Media Release: Classification Board approves movies depicting child rape - Collective Shout calls on Communications Minister Fletcher to urgently intervene
Collective Shout has called for an overhaul of Australia’s classification system and a review of recent Classification Board determinations following discovery of illegal animated child sexual abuse material depicting child rape, abuse and exploitation which the Board classified as suitable for audiences as young as 15 - in some cases even younger.
South Australian Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff exposed the Board’s deeply disturbing failure to exercise its responsibilities under Australian law in a speech in the Senate Tuesday followed by a Senate motion yesterday.
Senator Griff described anime movies depicting “wide-eyed children, usually in school uniforms, engaged in explicit sexual activities and poses, and often being sexually abused." He called for an immediate review of all Japanese anime movies accessible in Australia.
The Commonwealth Criminal Code prohibits the sale, production, possession and distribution of offensive and abusive material that depicts a person, or is a representation of a person, who is or appears to be under 18.
Senator Griff cited a number of anime series featuring the sexual abuse of children. One of these, Sword Art Online: Extra Edition depicts the rape and sexual assault of children. It was given an unrestricted M rating by the Classifications Board, despite the fact it constitutes illegal child exploitation material. According to Senator Griff, the character Asuna is raped by her captor Sugu, who threatens to also rape her in the real world, where she is lying in a hospital room in a catatonic state. Sugu says he will make a recording of the virtual rape to shame her.
Senator Griff said that the Classification Board justified the M rating in its report, stating that the nudity through the film is 'moderate in impact' and 'justified by context'.
We would like to know how Board members could possibly justify the sexual violation of children for entertainment as justifiable in any way.
Other anime series depicting sexual abuse of children as well as strong incest themes were given an MA 15+ rating by the Board, despite also featuring illegal content. In Goblin Slayer children are portrayed as frightened or resisting - at the same time enjoying the sexual abuse inflicted on them.
“The Board has made child sexual exploitation material available for purchase in Australian retail outlets - including mainstream stores like Sanity”, Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist said. “This has allowed a paedophilic culture to flourish. How can we claim to care about the epidemic of child sexual abuse when child sexual exploitation material is given the tick by our so-called regulatory body?”
Our experience working with child sexual abuse survivors and clinicians supports Senator Griff’s statement that this material is “a gateway to the abuse of actual children” and can be used as a grooming tool to normalise abuse.
“This matter must be immediately referred to the Australian Federal Police,” Tankard Reist said. “And Communications Minister Paul Fletcher needs to take charge of this failed government agency and investigate how it could allow this content to be permitted contrary to Australian law”.
In its submission to the current review of Australian Classification Regulation, Collective Shout provided detailed evidence of systemic failures of the Board over a decade and called for its complete overhaul. Its approval of child sexual exploitation material is just the latest example of a broken system.
Melinda Tankard Reist
[mtr at collectiveshout.org]
[caitlin at collectiveshout.org]
27 February 2020Read more
Lesbians have slammed sex shop Honey Birdette for fetishising and objectifying lesbians in its latest ad campaign. The ‘Fluid’ campaign, set to coincide with the forthcoming Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, depicts an orgy of naked men and women with bodies painted in Pride colours, groping each other.
Liz Waterhouse from Listening 2 Lesbians, which documents lesbian experiences of violence and discrimination around the world, said Honey Birdette presented lesbians as available for the sexual gratification of men.
“Calling the campaign ‘Fluid’ combined with the presentation of objectified, sexually available lesbians, clearly communicates to the men watching that lesbian sexuality is fluid enough for lesbians to be sexually available to them,” Ms Waterhouse said.
“In a world where lesbians are harassed and attacked for our sexuality, for not being available to men, this is a dangerous game to play with lesbian lives.”
Ms Waterhouse said lesbians needed space to exist free of tokenism and sexual objectification.
“We all want to live in a world where lesbians are safe, where lesbian lives are celebrated and where lesbian representation gives hope and strength to young lesbians working out their sexuality. Honey Birdette’s campaign takes us further away from that world.”
Susan Hawthorne, author, poet and publisher at Australia’s only feminist and lesbian publisher Spinifex Press, accused Honey Birdette of sexualising lesbians.
“Using lesbians as titillation is not unusual, pornographers have been doing it for decades,” Ms Hawthorne said.
“But in the real world real lesbians are tortured for our activism; real lesbians are subjected to corrective rape; and in the real world when a lesbian is raped or tortured she doesn't get to say stop. Not only are you continuing the sexualising of women, you are giving mixed messages with images of a mixed orgy.”
Collective Shout has campaigned against Honey Birdette’s pornified representations of women for close to a decade. Honey Birdette has been found in breach of Ad Standards rulings 31 times since January 2018.
“Far from promoting equality, this is an act of rainbow washing for profit,” Ms Roper said. “The company claims diversity while featuring flawless bodies and large-breasted women”.
