UPDATE: Facebook has now reinstated my account! THANKS SO VERY MUCH TO FB AND ALL SUPPORTERS! Please ignore the petition, which will now be closed. This blog post will be left as a chronicle of the story.
UPDATE: Please pass around this press release!
UPDATE: Please sign the petition to reinstate my page here.
UPDATE: See my commentary on Facebook’s beheading policies.
UPDATE: This just in – a “warning” from Facebook:
Upon investigation, we have determined that you are ineligible to use Facebook. You can view our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities at the following address:
Unfortunately, for safety and security reasons, we cannot provide additional information as to why your account was disabled. This decision is final.
Thanks for your understanding
The Facebook Team
So, they give me a huge list to go through and can’t tell me why they’ve disabled my account, but it’s apparently gone for good. Well, FB has just become impoverished greatly. I will be making my new home on Twitter, Tumblr and Google+, which I don’t care for as much, but all that hard work is now down the drain. I also can be found regularly on my Superconsciousness Yahoo group, as well as here at my blog and on my forum.
My friends at Mythicist Milwaukee have started a post on Facebook to garner support – please feel free to “like” it: https://www.facebook.com/MythicistMKE/posts/530015043757972
Ophelia Benson at Freethoughtblogs has now published a piece about this issue. (Note that I’ve updated some of the text here since Ophelia wrote her piece, including tracking the original image down closer to its evident source, which is Zululand, South Africa, not Nigeria.) Mriana Brinson also has written a nice piece about this issue on GodDiscussion.com, “D.M. Murdock, AKA Acharya S., banned on Facebook.” My ZG1.1 buddy Peter Joseph has shared my cause on his FB page. Al Stefanelli has also weighed in: “Please help my friend, Acharya Sanning.” Thanks to one and all!
Also, do not forget this press release: http://www.prweb.com/releases/facebook/controversy/prweb11259431.htm
My Facebook account has been permanently disabled because – I’m guessing here – I shared a photo of little African girls suffering a “virginity test.” After I contacted Facebook, I received the following form response, in which, naturally, FB doesn’t give the specific reason:
Your account has been disabled because you violated the Facebook Terms.
Unfortunately, we won’t be able to reactivate your account or respond to your email directly.
For more information about our policies, please read the Facebook Community Standards: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/
The Facebook Team
As we can see, there is no recourse, no ability to communicate, no consideration for the many years and thousands of posts I’ve made on FB, along with the several pages I created there, including my business pages for Stellar House Publishing and my books.
The (uncensored) photo I posted on Facebook is graphic, as it reveals what I consider to be the horrible TORTURE of little girls. It was published in the mainstream media, perhaps in 2009. I found the photo on Google Images, and include a blurred edition here – I don’t want to lose my blog too! Since it was in the MSM, evidently published in a magazine, and since I am a lifelong scholar of anthropology, I considered the photojournalist image to be an anthropological news item, like those published in National Geographic for the past century. Apparently, by FB standards it was something else.
As we can see from the blurred edition to the right, the image is of a person with a row of little girls in front, lying on their backs with their lower bodies naked and legs spread, while she (?) feels around inside them to make sure their hymens are intact. These little half-naked girls are lying on the ground out in the open, in public, with others crowding around and also performing these tests. To me, such an act would an utter humiliation.
For exposing what I consider to be hideous, sexist child abuse, apparently, I’m banned from FB for LIFE.
“For exposing this sexist child abuse, apparently, I’m banned from Facebook for LIFE.”
Just looking at this image, blurred or not, is so very upsetting to me. I cannot stress enough how this traumatizing tradition needs to be stopped! But now, instead of being part of the solution, Facebook’s policies here are only helping to keep this misogynistic behavior alive.
The original photojournalist image can be found on this website – apparently without censure: http://koptisch.wordpress.com/englisch/ About half way down is an article entitled “Egypt women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests.'” Evidently, WordPress does not have a problem with the image, which, again, is part of an anthropological news item.
The photo in question may have been taken in Zululand, South Africa, where such virginity tests have been performed for centuries, with some tribes defying a ban enacted years ago. Here are other photos apparently from the same magazine as the one with the little girls in it:
I felt pretty ridiculous blurring out their breasts, but apparently that’s the direction we’re going in now – is NatGeo is banned from Facebook too?
