German woman died after being hit 123 times with a wooden blackboard pointer while bound with nylon tights and condoms
A Swedish man is to go on trial charged with killing his girlfriend in a Fifty Shades of Grey-style sado-masochistic sex game.
The unnamed 31-year-old is accused of killing his German girlfriend after she was hit 123 times with a wooden blackboard pointer while bound with nylon tights and condoms.
The man claims the 28-year-old woman was a willing ‘sex slave’, but police later found a diary in which she wrote: “You once said you did not want to see me in real pain. I am subservient but no masochist.”
The man was charged last week in connection with the woman’s death in October. She is said to have been an exchange student who had only been in the country for nine days to meet the boyfriend she had befriended on a previous visit and had kept in touch with online.
Police said the man raised the alarm after he noticed his partner had stopped breathing during their S&M session at his home in Umea, northern Sweden.
He tried in vain to resuscitate her before the ambulance arrived, with the woman spending two days in intensive care before her life support machines were switched off.
She is said to have sustained “terrible” brain damage as a result of her airways being restricted.
Police said the woman had been taking a cocaine substitute and drinking alcohol before she died.
Local prosecutor Åsa Jonsson said she also had her mouth stuffed with something which led directly to her death, adding: “It is our belief he is directly responsible for her death.”
Rape is exceedingly common in the BDSM scene. In fact, even the community’s own lobbying groups such as the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom—one of their board members doubled as FetLife’s community manager, by the way—admit to a 50% higher occurrence of consent violations among BDSM practitioners than the general populace. That’s nearly as bad as police officers, who statistically speaking are also twice as likely to be perpetrators of domestic violence. The BDSM scene has a self-delusional belief that they are “all about consent,” but in reality, they are at least as bad with sexual consent as everybody else, and likely a lot worse given their penchant for eroticizing abuse. Many women and Submissive-identified people within that community, including myself, had been saying this for a long time, but had been routinely ignored.
With Predator Alert Tool for FetLife, the problem of FetLife’s censorship all but vanished: FetLife users could now warn other FetLife users about predatory behavior, and FetLife’s site management was powerless to stop it. Just a few weeks ago, we met a woman right here in Albuquerque who had used the tool to alert others about a local “Master” violating her consent.
Users of the tool then began asking for a similar capability on other sites, like OkCupid and Facebook. There are now seven variations of the Predator Alert Tool browser add-on, each designed to work with a particular social network or dating site. Importantly, none of these tools has been developed in collaboration with the social network in question. Most sites have refused to acknowledge the tool, despite inquiries from journalists and community members. Some sites are actively hostile, sending DMCA takedown notices and even threatening to ban Predator Alert Tool users. Meanwhile, the already overwhelming positive response from the user community continues to grow.
Predator Alert Tool arose directly from the needs of the community that it serves. It enabled the user community to do exactly what the authorities at FetLife didn’t want done, or what OkCupid and Facebook don’t want users thinking too critically about. And it accomplished this by just implementing that capability rather than waiting for permission to do so. Its impact was immediate and disruptive—on purpose. These characteristics are indicative of all direct action software development projects.
Today in 2015 the petition proposed by the “Consent Culture” working groups has still not achieved its goal of stopping FetLife from silencing rape survivors. Predator Alert Tool was able to accomplish that goal in one night of coding, with these 260 lines of code, three years ago.
The French pornography industry systematically uses violence against women, according to a report presented Wednesday by four French Senators, after six months of auditions following several high-profile arrests of producers and directors.
The Senators want the issue to be taken seriously by the public, and for the government to make the fight against the “commodification of bodies” a political priority.
The aim of the report, which the authors titled ‘Porno: hell behind the scenes’, is to “alert the government and public opinion about violence perpetuated and spread by and in the pornography industry, as well as on the sexist, racist, homophobic and unequal representations that it generates.”
The four Senators, from four different political parties, started their mission in February after several porn actors, directors and producers linked to the video platform French Bukkake were arrested as part of a larger investigation opened in October 2020 into human trafficking, gang rape and pimping.
Three other men were arrested in Paris on Tuesday in connection with the probe.
Violence ‘not faked’ on screen
The Senators – Annick Billon, with the UDI centrist party, part of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling coalition; Socialist Laurence Rossignol; Alexandra Borchio-Fontimp with the centre-right Les Republicains; and Communist Laurence Cohen – found that online pornography has become increasingly violent, and it is being seen by younger and younger people.
“Sexual, physical and verbal violence are massively widespread in porn,” write the authors, who say it is systemic. The violence is “not faked, but very real for the women being filmed.”
The report says the line between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ pornography producers has been blurred with the advent of new platforms that allow people to upload their own videos.
The result, they say, is a free-for-all for producers, who often recruit economically and psychologically vulnerable young women to coerce them into doing acts on camera they might not otherwise agree to.
Some producers will force women to sign contacts ceding their image rights in perpetuity, forcing them to pay “between 3,000 and 5,000 euros, or ten times what they obtained to film the scene” in order to take them down.
