FGM: wedded forever to religion?

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A powerful and provocative guest piece today from our old friend Leonard Sisyphus Mann, whose Consenting Humans blog is highly recommended and who has guested here several times before, as Lensman, perhaps most notably in this profound, forward-looking, contribution: “The future is green, and liberating for children”, which prompted over 30,000 words of comment.

Today’s piece bravely identifies female genital mutilation (FGM) as primarily an Islamic problem, and a growing one, in the modern world. While acknowledging the pre-Islamic roots of the phenomenon, LSM sees specifically religious factors as responsible for its perpetuation.

There is evidence to support this claim but Heretic TOC does not endorse any anti-Islamic polemics that might be inferred from LSM’s essay. My belief is that Islam is capable of evolving in response to the needs and values of modern life, just as Christianity has adapted enormously: far fewer believers now hold fast to simplistic, literal, interpretations of the Bible, for example, than prevailed before Darwin and modern scriptural exegesis.

Accordingly, it would be mistaken to insist that Islam, especially in the West, will remain wedded to the practice of FGM, and certainly not to its more harmful forms. We should be supporting Muslims who themselves seek to end such practices (there are plenty of them), rather than be taking an accusatorial stance: finger-pointing smacks of dangerously confrontational “Islamophobia” that will only sustain and deepen entrenched customs.

Nevertheless, I know that LSM has put a huge amount of research into this piece and on the basis of its reliable information alone it is well worth reading and pondering deeply. I will not be surprised if it prompts a lively response.

 

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: ITS ORIGINS, PERSISTENCE AND SPREAD

Despite modernisation, feminism, improving education and rising living-standards female genital mutilation (FGM) is flourishing where already established, re-emerging where once eradicated, and spreading to hitherto unaffected places – notably the West. By conservative estimate some 200,000,000 – one in twenty – women and girls alive today have undergone the procedure.

FGM involves one or more of 3 interventions that can be performed with varying degrees of severity:

  • clitoridectomy (amputation of the clitoris),
  • excision of the labia,
  • infibulation (sealing the vagina by grafting together opposing labia majora, leaving a small hole for urination and eventual menstruation).

Infibulation and excision usually also involve clitoridectomy. ‘Sunnah Circumcision’ is a rare procedure, analogous to male circumcision in that only the clitoral prepuce is removed. FGM is generally reserved for prepubescents, seven being the average age. Anaesthetics are seldom used, pain being an important part of the procedure.

Short-term consequences include severe pain, bleeding, shock, urinary retention, infections, injury to nearby genital tissue, and sometimes death. Contusions, dislocations and fractures can result from the girl’s struggles against those restraining her (typically aunts or her mother).

Long-term consequences include chronic pain, pelvic infections, fistula, cysts, abscesses and ulcers, infections of the reproductive system, infertility, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, frigidity and death. Infibulation can cause hematocolpos and chronic dysmenorrhea.

FGM increases complications during childbirth. Scar tissue resulting from excision and infibulation lacks the elasticity of healthy vulval and vaginal tissue, resulting in obstructed labour. One study found that a fifth of babies born to infibulated mothers died in child-birth, two-thirds experienced oxygen deprivation.

*

In his 1996 paper entitled “Ending Footbinding And Infibulation” American political scientist Gerry Mackie offers a coherent account of the origins and persistence of FGM, and proposes a means of eradicating it. According to Mackie both FGM and the Chinese practice of footbinding arose from the extreme polygyny that becomes possible where extreme wealth inequality prevails. Because the number of concubines (wives and sex slaves) one can keep is proportionate to one’s wealth, extreme polygyny became a status symbol. Under these conditions, women can better attain the security and resources necessary for child-rearing as an elite man’s nth wife than as a pauper’s only wife. These conditions make hypergyny (females aspiring to marry into higher-ranking families) normative.

Mothers know that their children are indeed theirs; no man can be certain that a child he’s raising is his own. Polygynous men’s fidelity assurance problems are proportional to how many concubines they must keep faithful. Fidelity assurance measures include footbinding (which renders concubines housebound); domestic seclusion; gender segregation; veiling; arranged marriage (eliminating the risks to chastity attendant on socialising, choosing a partner and courtship); child marriage (before a girl can spoil her reputation); ‘honour’ codes (making ‘unchastity’ a life-and-death affair), and FGM.

Infibulation and excision promote fidelity by making penetration painful and dangerous. With infibulation, the resulting laceration and haemorrhaging also make penetration hard to conceal. FGM also promotes fidelity by instilling trauma-induced sex-negativity (hence the non-use of anaesthetics, even when available). FGM also acts similarly to slave-branding: teaching the child that submission and suffering (especially in sexual matters) are a woman’s lot, and rendering her servile to the perpetrators (god, religion, community, family, husband). FGM is practised on girls when they are at their most receptive to such lessons: mid-childhood.

Polygynous males require fidelity not only in their concubines, but prospective concubines must also guarantee their fidelity and chastity to become their brides. Adopting  these practices is a way for non-elite families to make their daughters eligible for an elite marriage, and therefore improve their situation (and the lower-ranking the family, the more they have to gain by successful hypergyny). FGM tends to increase in severity over time, because polygyny creates competitive marriage-markets which push families to advertise their commitment to chastity and fidelity by engaging in more extreme interventions (vide sexual selection). FGM becomes normative, only the poorest families suffering the stigma of having uncut daughters.

*

Mackie postulates two ‘traps’ which explain the persistence of FGM beyond the above originating conditions.

Firstly: as FGM becomes normative it generates self-justifying narratives: female sexuality must be excessive to require such extreme restraints; uncut girls are unchaste, impure, unfaithful; FGM promotes hygiene, fertility and beauty; the clitoris, if it touches the baby during childbirth, or the husband during intercourse, will kill them; left uncut the clitoris will grow to the length of a goose neck. Such beliefs makes ‘uncut’ girls unmarriageable.

Because FGM tends to be universal in practising communities these beliefs remain untested: practitioners generally assume all women worldwide undergo FGM – and encountering uncut women (in person, or magazines, TV, films) does not test this belief since their genitals are hidden (and are rarely discussed).

