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Springfield, Massachusetts: NGO giving migrant kids sex-ed battles cultural conservatism

John E. Macmillan 307 Leverton Cove Road Springfield, MA 01103

As the sex education offered in private schools for the children of migrant workers often fails to prepare them for adulthood, an NGO project designed to help these students has tried to provide them with comprehensive courses. But due to their limited resources, parental and official resistance and cultural conservatism, their scope is still limited.

A school teacher teaches Grade 1 students about their sexual organs. Photo: Courtesy of Han Xuemei

China’s remarkable economic growth over the last few decades would have been impossible without the hundreds of millions of rural laborers that packed up and headed to cities for work. While most of their children have remained back in their villages, usually being raised by their grandparents, many other have made the journey toward urban life with their parents.

But still, due to major cities’ strict household registration rules, these children are marginalized in many ways, including being rejected by public schools and missing out on any kind of formal sex education. Just like their left-behind counterparts, many later suffer the effects of unsafe sex and harassment.

Some NGOs have started to intervene. In 2015, the New Citizen Program, a Beijing-based NGO dedicated to providing fair, quality and appropriate education for the children of migrant workers, launched the XX XY School project to provide sex education in Beijing.

“There is no denying that the scarcity of proper sex education in China’s primary and middle schools, especially migrant schools, has become an important social issue and triggered many social problems. In this regard, we need to make enormous efforts to run sex-ed courses for adolescents, in an effort to help them form a systematic understanding of sex and enjoy a happy and comfortable life,” said Han Xuemei, 38, who is in charge of the project.

The Beijing Statistical Yearbook estimates that there were 687,000 migrant children in the city under 14 years old by the end of 2015. Among these children, about two thirds are in education, including 80,000 studying in over 100 privately-owned “migrant schools.”

“China’s central government as well as local educational administrators stress the significance of sex education. But the reality is that most schools are struggling to run quality sex-ed courses for students. This is especially true in migrant schools where qualified teachers and teaching facilities are extremely rare,” Han told the Global Times.

Because migrant workers often work long hours, they usually have little time to spend with their children, and because they often lack knowledge about sex themselves they find it hard to teach their kids about the topic, Han explained.

“Most migrant parents received little or no sex education when they were young. At that time, Chinese society considered the pursuit of sexual activities to be immoral. These parents feel confused and embarrassed about discussing sex,” she noted.

A drawing by Grade 2 student Liu Jiarui shows how he was born. Photo: Courtesy of Han Xuemei

Efforts and progress

Han claims that most migrant schools offer no sex education to students. Even though a few school authorities hold some lectures related to sex, for example, lectures on adolescent health and protecting oneself from sexual harassment, students rarely if ever receive sex education in a comprehensive and systematic way.

But what makes the XX XY School project distinctive is that migrant schools which work with it will run dedicated sex-ed classes with specialized sex-ed textbooks and teaching staff.

“We have cooperated with some primary schools for migrant children in Beijing on sex-ed courses for them. The pupils take six sex-ed classes every semester from Grade 1 to 6. Our textbooks are designed on the basis of the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education proposed by UNESCO,” Han said.

A drawing by Grade 3 student Wu Yajing shows her understanding of puberty. Photo: Courtesy of Han Xuemei

Challenges still exist

Despite the potential benefits that it can bring to migrant students, Han said the XX XY School project is still facing resistance from some parents and school authorities.

“Some parents doubt the necessity of sex education because they argue they have succeeded in tackling any problems related to sex on their own and leading a good life. Therefore, they reckon sex education for their children is a waste of time,” Han told the Global Times.

She added that a few parents are against sex education because they just catch a glimpse of teaching materials, like diagrams of male or female genitals and jump to the conclusion that what the teacher taught is somehow inappropriate.

Shen, headmaster of Xingzhi Primary School, a private school for the children of migrant workers in the capital’s Daxing district, said the school’s resources for its basic curriculum are lacking, let alone material for sex education.

She said that her attempts to teach students about sex received protest at the beginning.

“A parent asked me face-to-face why I allowed the curriculum, as they believed it was bad and would teach their children to have sex at an early age,” Shen told the Global Times, adding that she was eventually able to persuade parents that the course would help, rather than harm, their children.

Teachers and school administrators also have mixed feelings toward sex and find it hard to carry out sex education themselves. Zhang noted despite the fact that some migrant schools have already started holding sex-ed lectures for adolescents, they only give a brief introduction to the ideas of health or resisting sexual harassment. But what they teach is just the tip of the iceberg.

