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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Pakistan blocks access to Scarleteen

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Author Topic: Pakistan blocks access to Scarleteen
Heather
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quote:
In ongoing censorship of the internet, Pakistan has blocked access to Scarleteen, a sex education website geared towards teenagers.

In an alarming development, the website that has provided sex education and support worldwide since 1998 has apparently been banned as part of the PTA’s attempt to shut access to all pornographic content to Pakistani internet users.

Scarleteen, which was established by author, activist, feminist and internet publisher Heather Corinna, was set up to be an “inclusive, healthy, and sex-positive sex ed resource for teens” online.

According to a review by Common Sense Media, Scarleteen, “includes information that’s geared toward younger teens (articles about self-esteem and puberty) as well as more “adult” topics that aren’t normally addressed in sex-ed classes (like sexual pleasure). The site identifies as feminist and pro-choice and explains its philosophy as “a nonjudgmental and unbiased attitude of acceptance, tolerance, and understanding for young people, whether they choose to be sexually active or not.”

The government has recently cracked down on content that is deemed offensive, blocking up to over 13,000 pornographic websites and was also considering certain words in SMSs.

The judiciary and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had taken action against porn websites by blocking or banning access to them in the country, following multiple petitions filed by the citizenry.

From: http://tribune.com.pk/story/352222/pakistan-blocks-access-to-sex-ed-site/

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fishmonger72
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While this certainly is a troubling turn of events that I strongly disagree with, it must be somewhat flattering to be important enough to block.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Eh, not really ever flattered by silenced speech, access or information. Pretty much nothing but bad feelings all around, especially for young people in Pakistan who have fewer resources for good sex education than people in a majority of other areas.

As well, thousands of porn sites were blocked: Scarleteen wasn't likely included in the block because of being important, but because those doing all these bans classify sex ed as pornography and consider us obscene.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nixieGurl
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I think it's awful and just really sucks, especially for the young women over there who have very few ways of learning about sex and their bodies and generally healthy things. It's another way of yet another government to deny people (particularly women) the information they not only need but have a human right to receive.
It's really upsetting to see that positive and factual information about sex and bodies etc is considered obscene like pornography, so many ppl will miss out on information now that could save them from abuse and diseases and a life seeing bodies and sex as taboo rather than natural and positive. It's bad enough what images we get from the media about how we should feel about ourselves if we are not "perfect", which I would call more obscene than anything I have ever seen or read here.

rant over. This whole thing is sucky in every which way you look at it really.

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kitties20
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i am actually indian and half-ish pakistani. i agree that this is wrong and that just because its a muslim country, it shouldn't block these websites. education is power

I guess they think that if they block all things related to sex, people who aren't married will just forget it? but this is wrong bc just because its out of site doesn't mean its out of mind.

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breath
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I spend a year in Pakistan Heather and I'm so sorry to hear this. This is very sad [Frown]
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Jill2000Plus
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A) This is terrible.

B) This is yet another reason why banning pornography, and moral panic about the availability of sexually explicit material in general, is a bad thing. We have to accept that if we do not want to deny young people their rights when it comes to sex education and information access in general, then we cannot work on the assumption that we must, must, must ensure they never see pornography before the age of 18 no matter what it takes.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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WesLuck
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This is shocking and appalling! Scarleteen is about the only website on the net that is for all intents and purposes healthy sexuality discussion only. Are they saying that healthy sexuality discussion is BAD? Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater! (no pun intended)

Heather, I think you should get in contact with Avaaz.org or a similar organisation and focus on the breach of human rights (especially women's) and dignity. It's one think to ban porn, it's quite another to ban the best (and one of the only) healthy sexuality web-sites on the net! If Avaaz gets on the case, you might be able to get this reversed! (based on their success with many other human rights issues)

Anyway, give it a good think! I have been quite impressed with the way Avaaz.org goes about their social justice and human rights campaigns, and I think it's worth getting in touch with them for the reasons in the previous paragraph! [Smile]