Secondly: even parents free of such beliefs, who disapprove of FGM, conform because abstaining would result in their daughter remaining unmarried and stigmatised. They are caught in a trap similar to that of paedophiles, whose condition would be improved by mass ‘coming out’, but for whom ‘going it alone’ would be disastrous. In typical FGM-practising communities marriage is a girl’s only route to security or status. Spinsters remain dependent on their family, or are condemned to begging or prostitution. In such circumstances not cutting one’s daughter is as much an act of bad parenting as depriving a child of education is for Westerners.

The Chinese abandonment of footbinding shows how these ‘traps’ can be escaped: families formed local associations whose members publicly pledged to not bind their daughters’ feet and (crucially) to only marry their sons to girls with natural feet. Soon, enough families had taken this pledge so that parents no longer feared that their daughters would remain unmarried if their feet weren’t bound. This tipping point reached, abandonment became contagious. For example Tinghsien province went from a 94% binding-rate in 1899 to zero in 1919.

*

Geography (as in ‘FGM is an African practice’), under-development, religion, and sexually-regressive attitudes and institutions have all been proposed as causes or aggravators of FGM. We can make a coarse-grained evaluation of these factors by comparing their distribution with that of FGM (follow hyperlinks for multivariate comparisons).

The following map reveals that FGM is not an ‘African practice’: most of Africa has very low FGM rates. Moreover, between a third and a half of FGM occurs outside Africa.

Prevalence of Female Genital Cutting

Prevalence of Female Genital Cutting

Development variables (such as poverty, education, health care, life expectancy) also correlate weakly with FGM.

FGM + Population Living Below Poverty Line

FGM + Population Living Below Poverty Line

Variables indicative of sexually-regressive institutions and attitudes (polygyny, dowries, child marriage, consanguineous marriage, forced marriage, sexual slavery, rape) correlate with, but also subsume, FGM.

FGM and Prevalence + Legal Status of Polygyny

FGM and Prevalence + Legal Status of Polygyny

The strongest correlate with FGM, and one which (I will argue) underlies the afore-listed regressive attitudes and practices, is that of Islam (compare Animism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism).

FGM + World Muslim Population

FGM + World Muslim Population

Mackie himself notes that FGM is found only in or adjacent to Islamic groups.

*

Islam is the only religion which mentions FGM in its sacred texts. Moslems consider the Koran to be infallible and divinely-revealed. Equal in authority to the Koran is Mohammed’s example and teachings as recorded in eyewitness accounts (Hadith). Collections of Hadith compiled by the Moslem scholars al-Bukhari and Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj are judged entirely reliable and authentic (sahih), and are indeed of high evidentiary quality. Many core Islamic practices and tenets – male genital mutilation (MGM), the Hajj, how to pray, the Five Pillars of Islam – are derived from the sahih Hadith.

While the Koran mentions neither FGM nor MGM explicitly, verse 30:30 prescribes them implicitly by commanding Moslems to:

“Adhere to the fitrah”

The Koran doesn’t explain what ‘fitrah’ means; for that we turn to the Hadith (I note in bold the Arabic words used for ‘circumcision’):

[…] I heard [Mohammed] say: “The fitrah is five things […] circumcision [khitan], shaving the pubes, trimming the moustache, cutting the nails and plucking the armpit hairs.”” Bukhari 77:106

Mohammed touches on FGM in three more Hadith (‘sits amidst four parts’ is a euphemism for sexual intercourse):

[…Mohammed] said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and circumcised part [khitan] meets circumcised part [khitan] a ritual bath becomes obligatory.” Muslim 3:684

[…] A woman used to perform circumcision [khitan] in Medina. [Mohammed] said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband.” Sunan Abu Dawud 41:5251

[…Mohammed] said: “Circumcision [khitan] is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women.”” Ahmad Ibn Hanbal 5:75

Note that the above Hadith prescribes both MGM and FGM.

(There exists a fifth Hadith – the Hadith of Abdalla ibnu Umar – in which Mohammed enjoins the Medinan women to practice FGM. I have yet to see the actual text of this Hadith.)

Some Hadith report the practices not of Mohammed, but of his followers: they are therefore not ‘Revelation’, but are useful insofar as they inform us of what was normative amongst Mohammed’s companions:

[…] Umm al-Muhajir said, “I was captured with some girls from Byzantium. Uthman [a close companion of Mohammed] offered us Islam, but only myself and one other girl accepted Islam. Uthman said, ‘Go trim them down [khifaad hma] and purify them.’”” Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 53:1245

“Umm Alqama related that when the daughters of Aisha’s brother were circumcised [khitan], Aisha was asked, ‘Shall we call someone to amuse them?’ ‘Yes,’ she replied. Adi was sent for […]’ Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 53:1247

Note that several of these Hadith report purely female genital mutilation and that the word ‘Khitan’ is used for both FGM and MGM. Today, ‘Khitan’ is used only for MGM, leading some to mistakenly claim that the ‘fitrah’ and the ‘four parts’ Hadiths advocate only MGM.

*

Increasing globalisation and advancing women’s rights have made the world more aware of, and concerned about FGM. These developments, and secularism, have penetrated the Islamic world, so that many Moslems are also uneasy about FGM. The most frequently-cited fatwa critical of FGM is Dr Ahmed Talib’s (a former Dean of the Faculty of Shariah of Al Azhar university, Islam’s most prestigious seat of scholarship).

“All practices of female circumcision and mutilation are crimes and have no relationship with Islam. Whether it involves the removal of the skin or the cutting of the flesh of the female genital organs…it is not an obligation in Islam.” (2005)

The statement [FGM] is not an obligation in Islam’ actually boils down to 1/ FGM is allowed in Islam, and 2/ it can’t be forbidden (for if it were he would have said so). Yet primed by his opening condemnations, his conclusion is easily misread as being prohibitory.

(The obfuscatory nature of his statement becomes clearer if one replaces ‘FGM’ with some equivalent act: [rape] is not an obligation in Islam’. Moreover, most core precepts and practices of all religions/ideologies are not ‘obligatory’: Holy Communion is no less ‘Christian’ for not being obligatory; many forms of prayer are voluntary in Islam, but that makes them no less ‘Islamic’.)