And even then, once the images are out on other streaming platforms, they are “almost impossible to remove, preventing these women who were filmed to excersie their ‘right to be forgotten’”.
Of the report’s 23 recommendations, one is to impose on platforms the obligation to respond directly to removal requests from the people filmed, and not just from the owners of the videos.
Scepticism of ‘ethical’ pornography
The two major French pornography platforms, Dorcel and Jacquie et Michel, said in November 2020, after the first revelations of the investigations into the French Bukkakhe case, that they were willing to put in place ethics codes.
Others in the industry have talked about contracts detailing what sexual practices particapants are willing to do or not do.
But the Senators dismissed such proposals as window-dressing for a deeper problem of violence that needs to be addressed more systemically.
“Faced with the systemic extent of pornographic violence, and given the nature of sexual consent that can be reversed at any time, these ‘marketing’ measures do not convince the authors,” they write, adding that productions with more respectful practices are rare in the consumption of pornography today.
Beyond violence on sets and onscreen, the Senators also focused on who is watching pornography and how it “normalises sexual violence of women”.
According to the report, two thirds of children 15-years-old and under, and one third of those under the age of 12 have been exposed to pornographic images, voluntarily or involuntarily, and each month, nearly a third of boys under the age of 15 visit a pornographic website.
Often the first introduction to sexuality for children, pornography “builds an eroticisation of violence and domination relations, which become norms,” the authors write, adding that it “multiplies and encourages sexist, racist and homophobic stereotypes”.
A large number of recommendations focus on the issue of age verification for pornographic websites, which has proven to be legally tricky, even as several French associations have filed lawsuits against the major platforms.
A law passed in July 2020 requires pornographic websites to put in place age controls, but the Arcom media watchdog in charge of enforcing it has been ignored by the major sites, including Pornhub, Tukif, Xhamster, Xvideos and Xnxx.
The Senators would like to see Arcom given more power to register infractions and impose “dissuasive” sanctions.
Currently, agents must first get a legal ruling to be able to order Internet service providers to block sites in France that do not put in place age limits.
Another focus for children should be better sex education in schools to address issues of pornography.
Since 2001, primary, middle and high schools are required to provide at least three sessions a year on relationships and sexuality, but the report highlights the fact that the law “is absolutely not applied.
Students often receive just a few science classes dedicated to teaching reproduction” at the end of middle school.
Parents have pushed back and schools have not put in place adequate programmes, but the Senators say it is important to teach about sex and relationships instead of letting children learn it from pornography.
Early on in the audition process for the report, the Senators met with members of feminist organisations that fight against pornography and prostitution.
France has generally had a rather abolitionist approach to prostitution, making pimping and solicitation illegal, but not banning it outright.
Throughout the audition process, the Senators drew links between prostitution and pornography, but do not go so far as calling for banning pornography.
However, they write: “wishing to open everyone’s eyes on the global system of violence against women, the authors question the existence itself of the pornography industry”.
And yet, with some 19 million people visiting French pornography sites each month, the public and political debate will not be so much on banning, but creating a framework in which productions come under more scrutiny, and distribution platforms take more responsibility for who sees what.
A rape investigation targeting a prominent French pornography website is prompting actresses to disclose their own experiences of abuse, a moment of reckoning for an industry where speaking out has long been taboo.
Prosecutors said last month that Jacquie and Michel, which bills itself as a hub for “amateur” porn videos, and other sites had been under investigation since July after feminist groups collected testimonies from several women.
Actresses warned that users should be aware that the concept of “amateur” porn is a misnomer and belies the experiences that performers may have had to endure.
“Those who might be tempted need to know that they abuse women,” Estelle, who asked that her real name not be published, told AFP.
She is one of a few dozen women, according to lawyers and women’s associations, who have contacted lawyers since the inquiry was opened.
Estelle said that she was 22 when she set her sights on becoming a “star” for France’s leading porn production company, Dorcel.
Unable to get a break, however, she started making videos with smaller producers, many of which were shown on Jacquie and Michel.
The experience turned into a nightmare.
One director forced her to accept certain scenes ― despite her objections ― that left her in intense pain for several days.
“He said, ‘She’s crying because she’s not used to it. Stop crying, we can’t sell that ― Smile!'” Estelle recalled, saying she was paid 250 euros ($290).
She said that she was forced to perform without a condom with a man who had lied about having tested negative for a sexually-transmitted disease but in fact had a herpes infection.
“They pay you hardly anything for doing scenes that you’ve never said ‘yes’ to.”
– Amateur acts? –
Other women told AFP about directors who suddenly demanded additional sex acts they had not been warned about in advance.
But Marion Lew, 32, who documents her adult film career on Twitter, said: “The legal system has a very difficult time recognising sexual assault.”
Additionally many women hope to force Jacquie and Michel and other sites to remove their videos, arguing they were unaware that they would be available permanently.
“Many women complain first about the images, which have the most immediate impact on their lives, and initially play down the serious violence they have suffered,” said Lorraine Questiaux, a lawyer for the Mouvement du Nid, an anti-prostitution group.
Jacquie and Michel has denied any wrongdoing, saying it only distributes films and is not responsible for how they are made.
