Croatia: Sex On The Brain, Freedom Of Expression In The Drain

Dr. Judith Reisman  Photo: Patrik Macek/Pixsell

Dr. Judith Reisman Photo: Patrik Macek/Pixsell

While the recently introduced sex education in Croatian schools (about which I have written before) has attracted loud – intermittently laced with profound despair – controversies in community at large, distress and disappointment in many community and parent groups claiming there had not been adequate public discussion or consultation on the issue, serious rows and rifts between the Church and the State, the swift axing of “Picture of Croatia” TV show and hence punishing its head journalist Karolina Vidovic-Kristo for including extracts from “Kinsey Syndrome” in her coverage of the then proposed sex education program in schools, what has occurred in Croatia during the past week is nothing short of an alarmingly ugly face of a democracy and freedom of access to information.

Certainly, there’s a strong stench of intolerance for and lack of acknowledgment of diversity in opinion and thinking blowing from the current Social Democrats led government in Croatia. One might say quite similar to the climate that pervaded communist Yugoslavia. It is alarming to even contemplate that a governing party representative in a democratic country would go so far as to verbalise publicly that expressions of different thinking should be banned, and suffer no consequences, no reprimand from the government. That’s what has happened in Croatia the last few days and it is truly no wonder that people at large are calling the current government Communists, with connotations that lead one to conclude that democratic civil freedoms in Croatia are suffering significant setbacks.

The metastases of the government’s apparent intolerance of differing opinions surfaced this week like never before; orchestrated and often uncivilised attacks on views and work of Dr. Judith Reisman, an American cultural conservative writer best known for her criticism and condemnation of the work and legacy of Alfred Kinsey who believes sex researcher Alfred Kinsey is responsible for much of the cultural decay and sexual permissiveness that she sees; that affect today’s societies.

On Tuesday 29 January freedom of speech, media freedom got suspended in Croatia and so did the respect of fundamental principles of journalism, writes Marko Juric of Dnevno.hr.

On that day the leading Croatian media outlet, HTV, reported about Dr. Judith Reisman’s lecture at the Faculty of Political Sciences in Zagreb, in a manner that was ‘extremely shameful and completely akin to manners found in the far away times of Fascism or Bolshevism of one-party totalitarian system’. All that the public could hear or see from this HTV coverage was what the staunch and aggressive, at times shockingly rude and utterly uncivilised opponents of Dr. Reisman’s views had to say.  The pinnacle of such intolerance was when the Faculty’s Dean, Nenad Zakosec, came out and aggressively, shouted at Reisman before hundreds of  students (many of which had shouted insults and barraged bigoted questions/comments):  ‘what are you doing here!‘”

It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.

Then, her debate at the Faculty of Philosophy with the head of sexology there, Aleksandar Stulhofer, was cancelled on 30 January due to the big crowd turning up!

Stulhofer was one of the authors of the new sex education program in schools recently introduced in Croatia. One wonders whether the event organisers thought of “real fire” safety measure when they cancelled it, or whether they feared a new “fire against the government sex education program” would erupt. In view of everything that has transpired on sex education in schools in Croatia and the government’s stubbornness to go ahead with its plan regardless of the community disquiet about it, the latter would be a safer bet as to why the event at the Faculty of Philosophy was cancelled.

Then Reisman was supposed to attend the screening of documentary film director Timothy Tate’s film “Kinsey’s Paedophiles, secret history“, but, wouldn’t you know it – the screening fell through – cancelled despite enormous public interest. Technical difficulties were afoot – three times over!

Of course, the coalition government’s members of parliament have come out “screaming blue murder” at the parliamentary opposition’s (Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ) invitation to Reisman to give a lecture in the Croatian Parliament building – for the HDZ Parliamentary Club. Even though HDZ or any other parliamentary party has an absolute right under the Constitution to invite anyone they want to, to talk in their premises, the governing coalition is abhorred at the fact that someone who has a different view to theirs as to sex education and various influences on sexuality of children should be allowed to set foot in the parliament building! To quote governing Social Democrats; Tatjana Simac Bonacic: “… it is inappropriate for that (Reisman’s talk) to occur in Parliament, because the Parliament is a home, a symbol of democracy and as such it is certainly not for people like that (like Reisman)” ! (HRT News, 29 January 2013).