Dr Talib’s prevarication results from his conscience being in conflict with Islamic jurisprudence, an axiom of which is that only that which god or Mohammed unambiguously forbade can be forbidden. As we saw earlier, Mohammed, far from forbidding, FGM, advocated it. This means that no school of Islamic jurisprudence (Sharia) can forbid FGM.

Not that Mohammed was shy about forbidding things. Compare Dr Talib’s prevarication over FGM with a fatwa concerning alcohol:

“[Mohammed] cursed alcohol and the one who drinks it, the one who sells it, the one who buys it, the one who carries it, the one to whom it is carried, the one who consumes its price, the one who squeezes the grapes and the one for whom they are squeezed.” Selling alcohol to kaafirs Islam Q&A 2000

One can only wonder how things would be different if Mohammed had similarly cursed and forbidden FGM.

Nor is Dr Talib correct in stating that FGM ‘is not an obligation in Islam’: Shafi’ism – one of the four schools of Sunni Islam (which constitutes 90% of Moslems) decrees FGM as obligatory (the other three schools recommend FGM as ‘optional’ or ‘honourable’). Unsurprisingly FGM rates are highest under Shafi’ism (e.g. Somalia 98%).

Schools of Fiqh + FGM

Schools of Fiqh + FGM

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“FGM/C [is] stubbornly resistant to change” Gerry Mackie (2009)

In 1996 Mackie predicted that pledge associations would accomplish FGM’s eradication. Where tried, results have been disappointing, especially when compared to China’s spectacular abandonment of footbinding. FGM is instead increasing in incidence, spreading to previously unaffected countries and reappearing where eradicated.

Why?

Firstly, Mackie assumes that the extreme polygyny that engenders FGM is no longer practiced. He overlooks that:

– Moslems can have up to four wives (which is arguably enough to require fidelity-assurance measures),

– neither the Koran nor the Hadith set a limit to how many sex-slaves a Moslem male may own (whose chastity must also be guaranteed). Sexual slavery is still common in the Islamic world – whether overt (Islamic State, Boko Haram etc.) or covert (Islamic grooming gangs in the West).

Trafficking of women

Trafficking of women

But the oversight that most limits the explanatory scope of Mackie’s theory is that, unlike footbinding, FGM is not just a social convention but is also a religious practice.

There are two ways in which this religious dimension determines FGM’s perpetuation, spread, and resistance to eradication: directly via doctrines favouring or allowing FGM, and indirectly via doctrines which create conditions where chastity protection measures may be necessary or useful.

Islamic doctrine engenders an obsession with preserving female pre-marital virginity, upon which depends the ‘honour’ of the girl, her family and clan. Women/girls are held responsible for not only their own sexual behaviour, but also that of men, including any sexual crimes committed against them. Shifting responsibility for male sexual violence from the perpetrators to the victims creates sexually violent societies in which chastity-control measures may be necessary.

Polygyny creates ‘bride vacuums’ amongst non-elite men that can be alleviated either through sexual violence, which increases the need for fidelity assurance measures such as FGM (see maps below) or by taking women from non-Moslem communities as sex slaves – engendering an expansionist dynamic which spreads Islam and FGM. As Islam expanded and subjugated new peoples it also sanctified any indigenous FGM it encountered, FGM that would have died out but for Islam’s patronage.

Prevalence and Legal status of Polygyny + Weighted Relative International Rape Scale

Prevalence and Legal status of Polygyny + Weighted Relative International Rape Scale

Likewise bride-to-groom dowries place a financial value on a girl’s chastity and reputation; and Sharia law makes it almost impossible for a woman or child to bring a prosecution for rape.

FGM was practised by Mohammed’s tribe (the Banu Hashim) in pre-Islamic Arabia. Other tribes (notably Jews and Christians) didn’t practise FGM. By integrating FGM into his new religion, rather than following the Jewish example and forbidding it, and by pronouncing his own example and teachings as divine revelation, Mohammed sanctified and eternised a practice that would otherwise have died out. Enshrined in its sacred texts, Islam became the ever-fecund wellspring of FGM.

The world history of FGM is essentially one of its eradication. In Mankind’s early history FGM probably occurred world-wide, but sporadically where the precursors outlined by Mackie prevailed. However, it died out on exposure to monogamous kinship structures and the relatively advanced human rights of Graeco-Roman civilisation and Christianity. By resisting these, and by sanctifying FGM and the factors that engender it (polygyny and slavery – females captured for sex-slavery were infibulated), Islam has prevented this process from reaching completion, and consequently today defines the zones where FGM continues to flourish.

FGM + World Muslim Population

FGM + World Muslim Population

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About 80% of FGM is attributable to Moslems. However it would be wrong to conclude from this that the remaining 20% is ‘non-Islamic’. Virtually all non-Moslem FGM occurs under the aegis of Islam – either at the historical centres of the Islamic slave trade (Nigeria, Eritrea & Ethiopia, Kenya), or amongst religious minorities living in Islamic countries where FGM is normative and institutionalised.

These minorities, for centuries isolated from their religions’ mainstream, have adopted the dominant community’s practices, including FGM, in order to blend in and minimise discrimination and persecution. Though Moslem women can’t marry outside their religion, Moslem men can (Mohammed married a Jewess). As marginalised and persecuted groups in Moslem-dominated societies, non-Moslems have much to gain by successful hypergyny and this incentivises non-Moslem families to adopt FGM.

The notable mass abandonments of FGM have occurred amongst minority non-Moslem practitioners, such as the Beta Israel Jews of Ethiopia; and the successes of the Pledge Association method reported by Mackie in his 2009 paper were Egyptian Copts and Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Such groups, because not doctrinally shackled to the practice, readily abandon it when Pledge Associations make abandonment possible.

Compare this to Moslem practitioners who, on moving to non-Islamic countries where FGM is not normative, go to great lengths, to the point of breaking their adopted country’s laws, in order to maintain the practice (see here, here & here).

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Imagine a society that doesn’t forbid, punish or even stigmatise murder, that instead tolerates, recommends, even commands it. Would it be surprising if that society were rife with murder?