But it has promised to stop working with anyone convicted of rape or other crimes.
Many actors and actresses scoff at the claim, saying the site effectively requires directors to meet certain aesthetic standards.
“We really need to stop with this idea of ‘amateur porn’,” said Tony Caliano, who has acted in X-rated films for the past 10 years.
“The women are always paid, and the idea is to make you think the girl next door is ready to fool around,” he said.
He indicated however that the women were not likely to have long-term “professional” careers either.
“Jacquie and Michel’s business model is based on always having a new actress,” he added.
“The average girl who gets into the industry will do just 15 or 20 scenes, over three or four months.”
As part of an investigation on the “French Bukkake” platform, an actor is accused of human trafficking in an organized gang and gang rape.
The investigation into the “French Bukkake” pornographic video platform is progressing. An actor was indicted for trafficking in human beings in an organized gang and gang rape to the detriment of two victims. According to a judicial source, which confirmed information from BFMTV, this 39-year-old man was placed under judicial supervision. This actor was arrested on Monday January 23, said a source familiar with the matter.
This is Tony Caliano, said several sources familiar with the matter. On the IAFD reference site, he appears as an actor in the credits of at least 600 pornographic productions between 2011 and 2021, including many productions of “Jacquie et Michel” and a certain number of Marc Dorcel. After the first crackdown in this investigation, in October 2020, he told the weekly Marianne that the actors were “equally responsible for the abuses of the producers”. “By saying nothing, by not speaking with the actress of the scene, they condone what is happening,” he added.
At least 17 people – actors, directors, producers – have already been indicted in this judicial investigation opened in October 2020 for aggravated human trafficking, gang rape or even aggravated pimping. More than forty victims have joined as civil parties, as well as associations.
Suspicions of pimping
According to elements of the investigation consulted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), the platform of “Pascal OP” identified under the name of “French Bukkake”, named after a sexual practice, first attracted attention of investigators: a subscription allowed customers to participate in priority to these collective ejaculations [bukkake], with places reserved for sessions without condoms. This system, aimed at making individuals pay in exchange for organized sexual relations, has fueled suspicions of pimping in the eyes of the courts.
According to the source familiar with the matter, the investigation is coming to an end and should be closed “by the end of the first quarter”.
The French porn industry has been in the spotlight for two years: another survey carried out in Paris since July 2020 targets “Jacquie et Michel”, the embodiment in France of amateur porn and tricolor pillar of this industry. Michel Piron, the site’s founder, was indicted in June for complicity in rape and human trafficking in an organized gang. Three other men are also prosecuted in this judicial investigation also opened for aggravated pimping or rape with torture and act of barbarism.
I had never strayed far from a “vanilla” sex life until my ex-boyfriend slapped me in the face during a kiss. This was very early on in the relationship. I did not see it for the bright red flag it was. I balked, mouth agape and asked him, “What the hell was that?!” He simply told me “I thought you’d like it,” as if it was something so common it didn’t even cross his mind to ask.
Even though the slap was an unwelcome and unexpected intrusion, I brushed it off. The friend who introduced me to him told me he was into some kinky stuff, describing him as reminiscent of the man from 50 Shades of Grey. I ignored the violation. Maybe he was used to women who did that sort of stuff. We continued seeing each other, and he didn’t slap me again. At least, not until after he’d systematically groomed me into accepting it.
Now I understand the initial boundary violation for what it was: a test. He wanted to know what he could get away with. At first I had a strong reaction to physical abuse. However, he slowly broke down my boundaries, becoming increasingly violent and verbally abusive during sex.
Throughout the relationship he subtly emotionally abused me outside the bedroom, and outright physically assaulted me—but “only” during sex. It took me nearly two years to extricate myself from an extremely abusive relationship. I wholeheartedly believe I would have been able to clearly see the abuse, if not for the normalization of many of his behaviors by pornography.
I began to be disturbed by the things he said during sex. He called me a stupid sl*t, worthless, a slave. There was genuine hatred in his eyes when he strangled and hit me. If I brought up my discomfort with the things he said during sex, he casually brushed it off, saying it was “just sex, it doesn’t mean anything.” His excuse that he didn’t mean anything during sex seems to be fairly common among men.
It was as though he had two distinct personalities.
Immediately after sex he became a caring and loving partner. He would get me water, hold me, and act as though he hadn’t strangled me and told me he wanted to kill me. Within the BDSM community, this is known as “aftercare,” but I believe it is a form of trauma bonding. Trauma bonding is a psychological term for a deep connection with one’s abuser, especially when the abuse occurs as a cycle: periods of abuse and periods of regret or “fixed” behavior.
Outside the bedroom, we had a “normal” relationship. We went on romantic dates, hiking trips, adventured, made plans to go skydiving, and had regular board game nights with friends. When I got sick he took care of me. We were outwardly a happy couple. My family liked him, and my uncle even told me I should marry the guy. Nobody knew I’d tried leaving him twice, and he’d followed me in his car while I tried to find somewhere to hide. Nobody knew he’d held me down in our shared home and wouldn’t let me out the door until I threatened to scream. Nobody knew the police had been called by a good Samaritan after he wouldn’t stop following me. He ended up taking my dog so I’d have to go back to his place. I couldn’t leave. There was no way out, nowhere to go where I’d be safe. I couldn’t tell anyone. I stayed.