On the other hand, HDZ representatives including its President Tomislav Karamarko and Zeljko Reiner – deputy president HDZ parliamentary group, fan the view that in a democracy all views on the issue have the right of expression and should be heard and that if Reisman was good enough to talk in US Congress, she is good enough to talk in the Croatian Parliament building.

Indeed, it seems that in these crazy times HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union is one of the rare political parties in Croatia who see freedom of expression for what it truly is: freedom to express ones ideas and freedom to offer information on pertinent social, or other issues, leaving it to the individual to accept or reject the ideas, or even remain undecided.

So, is the orchestrated attack and intolerance expressed so widely in Croatia towards Judith Reisman really an objective and justified attack on her belief’s and work as unacceptable to today’s society, or did we just see a perfect example of intolerance and decay of democracy in Croatia fueled by the governing coalition’s attempts to censure and even oppress ideas that normally float freely in the democratically developed world?

In summary and regarding Reisman, the 2004 Bill Condon’s movie, “Kinsey”, may have reawakened America’s interest in the largely forgotten but influential post-War era sex researcher Dr. Alfred Kinsey, but for Judith Reisman, he has been a singular dedication, which some have labelled as obsession, for decades. Reisman has given herself the task to fight against Kinsey, to focus on morality via existential battles with the forces of cultural decay and sexual permissiveness. While her ideas have naturally endeared her to a Who’s Who of conservative political echelons and many survivalists, she has had in 2004 provided expert testimony on Capitol Hill (Washington DC) for Republican Sen. Sam Brownback on the scientific perils of pornography. There, she also lobbied for the reintroduction of a bill that would mandate an investigation into her claim that Kinsey sexually abused children during his research. Through friends in the Justice Department, Reisman has helped push for an increased focus on prosecuting porn. As Reisman gathers influence across the world, her work is bearing an increasingly apparent mark on the Christian right’s political agenda and by extension, on social policy.

Some organisations in Croatia say that Reisman’s visit to Croatia is the result of the campaign of circles around the clergy, who are against the sex education in schools curriculum, to convince people that the scientific foundations of this curriculum are based on the criminal homosexual-pedophile work undertaken by Kinsey. Little doubt, those who say this are close to the government or its thinking; justifying perhaps the government’s unwavering resolve to implement its sex education curriculum “come Hell, or high water” in the constituency.

Having said all this, there were many in Croatia who welcomed Reisman and her talks; listened to her ideas, research, peacefully. That is what freedom of expression of ideas or freedom of information regarding an important issue affecting the society (such as sex education in schools) should be. So, there’s light at the end of the censorship tunnel – the incidents around Reisman may, hopefully, teach one how democracy should and should not work; and the threading of democratic processes may yet come to the seemingly badly needed drawing board. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Reisman’s work through the U.S. Justice Department analyzing and exposing the sinister nature of Kinsey, for example his child orgasm charts (tables 30-34, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male) as well as the resulting American Law Institute Model Penal Code, is impeccable, as is her work showing the negative effects of pornography on culture.

  2. Some Psychiatrists and professors are lobbying to normalize and decriminalize pedophilia (child rape and molestation). Could it all be associated with the fact that through sex education in schools, based either loosely or closely upon Kinsey’s ill-gotten research results, has somehow made everything about sexual practices normal? While children need sex education – there is absolutely no need for schools to teach anything beyond safety.

  3. Miso Sorbel says:

    A telling string of overt and covert methods of sabotage here, censuring of who will say what to the Croatian public. As plain as day – control!

  4. Branimir Joost says:

    Do you wonder why college students now “study” pornographic films in the classroom? Why the media pretend doctors can actually change a person’s sex with a scalpel? Or why the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has been discussing whether to drop “adult-child sex” from its diagnostic manual of disorders? Things will get worse and people like Reisman are a welcome gatekeeper to at least some normality and decency in sex education. It’s a shame that she did not deliver her lectures to all intended in Croatia. What appears is that there was and is censorship there coming from the top. Ah, what’s new – communist Yugoslavia was all about things and ideas from the top, so Croatia is still living the nightmare of trying to get out and far away from those terrible days. If the government and apparently many organizations don’t open their arms and embrace true pluralism in society – we’re looking at many years of similar examples of utter lack in communication skills.