Imagine societies defined by an ideology that, far from forbidding or stigmatising FGM, tolerates, praises, and commands it even. Should we surprised that such societies are rife with FGM?

Religions are keen to take credit for any good they can lay claim to, but should they not be held equally responsible for any ills they (knowingly or inadvertently) engender, aggravate or perpetuate?

If FGM is indeed un-Islamic then why, over its 1400 year existence, has Islam not even attempted to eliminate it, as it does all things ‘un-Islamic’, but instead tolerated, spread and promoted it?

Had Mohammed forbidden FGM (as he did alcohol and pork), or criticised it, or even just not mentioned it, FGM would have died out under Islam, as it has done under every other ideology, religion and social system. And the world would have been spared 1400 years-worth of the practice.

No problem is resolvable whose causes remain unaddressed. Pointing out the causal links between Islam and FGM has become taboo, dismissed as a symptom of a ‘phobia’. This taboo will ensure FGM’s continued flourishing and spread. Establishing a discourse around FGM that is free of taboos, insults and imputed motives is the crucial first step in resisting the growing ascendancy of FGM. It is a first step each one of us can take.

The laws against ‘abuse images’ are abusive

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Today’s guest blog is on child pornography, or “abuse images” as the current PC term has it, and is by Feinmann, whose debut as a blogger here was in April this year under the title “War on Kinds disguises one against kids”. Professionally retired, he remains highly active as a field researcher working on the conservation of endangered species. The splendid graphics (not intended for sexual gratification but feel free to enjoy them!) are the author’s own.

 

WAGING WAR ON CHILD PORN IS OPPRESSIVE AND DUMB

Some definitions

Pornography: derives from the Greek: πορνογραφία meaning “a written description or illustration of prostitutes or prostitution”.

Child pornography: the term appeared in North America during the 1960s, and is defined thus: “Pornographic material featuring sexually explicit images or descriptions of children”. Child pornography, when back-cast to the original Greek suggests: “a written description or illustration of child prostitutes or child prostitution”. The noun child pornography superseded the noun child erotica, but is now equated with child abuse images.

Inquisition: institutions within a system of government whose aim is to combat heresy, and is characterised by: a lack of regard for individual rights, prejudice on the part of the examiners, and recklessly cruel punishments.

COPINE scale: used by UK law enforcement (also known as officious paramilitary social workers) to determine sentencing for possession of child pornography. This ten-point scale was created in the Department of Applied Psychology in Cork in 1997 and adapted for use in UK courts. In 2002, the scale was amended to a five-point SAP (Sentencing Advisory Panel) scale. It then changed again in 2014 to a three-point SOD (Sentencing Offenders Definitive) guideline. The forging of this scalar weapon and its inclusion within the inquisition’s armoury, furnishes law-enforcement agencies with a most terrible servant to deploy … and deploy it they do with rigid absolutism.

Paedophile: a person who is sexually attracted to children, the word appearing in medical dictionaries in 1918, but, with a lack of distinction between paedophilia and homosexuality. From 1960 attempts were made to distinguish “homosexuals” from people then dubbed “paedophiliacs”. In popular usage, the word paedophilia conflates sexual attraction to prepubescent children with “child sexual abuse”.

Indecent Sentences

From Heretic TOC: What Defines Child Pornography?: “In many jurisdictions this is utterly unclear, because mere nakedness may in theory be permissible, but too close a focus on the genitals may constitute an illegal lascivious display or an indecent image. An allegedly suggestive pose can tip the balance from legal to illegal, even if the child is fully clothed.”

In his consultation paper of 2002, Sentencing In Child Pornography Cases, Tom wrote: “The danger lies in the vagueness of the word indecent. As Geoffrey Robertson QC says: ‘Indecency…is assumed to have an ascertainable meaning in law. Jurors and justices who use it as part of their everyday language are trusted to know it when they see it.’ Yet ‘scientific surveys, parliamentary debates and jury verdicts demonstrate no measure of consensus either about community standards or the sort of material which infringes them.’ It seems to me far from self-evident that indecent photographs necessarily involve exploitation in their making, especially as regards those at the lower end of the scale, in COPINE classes 1-6. Indeed, the Sentencing Advisory Panel concedes this point by saying: ‘Images that are relatively less harmful … may still involve … exploitation or degradation …’ They may. Or they may not. Unfortunately, the Sentencing Advisory Panel fails to pursue the logic of this ambivalence. Taking a shotgun approach, the Panel opts to assume the worst and blast away regardless.”

“Shotgun approach” indeed. Fifteen years on, governments still blast away with their indecent bullets to the point where free expression and free speech is critically riddled with holes. In relating the anger expressed over the murder of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, Peter Herman in Heretic TOC highlighted the following bitter irony: “It has come to a point where, in many parts of the English speaking world, any image of youthful sexuality and even written descriptions of it will at the very least ostracize the individual, land him in jail or possibly get him killed.”

Endlösung der Pädophilenfrage – Final Solution to the Paedophile Question

butterfly-htoc

But why is war on minor-attracted individuals waged? Why have those elected to protect the civil liberties of every citizen, failed to do so for members of this group? Why have law-makers labelled every member a sexual predator and treated them as a deformity on the body politic?

Being a paedophile has become a crime of such importance that merely to accuse someone brands them a child sexual abuser. The term crimen exceptum, a mechanism vital to the functioning of inquisitions executing social control via justice systems built on barbarism, describes this process well. The crimen exceptum updates the Magna Carta to read: we are all guilty in a court of law.

As with all inquisitions, the crimen exceptum enables a monstrously corrupt false allegations industry to flourish, enthusiastically stoked by child charities and accusers – the latter in the full knowledge that they will be believed, that their anonymity will be guaranteed even if they are found to lie, and that they can profit from selling their lies to a salaciousness-hungry media. These bounty-hunting allegators doubtless obtain an extra buzz from ruining the lives of the innocents they accuse.

