Ben Johnson

‘Empowering’? Video shows Duke pornstar and ‘feminist’ being choked, degraded, and abused

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
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DURHAM, NC, March 20, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – During a national media blitz, the Duke University student who makes pornographic films to pay her tuition has said her experience in the industry has left her feeling “empowered” and uplifted. But an anti-pornography activist has posted a shocking video graphically undermining her claims.

“My experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling, and empowering,” Miriam Weeks, who revealed that she performs under the name Belle Knox, wrote on the feminist website xoJane.com last month. “For me, shooting pornography brings me unimaginable joy.”

“It is my artistic outlet: my love, my happiness, my home,” said the 18-year-old freshman, who recently graduated from a Catholic prep school.

Shooting a pornographic scene is “freeing, it is empowering, it is wonderful, it is how the world should be.”

But former pornstar Shelley Lubben of the Pink Cross Foundation has now posted a graphic video showing a male pornographic actor repeatedly choking, slapping, shaking, and verbally abusing Weeks.

Lubben, whose Pink Cross Foundation encourages pornstars to leave the business, uploaded the film, blurring out all nudity, to the social media website Vimeo.com.

“How does it make you feel personally to, like, watch degrading sex or see women being degraded and treated like s—t or just objectified?” a male interviewer asks Weeks.

“Hot as hell,” Weeks replied.

A muscular actor then grabs her around the throat as she fights to loosen his grip around her larynx. After learning she describes herself as a feminist, the man slaps her numerous times, telling her she is worthless.

As a trail of moisture trickles from her eyes down her haggard face, he says, “Feminism 101 right here,” before continuing his assault.

Weeks initially defended her participation in the scene. “Everything I did was consensual,” she said, describing herself as “a bisexual woman with many sexual quirks.”

She later told The Huffington Post, "I completely stand by every performer's right to perform in a rough sex scene.”

“We live in America,” she said. “Freedom of speech!"

But she said she now “regretted” being in the scene. Although she said she was merely “role-playing” and “was comfortable” during the brutal scene, she learned that “some” of the other women on the website may not have been acting during the filming of their abuse and degradation.

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Weeks/Knox, who makes $1,200-$2,000 per scene, has become an internet phenomenon since going public with her college career. She has appeared on The View, Piers Morgan Live, and chatted with The Huffington Post to defend her moonlighting choices. Weeks, who is majoring in Women's Studies, says she hopes one day to become a lawyer promoting “civil rights” and “women's rights.”

The news reportedly crushed her parents at home in Washington state, who did not know how she was paying for college. Family members, who are reportedly devout Catholics, say they were devastated upon learning the news, something Weeks disputes.

The family sent her to Gonzaga Preparatory School, a Jesuit-run institution that allowed a performance of The Vagina Monologues while she was on campus, as an honor student.

Her father, 54-year-old Dr. Kevin Weeks, works at Spokane's Mann Grandstaff VA Medical Center. Her mother, 48-year-old Harcharan, had lost her job.

Weeks had her heart set on Duke, but was offered only $13,000 in financial aid. “That wasn't enough,” she said. “That's $47,000 still unaccounted for.”

Although her agent said Weeks began her pornographic career after her family stopped financially supporting her, she later told the New York Daily News, “My family never cut me off.” But with three children in college and a hefty mortgage, they asked her to pay part of her own way.

Weeks, who said she has been watching porn since she was 12, has described porn as the most effective way to graduate from her chosen school debt-free.

“With my skillset,” she said, she didn't feel she had other “viable options.”

“There's really no way for women to win in this patriarchal society,” she said.

While still defending her porn career, which has heated up since her public relations campaign, a recent interview with New York's FOX411 seems to indicate that she regrets her choice.

“If I could give advice for any person who was choosing college,” she said, “I would honestly advise them to go to a cheaper school.”

Former pornstars say actresses regularly lie about enjoying their work to maximize profit, burying the hurt until the cameras stop rolling. “I lied to the cameras,” said Jan Villarubia, a former pornstar who performed under the name Elizabeth Rollings. “I lied to the fans, 'I love what I do. I love what I do.' Because that's how you make money.”