  5. Phyllis Dieter says:

    Many years have passed since hundreds of abused children – here in America, in Germany, and in the concentration camps in Poland – became Kinsey’s child sexuality “data,” but justice demands repudiation of the man, his lies, and the laws that were based upon his lies.
    What chance does this world have for that when there are countries today who contemplate on and actually link their new school sex education programs on Kinsey’s findings.

  6. You are so right Ina: it’s not a matter of whether one agrees or disagrees with what Judith Reisman has to say, it’s a matter of letting her say it. Particularly, given that so much opposition to the school sex education programs recently introduced in Croatia has been voiced on from many side, more importantly, from parents and citizens. This makes the issues Reisman speaks of very relevant to the present moment Croatian society and happenings within it.

  7. Is there a recall legislation in Croatia where citizens can petition to have members of Parliament recalled?

    • Yes please, Sunman – there must be away – if nothing else then streets filled with protesters are a potent vehicle for change.

  8. The first problem – this damn government. They may call themselves the “socialist democratic” party but their actions show that this is simply another name for communists. Seems like they will stop at nothing to stop out real democracy and poisoning society. (All under the guise of “this is good for you because daddy government knows best”).

    At least HDZ seemes to have some shred of common sense left.

  9. 100% agree HarryOn, democracy does require that people have an opportunity to hear all sides of an argument, even when one emphatically disagrees with what is being proposed. Reisman has her point of view and it is right that the dead hand of the elite’s influence should not silence her. However, the recent comments here concerning the views of Branko Lustig included those who would gag him in the name of “parental choice”. We can’t have it both ways.

  10. I like the lady author and her morals, and she’s against pornography and admire and share her views . But surely you’d say that sex ed is a good idea and necessary ? Is there a problem of teenage pregnancies or STIs in Croatia?
    Although I know nothing of Kinsey or how the gov based the curriculum on him…….
    Hey Ina you used Aussie phrases in this one cool
    As for your government , smells of encroachment …but nobody can shut down the internet ( or can they ?) least theres hope as you say … Well, the Internet there for both good use and misuse and incidentally whether or not Croatian kids learn about sex at school… There is the internet.. Which sometimes is a scary place (porn, pedophilia etc)

    • Robert Marin says:

      Gina – yest the internet is a scary place and parents must learn about it and educate and monitor their children’s use of it as much as possible. School sex education can only do so much in light of family surrounding, community and global surrounding and influences. School teachers should stick to basics and safety as far as sex is concerned but what Croatian school curriculum contains goes far beyond that – into issues that parents are not comfortable with etc and whether one likes it or not parents are a very important part of society and cruci9al in the personal life of school students – and sex happens to their personal life!

  11. The real problem is: we don’t have democracy here in Croatia (its sounds crazy but its true)…4 Milion people its easy to control: by TV and newspaper…yes we have internet…but we also have people who live in Croatia but they don’t like Croatia (and they have power)..its surreal but its true…for example:ex president Mesic was secret prosecution witness (at the international court in Hague) which had a spin against Croatian generals and Croatian state .. judging from newspaper articles he also took for himself the money Australian Croats sent for hospital, charity etc….so…now we have people who like Yugoslavia more than Croatia…its sad but true…

  12. Boardman Sally says:

    This sorry saga about the treatment of Dr Judith Reisman got bigger by the day it seems. Her talk at the Faculty of Medicine in Zagreb was well attended and all was reportedly well. But wouldn’t you know it: some from Croatian media (and other government cronies, shallow souls and mind) thought that she should not have been invited there because her academic credentials are supposedly not high enough! Some nuts even thought that science is not democracy, or should not be made to comply with democracy because students of medicine must be exposed to pure science for the benefit of medicine as science! For crying out loud, even if Reisman does not have a PhD (she has it!), even if she were just someone ordinary talking about symptoms of ” illness” she would still be placed well among medicine students. And by the way it seems that those who commented or criticized her attendance among medicine students in Zagreb there is “Social Medicine” to be considered – and Reisman is so well placed to talk about issues within that realm to medicine students. But maybe the clever journalists are not aware of all the branches of medical science that actually exist in theory and in practice