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Jill2000Plus
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So it's a matter of triviality to ban people from photographing themselves naked or having sex? When you ban porn people go to jail for just that.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Jill2000Plus
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I can't edit my previous post, so I want to say that actually I'm not saying you view it as completely unimportant, but I still really can't defend as just any form of censorship. Even now, while pornography is to some extent legal in the u.s. for instance, you get teenagers being sent to jail for sexting, bans on pornography, among all the other things wrong with them, are extremely likely to lead to higher numbers of teenagers being classified as child pornographers because they took a photo of themself naked and/or masturbating and sent it to their sexual/romantic partner/s. Furthermore, bans on pornographic content are an easy way to persecute any site the government doesn't like that is in any way linked to anything that is pornographic. Not to mention things like how, in japan for instance, they had a ban on showing genitalia or pubic hair of those who had entered puberty for years, and now there's a lot of "lolicon" & "shotacon" in that country (pornographic drawings of preteens) so everyone goes on about how japan is so icky and perverted and anime and manga fans are stigmatised and viewed with suspicion and they censor these drawings and all this is in part because of the effect of a previous anti-porn law creating a barrier to pornographic drawings that feature adults, who look like adults (though obviously not all adult women have big breasts/are tall/have pubes/are curvy, so questions of what makes a drawing look like an adult are quite complicated). The attitude here has been to censor and then when that contributes towards there being more of things you think are even more fainting-couch-requiringly-icky, censor those as well (there is no clear evidence that porn causes rape, whereas someone who goes to jail for possession of pornographic drawings has a significant chance of being raped in prison, as prison rape is common and often ignored or even considered a just punishment for some crimes, a conviction can put you on the sex offender's register, opening up the chance that a vigilante will hunt you down and kill you because they have assumed you are a child rapist). Then there's australia, who banned small breasted women from appearing in pornography, because [sarcasm]everyone knows that anyone who likes small breasts is evil-mutant-lustful-killer-paedo-molester(I can distiguish between someone who feels attracted to children but doesn't act on it and someone who rapes/sexually assaults/harrasses children, but they probably can't)-scum-from-the-black-lagoon... and-they're-probably-french-communazis-too[/sarcasm]. My own standards for what porn I will watch are so exacting that only a small amount of porn (which is of the kind that would generally be referred to as feminist porn) is acceptable to me. I, speaking entirely personally, do not want rape fantasies in my porn. But I am strongly opposed to pornography bans, for a variety of reasons including the ones I have mentioned here.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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eryn_smiles
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Also on the topic of Pakistan, I wonder if anyone at Scarleteen is following the story of Malala Yousafzai? She is a 14 year old activist who was a vocal champion for the education of girls in Pakistan. She wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule. 10 days ago, she was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt- while on the school bus. She is currently in a stable condition at a hospital in Birmingham. I find this story just heartbreaking- such a brave inspirational young woman but heartbreaking that she could be shot basically for wanting an equal chance at education for herself and for other girls.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malala_Yousafzai

[ 10-18-2012, 04:54 AM: Message edited by: eryn_smiles ]

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Atonement
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I have been following it and it's incredibly sad. I really hope that all the awareness brought by this will go on to help other girls and women though.

Incidentally, does anyone know if her blog is public (or if it is in English or translated)? I'd love to hear what she had to say.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I have been following the story as well and I also find it so incredibly disheartening. She is a very brave young woman, I cannot image having such strength at so young an age. Her parents sound so very supportive, which is very good.

And I do believe her blog is public, although I do not know what pseudonym she used to write it. (Maybe try searching it on BBC's website)

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~moonlight

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Redskies
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The BBC has a fairly large section in a good number of languages other than English. I believe her blog was posted in a Pakistan-focused part of the site, and not in English. Haven't managed to completely verify that for myself, though. I'm not aware of any English translation.

It's incredibly shocking that anyone would shoot a 14-year-old for advocating for women's right to education, and that women's right to education is still controversial. I mean, Education, biggest scary sin ever. Just, no words.

I think she sounds awesome and amazing, and I also think it's striking how often it's young and teen people who speak out against genuinely deeply scary and repressive regimes.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Found it! Diary of a Pakistani School Girl

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Redskies
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Great!

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Atonement
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Thanks, Moonlight!
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moonlight bouncing off water
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You're most welcome! [Smile]

The diary/blog is a pretty quick read, but it is very profound and moving. War through the eyes of a child often tells so much more than any volume of news articles or reports.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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eryn_smiles
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I agree. I can't believe she started writing that blog and speaking out politically when she was 11yo. Amazing!

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Jill2000Plus
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I read the most recent page, she is very brave. I hope she makes a full recovery, I am disgusted that someone shot her.

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Redskies
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I don't know how much this is being reported in news around the world, but in case anyone wanted an update:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-20908439
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-21257569
Wonderful news that she's doing so well and that her specialist treatment will be ongoing. Also, very good that her father was set up with a job. I can think of few things worse than to have a kid needing serious and ongoing medical care while worrying about one's family being kicked out of the country.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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