To heighten the moral panic and hysteria, the inquisition classifies an image of a naked child as obscene. Ironically, perversely, and hypocritically, one cannot be arrested for possessing images of terrorist crimes or violent crimes, no matter how sadistic or sickening. Heretic TOC recently discussed additional un-prosecuted “child pornography” in the public domain. It also flagged circumcision and the curious failure to prosecute the genital mutilation of some 10,000 and 1,000,000 male babies in the UK and the US, respectively, annually.

Conclusion: it has nothing to do with the image, and everything to do with the discrimination of those that promote and enjoy child sexuality; that includes the kids themselves.

The estrangement of adults from the lives of children

janus-htoc

Frank Furedi in Spiked: “The promotion of paranoia in relation to every aspect of children’s lives accomplishes the very opposite of what it sets out to do.” With nearly one quarter of UK households with dependent children managed by a lone parent, 91% being women, one might envisage such homes to be fertile ground for feeding the paranoia Frank highlights: stranger-danger outside; evil internet inside. Any child daring to display natural sexuality will be instantly hermetically sealed within a bubble of suppression, any adult moving a hand to break the bubble, ostracised.

This from Moor Larkin: “Look after the children, the idea seems to go, and then by the time they see all this filth and perversion, they will be adults and thus impervious to any of its pernicious effects. However at the same time, a legal norm has built up that anyone looking at pictures of children in sexual poses will be likely to want to emulate that imagery in reality, and thus must be treated to remove these pernicious effects, and if they refuse to comply then they must be removed from society.”

Moor’s final comment applies increasingly to children. A primary source of child abuse images rather ironically, is the children themselves. Pediatrics in 2014 states: “That we did not find a link between sexting and risky sexual behavior over time may suggest that sexting is a new ‘normal’ part of adolescent sexual development and not strictly limited to at-risk adolescents.” With the ever-earlier onset of puberty – the term “adolescent” implies a person between 10 and 25 – time perhaps to review age of consent laws.

That youngsters experience fun (kid’s code for excitement) showing off to peers and strangers alike as cameras roll, has been self-evident to child erotica aficionados for decades. Kids, particularly boys, evidently have an interest in sexual imagery. Nothing really new there, but danger lurks on the internet. The inquisition’s Five Eyes will be quick to pounce and arrest young perverts. Oh yes, the inquisition wages a vicious war against youth sexuality too. Heretic TOC highlighted a sad fact that around one in three registered sex offenders in both the UK and the US are themselves minors. Society has totally acquiesced to the implementation of savage lunatic discriminatory laws that, far from protecting children, systematically abuse them, and go on punishing for the remainder of their hellish lives. It is time to STOP IT NOW!

Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out

star-htoc

This poisonous lie from those who claim to protect society exposes the dark heart of the inquisition: “The FBI on behalf of the US government, claim that children are re-victimized every time images of their sexual abuse are viewed or transferred. That argument is one of the main rationales for punishing mere possession of child pornography, which under federal law and the laws of some states can be treated more harshly than violent crimes, more harshly even than actual abuse of children. That penalty structure is obviously irrational unless you believe that serious harm is inflicted every time someone looks at the image of a child’s sexual abuse. In that case, a large enough collection of images could equal or even surpass the harm done by a single child rape, so that it could make sense to impose a life sentence on someone who has done nothing but look at pictures.”

Another poisonous US Government lie states: “The commercial enterprise of online child pornography is estimated in 2005 to be approximately $20 billion, and it is an industry on the rise.” The lie is not easy to refute because it is illegal to research the facts, allowing the inquisition to launder statistics with impunity. In 2006, the Wall Street Journal in an investigative article commented: “to track down the number’s source yielded lots of dead ends.” A further source in 2001 concluded that the market in child pornography was actually negligible. Hyped claims that child pornography is a massively profitable industry appear to have been largely abandoned in more recent years, as the continuing lack of supporting evidence makes such claims less and less plausible. Attention is now focused more on estimating viewing figures, with people looking at what are now being called “child abuse images” being presented as a ‘social emergency’ (see also the BBC Child Pornography Epidemic link referenced in the bullet points below). The 2015 annual report of the Internet Watch Foundation claims “21% of the webpages confirmed as containing child sexual abuse imagery were assessed as commercial.”

More poisonous lies are recounted here.

Anglosphere child charity ‘statistics’ can be equally poisonous: “… research has shown that one in four children (27%) will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18.” This is 1,258 times more than the figure given by the Parliamentary Education Committee for England. The treacherous NSPCC is no better.

These poisonous lies oil the vicious circle and empower the inquisition to:

A model for the future

When any item in demand is outlawed, mechanisms arise that circumvent prohibition. Child pornography was legally produced and sold across several European countries thirty years ago, but is now restricted to, but freely available within the dark web. As images can be viewed, downloaded, copied, and distributed to a thousand destinations instantly, the war on pornography (as for drugs) is unlikely to be won despite huge commitment, funding, and, inane declarations of war.

By waging an intelligent, pragmatic, anti-war on drugs, certain countries in Europe ensure the cure costs less than the problem. Portugal decriminalised possession of all drugs for personal use in 2001 by implementing wider health and social policy changes. Results have been remarkable. The fact that Portugal benefited overall from the intelligent reversal of its stance on drugs, should be a wake-up call for governments that pig-headedly persist in waging costly, ineffective wars on items that society clearly wants.

Anglosphere countries should institute an anti-war on child pornography to unstitch manifestly corrupt and repressive laws that discriminate against citizens on the basis of their sexuality, and deny everyone the basic human right to articulate opinions and ideas. Articles 7, 12 and 19 of the United Nations Human Rights Declaration are relevant here; these continue to be breached with impunity. The unstitching process should dismantle dangerously unaccountable law-enforcement agencies (plus their allies) that design and deploy McCarthyesque witch hunts to create immense damage across society. One candidate the author would recommend for retrospective prosecution on the basis of discrimination is this one. If any single institution is guilty of fomenting mass-hysteria, discrimination and misery across the world over many decades in the total absence of any scientific justification, this is it.

We do not want future generations to have insanely fucked-up attitudes towards human sexuality like those that lie within the heads of the fascist moral “protectors” that infest Anglosphere governments today. To this end, society must ensure that every child receives adequate education on: human sexuality and human relationships, and the illegality of discrimination on the basis of sexuality. It would be instructive to highlight the fact that the animal kingdom is saturated with sexual deviance (for example: casual intergenerational sex play), and that as deviance is widespread in nature, deviance in humans is natural too.