  13. Under a government that rejects dialogue and closes the door to democratic debate – rivers of Croatian students seeks, demand, request debates and access to information, pluralism and democracy, tolerance and coexistence. We have experienced this burst of young energy to achieve democracy and fairness by the sheer mountains of students and young people that turned up to hear Reisman even if some of the events were cancelled by the government loyal cowards. Croatia is abuzz with debates about democracy, what it is and what it isn’t. So thank you Judith Reisman for your visit.

  14. Aldo At Sava says:

    It seems to me that the Cock-a-doodle-doo governing coalition had created an air of competition: he/she who insults Reisman more, shall be rewarded! If she is such a thorn in their eye, there’s good reason for it – surely. And it all seems as if they’re afraid her talks will further reveal their incompetence, this time in school education curriculum.

  15. Who on earth dug up Dr. Reisman to bring her to Croatia…

    • Frederick Don Royster, dr Reisman has every right to speak as anyone else, particularly on issues that affect a society. She was invited by citizens of Croatia who want to hear many sides to an issue and not just the one fed by the government.

      • Of course she has the right to speak. I hope she continues to speak and that people will do their homework and will find out who she truly is and what she truly stands for.

      • So far I have come across only good things Reisman promotes: protection of children from immorality and education programs based on suspect research

  16. You wont post this, and thats fine, its for you, but you are no better than the Croatian government you denounce. You edited my entire post down to one line. It’s your blog and you do what you please, but you have shut down debate by not allowing my full comment which was respectful. There’s not a single dissenting comment here on your blog, which leads me to think they have all been deleted.

    • Frederick Don Royster – please check our Comment policy and we, in addition to this, do not promote personal attacks or uncorroborated sweeping statements about individuals. Comments on Governments or government representatives or politicians are however a different matter as long as based on facts and political comment etc. Sorry about that but we try to be fair. Furthermore, we were dealing with the issue of lack of freedom of speech and not about who is speaking about what. The audience deserves information and it is up to individuals to accept it or not as something they wish to pursue or take on board. Hence, any personal attacks on the speaker on such events is truly bad taste and uncalled for in a democracy.

    • Miso Sorbel says:

      Frederick Don Royster, perhaps there are no dissenting comments because Ina is talking about how democracy (freedom of expression) should and should not work. What happened in Croatia around Reisman was shocking – not what she had to say but on many occasions it was so obvious that she was not allowed to speak, or better said, that Croatians were denied free access to information.I cannot agree with you that if someone criticizes the staged sabotages etc of Reisman’s (or anyone’s speeches) in such blatant way and a journalist loses a job because she showed different views to what the government is pushing has anything to do with denouncing the government.

  17. While her own research is suspect itself. Her Research on Pornography in the 1980s —
    “The report drew contemporary criticism in regards to its cost and its quality.Sex crime researcher Avedon Carol commented that the report was a “scientific disaster, riddled with researcher bias and baseless assumptions.” The American University (AU), where Reisman’s study had been academically based, refused to publish the completed work, citing concerns by an independent academic auditor. Criminologist Robert Figlio of the University of Pennsylvania stated “The term child used in the aggregate sense in this report is so inclusive and general as to be meaningless.”

  18. It’s all about who looks at her work Fredrick Don Royster – all distinguished scientists to not share your extract of views which is biased purposefully against Reisman. So here is a bit of balance for that (although her scientific work is really not important for what my post was addressing: lack of freedom of expression and personal attacks against someone in order to further one’s own side – a very Communist method):
    Moreover, the only ‘independent academic auditor’ hired by AU was Dr. Emanuel Landau, who stated: ‘This is a sound study, producing high quality data in a complex and difficult area conducted in a scientifically acceptable fashion.’ Dr. Landau was also one of my six peer reviewers, and all had defended the study.