The ad has received an outpouring of criticism on Honey Birdette’s Instagram and Facebook page, including for “profiting off of Pride” and as a “blatant attempt to cover up an orgy with a rainbow filter”.
Collective Shout has supported a petition launched by Melbourne father of three Kenneth Thor directed at CEOs of shopping centres which host Honey Birdette’s porn-inspired portrayals which has attracted almost 77,000 signatures. Honey Birdette has a counter petition which we have been told by a source close to the company comprises a large percentage of fake names added by staff.
[caitlin at collectiveshout.org]
February 20, 2020
On Safer Internet Day, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation, calls on Instagram to take urgent action to stop rampant sex trafficking, child sexual abuse grooming and the fetishisation of underage girls on its social media platform. Safer Internet Day is a worldwide event marked in 150 countries that began in 2004, to raise awareness about online safety and creating a better internet.
Collective Shout has carried out an investigation into the behaviour of predators on Instagram. We collected hundreds of samples of sexual, predatory comments on the posts of underage girls - some as young as 7. These included comments by adult men about girls bodies, body parts, sex-abuse acts they would like to carry out on the girls and requests for nude images. We also found that sexualised images of children posted on Instagram, shared under the guise of child modelling, were then shared to paedophile forums where men discuss their sexual fantasies for children.
Some Instagram accounts featuring sexualised imagery of children offer paid subscriptions to ‘exclusive content’, with one allowing men to purchase bikini shots of a 13- year-old girl washing a dog.
Instagram claims to be using proactive technology to ensure the platform is safe for children. However Collective Shout campaigner Lyn Swanson Kennedy said when she reported the content she discovered, Instagram countered that ‘no community guidelines’ had been breached. Some predatory comments had been left more than a year with no action from Instagram.
"What we’ve found shows that sexualisation and harassment of underage girls on Instagram is rampant,” Swanson Kennedy said. By giving adult males unfettered access to children and facilitating the transmission of sexual comments Instagram is complicit in normalising the idea that girls are available for sexual gratification. This puts girls at risk.
"If these mega social media companies are going to allow minors on their platform, they must provide adequate measures to keep children safe from sexual predators”.
Collective Shout is partnering with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (USA) and Defend Dignity (Canada) in a campaign calling on Instagram to change its policies. In December Collective Shout wrote to Instagram’s Global Head of Policy Karina Newton with evidence from our investigation.
Collective Shout representatives will take part in a meeting with platform heads this month.
11 February 2020
Lyn Swanson Kennedy [lyn at collectiveshout.org]
Melinda Liszewski [melinda.l at collectiveshout.org]
The 15-second ad promoting the global fast food fried chicken chain opens with a young woman checking her appearance in the reflection of a parked car window, leaning forward as she adjusts her low-cut top. The window rolls down to reveal a very unhappy looking mother and two young boys, who are staring open-mouthed having received an eyeful of the woman's cleavage.Read more
Collective Shout releases annual blacklist of corporate offenders to boycott this XMAS
Collective Shout has released its annual Christmas ‘Crossed Off’ blacklist. The list – first launched in 2010 - is a collation of companies which have objectified women or sexualised girls for profit.
The 2019 line up includes:
These major shopping centres continue to host Honey Birdette’s porn-themed advertising, facilitating the display of sexist and sexually objectifying content to an all-age audience. Children's activities - including pics with Santa - are often held near the sex store. Click here to see the full list of shopping centres.
Online marketplace Amazon has a long history of stocking sexually exploitative products and this year the global giant hasn’t been any better. We first called them out in 2010 when they were selling “The Paedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A child-lover’s code of conduct”. Since then we have exposed Amazon selling pro-rape and pro-paedophilia merchandise, child sex dolls, and this year, rape and incest-themed books.
While many associate Playboy simply with its branded items or magazine, Playboy Enterprises own various adult TV channels and websites, broadcasting brutal, hardcore pornography. Retailers that stock Playboy-branded products are helping Playboy to produce and distribute content that objectifies and degrades women. By stocking Playboy branded products Chemist Warehouse is profiting from the mainstreaming, normalising and embedding of a major brand of the sex industry into mainstream culture.
To see the full list click here.
Campaigns Manager Melinda Liszewski said research demonstrated a connection between the way women and girls are portrayed in advertising and the impact on attitudes towards women and their treatment. A 2015 meta-analysis showed objectified portrayals of women led to a ‘diminished view of women’s competence, morality and humanity.’ [Media and Sexualization: State of Empirical Research, 1995-2015, Ward LM, The Journal of Sex Research (2016)]
"These companies are harming women and girls, demonstrating a lack of corporate social responsibility. We can't let them get away with it."
Media Contact: Melinda Liszewski @melliszewski
Friday 13 December, 2019
Why does Instagram allow men to tell underage girls they want to rape them? Global call for action to protect minors from predators.