I remember the look on his face after he anally raped me. I was bleeding. Wide eyed, he profusely apologized. He claimed he didn’t think it hurt me—even though I had repeatedly cried “Stop!”
He hadn’t stopped. He promised me he wouldn’t do it again (he lied). There were tears in his eyes. I forgave him. I knew it was no accident but I couldn’t bring myself to face the fact that my partner raped me. It was easier to ignore the truth. He got carried away. It was an accident.
He loves me, he’s sorry.
The sexual and emotional abuse took a toll. I became depressed and withdrawn. When I mentioned I’d like to go back to university to finish my degree, he asked me, “Are you sure you can do it? I think it’ll just be a waste of money.” Maybe I really was too stupid. Worthless. I didn’t apply.
I made friends with a woman I worked with. My abuser didn’t like her, and would have panic attacks when I’d make plans to see her. He went out of town one weekend and I took the opportunity to meet up with my friend. After a few drinks I started crying. I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
I told her everything. He showed up at her house that night, stood outside her window and listened to us talk. I don’t know how long he watched us, but when we spotted him outside a jolt of fear ran down my spine. My friend’s male roommate forced him to leave. The woman I’d only known tangentially opened her home to me. She let me stay until I was able to move as far as possible from my abuser. I owe her my life and freedom.
After I left him I wrote about the harassment, emotional abuse, and coercive control I’d survived. He was calling me at least 30 times a day, texting incessantly. He called my own mother multiple times to tell her how “crazy” I was for leaving him after I blocked him. He got new numbers and continued to harass me. One of my close friends (ironically the woman who introduced us) refused to believe me because “he’s a great guy, you’re blowing this all out of proportion.” Public shame didn’t deter him from attempting to contact me. He claimed repeatedly he was moving across the country to be with me. Only after I threatened him with a restraining order did he stop contacting me. He was terrified of law enforcement, and cleverly hid his abuse within acceptable confines to escape legal consequences.
BDSM acts as a magnet for abusers. It’s an easy out, when your partner “consents” to being harmed. Even those who aren’t abusive may become desensitized to extremely abusive acts common in porn. Children are being exposed to porn, and internalizing what they see. Younger and younger girls are expected to accept violence during sex. Teen Vogue has written articles grooming young girls to accept BDSM, strangulation, and anal sex—so long as it’s “consensual.” Can one truly consent to an act that is expected as part of “normal” sex?
Many people within the BDSM community claim strangulation is “safe,” and there is a correct way to safely cut blood flow to the brain. Women’s Health Magazine wrote an article describing “choking” (choking is a misnomer; strangulation is the proper term) as a thrilling and exciting way to spice up one’s sex life. Strangulation is posed as harmless fun.
But the truth is, there is no way to safely strangle someone.
Dr Helen Bichard of North Wales Brain Injury Service and The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust says of strangulation (also known as erotic asphyxiation): “I am extremely concerned by the cultural normalization of strangulation. Erotic asphyxiation should be as much of an oxymoron as erotic brain damage, because brain damage is the potential result. Much of the online advice is misguided; some of it is fatally wrong. When you compress the carotid artery you cut off oxygenated blood flow to the brain, and the brain therefore cannot function properly. Consciousness can be lost in as little as four seconds—a sign that the brain is being compromised. Any pressure to the artery can lead to dissection, in which blood clots can form and cause stroke, sometimes delayed by weeks.”
I’m sure there are those who will claim my ex wasn’t actually into BDSM, since he didn’t seem to care about consent. I may even be called a “kink shamer” for critiquing BDSM and its ability to disguise abuse. I’m not interested in shaming anyone.
I’d like to understand why “kink” is something that cannot be criticized or questioned, especially when the BDSM community is rife with abusers and women with stories like mine.
Why must we unquestioningly accept the hordes of men chomping at the bit to physically and sexually abuse women under the guise of “kink”? Obviously consent is an important issue but we can’t overlook the fact that the abuse of women is considered sexually rewarding to men. Can abuse truly be consented to, so long as it is relegated to the bedroom, or are we as a society playing with fire by normalizing the brutalization of women during sex?
It’s been years since I left him. I still have nightmares of being trapped in that house, that relationship. Now, I’m in a healthy relationship with a man who has never even raised his voice at me. Even so, I still have flashbacks to the terrorizing vulnerability I felt. The echoes of sexual abuse haunt me when my current partner tenderly caresses my neck in intimate moments. A flash of terror courses through me, despite the loveliness of the moment.
A report by the French Senate emphasizes that “sexual, physical and verbal abuses are widespread in porn, making them systemic. They are not simulated but very real for the women who are being filmed.”
Trigger warning: The following article contains descriptions of abuse and exploitation that may be disturbing to some. Reader discretion advised.
