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A staggering 94 percent of hundreds of women in the entertainment industry say that they have experienced “some form of sexual harassment or assault during their careers in Hollywood,” according to a new survey.
USA Today worked with The Creative Coalition, Women in Film and Television and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to survey 843 women who work in the entertainment industry about their experiences with sexual misconduct.
The survey was conducted online between Dec. 4 and Jan. 14, amid sexual misconduct scandals that have roiled the entertainment industry since media reports revealed numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations leveled against media mogul Harvey Weinstein. The Weinstein revelations triggered a flood of allegations against other powerful men in Hollywood, the media, and politics.
Anita Raj, director of the Center for Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego’s medical school, explained that such a survey is not scientifically representative of the whole industry, but still said its findings are “credible and important.”
“The percentages [in USA Today‘s survey] are higher than what we typically see for workplace abuses, but we know there is variation by the type of workplace,” Raj said. “But it makes sense to me that we would see higher numbers [in the entertainment industry].”
Raj cited the prevalence of the “casting couch” in Hollywood as an example of the industry’s problems, and she does not doubt that sexual misconduct is rampant.
“Yes, I’d like to see more solidity in the scientific aspects of how the data was collected. But 94 percent does not seem shocking. It says this is ubiquitous in Hollywood,” Raj said.
USA Today broke down what percentage of respondents said they experienced a given form of harassment or assault. Most commonly, women were subjected to unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, or gestures (87 percent), while being touched sexually is not far behind (69 percent). Twenty-one percent said they were forced to do a sexual act.
Only a quarter of these women reported incidents after they happened, which was found to be consistent for “all forms of misconduct addressed in the survey.” Many women said they feared personal or professional retaliation for reporting misconduct.
Ten percent of women said they were forced to appear naked without prior notice during auditions. One actress in her early 40s said women are manipulated into appearing nude on camera.
“There are also little ways women get manipulated into showing more of their bodies on camera,” she said. “Like, I had a friend who was on an HBO show and the producers called her the night before she’s supposed to start shooting and tell her that if she didn’t do full frontal nudity (which they didn’t state that they expected at her audition), they would demote the role from a recurring to a one-time guest star.”
One-fifth of women also said they experienced a quid pro quo situation in which they were expected to provide sexual favors in exchange for career advancement.
The survey also found that women from 18-29 years of age are more likely to report incidents of sexual misconduct than older women. Thirty-five percent of women under 30 said they reported incidents of misconduct, while only 19 percent of those 60 years and older did the same.
A publicist in her early 40s, who said she had been subjected to harassment and sexual touching, argued that men who behave this way do not fear any consequences.
“These assailants seem confident enough to know they can become predators without repercussion,” she said.
About half of the reported assailants were in authority, supervisory, or executive positions.
Strictly speaking, Islam Hassan is wrong: Muhammad married Aisha when she was six, and consummated the marriage (i.e., raped her) when she was nine. Hassan’s admission is unusual, as usually Islamic apologists in the West deny that Aisha was nine at all. The principal reason why this matters is because Muhammad is the “excellent example” for Muslims (Qur’an 33:21), to be imitated in all things. And so child marriage, which means the physical and psychological abuse of young girls, is widespread in some areas of the Islamic world.
Turkey’s directorate of religious affairs recently stated that the legal age of girls for marriage was nine. The Diyanet wouldn’t approve of child marriage if it weren’t Islamic, as it explains in its own defense. And child marriage has abundant attestation in Islamic tradition and law.
“Islam has no age barrier in marriage and Muslims have no apology for those who refuse to accept this” — Ishaq Akintola, professor of Islamic Eschatology and Director of Muslim Rights Concern, Nigeria
“There is no minimum marriage age for either men or women in Islamic law. The law in many countries permits girls to marry only from the age of 18. This is arbitrary legislation, not Islamic law.” — Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-‘Ubeidi, Iraqi expert on Islamic law
There is no minimum age for marriage and that girls can be married “even if they are in the cradle.” — Dr. Salih bin Fawzan, prominent cleric and member of Saudi Arabia’s highest religious council
“Islam does not forbid marriage of young children.” — Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology
Hadiths that Muslims consider authentic record that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Another tradition has Aisha herself recount the scene:
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).
Muhammad was at this time fifty-four years old.
