WBEZ | trigger warning http://www.wbez.org/tags/trigger-warning Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'Push' author Sapphire revisits childhood abuse in second novel http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/push-author-sapphire-revisits-childhood-abuse-second-novel-106243 <p><p><strong><em>[Trigger Warning] </em></strong></p><p>Sapphire does not shy away from difficult subjects.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sapphire%20penguin%20press.jpg" style="height: 450px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Sapphire (Courtesy of Penguin)" />The author, who chose her pen name as a salute to strong black women, is known for penning devastatingly realized stories of childhood sexual abuse and trauma. Her 1996 novel <em>Push&nbsp;</em>tells the story of Claireece &ldquo;Precious&rdquo; Jones, an illiterate, obese, 16-year-old girl pregnant with a second child by her own father. The novel was adapted in 2009, and the resulting film, <em>Precious</em>, garnered many accolades, including two Academy Awards. But the film also stirred controversy with its graphic depictions of incest and domestic abuse. &nbsp;</p><p>Sapphire was herself the victim of childhood sexual assault. In 2010 <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/how-author-created-film-character-precious-through-her-own-sexual-abuse-6735992.html">she told the <em>London Evening Standard</em></a> that her father, a Korean War vet, had molested her at age eight. Her mother abandoned their family five years later.</p><p>&ldquo;It was traumatic &mdash; but to be left with our crazy dad, doubly so,&quot; she told the paper.</p><p>She created the character precious from an amalgam of her own experiences and those of students she later mentored in Harlem.</p><p>Sapphire followed <em>Push</em> with a sequel, <em>The Kid</em>, in 2011. As the novel opens, we learn that Precious has died of AIDS, leaving her nine-year-old son Abdul alone in the world.</p><p>Abdul is sent to live in a Catholic orphanage, and what befalls him there is brutal and heartbreaking -- and all too familiar to anyone who follows the ever-unfolding story of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. (A new wrinkle in that story unfolded just this week, as files released by the Diocese of Joliet <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/joliet_romeoville/chi-open-files-part-of-settlement-for-priest-sex-abuse-victim-20130320,0,440885.story">revealed decades of abuse</a> hidden by high-level clergy.)</p><p>Abdul is sexually assaulted by a priest during his time in the orphanage. And as sometimes happens to those who have been abused, he goes on in turn to become an abuser, raping younger, weaker boys living in the orphanage.</p><p>&ldquo;While numerous heterosexual black male writers and critics have bemoaned the . . . one-dimensional portrait of black man as victimizer, few have been interested in or have had the courage to explore the obvious other end of the stick: the black male as victim of sexual abuse,&rdquo; Sapphire said at a talk in Chicago last week, reading from a Q &amp; A section published alongside her novel. &ldquo;<em>The Kid</em>, among other things, begins an accurate portrayal of what happens to many young males who have been abused and their sometimes hideous response.&rdquo;</p><p>The results for Abdul are devastating, as they were for his mother. And while <em>Push</em> addressed the failure of the nuclear family to protect its children, <em>The Kid</em> takes up the failure of institutions charged with their care.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re really looking at the abandoning of the social contract in a way we didn&rsquo;t see in <em>Push</em>,&rdquo; Sapphire said. &ldquo;That was something I really wanted to show: What happens when everything except the soul of the individuals fails?&rdquo;</p><p>Sapphire read two passages from <em>The Kid</em> during her appearance at Chicago Public Library. We&rsquo;ve included an excerpt of her talk here in audio form, but please be warned. . . . &nbsp;</p><p><strong><em>TRIGGER WARNING</em>: <em>The book excerpt Sapphire reads here includes a graphic rape scene</em></strong><em>, </em>in addition to a later scene which shows some redemption and healing for her main character. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a></em>&nbsp;<em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="https://soundcloud.com/chicago-amplified/a-conversation-with-u-s">Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s</a></em>&nbsp;<em>vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Sapphire spoke at an event presented by Chicago Public Library in March. Click</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/sapphire-discusses-kid-106224">here</a>&nbsp;to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/push-author-sapphire-revisits-childhood-abuse-second-novel-106243 Study sheds light on men who buy sex in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/news/study-sheds-light-men-who-buy-sex-illinois-104858 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F74549615" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>This article contains a graphic description of sexual violence.</em></p><p>A <a href="http://g.virbcdn.com/_f2/files/22/FileItem-276524-FinalWeb_OurGreatHobby.pdf">new report</a> about Illinois men who turn to online message boards to discuss buying sex reveals how they evade law enforcement and engage one another through an anonymous, hypermasculine brotherhood.<br /><br />The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation released the study Friday. It analyzed data from the USA Sex Guide, a website in which hetereosexual men refer to themselves as &ldquo;hobbyists&rdquo; and &ldquo;mongers&rdquo; of prostitution. During a three-month period johns in Illinois &ndash;&nbsp;from urban to suburban to rural &ndash;&nbsp;created 2,600 posts about buying sex. They shared strategies, errors and offered pep talks.<br /><br />&ldquo;Whereas in the past, men who learned about sex did so primarily through their own trial and error, now johns inform one another about the successes and failures other johns have experienced,&rdquo; said Lara Janson, the study&rsquo;s author. &ldquo;To many men who buy sex, the johns&#39; (message) boards are a critical resource in helping them feel empowered.&rdquo;<br /><br />Some sample comments: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had luck once picking up a girl, don&rsquo;t know if she was a pro or not but she was dressed in civilian cloths [sic] (mid 20&rsquo;s) standing in the middle of the street&nbsp;on touchy [sic] and McCormick on the north side. She was holding a sign that&nbsp;said she was recently a laid off seeking help. Offered to get her food at the mcdonalds on touchy [sic] and it led to some great sex for 60&hellip;.the scene was not&nbsp;of a John picking up a pro but rather just civilians helping another. Isn&rsquo;t that what&nbsp;we all do on this board?&rdquo;<br /><br />According to the report, these johns discuss inflicting violence on women and&nbsp;buying sex from girls who are potentially minors and victims of sex trafficking.<br /><br />Men on these message boards also remark how law enforcement efforts to deter prostitution on the john side are effective. Reverse stings generate discussions about whether to continue buying sex.<br /><br />&ldquo;Policies that target them or increase law enforcement presence in areas where the commercial sex operates may simply end their cruise for a evening or it may end their mongering permanently,&rdquo; Janson said.<br /><br />On the other hand, many johns said that policies that single out prostituted women and men of color who buy sex don&rsquo;t appear to deter them.<br /><br />CAASE has argued&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/chicago-police-shift-prostituion-approach" target="_blank">for years</a> that prostitutes should not be the target for arrests and prosecution. Advocates say this latest report underscores that message and reinforces the need to shift the culture around commercial sex.<br /><br />&ldquo;Based on this finding, we recommend that law enforcement agencies end the habitual arrest of prostituted people, collaborate with local providers to provide meaningful supportive services to prostituted people and screen them for potential trafficking in order to uncover trafficking crimes,&rdquo; said Rachel Durchslag, CAASE executive director.<br /><br />She said CAASE has yet to meet with law enforcement about the report.</p></p> Fri, 11 Jan 2013 12:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-sheds-light-men-who-buy-sex-illinois-104858