The porn industry in France is being called out for massively exploitative and abusive business practices—here are the details.
The 150-page report shines a spotlight on the horrific conditions some porn performers are subjected to, the volume of pornographic content accessible to all, as well as the sexual violence perpetrated and conveyed by the mainstream porn industry—particularly its normalization of abuse against women. The senators say the porn industry is “predatory” and linked to “modern slavery.”
The report also calls for action by public authorities, making several recommendations to address the issue (more on that later).
Systemic violence against women
Interviews and testimonies from performers, sociologists, organizations, and numerous others in the report make it clear that since the emergence of widely accessible, mainstream porn sites like Pornhub in the mid-2000s, the vast distribution of porn has “contributed to an upsurge in increasingly violent content, without any control or consideration for the conditions in which this content is produced.”
The report paints a bleak picture, but one that’s important to be more widely known by the public. It calls out a system that “generates systemic violence against women, both those who find themselves in these productions and those who suffer from the sexuality modelled on the norms of violence conveyed by porn.”
As the report describes, there are “absolutely no rules or checks, not even regarding the use of condoms” and mainstream porn sites offer categories that include rape, with unambiguous keywords like “anal surprise,” “unintended facial,” “torture,” and “kidnapping.”
Clair Charles, a spokesperson for Les Effronté.es, says that these categories, and particularly those related to “confinement” aren’t pretend. Referring to videos available online, she said, “When the woman cries, she really cries.”
The report authors emphasize, “Sexual, physical and verbal abuses are widespread in porn, making them systemic. They are not simulated but very real for the women who are being filmed.”
In other words, there are very real rape videos and real videos of abuse on porn sites everywhere.
Ongoing investigations of the The French “amateur” porn industry
This is the first time that porn performers in France have been charged with rape. Several investigations are ongoing—specifically targeting the “amateur” porn site “Jacquie et Michel” and also the platform “French Bukkake.”
Just last month three actors and a director were taken into custody for aggravated human trafficking, gang rape, and aggravated pimping in the “French Bukkake” investigation which began in October 2022. Authorities have allegedly uncovered evidence of extensive abuse of vulnerable women subject to sexual violence and coerced into performing sex acts on and off camera by actors, directors and producers—in large part, an effort to satisfy consumer demand for an endless supply of new actresses and graphic video content.
A group of gender equality associations in support of the Senate’s report commented on the “French Bukkake” trial, saying, “These legal proceedings reveal the barbarity, violence, sexist and racist hatred of the French pornographic industry.”
He continues, “Some girls have said they were illegally confined, others say they were fed dog food. [The perpetrators] did everything they could to make the girls even more vulnerable and to wield power over them.”
In the “Jacquie et Michel” investigation, four men, including the site owner Michel Piron, are being accused of pimping, organized human trafficking, rape and accessory to rape, and rape-involving torture.
The young victims, many of whom were aspiring actresses, were interviewed by the senators for the French Report. They described being “ideal prey” in a calculated recruitment system by means of false Facebook or Instagram profiles.
One young woman explained, “We are spoken to every day. The person presents herself as an escort, she tells me that it’s wonderful, that it’s magic, that she has money… Behind this false profile of a girl, there was a man.”
“They knew I had money problems. I was the ideal prey for them, that’s how you get in there… I needed the money right away. I had to pay my bills and rent or I’d lose my flat.”
Investigators say the women were lured into participating under false pretences—like being told the videos would only be accessible on private Canadian websites, then later discovering they were viewable in France. Producers demanded large sums of cash (between €3,000 and €5,000) when the women requested the videos be taken down. And for those who did pay, their images continued to circulate online.
One woman described being forced into sex acts that left her in pain, another was allegedly coerced and forced to engage in a sexual act with a man who was not wearing a condom—the man lied about testing negative for sexually transmitted diseases and actually had herpes, the woman said.
The report urges 23 recommendations for public authorities, including ways to help prevent minors from accessing porn like age verification requirements on devices and imposing fines on porn sites accessible to minors, strengthening legal means to better protect performers, and the facilitation of deleting online videos.
The Senate’s report found that out of an average 19.3 million individual visitors to adult sites per month in France, 12% are minors.
Professor Neil Thurman from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany says, “The technology [to keep minors from accessing porn sites] is reasonably well advanced. It’s just that porn sites don’t want to reduce their numbers by putting on a block on visitors if they don’t absolutely have to.”
Report authors said they aim to alert the government and the broader public to the massive scale of this issue, and the “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children despite French law requiring viewers to be at least 18 years old.
Annick Billon, a co-author of the report and president of the senate’s delegation, said, “We must stop having an old, distorted, watered-down view of porn. Porn today includes violent, degrading, humiliating contents… Scenes in which a man, most often several men, up to 50, are inflicting physical and sexual abuse to women have become standard.”
Be part of the solution
Questions arise about how effective attempts to block access to porn sites by minors could be. It can be pretty simple to circumvent restrictions. Plus, 30% of French 15 to 17-year-olds find pornographic content through social media, which would not be restricted.