In April 2011, the Bangladesh Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini declared that those trying to pass a law banning child marriage in that country were putting Muhammad in a bad light: “Banning child marriage will cause challenging the marriage of the holy prophet of Islam, [putting] the moral character of the prophet into controversy and challenge.” He added a threat: “Islam permits child marriage and it will not be tolerated if any ruler will ever try to touch this issue in the name of giving more rights to women.” The Mufti said that 200,000 jihadists were ready to sacrifice their lives for any law restricting child marriage.
Likewise the influential website Islamonline.com in December 2010 justified child marriage by invoking not only Muhammad’s example, but the Qur’an as well:
The Noble Qur’an has also mentioned the waiting period [i.e. for a divorced wife to remarry] for the wife who has not yet menstruated, saying: “And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women, if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated” [Qur’an 65:4]. Since this is not negated later, we can take from this verse that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a prepubescent girl. The Qur’an is not like the books of jurisprudence which mention what the implications of things are, even if they are prohibited. It is true that the prophet entered into a marriage contract with A’isha when she was six years old, however he did not have sex with her until she was nine years old, according to al-Bukhari.
Other countries make Muhammad’s example the basis of their laws regarding the legal marriageable age for girls. Article 1041 of the Civil Code of the Islamic Republic of Iran states that girls can be engaged before the age of nine, and married at nine: “Marriage before puberty (nine full lunar years for girls) is prohibited. Marriage contracted before reaching puberty with the permission of the guardian is valid provided that the interests of the ward are duly observed.”
According to Amir Taheri in The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution (pp. 90-91), Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini himself married a ten-year-old girl when he was twenty-eight. Khomeini called marriage to a prepubescent girl “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful to give their own daughters away accordingly: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house.” When he took power in Iran, he lowered the legal marriageable age of girls to nine, in accord with Muhammad’s example.
“Cleveland Imam Islam Hassan: The Prophet Muhammad Was Not Marrying a Child When He Married 9-Year-Old ‘Aisha,” MEMRI, November 3, 2017:
Speaking at the Islamic Center of Cleveland, Ohio, Egyptian-American imam Islam Hassan defended the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to ‘Aisha, mentioning various Christian personalities, from St. Augustine to the kings of England, who, he claimed, had taken child brides, and saying that the Prophet’s marriage was in line with the customs and traditions of his day. Islam Hassan, who served as the Imam of the Islamic Society of Vermont for the past seven years, further said that the age of puberty was between 9-15 years and concluded that ‘Aisha had already reached puberty at the age of nine, when she was married off to the Prophet. “So he did not marry a child,” he said. The address was his debut appearance as the imam of the Islamic Center of Cleveland, and it was posted on the center’s YouTube channel on November 3.
There is no such thing as a “woman trapped in a man’s body.” This is a fantasy that men use to excuse their behavior because they don’t want to admit they’re sexually aroused by the thought of themselves dressed and behaving stereotypically “as women.” Heterosexual males who claim to be “transgender” or “transsexual” are really in the throes of passionate autogynephilia, “a male’s propensity to be attracted to the thought or image of himself as a woman.” This is most commonly expressed in the form of fetishistic cross-dressing, though there are variations and degrees. Men who decide to “transition” (i.e. transsexuals) are those who have been caught up in all the sexy excitement. The fantasy becomes sort of a fixed idea that takes over everyday life. With the encouragement of their doctors and shrinks (which is always part of the fantasy), these men take the fantasy too far.
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Chronic heavy drinking is the most important and biggest preventable risk factor for every type of dementia, especially early-onset dementia, a new Canadian study has found.
The observational study by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) looked at 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (before the age of 65). What they found was the 57 per cent of these cases were related to chronic heavy drinking.
“What was the most surprising was the level of association between heavy alcohol use and all types of dementia,” says study co-author Dr. Jurgen Rehm. “Before our study … alcohol was not even listed among the most important risk factors for dementia. We know this was wrong, but that it turned out to be the most important risk factor for all kinds of dementia in controlled analyses [and] it was surprising.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic heavy drinking includes consuming more than 60 grams of pure alcohol on average per day for men (averaging out to four to five Canadian standard drinks) and 40 grams for women (about three standard drinks).