Parts of an earlier online essay by Weeks indicate the young woman had already come into contact with the grimier side of the porn industry. “No one is willing to consider the lives of the people behind the camera,” she wrote. “No one wants to hear about the abuses and exploitation that take place, no one wants to hear about the violence committed every day against sex workers, no one wants to consider that we have hopes and dreams and ambitions.”

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A protester rallies against Hobby Lobby, protesting against the Supreme Court decision Dan Holm/Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

DNC chairwoman exhorts constituents to boycott local Hobby Lobby store

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision was nearly two months ago, but the issue as hot as ever, as was demonstrated yesterday when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, D-FL, urged constituents to boycott a Hobby Lobby store in her district.

In a press conference one lot away from the Hobby Lobby location in Davie, which opened in April, Wasserman-Schultz said that she wanted “people to know that this Hobby Lobby is here and they should vote with their purses and their pocketbooks, and women should not shop here."

"If you didn’t know this Hobby Lobby was here before, know it now and don’t shop here. They don’t deserve women’s business because they are the ones that all across the country have made it harder for women to get access to birth control,” she said.

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Wasserman-Schultz said that Hobby Lobby's corporate ownership "doesn’t support its employees” and “wants to be able to get in the personal business of their employees and make health care decisions and replace their own values, replace their employees’ health care decisions, with their values…."

She also criticized the Supreme Court's late June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, which had sued the federal government over the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.

The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, say it violates their conscience to pay for coverage for the four abortifacients and potential abortifacients that the mandate required them to cover.

"The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case was not only disappointing, it was dangerous," said the Democrat. "No boss should have the right to dictate and employee’s health decisions because [they] don’t belong in the bedrooms, doctor’s offices or pharmacies of their employees.

“A woman and her doctor know what’s best for their body. Not an insurance company. Not a politician. And certainly not a manager at a Hobby Lobby."

The Supreme Court's decision allowed closely held corporations to not fund coverage of contraception or abortion drugs and devices.

Wasserman-Schultz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Through a spokesperson, the Green family declined to comment about the Congresswoman's statements. 

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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America is rejecting abortion because pro-lifers are having more children: study

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

According to a new Northwestern University study, American attitudes about abortion are trending more conservatively than other contentious social issues, a phenomenon the authors credit to the simple fact that pro-lifers have more kids.

“We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes,” the authors wrote. Using GSS data collected between 1977 and 2010, “We test[ed] the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population.”

The authors wrote: “Support for abortion rights has turned flat after a period of increase following Roe v. Wade, and in recent years there are even indications of a reversal toward more restrictive attitudes. This U-turn is evinced particularly among younger cohorts, and is happening despite liberalizing trends in several ostensibly related issue domains.”

The authors speculated that the reason for the increase in pro-life attitudes among young people is that their parents had more children than their pro-abortion counterparts. When they examined the data, they found that pro-life individuals had, on average, 27 percent more children than those who considered themselves “pro-choice.”

Not only that, but pro-life parents appear to be much more likely to pass their views on to their children. The researchers found that the younger generation’s pro-life shift was too strong to be blamed solely on differences in fertility – meaning children of pro-abortion parents are rejecting their parents’ views.

“[E]ither pro-life beliefs are always more faithfully transmitted than pro-choice ones; or, there has been a cultural shift towards more pro-life beliefs that is being reflected in the parent-child correlations,” the authors wrote.

The study concluded that it wasn’t for the higher fertility rate among pro-life people, the nation as a whole would favor abortion by about five percentage points more than it does currently – and researchers predict the pro-life trend will continue.

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“Taken together, these findings suggest that fertility has had at least some part in leading the population in a more pro-life direction over time,” the authors wrote. “Further investigation into this pattern indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural change—the gap is widening.”

“Fertility has declined for both pro-choice and pro-life groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro-life individuals,” they added. “Whereas pro-[life] individuals born before 1940 were only having about 1.2 children per one child born to a pro-choice parent, this ratio has grown to over 1.5 for those born in the mid to late 1970s. This pattern suggests that future cohorts may place an even stronger demographic drag on the liberalization of abortion attitudes.”