What’s happening in France is a reality check that while performers—particularly women—have long been portrayed and assumed as consenting to all of the content they’re in, that this simply isn’t the case.
Sexual exploitation can have many forms, and when you become familiar with the actual definition of sex trafficking by the TVPA— “a commercial sex act induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age”—it opens your eyes to just how predatory the porn industry really is.
Presumably consenting performers are too often anything but. Consent can never be assumed. In fact, sex trafficking most commonly happens when performers are coerced, forced, and manipulated to endure more for a scene than they were initially informed about or agreed to. And, as the investigations in France are revealing, performers are even blatantly abused, dehumanized, and degraded to the level of commodities to be consumed.
The fact is, exploitation happens in every country, in every corner of the world—France isn’t the only place where the porn industry needs to be under investigation. This is a global issue that can negatively affect performers, viewers of all ages, society as a whole, and impacts how we as humans interact with one another in various relationships.
Each area of the world is part of the problem, and can also be part of the solution. A great place to start is at the core of the issue: holding the industry accountable. When it comes to sharing the facts and giving a voice to those who have been victimized by the industry, we’re here for it—are you?
For more than 3 years, gendarmerie and police services have been investigating the practices of several companies in the pornographic industry in France. Three investigating judges are carrying out sprawling investigations, and have already indicted around twenty people, for “aggravated pimping”, “money laundering”, “rape in meetings”, “aggravated trafficking in human beings” or “concealed work”. The file, which targets the “French Bukkake” site and the “Jacquie et Michel” site, is also closely followed by Le Monde and Le Parisien, who have published numerous testimonials. A Senate report, presented on September 28, 2022, relays some of this gigantic work to alert people to this industry. Please note that the following testimonials are likely to offend the sensibilities of some readers.
“Burn” girls for money
The various journalistic investigations and the Senate report highlight the financial windfall generated by Internet pornography via advertising and subscriptions. An industry that represents a third of global online traffic. The essential starting point for this lucrative business: finding young women to shoot videos. And some production companies would have developed real systems of predation, attacking young adults who are vulnerable and in a situation of great financial precariousness. “It is a question of exploiting them to the maximum, before they are, according to the term of one of the producers, “burned””, writes Le Monde, which has published several long formats on the subject. “Disguised rape under the pretext of videos. Actors and producers had all the freedoms”, attests to the newspaper a man who would have participated in filming of “French Bukkake”.
Acts without consent and humiliation
This is the common denominator of most of the testimonies collected by the courts and by journalists, on the Jacquie et Michel and French Bukkake cases: the cases of unwanted penetration, of violent and humiliating situations, imposed, are described by the victims presumed. The world relays the testimony of Jessica (her name has been changed), who would have been forced into scenes “in which sodomy and the number of partners are forced”. She says she was conditioned to be an active member of the Jacquie et Michel network, for promotional events in nightclubs. “When we went to these establishments, we were objects. I received 300 euros per evening and, each evening, the owner of the establishment had the right to his fellatio, it was included in the price, it was humiliating “, she says.
Tales of rape and assault by the dozens
The testimonies are legion in the investigation reports and in the investigative work of Le Monde. That of Jessica led justice to indict and remand a director. This one, called “Dorian”, who collaborated with the site “Jacquie and Michel”, would have led the young woman to carry out scenes of “submission” promising her that they were “only fake”. However, Jessica claims to have been tied to a tree, whipped, and very savagely abused. “There, eight men arrived, all hooded. Me, I was in pain and I was trying to push back my attackers and I thought I was going to live my last hour,” she reportedly told the police. And to add: “I even tried to kill myself by hanging, but the cable gave way. I felt dirty and submissive, I no longer wanted to live,” she told journalists from Le Monde.
Recruitment “by trickery” and psychological demolition
The testimonies collected would make it possible to identify operating methods, aimed at conditioning the victims to the sufferings they will endure. One of them tells Le Monde the story of a banal encounter with a lingerie photographer, Jack Wood, before he took her to pornographic shoots: “He threw me on the bed, undressed me by force and penetrated me (…) I was stuck, I was afraid of physical violence, I let myself be done”, indicates the young woman. Jack Wood would have actually worked for Jacquie and Michel. He is now on trial. “The first rape plays a very specific function, that of breaking the defences and resistance of women, it is a psychic explosion for the victims, therefore an acquired submission for pimps”, explains au Monde Me Lorraine Questiaux, lawyer for several plaintiffs.
Shame, amazement and drugs
The main indicted in the case is Pascal Ollitrault, 60, creator of the “French Bukkake” site. A site specializing in videos showing single women, facing many partners, sometimes 8, sometimes 15 or 50. Some actors are actually “subscribers” who paid 29 euros to access content. “Pascal OP” is presented as one of the figures of extreme excesses implanted without industry; He denied any act of rape and replied to the investigators, faced with the statements of around fifty victims, that they never left the filming. But one element is taken into consideration by the judges: fear and amazement. “There is this pressure from (…) all these men in a room, we are the only girl”, indicates a complainant to Le Monde. Young women have also indicated that they have regularly taken narcotics and alcohol to endure the violence, under the orders of the producers.