“Some school heads embrace our cooperation with them in running sex-ed classes, but reaching a consensus on teaching methods and course content is a tough task,” Han said. “School authorities have to take advice from parents and teachers into consideration, to avoid a flood of opposition from parents and the general public if they talk about sex too much.”

As for the further development of sex education in China’s migrant schools, Han hopes the XX XY School project will gradually cover more schools inside and outside Beijing, and join hands with local educational authorities in other provinces.

“We want our project to be recognized by more people, so we can raise more funds to continue this project. In addition, as sex education remains sensitive in some migrant schools outside Beijing, we need more cooperative partners, especially local administrators. So we can gain trust from school heads and promote this project without much resistance.” Han told the Global Times.

Zhang said besides efforts made by NGOs, migrant schools should try their best to train qualified teachers to provide sex education. The government officials need to provide financial support, she added.

Only if families, schools and governments work together can all of China’s adolescents receive adequate sex education, she noted. In 2015, the XX XY School project, in collaboration with SEXUALITY, a child sex education research group based at Beijing Normal University, provided 9,405 migrant children with 1,344 sex-education classes in 13 migrant schools. A total of 147 professional teachers and nine qualified voluntary teachers have been involved in this project, its official website revealed.

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Zhang Xiaojie, an undergraduate at Beijing Foreign Studies University, served as a voluntary teacher in a migrant school earlier this year. She explained that the sex education the project provides does not exclusively deal with reproduction and adolescent health. It involves a variety of aspects.

“We strive to offer multiple sex-ed courses for students, not just focusing on sexual behavior and reproductive health like contraception, but infusing children with correct attitudes, concepts and values about sex, such as the difference between a friendship and a sexual relationship, sexual orientation, gender equality and the proper attitude toward marriage,” Han said.

She added that sex-ed classes should avoid spoon-feeding students as it will bore them. She encourages teachers to adopt participatory teaching methods, such as organizing various activities around sex like discussions and drama performances and encouraging students to share their viewpoints on sexual issues and put what they have learnt into practice.

“When it comes to some topics like gender equality, we will hold discussions and students are given opportunities to express their ideas and opinions. We ask them questions like ‘Do you agree with gender equality?’ ‘What do your parents and grandparents think of gender equality?’ As for how to refuse sex, we will organize some drama performances for students to judge whether they have learned the correct ways in this regard,” said Han.

Zhang, also a voluntary teacher with the XX XY School project, said she likes to arrange her teaching content by telling stories in a vivid way, and one of her friends from Tsinghua University sings a different song for students in every class, to stimulate student’s minds, catch their attention and keep their focus on teachers.

According to Han, all their teachers – volunteers and professionals alike – have to take regular training to ensure they can provide high-quality education to students.

Apart from teaching, the XX XY School project runs a public WeChat account which publishes articles for migrant parents about how to educate their children, as a way to provide scientific information on sex and dispel their misconceptions.

Han noted most of the migrant children like the sex-ed classes. One student told her that he was quite interested in the sex-ed courses as what he learned was closely related to himself and helped him understand the physical and psychological changes he was experiencing.

But Zhang mentioned that students take a long time to internalize what they learn. She said that every semester students need to write some feedback on the classes. From this, she found some students absorbed little of what she taught in class. Even simple concepts like “wash your hands before a meal or after going to the restroom” took some Grade 1 students around three weeks to internalize.


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Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Migrant girls’ rampant sex spurs problems

Tony W. Oppenheimer 1291 Coventry Court Baton Rouge, LA 70806

LUCY Lin was recently forced to return home to Anhui Province by her older cousin after the 18-year-old girl became pregnant for the second time within her year-and-a-half stay in Shanghai.

Working in a nail salon since 2012, Lin enjoyed her freedom away from home and developed romances with three men at the same time. Two of them worked at the same salon with her. She had an abortion a few months ago, then got pregnant again recently.

Taking Lin to Shanghai out of a traditional family kindness, the cousin in her 30s found that Lin’s life was going out of her control. She had no choice but to send Lin home as she could not watch over her all day long.

Sex, which used to be a taboo topic for unmarried young women in Chinese culture, is not that mysterious anymore. A more open attitude has been adopted by an increasing number of young Chinese women, including migrants in Shanghai. But awareness of safe sex has not followed.

