughes said that the 50 College professors that were advising the General Assembly against passing the prostitution law should not be taken into account because they are not in state.  Hughes should not be taken into consideration because she is not in the city.  (FYI I am a Pawtucket resident)

2.  Donna Hughes complained about Freedom of speech and the free flow of ideas when her writings were taken down from the URI website, now she wants a certified instructor not to be able to open an office that will house a library and workshops?  That seems a little one sided to me.

3.  Hughes claims that her main focus is Human Trafficking.  Does any one with one functioning brain cell actually believe that a Center for Sexual Health and Pleasure  will be trafficking human beings for sex?  This blatant action of aggression shows that Hughes has left the human trafficking realm and gone straight to the hatred of all sex-forced or not.

4.  I still find it amazing that Hughes gets to call herself a feminist when she attacks all these WOMEN!!!  Not to mention that this particular woman is a graduate of University of Rhode Island, the school where Donna Hughes teaches.  I wonder how many women graduates of this University are sending the school money to pay for this professor to attack women?