Saturday, October 18, 2008

Can a girl sexually abuse herself?

That's the question asked by Tracy Clark-Flory in column for (at She writes:

This is unbelievable: A 15-year-old Ohio girl currently faces juvenile child pornography charges for allegedly taking and distributing nude photos of herself.

After Licking Valley High School officials discovered the photos on the girl's phone and tipped off police last Friday, she was arrested, held in jail over the weekend and charged with possession of criminal tools and illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, ABC reports. If convicted, she could spend several years in juvenile detention and be forced to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years of her life (although, since she is a first-time offender and a minor, the judge could decide against making her register).

What's more, charges might still be filed against the students who received the photos, regardless of whether they received them unwillingly. State law holds that "anyone possessing material that shows a minor in a state of nudity is guilty of a fifth-degree felony," according to the Newark Advocate. If convicted, they could face registration as a sex offender for 10 years....

[C]alling this girl a sex offender for distributing pornographic images of herself is crazy-talk. We have to acknowledge that, however unprepared she was to make the decision, she does have ownership over her own body; her sexual choice is not the same as an adult making a sexual choice for her.

I'm as outraged as Clark-Flory is, and I've written the prosecutor. His name is Kenneth Oswalt and he can be contacted at:

Licking County Prosecutor's Office
20 S. Second St, Newark, Ohio 43055
Hours of Operation (M-F, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
General Telephone number: (740) 670-5255 - Fax 740-670-5241

Eric Hamell

Put Children's Needs Before Adults' Bigotry -- Stop Arkansas's Initiated Act 1

I just received the message below from BiUnity of Philadelphia's listserv. I've made a donation and hope you will too. --Eric Hamell


This is Laura Bellows, Field Coordinator from Arkansas Families First, the campaign against Initiated Act 1 in Arkansas. Initiated Act 1, which Arkansas voters will decide on this November, would prohibit unmarried co-habitating couples from adopting or fostering children. Although this act is intended as an attack on the LGBT community, it also would prevent unmarried opposite-sex couples from adopting or fostering.

I am asking for your help and contributions because, although Act 1 has not received a lot of national attention, we believe that our campaign is very important. This is the first ballot initiative to threaten adoption/foster care rights of unmarried couples. If it passes, right-wing groups across the country may try to replicate its success.

Luckily, the campaign against Initiated Act 1 is working. Arkansas press coverage of the issue has been overwhelmingly positive, partially thanks to our extensive coalition of child welfare organizations, such as Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I am asking for your contribution because we still need an extra push. To do that, we need your organization's help. At this point, all of the money we raise will go directly to advertising.

Please share information about the campaign in Arkansas with your members. I am pasting a message below that you can email to your listserv, post to your blog, or use in a publication.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. You may reach me at or on my cell phone at 832-489-6465. Our website is Thank you for your time and for your assistance!

Laura Bellows
Field Coordinator
Arkansas Families First


____________ _________ _________ __
Arkansas Initiated Act 1 is the first ballot measure of its kind: if it were to pass, it would bar unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children. The only other state to have such a restrictive law is Utah. Arkansas Family Council, an offshoot of Focus on the Family, would rather deny loving homes to needy children than have committed unmarried couples raise children.

Luckily, Arkansas Families First, a coalition group made up of a variety of child welfare groups and progressive organizations, has been working to defeat this ban. Last week, the Arkansas Department of Human Services overturned a previous policy that barred unmarried couples in favor of case-by-case foster care: read more here. Governor Mike Beebe, who enjoys very high approval ratings in Arkansas, has stated that he opposes Initiated Act 1 and supports case-by-case adoption and foster care.

This week, Arkansas Families First released a video asking voters to vote NO on Act 1. This short video features adult former foster children and experts in the fields of child protection, psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and clergy who explain the negative consequences if the initiative were to pass. Watch the video here: com/watch? v=iVg8Y49OmMM.

We need to get this information out to more people in Arkansas; our research shows that voters are very likely to vote NO on Act 1 once they hear our message. Please help us defeat this ballot measure: go to our webpage at and make a donation.

To defeat this measure, Arkansas Families First needs your help: go to the website now.