A recent survey on the reproductive health of migrant female workers in Shanghai shows that more than 70 percent of the post-1990s-generation migrant women in the city had their first sex before 18 years old, while fewer than 30 percent make regular use of condoms or other contraception. A lack of sex education and being away from the shelter of home are the major reasons, according to experts.

The survey was conducted by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) No. 411 Hospital in Shanghai.

More than 10 percent of the survey participants admitted they had abortions or diseases in reproductive system due to unprotected sex. Most of their partners are boyfriends, colleagues or fellow villagers. The PLA hospital has been providing free physical exams and medical consultation to migrant female workers in Shanghai since 2009.

“While providing free physical tests and consultation, we found the rate of unsafe sex very high among the young female migrant workers under 30 years old in Shanghai. Most of them never realized that they actually need contraceptive measures to protect themselves,” says Cheng Xiaomei, associate chief physician at the PLA No. 411 Hospital.

The rate of accidental pregnancy among the group is also very high. Few of the group feel shamed about accidental pregnancy, as many Chinese with traditional values might have expected.

Nancy Mei, 20, from Jiangxi Province, who has been working in Shanghai for four years, was found to be pregnant recently in a free physical examination provided by the hospital.

The woman had a 2-year-old son without marrying the father, and is planning an abortion this time. She is alone in Shanghai, leaving her son in the hometown with her parents.

“It is nothing special. Mei wouldn’t have given birth to the first one but for being diagnosed too late,” says one of Mei’s friends.

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She says that almost all of her girlfriends have boyfriends. Many of them have had abortions and consider it just natural. They never use contraception, which in their view is unnecessary or even contrived.

“It often saddens us when we find that so many girls are ignorant about protecting their own health,” says Dr Cheng. “It is not rare that we find serious gynecological disease or sexually transmitted diseases among very young women due to unsafe sex and multiple sex partners. But few of them take advice from the doctors.”

Cheng says most older migrant women do follow doctor’s suggestions but some of the younger ones even reject treatments after being diagnosed.

A 19-year-old woman from Jiangxi Province who had three abortions within a year simply told Cheng that it is never a big deal for her as long as her parents don’t know about it, even if the frequent abortions lead to infertility.

“‘It doesn’t matter whether I can have a baby or not,’ she just told me,” says Cheng, sighing.

Leaving home and working alone in another city at a young age may be a major reason for the young women’s poor awareness in sexual self-protection, says Dr Cheng, adding that the absence of sex education and gynecological health checks also play a role.

Many of the migrant women that Cheng has encountered have very limited knowledge about gynecological health and contraception.

“Their parents never told them about it, and the education they received never involved sex,” says Cheng.

What also worries doctors is that most young migrant women do not get regular physical exams, which means they may not be diagnosed and get proper treatment in the early stage.

Daisy Bu, 21, who’s been working at a beauty salon for two years, says she never gets physical exams, mainly because she doesn’t have time.

“I only have one day off every week and I have plenty of things to do,” says Bu. “Besides, I don’t think it is necessary for me to get one (medical checkup), as I have much knowledge about health maintenance due to my work (as a TCM masseuse). I follow the health-maintaining guidance to keep myself healthy.”

The survey by the No. 411 Hospital also shows a close relevance between migrant women’s health awareness and their income. Almost none of the surveyed migrant women with an monthly income of 2,000-3,000 yuan has ever got any physical exam; about 5 percent of the women earning 3,000-4,000 yuan have had more than one physical exam within the past three years; while about 15 percent of the women with an income of more than 4,000 yuan have physical exams every year, according to Dai Liangtu, director of the obstetrics and gynecology department at the No. 411 Hospital.

“Most young women with low income want to spend money on clothes, cosmetics or simply save rather than spend on physical exams,” says Dai.


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Dubuque, Iowa: Dongguan gets back to business after sex raid

Jeffrey D. Rawlings 4197 Summit Street Dubuque, IA 52001

Eighty percent of entertainment venues in Dongguan, south China’s Guangdong province, have reopened five months after police raided the city’s underground baths, massage parlors and backstreet brothels in an effort to crack down on rampant prostitution in the so-called Sin City, reported, a Guangzhou-based news website, on July 30.

Guangdong police launched a several-month crackdown on sex industry across the province in February after China Central Television uncovered the flourishing sex trade in Dongguan, the entertainment hub of the Pearl River Delta region.

Police apprehended 700 suspects, punished 1,552 people involved in organizing and operating prostitution and investigated 811 prostitution cases.