    “Wikipedia cites Robert Figlio of the University of Pennsylvania, a peer reviewer who belatedly ‘changed’ his mind. Figlio did not complain to AU (Wikipedia’s claim) that the research was bad. Figlio’s sudden distress showed up in Playboy. But as Figlio was paid by the U.S. Department of Justice, as one of the peer reviewers, to oversee each methodological step of the two-year study, his tardy charge that ‘[t]he term child used in the aggregate sense in this report is so inclusive and general as to be meaningless’ is false — as he well knew.

    Figlio also falsely stated that ‘the love scene from Romeo and Juliet [was considered] child porn’ (p.116). There is no Romeo and Juliet in this study. The Romeo quote is from a book by pornography apologist Avedon Carol who claims the ‘world’s foremost researcher in this area’ is the (deceased) sex-change guru John Money. Money — interviewed in The Journal of Paedophilia advocating sex between men and boys — found ‘no evidence that pornography causes’ harm, according to Avedon. Well then, I’m glad that is settled.” http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/061203

  19. “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”– Voltaire

    I firmly believe this. And I firmly believe Ms. Reisman has every right to say whatever she wants as part of the public debate.

    I am a US citizen. I have no ties to the Croatian Government. My commentary is not “orchestrated” by anyone.

    You wish to inform your readers on one point of view. I wish to inform your readers with another point of view. Then they can decide for themselves no?

    Again Ms. Reisman has the right to say whatever she wants to say, but people must be smart and do their homework and see why they should believe in what she says is true.

    FACT: She was chastised by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League for making an analogy between Nazi Propaganda and Sex Educaiton

    FACT: She is featured in a video called “The Children of Table 34″ for the Family Research Council which is labeled as a hate group here in the US by the Southern Poverty Law Center

    FACT: She has no scientific research to back up her theory of “erototoxins”. It’s a theory.

    FACT: Despite her testimony in the US Congress, Porn is not illegal in the US

    The blog you quoted Renew America also believes that US President Obama is enacting a plan to become dictator of the United States

    Those are facts.

  20. Frederick Don Royster, thank you on your comment but really, the blog does not purport to support or not support Reisman, it simply condemns the lack of freedom of speech and the lack of consultation with parents and other relevant stakeholders in children’s sex education – the way the mandatory program was installed. Whether Reisman is right or not is irrelevant for this particular issue to do with developing democracy. People may chastise Reisman, she may chastise others – that is freedom of expression and if one chastises then one needs to keep to human decency and not insult people. She has every right of having a theory as anybody else in the world, but this right seems to be denied to some. I do not for one moment believe that your comments are “orchestrated” – I just want to keep to the point of lack of freedom of expression, which is a very important issue to address, and if we go out on a limb and dissect what Reisman or whoever might have done or said about sex education then we lose the point we started with.

  21. Thankyou “Sexual Sabotage goes global” for this link. Much appreciated.

Trackbacks

  1. […] (without reasonable foundation) of disciplining of journalist Karolina Vidovic Kristo, it has seen barrages of offensive remarks against dr. Judith Reisman, but it has also brought home the realisation that Croatia has a long way to go in its path of […]

  2. […] Croatian blogger Ina Vukic wrote, “It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.” […]

  3. […] Croatian blogger Ina Vukic wrote, “It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.” […]

  4. […] Croatian blogger Ina Vukic wrote, “It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.” […]

  5. […] day following the TV broadcast Vidovic Kristo was suspended from her duties on Croatian HTV, and her TV program axed – so much for freedom of information and expression in […]

  6. […] Croatian blogger Ina Vukic wrote, “It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.” […]

  7. […] Croatian blogger Ina Vukic wrote, “It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.” […]

  8. […] of research. Dr. Reisman, a child advocate and founder of the anti-Kinsey movement, sought to expose the perils of this radical sex-education. Interestingly, it was discovered that the head of the government […]

  9. […] At that time Croatian blogger Ina Vukic wrote, “It is no wonder that Reisman said later that she had never before in her life been confronted by so many bullies as during this visit to Croatia.” […]

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