This inquisition has been successful in suppressing free thought and scientific thought on the issue of child sexuality and intergenerational sex. Peter Herman again: “Following surveys in a number of countries, including, Denmark, Germany, Japan and the Czech Republic, a strong association has been demonstrated between the ready availability of pornography and reduced levels of sexual offending, including against children. Research also shows that non-coercive sexual acts with minors, in themselves, do not result in psychological trauma.” ipce summarises similar research findings. It is high time we revisited these findings and conducted additional rigorous scientific research to clarify the full diversity of human sexual needs, regardless of age.

War on Kinds disguises one against kids

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A familiar voice here, Feinmann commented on International Megan’s Law faces challenge recently: “…parents who physically abuse their kids are exempted from the additional punishments meted out post-prison to sex offenders…”  In a guest blog today, he drills into US and UK stats to probe what he sees as a war against children, and postulates that witch-hunting Kind people is a diversionary tactic. The author wishes to acknowledge the work of “A”, also a regular and highly valued Heretic TOC contributor, in locating many of the numerous links. 

Now exiled after an English childhood, a university education, and a successful career in technology, Feinmann was married before family health issues led to him experiencing the responsibility of life as a single dad to two sons, now in their twenties. Attracted to both prepubescent boys and girls, he has had traumatic encounters with mental health professionals and the law, doing tough prison time. Professionally retired, he remains highly active as a field researcher working on the conservation of endangered species. He has contributed to the Forum for Understanding Minor Attraction and to Ipce on the topic of civil commitment.

 

WAR ON KIDS IN THE ANGLOSPHERE’S ROTTEN CORE

“We in the United States should be all the more thankful for the freedom and religious tolerance we enjoy. And we should always remember the lessons learned from the Holocaust, in hopes we stay vigilant against such inhumanity now and in the future”  – United States congressman Charlie Dent.

“But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country” – Hermann Wilhelm Goering, founder of The Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

DATA

The war on children in the United States (population: 320,000,000)

US Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

In 2012 and 2013, state agencies reported an estimated 1,640 and 1,520 children, respectively, who died as a result of abuse and neglect. Looking at it another way: on average, four children are dying across the US every day over that two-year period from abuse and neglect. However, studies also indicated significant under-counting of child maltreatment fatalities by state agencies, by 50% or more. When one factors in deaths from circumcision plus under-counting, the US figures rival global rates of death resulting from child abuse and neglect.

  • In 2012, more than 70% of the victims were two years of age or younger and more than 80% of the victims were not yet old enough for kindergarten.
  • In 2013: 46.5% of the victims were less than one year old, 34.5% were between one and three years old, and a further 11.7% were aged between four and seven years old.
  • In 2012, around 80% of child abuse or neglect fatalities involved parents acting alone or with another parent. 2013 witnessed a similar figure of nearly 79%.

US Child Maltreatment and Protective Service Referrals

In 2012, state agencies reported an estimated 686,000 victims of child maltreatment.

Yearly, referrals to state child protective services involve 6,300,000 children; around 3,000,000 of those children are subject to an investigated report.

US Circumcision Fatalities

In 2010 in the US, approximately 1,000,000 baby boys were born, and in that year, 56% of them were circumcised.

An estimated 117 neonatal infants die annually whilst undergoing circumcision surgery in the US. “However, the number of boys who died from those surgeries has not been reported or estimated in any credible way. Some reasons include record-keeping practices, indifference, and concerns about liability. Death certificates typically do not list circumcision as the immediate or leading cause of death and rarely list circumcision as an underlying cause. Incomplete and inaccurate death certificates for children are a common phenomenon. Thus, many circumcision-related deaths are more often reported as surgical mishap, infection, haemorrhage, cardiac arrest, stroke, reaction to anaesthesia, or even parental neglect. Greater numbers of male infant fatalities may be accounted for by circumcision-related deaths.”

Teenage Pregnancy

In 2002, 56 out of every 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19 in the US gave birth, topping the list of births among teenagers in twenty-eight of the world’s wealthiest nations. At the other end of the scale, Korea, Japan, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Sweden, had a rate of less than 7 births per 1000 teenagers. In 2006, a third of teenage pregnancies in the US were subsequently aborted. Among females aged 14 or younger, pregnancy rates in 2010 exceeded 3 out of every 1000.

The war on children in the United Kingdom (population: 64,000,000)

UK Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

In 2012, the rate of child deaths due to assault and undetermined intent (violent death or injury) to be: in Scotland 5.1 per million, in Northern Ireland 4.5 per million, and in England and Wales 3.6 per million. These statistics yield 44 fatalities for the UK in that year. The NSPCC stresses that the statistics do not reflect the full number of child deaths where abuse or neglect is suspected as a factor without saying why, but it does say that the data excludes deaths of children aged 14 and 15.

Over a similar period, the Department for Education reports 3,857 child death reviews completed; of these 806 deaths were identified as having modifiable factors, with 65% of these categorised as: deliberately inflicted injury, abuse or neglect. This yields a figure of 523. This statistic also includes 17 and 18 year-olds.

UK Child Maltreatment and Protective Service Referrals

The author could find no government-sourced UK-specific data on child maltreatment, and no UK-specific data on referrals to child-protection agencies. However, the NSPCC stated that over 50,000 children had been identified as needing protection from abuse, but that for every one of these children, another eight are suffering abuse. This suggests 450,000 children in total annually, are suffering abuse in the UK, a similar rate to US figures. A 2003 report by UNICEF says the following: “… survey data are inclined to produce higher figures for child maltreatment than are established from official statistics. One example from the UK has survey data estimating 389 cases each year of serious physical maltreatment per 100,000 children … as compared to official data records of 70 reported cases of physical maltreatment per 100,000 children per year.” Extrapolating the UNICEF survey figure above yields nearly 250,000 children suffering serious physical maltreatment across the UK.