According to Li Dehe, a police officer from Dongguan public security bureau, 1,134 entertainment venues, among them sauna houses, karaoke bars and foot spa centers, have gone back to business in the city also known as “world shop” for its booming manufacturing industry.

Although the crackdown has dealt a heavy blow to Dongguan’s sex trade, many of those “sex workers” are still providing sexual services as “foot massage technician” with some of them using social networking service WeChat to attract “customers”, according to sources from local police.

“We will have a zero-tolerance attitude toward prostitution,” said Li.


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Austin, Texas: Police fail to investigate 4,000 murders in 4 years

Charles P. Nixon 1064 Ashton Lane Austin, TX 78746

KAMPALA. Of the 4,500 murder cases committed in four years, only less than 100 have been successfully investigated and culprits convicted.

This means that success of the investigations has been only 2 per cent of all the murder cases reported to the police during the said period. For example, out of the 1,011 murder cases reported to police countrywide in 2011, only 17 were investigated conclusively by the detectives.

In 2013 only 19 out of 1,034 murders were investigated successfully by police.

In 2014, police registered 943 murders but disposed of 19 while in 2015, only 15 cases were prosecuted and culprits convicted out of the 1068 murders reported.

The shocking revelation was made by senior detective and Police Deputy Director for Human Resource Department, Mr Felix Ndyomugyenyi when he was opening a two-week homicide investigation course for detectives from Uganda and Kenya at Police Headquarters in Naguru yesterday.

He attributed the failure of investigations into homicide cases to lack of expertise and understaffing of detectives.

He said the detectives lack the required expertise to investigate homicide cases exhaustively and highlighting the need for recruitment of at least 2000 Scenes of Crime detectives to back up the current squad.

This, Mr Ndyomugyenyi said, partly explains why there is a huge murder case backlog in courts and why most such cases are dismissed by court due to lack of sufficient evidence.

“Several of our scenes of crime officers lack expertise in securing crime scenes and exhibits. That is why many cases have overstayed in courts while others have been dismissed,” Mr Ndyomugyenyi told the detective trainees.

He added: “In criminal prosecution, the evidence produced should leave no suspicion. Once the evidence is produced and does not convince the judges, what they do is to dismiss the case.”

Efforts to get a comment from the Director of Criminal Investigations Department, Ms Grace Akullo, were futile as she did not pick nor return our repeated calls.

Mr Joseph Obwana, the Deputy CID director, said he could not comment about the police inability to investigate murder cases.

“I cannot comment because I haven’t seen the latest crime statistics. I don’t know what document he [Ndyomugyenyi] was quoting. I need to first understand the document he was relying on and I give my view,” Mr Obwana said.

Mr Ndyomugyenyi cited cases like the March 2015 murder of Joan Kagezi who was the lead prosecutor in the 2010 Kampala terror bombing case and later the case of assassinations of over a dozen Muslim leaders.

He said such are some of the key murder cases that police have failed to investigate successfully.

Mr James Bangirana, Assistant Commissioner of Police (CP), who represented CID Director Ms Akullo, acknowledged that there are challenges in homicide investigations because criminals also have learnt technical skills on how to erase or destroy evidence behind their tracks.

“Murders are the most heinous and prevalent crimes. Most of these murders are always planned, meaning the criminals have capacity to hide the basic evidence. It needs a very skilled detective to collect evidence that would pin the suspect beyond reasonable doubt,” Mr Bangirana said.

Mr Julius Odwe, a retired CID officer and former Deputy Inspector General of Police, explained that an investigator may fail to reach the climax of a case if he is inexperienced, not motivated or is money-minded. Mr Odwe said police should rejuvenate Room of Procedure systems where a murder case is informed to all relevant police stations and commanders.

He said there should also be regular reviews of murder trends in the country for purposes of proper guidance and supervision.

“The rule is no criminal would erase all the evidence required. A murder offence should be handled by experienced and committed detectives. Criminal investigations collapse once the investigator is money-hungry,” Mr Odwe reasoned.


Mr Ndyomugyenyi, a former lead investigator at CID department, attributed the failure to investigate murder charges partly to insufficient number of detectives in the force.

He said in busy areas like Kampala, Masaka, Mbale, Mbarara and border districts one CID officer usually investigates about five murder cases at ago, which he said is too much for one person.

To address the problem of understaffing in CID, Mr Ndyomugyenyi said police is planning to provide refresher training to more than 2,000 Scenes of Crime Officers particularly in scientific investigations.