The study looked specifically at the effect of alcohol-use disorders, and included people who had been diagnosed with mental and behavioural disorders or chronic disease that were linked to chronic alcohol drinking.
While researchers weren’t able to determine why alcohol was the top risk factor, they were able to identify two major pathways as to why that may be.
“Heavy drinking is linked to structural and functional changes in the brain which can be identified via imaging,” Rehm explains. “These changes actually start already at moderate drinking, but there is a dose-response relationship, and heavy drinking is much more important for worsening cognitive functioning.”
Rehm says there are also indirect ways how alcohol impacts on dementia through other risk factors. For example, alcohol use increases the risk for hypertension, and it leads to liver damage, among other things.
Rehm and his team also found that there was a gender divide in the results. While the majority of dementia patients were women, almost two-third of all early-onset dementia patients were men (about 65 per cent).
According to the findings, alcohol use disorders were also associated with all other independent risk factors for dementia onset. They include tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, lower education, depression and hearing loss – all of which are identified as “modifiable risk factors.”
“Dementia is one of the quickest increasing and most disabling disease clusters currently, and very important for public health,” Rehm says. “Many efforts are being started now to look into potential ways of prevention, and reduction of alcohol consumption is now a promising way to reduce incidence of dementia, or to postpone the onset.”
Non-modifiable risk factors for dementia include age, a family history and genetics and other medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic kidney disease and HIV, the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada says.
As of 2016, it is estimated that about 564,000 Canadians live with dementia, and about 25,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. By 2031, that number is expected to jump to 937,000 – an increase of 66 per cent, the Alzheimer Society of Canada reports.
Parents who allow their young children to occasionally sip and taste alcohol may be contributing to an increased risk for alcohol use and related problems when those kids reach late adolescence, according to a new study by a University at Buffalo psychologist.
The findings contradict the common belief that letting kids sip and taste alcoholic drinks is harmless, and might even help to promote responsible drinking later in life.
But these beliefs run counter to new findings which appear in the journal Addictive Behaviors, according to the study’s lead author, Craig Colder, a professor in UB’s Department of Psychology.
Colder says the sipping alcohol with adult supervision in childhood, so often viewed as innocuous, can be harmful when kids get older and age into peak periods of heavy drinking.
“Early sipping and tasting is predicting increased drinking behavior in young adulthood,” says Colder. “Sipping and tasting alcohol in childhood with adult permission is associated with more frequent drinking and an additional drink per drinking episode.
“It’s not only how often they’re drinking and how much they’re drinking in late adolescence, but the negative consequences related to drinking increase as well, like being hungover, getting into trouble, arguing and fighting.”
Roughly a third of all children before the age of 12 will taste alcohol with their parent’s permission. Though common in practice, that sipping and tasting still happens infrequently, perhaps four or five times a year.
“If I say a kid sips or tastes an alcohol drink a couple of times a year, few people would bat an eyelash,” says Colder. “But the data strongly suggest that such infrequent tasting in early childhood is not a benign behavior.”
In fact, Colder says, his findings support educational interventions already developed by other researchers to reduce sipping and tasting among children.
Early sipping represents what is often a child’s first direct experience with drinking, yet little research has examined the long-term impact of this behavior, in part because most studies do not measure early sipping and tasting alcohol with parental permission.
“Alcohol use without parental permission is typically initiated around age 13 or 14,” says Colder. “The early sipping measured in this study was prior to age 13, before most kids initiate alcohol use without parental permission.”
Colder, who conducted the research with co-authors Kathleen Shyhalla, a UB research assistant, and Seth Frndak, a graduate student at the university, annually interviewed two demographically representative community samples, each consisting of approximately 380 families, for seven years. He says the data clearly show that these were average kids who were not growing up in problem families, yet these kids who engaged in early sipping and tasting were embedded in a social context that supports drinking.
Colder says there is no evidence that the sipping and tasting that occurred within the two samples was in any way related to deficient parenting and or poor family functioning. It was limited to what he calls alcohol-specific socialization.
“These are not alcoholic families, but families that have more laissez-faire attitudes about underage drinking. The kids are also interacting with peers that have pro-drinking attitudes. We know that,” he says. “When we statistically control for these contexts, this early sipping and tasting behavior is still predictive of these long-term outcomes.”