Circumcision

The author could find no recent UK-specific data on either the number of circumcisions on infants, nor neonatal infant fatalities as a result of circumcision surgery. In 2009 in just one hospital alone in Birmingham, 105 boys were treated in the Accident and Emergency department, for complications arising from circumcision procedure. Two years later, 11 baby boys aged 0-1 years old were admitted to the paediatric intensive care unit of this hospital with life-threatening complications directly caused by circumcision.

Teenage Pregnancy

In 2002, 30 out of every 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19 in the UK gave birth, topping the list of births among teenagers in Europe, and placing them second in an equivalent list of twenty-eight of the world’s wealthiest nations. The UK has the highest teenage birth rate and the highest abortion rate in Western Europe. At the other end of the scale, Korea, Japan, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Sweden, had a rate of less than 7 births per 1000 teenagers. By 2006, the UK had five times the rate of teenage births than that recorded in The Netherlands. Although the UK claims to have done much better recently, rates remain among the highest in Europe.

OBSERVATIONS

Child abuse and neglect fatalities: comparisons, perpetrators, causes, effects

The 2012 fatality rate of US children detailed in the Data section above is in stark contrast to the equivalent figure for Japan in the same year; although suicide-murders are excluded, the figure is in the order of a factor of 10 smaller. Depending on what figure is considered, the 2012 child fatality rate for the UK is between two times and ten times the Japan total.

“There is no single profile of a perpetrator of fatal child abuse, although certain characteristics reappear in many studies. Frequently, the perpetrator is a young adult in his or her mid-20s, without a high school diploma, living at or below the poverty level, depressed, and who may have difficulty coping with stressful situations. Fathers and mothers’ boyfriends are most often the perpetrators in abuse deaths; mothers are more often at fault in neglect fatalities.” – Children’s Bureau.

In other words, this is a systemic failure at least as much as an individual failure.

At 25%, Romania topped a 2012 league table listing the child poverty levels of 35 developed countries, but the US was a close second at 23%.

Child abuse spikes during recession, and: “In a population-based cohort of middle-aged men and women, childhood physical abuse predicted worse mental and physical health decades after the abuse. These effects were attenuated by age, sex, family background, and childhood adversities, but not eliminated.”

Genital mutilation: myths, ignorance and a violation of human rights

“A British doctor, Douglas Gairdner, who reviewed the issue in 1949 found that scientific understanding of the foreskin was woefully inadequate; little research had ever been done on its normal development, including the time it takes for the foreskin to fully separate from the head of the penis and become retractable. This was remarkable, since one of the most common indications for circumcision since the late 19th Century had been ‘phimosis’, or the abnormal adhesion of the foreskin to the underlying glans. Doctors in both America and Britain believed that the foreskin was normally – that is, in healthy infants – separate from the glans at birth; when it was not, circumcision was indicated. But Gairdner discovered that no one had bothered to find out what happened to the foreskin when it was left alone. Contrary to common wisdom, Gairdner found that boys differed widely in the time it took for the foreskin to naturally separate from the glans – anywhere from birth to three years. Circumcision as a treatment for so-called ‘adherent prepuce’ before this time was therefore unnecessary. The National Health Service agreed, and in the years following the circumcision rate in Britain fell, from about 33% in 1948 to less than 10% today, with most of those being done for religious reasons.” –  Matthew Tontonoz.

In the US: “Excepting its use as a religious rite, circumcision is done essentially for cosmetic reasons, much like ear piercing in females or for the emotional concern of parents – reasons that lack scientific validity.” Self-evidently, the child whose genitals are destined to be mutilated has no choice in the matter, and accordingly the surgery is a violation of the child’s human rights, as declared by: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture.

The Royal Dutch Medical Association believes that circumcision should be discouraged through a public education campaign. The German Paediatric Association also takes a stand against circumcision: “The debate over ritual circumcision shows fundamentalist characteristics. The proponents of circumcision trivialise this form of bodily harm, which can also lead to lifelong physical and emotional injuries and repeatedly accuse the advocates of child welfare with anti-Semitism. However, we must be allowed as advocates of child welfare, to question thousand year old religious rites and customs, which permanently impair the physical integrity of an underage person or child who is incapable of consent, and in the 21st century, based on new findings, stimulate people to think about them, asking whether or not it would be also possible for boys to be educated in the religious tradition of their parents without needing to have their foreskins removed.”

The NSPCC have set up a helpline for female genital mutilation but not for male genital mutilation. “The attitude of Western societies to oppose to female genital mutilation, but not to condemn male circumcision, suggests a double standard of the acceptance and implies (racial) discrimination of circumcised Jewish and Moslem boys, by not trying to protect them against useless pain as is the case with girls and non-circumcised boys.” – Jacqueline Smith.

If you have the stomach for it, many circumcision surgery accident, complication, and atrocity horror stories are related here.

Teenage Pregnancy: risks to the girl’s well-being and main causes

“Teenagers who keep their baby are twice as likely to end up living in poverty, than those who delay motherhood. The eightfold difference in birth rates can be partly explained, the report says, by the move away from traditional family values in some countries to what the researchers call a ‘socio-sexual transformation’, where sexual imagery permeates all aspects of life, and where teenagers are under greater pressure to experiment with sex. But the report adds that equally important is how countries prepare their young people to cope with modern life. Some countries, such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, and France, have travelled far down the road from traditional values, but they have also made successful efforts to prepare their young people to cope with a more sexualized society. By comparison, the US and the UK are secretive and embarrassed about contraceptive services. After interviewing young people about sexual services, the UK government’s Social Exclusion Unit concluded: ‘The universal message received from young people is that the sex and relationship education they receive falls far short of what they would like to equip them for managing relations as they grow into adulthood’. By tackling teenage births, governments have the chance to reduce poverty and its ‘perpetuation from one generation to the next’, says the report.” – The BMJ.

“We conclude that the health hazard associated with school-age pregnancy is predominantly pre-maturity, and is increased only in middle school-aged mothers, that is: 11 to 15 year olds. We suggest that middle school pregnancy, particularly for inner-city teenagers, should be a special focus for pregnancy prevention and intervention.” – AJOG.