The two-week course is being attended by 16 homicide investigators, eight from Kenya and eight from Uganda. The course is sponsored by the German government.

Mr Rudiger Stransky, a police liaison officer and forensic expert at the German Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, said the training is intended to equip participants with knowledge on securing scenes of crime, handling exhibits and using forensic examination to get evidence.

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Mr Ndyomugyenyi said the CID are doing well in investigating rape and robbery cases because in most cases, it is easy to get the evidence.

Private investigator speaks Mr Caleb Aluk, managing director of Mesh Consult for Corporate Investigations Solution in Kampala, blamed failed investigations in murder cases on lack of regional and central police forensic laboratories.

Basing his argument on the murder case he handled in Mbale District where a teenage boy was butchered in a house, Mr Aluk said some detectives give excuses of exhibits being sent to government analytical laboratory in Kampala as a pretext to frustrate complainants.

“The complainant was tossed up and down until he decided to get a private investigator and the case was resurrected because I came up with a different version of the story. Police should have regional forensic laboratories,” he said.

Get evidence

To investigate a murder case sufficiently, Mr Aluk said detectives need to be very keen on all links. They need to be very fast at collecting any evidence be it an airtime voucher and should secure the scene for several days. Mr Aluk also blamed the failure in homicide investigations on political and security influence.

Without mentioning names, he said there are cases where politicians, civil servants and prominent security personnel influence investigations, especially those that involve them or their relatives and friends.

“I think police should partner with private investigators so that we can be producing like three different reports on a single murder case. That would help to capture all the gaps that could have failed the case,” Mr Aluk advised.

Issues at hand Murder cases. Out of the 4500 murder cases committed in four years only less than 100 have been successfully investigated and culprits convicted. Out of the 1,011 murder cases reported to police countrywide in 2011, only 17 were investigated conclusively by the detectives. In 2013, only 19 out of 1,034 murders were investigated successfully by police. In 2014, police registered 943 murders but disposed of 19 while in 2015, only 15 cases were prosecuted and culprits convicted out of the 1068 murders reported.

Failure. Senior detective Felix Ndyomugyenyi attributed the failure of investigations into homicide cases to lack of expertise and understaffing of detectives.

Challenges. Mr James Bangirana, Assistant Commissioner of Police, acknowledged that there are challenges in homicide investigations because criminals also have learnt technical skills on how to erase or destroy evidence behind their tracks.


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Old Hickory, Tennessee: Man on death row claims innocence as execution imminent

Jose A. Cook 3974 Hidden Pond Road Old Hickory, TN 37138

“They betrayed my trust,” Santa said when The Jakarta Post visited the 43-year-old father-of-one at the Salemba detention center in Central Jakarta, recently. He repeated the phrase several times throughout the conversation, expressing strong disappointment in his business colleagues, several Chinese nationals whom Santa believes put him on death row.

It all started in April last year when Santa, who ran a small business offering driving services, got an order to pick up four Chinese nationals at Jakarta’s SoekarnoHatta International Airport.

One order led to another, and the Chinese men became his business partners in distributing children’s toys imported from China.

One of the men, whom he referred as Jia Bo, called him on the evening of June 3 last year, asking him to come to a toy warehouse in North Jakarta for a Mandarin-Indonesian translation job.

Alas, 12 police officers from the Jakarta Police were waiting when he arrived and immediately arrested Santa over allegations of possessing 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, locally known as shabu-shabu. The police also arrested four other Chinese men that evening, Tan Weiming aka Aming, Shaoyan aka Xiao Yan Zi, Shi Jiayi aka Jia Bo and Qui Junjie aka Junji.

The West Jakarta District Court sentenced Santa to death on March 3, but the court sentenced the four Chinese citizens to life imprisonment.

All of them were indicted under articles 112, 113 and 114 of Law No. 35/2009 on narcotics. The law stipulates sentences of a minimum of six years and a maximum life sentence for drugs trafficking. Santa’s lawyers from the Jakarta-based Community Legal Aide Institute (LBH Masyarakat) slammed the sentence as “blatant injustice.”

LBH Masyarakat decried the sentence due to several irregularities, one of which was the absence of a lawyer during an interrogation by the Jakarta Police’s investigator on June 4. Santa was allegedly forced to admit that he imported the meth and that he had consumed the drugs. A urine test later showed that Santa was clean, said one of his lawyers, Muhammad Afif.