“More and more trashy and violent”
It is undoubtedly this state of affairs which conditions all the new pornographic practices. In its report on the subject , entitled “Porn: the hell of the décor”, presented on September 28, 2022, the Senate points to a notable evolution of pornography: “The appearance of increasingly “trashy” and violent content” , “the uploading of often pirated videos, without any control or consideration for the conditions under which this content is produced”. Beyond the testimonies of the victims, the parliamentarians point to a global phenomenon that goes beyond the cases observed by recent judicial inquiries. The senators denounce a “new economic and commercial model in which systemic violence against women have become the norm”.
“When the woman cries, she really cries”
The Senate report takes up elements raised by the investigators of the French Bukkake file, but also testimonies from victims. The document also provoked comments from associations familiar with the case and the recurring accusations against the industry. Claire Charlès, spokesperson for the association Les Effronté.es, insists in particular, with BFMTV, on the poorly perceived suffering of victims of “hardcore” filming: “On pornographic sites, you will find videos by category: the rape category, with unambiguous keywords: anal surprise, taken by surprise, unwanted facial … These are incitements to commit crimes. […] There are also categories of kidnapping or forcible confinement […] It’s not fake. When the woman cries, she really cries,” she said.
“Acts of torture and barbarism”
The Senate report also mentions “imposed sexual practices to which the victims had not consented, physical and sexual violence, a quasi process of ‘dehumanization'”. A young woman told the rapporteurs: “No one can suffer this kind of violence. I say it with a lot of hindsight, what I experienced was of the order of torture, I protected myself by putting myself in robot mode”. Scenes of mutilating sexual violence are notably described. “I am held and another person enters me. (…) This scene ends, I go to the toilet and I bleed, it was not in the scenario. A second scene begins, on the floor. I did not know what was going to happen. From the moment the guy takes off his pants, it’s no longer cinema, I’m afraid he’ll come and take me by surprise. The next morning, I undergo another scene”.
“From the start, they tried to dehumanize me”
A harrowing testimony was collected by the senators in the French Bukkake affair. A young woman recounted having had to “eat the same food given to the producer’s dogs, a chicken carcass as the only meal for several days”: “From the start, they tried to dehumanize me, to treat me like an object. Yet I did, I ate the dog’s food. I had no self-esteem anymore,” said the young woman. Another insists: “No one, apart from women who have experienced similar things, knows what is really going on on these shoots, in this environment. […] We are in pain, we are powerless, we are being insulted, the goal is for us to obey. We are in a form of total submission. And we tell ourselves that we have agreed to be there. Then there was a shooting with another man, another rape, forced sodomy, yet this person was aware of everything that I refused”.
“Specifications” on “abominable” practices
In the “Jacquie et Michel” file, which the police are investigating, the testimonies of victims converge on one element: if the producers and managers of the site would have developed a whole imagination around the “ordinary woman” consenting to “wild” libertinism, the stories reported show real constraints. “The videos must meet certain specifications (…), we are imposed these abominable practices, comparable to torture, mockery, insults”, indicates an alleged victim to World. “I wanted to cry, but I had to pretend that everything was fine.” As the Senate report points out, most porn sites feature violent content. On Jacquie and Michel, the “wild sex category” offers videos where “the pain is intensely proportional to the orgasm they reach at the end. The harder it is, the more they love it”.
Fortunes to remove the videos
Another compensation mechanism has emerged as highly developed in the porn industry: people exploiting actresses would demand huge sums of money to remove videos that young women no longer want to see online. “The amount is much higher than the low compensation they received on the set, completing the financial and psychological ruin”, indicate in particular the journalists of Le Monde. The Senate report even indicates that “the victims informed the rapporteurs of the delegation of their virtual impossibility of obtaining, thereafter, the withdrawal of the videos of the scenes shot”. The Senate adds that in exchange for such a withdrawal, “one of the victims was offered to ‘become his sex slave for life’ or to practice in brothels in Brussels for a lifetime annuity”.
Videos broadcast everywhere and blackmail
The operators of the videos know, moreover, the power of nuisance represented by a potential general distribution of the films shot by the actresses. Actresses have clearly mentioned threats of blackmail in the event of requests for the removal of said videos. To stop these requests, operators would have indicated that it was possible for them to send extracts – often degrading and violent – to relatives, colleagues, children’s teachers, parents or family members. A threat taken seriously, especially since the virality of this content is already creating very serious problems. A victim in particular mentioned a video which “was everywhere, on social networks, on Facebook, on Twitter, on sites accessible from France and abroad”: “It went around the world, until in New York and Montreal. I was harassed at the bottom of my house, I received threatening letters“.
Actresses “sold” to other productions
This is an element that is mentioned by the investigative journalists of Le Monde: some young exploited women would have been “sold to other productions, for a commission”. As the media indicates, if this fact is legally established, then these practices could be requalified as “pimping”, “a legal turning point feared by the pornography sector”. Le Monde notably publishes an exchange of SMS between Pascal OP (quoted above) and a collaborator: “Who are we selling it to? Answer: “Celian [another director] will take it on the bank com [commission]. (…). Big tit obliged”. Then comes this confirmation: “G sent big black to Celian we will ask him 100/150 €”. The alleged facts, despite numerous examples are vigorously contested by the defendants’ lawyers.