Collective Shout has joined a global campaign calling on Instagram to take urgent action to protect young girls from the predatory behaviours of large numbers of men congregating on their pages. Campaigner Lyn Swanson Kennedy discovered hundreds of comments from men describing sexual acts they wanted to perform on the girls.
Collective Shout has joined forces with the National Centre on Sexual Exploitation (US) and Demand Dignity (Canada) stating that Instagram has become a predator’s paradise and calling on the global picture-posting platform to implement safety measures to protect underage girls.
Kennedy described her shock at coming across large numbers of predatory comments containing descriptions of sexual abuse fantasies even for girls as young as seven - and grooming-style behaviours on the Facebook-owned platform. A 9-year old girl was described as having a ‘fat little p*ssy’ by one man while another described in detail how he would assault her.
“Instagram is providing a platform for men to share their sexually explicit comments about young girls,” Kennedy said
"What we’ve found shows that sexualisation and harassment of underage girls on Instagram is rampant. By giving adults unfettered access to children and facilitating the transmission of sexual comments Instagram is complicit in putting underage girls at risk and normalising them as available for sexual gratification.
“This is a gross act of social irresponsibility and violates socially expected standards of corporate conduct.
“My colleagues and I are spending a lot of time reporting these comments. Too often Instagram says the sexually explicit comments don’t violate their “community guidelines”. Perhaps it’s time for their board to come up with some new guidelines to protect children?”
We are calling for Instagram to:
1) Change its settings so that strangers cannot direct message minors.
2) Fix its algorithm to proactively remove sexualising or sexually graphic comments on minor’s photos.
3) Update its reporting system so that if someone is reporting a sexual comment on a minor’s post it can be reported as such. The “harassment/bullying” selection does not capture the fact that these comments come from adults who are grooming/sexualising/harassing a child.
The campaign is being run under the hashtags #WakeUpInstagram and #InstaPimpsGirls. Screenshots and videos of evidence here: https://endsexualexploitation.org/instagram/.
Saturday 23 November 2019
Instagram a “predator’s paradise”: Collective Shout joins anti sexploitation groups in global campaign
Joint international campaign launched by Collective Shout, National Center on Sexual Exploitation (USA) and Defend Dignity (Canada)
Today three anti-sexual exploitation organisations from three countries— Collective Shout (Australia), the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (United States), and Defend Dignity (Canada)—launched a campaign to call out rampant sex trafficking, child sexual abuse grooming, and the fetishisation of underage girls on Instagram.
“Earlier this year, YouTube came under public scrutiny for facilitating pedophile comments and networking in the comment sections of videos featuring young children—but what we’re seeing on Instagram now is even worse.
"It’s time to #WakeUpInstagram and stop a predator’s paradise from flourishing. Instagram needs to prioritise the safety of minors, not the accessibility of minors to adults, on its platform,” said Haley Halverson, Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach, National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
Collective Shout campaigner Lyn Kennedy said that since July, the movement had collected hundreds of samples of sexual, predatory comments on underage girls’ Instagram posts.
"What we’ve found shows that sexualisation and harassment of underage girls on Instagram is rampant. By giving adults unfettered access to children and facilitating the transmission of sexual comments—including requests for sexual images—from men to girls, Instagram is complicit in putting underage girls at risk and normalising them as available for sexual gratification," Kennedy said.
"If technology and social media companies are going to allow minors on their platform in any capacity, then they must provide adequate measures to keep children safe from sexual predators”.
Glendyne Gerrard, Director of Defend Dignity, said that in Canada, social media is one of the most common places for pimps and sex traffickers to lure and recruit victims for sexual exploitation, particularly children.
"Instagram’s picture-based platform makes it a haven for predators to groom and sexually exploit minors," Gerrard said.
"Instagram is complicit in these crimes if it does not improve its current policies to better protect children. In partnership with NCOSE and Collective Shout, Defend Dignity calls on Instagram to make it their top corporate priority to protect minors from the risks of being sexually exploited while using their social media platform.”
The three organisations are calling for Instagram to make three vital policy improvements:
1) Instagram must change its settings so that strangers cannot direct message minors.
2) Instagram must fix its algorithm to proactively remove sexualising or sexually graphic comments on minor’s photos.
3) Instagram must update its reporting system so that if someone is reporting a sexual comment on a minor’s post it can be reported as such. The “harassment/bullying” selection does not capture the fact that these comments come from adults who are grooming/sexualising/harassing a child.
Follow the global campaign on social media using #InstaPimpsGirls and #WakeUpInstagram.
Learn more and view screenshots and videos of evidence here: https://endsexualexploitation.org/instagram/.
Following calls for BP service stations to stop profiting from sexist magazines, sexualising teen girls and encouraging sexual harassment, the service station chain has announced these magazines will no longer be sold in 350 of its company owned stores.Read more
Following a campaign calling on 7-Eleven to withdraw unrestricted pornographic magazines that sexualise teen girls and encourage harassment, Collective Shout can announce a victory.Read more