The highest teenage pregnancy rates in 2010 occurred in the following US states: Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Texas. The location of these States coincides to a striking degree with the heartland of the bible-belt, and to the heartland of abstinence-only-until-marriage education. “Mississippi does not require sex education in schools, but when it is taught, abstinence-only education is the state standard. New Mexico, which has the second highest teen birth rate, does not require sex education and has no requirements on what should be included when it is taught.” ThinkProgress, provides a link to a full state-by-state policy rundown. The pregnancy rates of children of 14 years old and younger in Mississippi, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Texas, were ranked in the top 10 of all US state-rates, with Mississippi leading the table with 6 pregnancies per 1000, nearly double the nation’s average.

THE WAR ON MINOR-ATTRACTED INDIVIDUALS

Dystopian hypocrisy of UK law and US law

The COPINE scale in the UK was devised in order to classify   “indecent images” of children, also known as child pornography. Originally intended for used by psychologists, it has been adopted for law enforcement purposes, and has provided the starting point from which the categories now used in sentencing guidelines were developed. The minimum scale of 1 equates with non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. The maximum scale of 10 equates with sadistic pictures showing a child being tied, bound, beaten, whipped or otherwise subject to something that implies pain. ‘Production’ and ‘distribution’ of such images in the latter case can attract a prison sentence of up to ten years in the UK,  and saw Thomas Reedy  in the US jailed for 1,335 years – although, very fortunately for him, this was reduced to a mere 180 years on appeal! And yet, the internet is awash with videos graphically communicating images of pain being inflicted on screaming infants as their genitals are mutilated. The US and UK law is wilfully blind to the production and distribution of these horrific child abuse images, images that merit a ranking of typology level 10 on the COPINE scale.

The Brit Milah ceremony can be conducted legally in the UK by a mohel, or circumciser and foreskin remover. The ceremony involves the following procedure: the mohel takes the penis of the boy in his hand, cuts around the prepuce, takes the mutilated boy’s penis in his mouth, sucks off the foreskin, and spits out the amputated flap along with a mouthful of blood and saliva. When an adult has been convicted of rape, including oral rape, he may expect as much as life imprisonment as punishment. When an adult commits cruelty to a child and where the child is particularly vulnerable, the crime attracts 10 years imprisonment. When a mohel does both these things simultaneously, he is praised by all those around him, including the boy’s own parents. The facilitators and perpetrators of this potentially lethal child circumcision abuse appear to be immune from prosecution under UK law and under US law.

The first four typology levels of the COPINE scale are as follows:

1 – Indicative: in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness. This category is mentioned above.

2 – Nudist: pictures of naked or semi-naked children in appropriate nudist settings, and from legitimate sources.

3 – Erotica: surreptitiously taken photographs of children in play areas or other safe environments showing either underwear or varying degrees of nakedness.

4 – Posing: deliberately posed pictures of children fully clothed, partially clothed or naked.

In the UK, and across Europe, naturism is legal and often family-oriented. There are also many freely accessible naturist beaches where members of the public of all ages can be naked, publicly, and watch others enjoying being naked, including children. There are websites promoting naturism online with images of naked children, although even these may be judged illegal in the UK now. There are galleries in every country containing works of art: sculpture, paintings and photographs that display naked children. Fashion magazines contain sexualised, desirable, erotic, posed images of children coining headlines such as: “Pedocouture: In Vogue magazine, 6-year-olds are sex vixens”. In the latter two cases, members of the public pay a fee to see these ‘obscene’ images, images that effortlessly meet the ‘damning’ criteria detailed in COPINE typology levels 1 to 4 above, categorising child sexual abuse images, known also as child pornography. But in all these cases, the law is wilfully blind to such public displays of child nudity, and so they fail to attract prosecution under UK law.

CONCLUSIONS

An unequivocal message emerges from the often hard-to-come-by child-harm and child-fatality data: UK and US governments are failing to protect and empower society’s youngest people. The following points are germane:

  • High child poverty levels are a primary driver for high levels of child abuse and neglect.
  • Under-reporting of child deaths in the UK where abuse or neglect is suspected to be a factor, the lack of data reporting of child maltreatment and of referrals to child protection agencies (or any other agency), conspire to suggest the deliberate burial of damning news by UK government agencies.
  • Absence of data of neonatal infant fatalities due to circumcision in the UK, and under-reporting of same in the US, appeases pro-circumcision lobbies but guarantees the continued maiming and slaughter of hundreds of ‘disposable’ baby boys via a barbaric procedure that contravenes all applicable international human rights directives.
  • Denying the right to access and enjoy sexuality by imposing 17th Century Puritanism on children and denying them adequate sex education in schools, but all the while selling hedonistic lifestyles via the media, creates a toxic recipe for underage pregnancy.

A further unequivocal message to emerge is how the war on paedophiles is being used to cover up systemic government failures in preventing the primary causes of child abuse and neglect:

  • The unholy trinity of media, governments and law-makers foment child-sexual-abuse hysteria and fear by conducting a witch-hunt on scapegoat ‘paedophiles’ in the delusory belief that the war being waged by society, mostly by the child’s legal guardians on its own children, will not be noticed. This diversionary tactic is employed to cover up the appalling record of welfare agencies tasked with detecting and preventing widespread child abuse and neglect in the family home.
  • A devastating consequence of the male-stranger-danger mantra being trumpeted by media-led governments from every hilltop is that it unravels the fabric that binds communities together, simply because men can no longer be trusted (ironic perhaps when women are just as capable of child sexual abuse). Diminishing male teacher numbers in primary schools testifies to the damage already inflicted; youngsters, particularly boys, suffer as a result due to lack of role models. A further example of the lunacy of male-stranger-danger propaganda is airline seating sex discrimination.
  • Permitting individuals to mutilate and then suck the freshly-maimed genitals of infants, but simultaneously prosecuting, imprisoning, civilly-committing, scarlet-lettering, techno-tethering, and ostracising ‘irredeemable pervert paedophiles’ for life for having in their possession images of naked children, demonstrates that sexual crime trumps violent crime, and that Fascist hypocrisy worms its way maggot-like and unchecked through the rotten core of Anglosphere Children’s charities are equally culpable in this wilful hypocrisy and discrimination.

 

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