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Afif said the trial was illegitimate because so many hearings had been delayed due to the failure of prosecutors to present witnesses and translators. “We were given only 30 minutes to prepare our final defense statement,” Afif added, elaborating that the defendant would normally have at least seven days to prepare the final defense statement. “It seems like the trial was a mere formality and that the judges had made their decision before the end of the process.”

Human rights campaigners have called on the government to impose a moratorium on capital punishment due to the country’s corrupt legal system and have denounced President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decisiveness on the policy.

In a recent hearing with the House of Representatives’ Commission III overseeing legal affairs, Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo reaffirmed that Indonesia would continue to use death penalty.

Prasetyo admitted that the government had temporarily put executions on hold to avoid criticism while Indonesia was vying to be a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

Over the weekend, at least seven death row convicts were transferred to the secluded prison island Nusakambangan in Cilacap, West Java, along with 50 convicts from various penitentiaries in the country.

An authority in charge of Nusakambangan, Abdul Aris, confirmed this. “It’s true. Fifty prisoners from Salemba [penitentiary] and six from the Magelang [penitentiary] were transferred here on Friday [last week],” he said.

The last time death row convicts were executed on Nusakambangan was in July 2016. Four drug convicts were executed from the 14 listed at the time, including an Indonesian man and three Nigerians.


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Riverside, California: This Is What It’s Like to Spend an Hour With “Neomasculinity” Blogger Roosh

Harry E. Bolden 3818 Brown Bear Drive Riverside, CA 92509

Hearing that Daryush Valizadeh, a blogger who set off global outrage last week when he planned to organize men-only “tribal gatherings” around the world, would be holding a press conference Saturday night in a Dupont Circle hotel was like receiving an invitation to a real-life meeting with one of the odder corners of internet culture.

Valizadeh had already had an interesting week: His planned meetings resurfaced an article he wrote last year in which he suggested rapes committed on private property should be legal, prompting internet-wide condemnation, rebukes from government officials around the globe, and the online-activist group Anonymous publishing his parents’ address.

A day after the Daily Mail followed Anonymous’s tip to a Silver Spring cul-de-sac and found him at the door, Valizadeh—who goes by the nom-de-blog “Roosh V”—hastily called the press conference, supposedly to dispel charges that he is a “pro-rape” advocate.

The set-up suggested the strangeness that was to come. Valizadeh did not supply the exact location until less than two hours before it started. He arrived escorted by a clutch of burly men who he said were bodyguards, and set up his own cameras to ensure his online followers would have their own view of the proceedings with the dozen or journalists who took the bait.

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What followed was nearly an hour of ranting, evasions, and accusations ranging from broadside attacks on all media to responding to one of my questions by asking, “Do you lift?” And rather than spend the remainder of the night adding to his purported sexual conquests—Valizadeh has self-published more than a dozen “guides” to seducing women in many different countries, all with the word “Bang” in the title—he followed the press conference by setting his Twitter followers loose on the reporters who showed up.

“This article, to a ten-year-old, was obvious I didn’t intend to legalize rape or cause harm against women,” Valizadeh said about his February 2015 post that his critics seized upon. While he said it was meant to be satire from the start, though, it is not difficult to see why readers would take it as his genuine belief.

As “Roosh V,” Valizadeh has built up a small but dedicated following of a philosophy he calls “neomasculinity.” He believes that women should be socially and physically submissive to men, claims to have 1 million monthly readers, and has written about multiple sexual encounters in which the woman was too inebriated to give consent.

But rather than give off a veneer of strength and virility, Valizadeh on Saturday came off as rambling, paranoid, and defensive, answering nearly every question by pivoting back to his belief that he is the victim of a media conspiracy, guzzling through several bottles of water in the process. He told a reporter from Vice Media that the company peddles “garbage,” and called the Daily Beast a CIA front.

“As you see I’ve been under a lot of stress from this mob that’s coming after me because of these things you wrote that don’t conform to the real world, and I don’t get it,” he said. “You’re ready to write that this guy is pro-rape without knowing where that false idea comes from.”

Even if Valizadeh’s professed exploits have been on the right side of the law, they do not, as Vox pointed out last week, comport to most people’s definition of rape. (The FBI defines it as “penetration, no matter how slight” without consent.)

“I’ve never been accused of rape,” he said. “Nobody’s ever read something by me and went onto rape, because I know if they did hurt a woman it would be all over the news.


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