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A declaration that PP is an 'enemy of the Church' would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication. American Life League
Lisa Bourne

New campaign asks Pope Francis to declare Planned Parenthood an ‘enemy of the Church’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

The Catholic pro-life organization American Life League (ALL) is launching a campaign calling for the Catholic Church to declare Planned Parenthood an “enemy of the Church.”

Using prayer and education, ALL’s Defend the Family campaign seeks to expose the nation’s largest abortion provider for contribution to the destruction of human lives, as well as the family. 

The campaign, said Jim Sedlack, vice-president of ALL, is quite simply “a way of calling attention to the fact that this is a very bad organization.”

“Planned Parenthood is attacking the family, either by killing preborn children or by robbing the souls of the older children,” he said. 

A declaration that PP is an "enemy of the Church" would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication.

Such a declaration would not be unprecedented. Popes in the past have identified and condemned organizations that posed a grave threat to the Church, most recently Pope Pius XII in 1949 with Communism and Pope Clement XII in 1738 with Freemasonry.

While specifics would depend on the wording of the Papal pronouncement, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews if the Holy Father makes the declaration there would be no mistaking its intent.

“When the pope makes the declaration it becomes crystal clear,” Sedlak said. “There’ll be no shades of gray, it’ll be black and white, it’ll be clear to the world.”

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'Now is the time'

There are still people who are not fully aware of the extent of the societal damage inflicted by Planned Parenthood, said Sedlak, including members of the Church hierarchy. He said it’s important to emphasize the truth of what the abortion giant does.

“That’s why we’re focusing on the enemy,” said Sedlak. “When people really stop and focus on Planned Parenthood, they realize it’s the enemy.”

ALL cites Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children to sexualize them as a major cause of the destruction of the family and a fundamental reason for the Defend the Family campaign.

“They really push for getting young people into lives of sexual sin,” Sedlak said. “Young people who aren’t pulled into sexual activity do not provide a cent of income to Planned Parenthood, but young people who are pulled in provide millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood empire.”

ALL compiled a comprehensive report on Planned Parenthood titled, “The Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood,” as part of the Defend the Family campaign.

“The document builds the case,” said Sedlak. “Why Planned Parenthood, why now is the time.”

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that for its part Planned Parenthood has always recognized that its greatest enemy is the Catholic Church, even working to have the Church lose its status at the UN.

“They fight anybody who wants to take sex away from the kids in any way possible,” Sedlak said. “That’s one reason why Planned Parenthood is the sex mafia.”

And when Sedlak uses the term "mafia," he means it literally, pointing out that the Holy Father condemned the mafia in his June 21, 2014, homily in Calabria, Italy, denouncing its, “Adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Planned Parenthood kills far more people than the mafia,” Sedlak said.

Also underscoring the need for the Vatican to act on declaring Planned Parenthood an enemy of the Church, is the convening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October in Rome, which will lead into the general synod in 2015.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that these, along with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are events that ALL will rally around to raise awareness of the Defend the Family campaign.

Preliminary response to the campaign has been very positive, he said.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that the “Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood” report was so well received upon initial presentation to Vatican officials, that ALL was asked to translate it into three more languages.

“The support we’ve gotten from talking to bishops has been overwhelming,” Sedlak said.

Prayer is priority #1

The Defend the Family campaign consists first and foremost of prayer, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews.

“Our approach is that we need prayer support,” he said. “The only way that we’re going to succeed is through prayer to the Blessed Mother; the only way it will succeed is if God wants it to succeed.”

Participants are asked to say regular prayers after Mass, to offer prayers for the pope and to initiate communication with local bishops about the dangers that Planned Parenthood poses to the faithful.

Sedlak also added that The Defend the Family campaign is for everyone, not just Catholics.

He said pro-life supporters of all faith traditions are invited to contact ALL for assistance in encouraging their religious denomination or church leader to declare Planned Parenthood an enemy.

In addition to prayers for the campaign, ALL is asking people to sign and submit ALL’s Declaration of Encouragement to the Holy Father, enroll in the Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father and to share ALL resources on Planned Parenthood.

Information, links and resources are available on the campaign website, defendthefamily.org.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that ALL is giving the success of the Defend the Family campaign up to God.

“This is all happening in God’s time, and so far he’s been blessing us mightily,” Sedlak said. “And we’re going to go wherever God takes us.”

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