A “respectful” pornography, but little distributed
The Senate report is very alarming, it specifies that there are several genres of pornography. Sonny Perseil, doctor HDR in political science, questioned by the parliamentarians, estimates for example that one “can speak of plural pornography or pornographies. They are extremely diversified”. And to add: “There are productions without any violence, with only consenting adults who know very well what they are doing, who master the framework of their activity. They refuse or accept roles according to their own choice and negotiate certain benefits or reject them. The situations are multiple.” However, studies show that 90% of the pornography consumed is “hardcore” and violent. “There is ‘ethical’ porn, but it represents 0,001% of the market, it is not what consumers are looking for”, regrets Senator Laurence Rossignol with the world.
Children exposed very early
The Senate report points to the extreme excesses of certain productions, but also insists on a societal phenomenon: pornographic images and videos – even the most violent – have become very easily accessible by the youngest. “Two thirds of children under 15 and a third of those under 12 have already been exposed to pornographic images, voluntarily or involuntarily. Nearly a third of boys under 15 visit a porn site at least once a month”, can we read in the document, which specifies that “certain contents are undoubtedly illicit and their diffusion is reprehensible.” Figures transmitted by the association Dare feminism! in the Senate indicates Pornhub, global online porn giant, lists 71,608 videos praising the incest and pedocrime, as well as 2,462 videos with the keyword “torture”.
Where are the legal proceedings?
What you must remember:
In France, two judicial inquiries are underway concerning pornographic productions:
The one concerning Pascal OP and his French Bukkake site. In this case, 16 people are indicted – actors, directors – producers – and most are in pre-trial detention.
The one concerning the Jacquie et Michel site, the largest French pornography site. In this case, the owner of the site, Michel Piron, is indicted for complicity in rape and trafficking in human beings in an organized gang.
An investigation for “rape” and “pimping” was opened against the pornographic site Jacquie et Michel and the owner of the site was placed in police custody on Tuesday, June 14. Since then, the testimonies have been linked.
After Nikita Bellucci, it’s Liza Del Sierra’s turn to break the silence. Michel Piron, the owner of the famous pornographic site Jacquie et Michel and four other people were placed in police custody on Tuesday June 14 in an investigation opened in Paris for rape and pimpingin July 2020, indicates BFM TV. Since then, the testimonies of pornographic actresses have emerged to denounce the abuses of the environment.
Of course there is a problem. Under the guise of an amateur, we allow ourselves to do anything while there is profit. And if there’s profit, we’re no longer an amateur
This Wednesday, June 15 on BFM TV, Liza Del Sierra, director, producer and former actress of pornographic films, returned to these abuses. She denounces in particular the absence of rules: “When an actress or a young woman decides to act amateur, inevitably, I think that she is more vulnerable. I sincerely think so because there is no rules”.
If the actresses advise each other, they are also confronted with a sometimes precarious economic reality, details the young woman.
She concludes her interview with our colleagues by saying that she hopes that this case will not harm the “fight led for the recognition of the profession”.
This Tuesday, Nikita Bellucci, actress, producer and activist for “ethical porn” demanded an “apology” from Jacquie and Michel: “The work of justice is going to be very long, but it has to stop,” she warned.
“(Asked about his stance on pornography, in response to perceived endorsement of Hustler, who had tricked Chomsky into giving an interview for the magazine.)
Pornography is humiliation and degradation of women. It’s a disgraceful activity. I don’t want to be associated with it. Just take a look at the pictures. I mean, women are degraded as vulgar sex objects. That’s not what human beings are. I don’t even see anything to discuss.
(Interviewer: But didn’t performers choose to do the job and get paid?)
The fact that people agree to it and are paid, is about as convincing as the fact that we should be in favour of sweatshops in China, where women are locked into a factory and work fifteen hours a day, and then the factory burns down and they all die. Yeah, they were paid and they consented, but it doesn’t make me in favour of it, so that argument we can’t even talk about.
As for the fact that it’s some people’s erotica, well you know that’s their problem, doesn’t mean I have to contribute to it. If they get enjoyment out of humiliation of women, they have a problem, but it’s nothing I want to contribute to.
(Interviewer: How should we improve the production conditions of pornography?)
By eliminating degradation of women, that would improve it. Just like child abuse, you don’t want to make it better child abuse, you want to stop child abuse.
Suppose there’s a starving child in the slums, and you say “well, I’ll give you food if you’ll let me abuse you.” Suppose—well, there happen to be laws against child abuse, fortunately—but suppose someone were to give you an argument. Well, you know, after all a child’s starving otherwise, so you’re taking away their chance to get some food if you ban abuse. I mean, is that an argument?
The answer to that is stop the conditions in which the child is starving, and the same is true here. Eliminate the conditions in which women can’t get decent jobs, not permit abusive and destructive behaviour.”