Another site with the first of the images above, “Virginity test in Malawi Africa,” claims that this photographed ritual occurred on February 19, 2009 in Malawi, among a Christian congregation, as part of “initiation.” Certainly, this ritual would be considered an “initiation,” comparable to the circumcision of the boys. I object to both rituals, as they are harmful physically, mentally and emotionally.
Pleasing to the gods?
I found another version of the photo labeled with the site identification of Naijapals.com, which is a Nigerian movie site. Below is another image from that site.
In the past few years, a principal in Nigeria was suspended for performing this humiliation on students, while we also read this headline out of Nigeria: “Lagos state seeks 50 virgins to avert flooding”:
Spiritualist who ply their trade in Lagos have warned that the state will experience another deluge of torrential rainfall and flooding of Biblical proportions unless 50 virgins can be found for a ritual to appease the gods.
I have many freethinking Nigerian supporters, and I see Nigeria as one of the places globally where the “light” can come in, so to speak. Let us hope that media suppression such as Facebook’s behavior here does not end this budding African “Age of Enlightenment.”
Why I posted the image
I posted the uncensored, shocking photo on Facebook because it is important to see the utter indignity these poor girls must suffer – this horrible abuse is now being done in the West. How can we battle it, if we can’t see what it is? As we can see from this Google Images search, the photograph is still there – is Facebook going to ban Google Images as well?
An article about “Virginity Tests” on the website Stop Violence Against Women states:
“Researchers have found evidence that such tests increase violence against women, including those found to be virgins, as there is a widespread belief that men with HIV can be cured of their disease by having sexual intercourse with a virgin.”
This abuse of girls can be found in many areas, including among Muslims and Christians in other countries. To reiterate, such virginity examination is now spreading to the West. In fact, I attached the apparent FB-offending photo to an article about the battle in Canada to put an end to this practice there: “‘Degrading’ virginity tests on women must stop, Quebec doctors’ group urges.” In that article appeared the following quotes from Canadian medical authorities:
“The practise is outrageous, repugnant, irrelevant and unacceptable.”
–Dr. Charles Bernard, president of the Collège des médecins
“It’s a taboo practice, and it’s hidden.”
–Dr. Marie-Ève Bouthillier
And it will stay hidden, if Facebook disables accounts that are trying to draw attention to it. Please, Facebook Team, reconsider your decision and allow me to continue my important activist work at your site! If I understand correctly that my account was disabled because of TOS “nudity” violation, I apologize for my oversight and promise to be more careful in the future.
I have a longstanding account on Facebook, with over 10,000 fans, friends and supporters across several pages. I would have hoped for the courtesy of a warning about the image, with its deletion, as happened when I posted an uncensored image of the FEMEN topless activist group – also an important news item that was photographed by the respected Getty archives and found on numerous websites. That image was deleted, and I received a warning. This time, nada. Just lifetime banning. If I understand correctly that my account was disabled because of TOS “nudity” violation, I apologize for my oversight and promise to be more careful in the future.
If you would like to see my FB account reinstated, please go onto Facebook and start a campaign about my profile: https://www.facebook.com/acharyas If you contact Facebook, please politely tell them that my account is important to you and that you want to see it reinstated. Perhaps a petition would be helpful, or contacting the media. Please include the hashtags #AcharyaS #DMMurdock in all posts on Facebook or Twitter about me and my work, so that you and others can network. Thank you.
I can only hope this whole sordid affair will bring more attention to a very serious and widespread issue that is degrading and humiliating girls and women globally.
“I can only hope this whole sordid affair will bring more attention to a very serious and widespread issue that is degrading and humiliating girls and women globally.”
In reality, how about we ban this horrible and offensive practice, instead of the people who are exposing it?
Ogun suspends school Principal for conducting virginity test on students
Lagos state seeks 50 virgins to avert flooding
Brides-to-be in Georgia are apparently undergoing ‘virginity inspections’ before marriage
Egyptian Female Protesters Forced To Take ‘Virginity Tests’: Report
Indonesia – Say No to ‘Virginity Testing’
Abusing the System: Facebook Standards and the People Who Violate Them
Stop Violence Against Women: Virginity Tests
Facebook lifts ban on graphic content
Gory videos OK to post on Facebook for users to ‘condemn’
Facebook lets beheading clips return to social network
Facebook controversy shines spotlight on ‘virginity testing’
If you watch the video above, “Please respect my religion!” you will see that it is part of my religion to expose heinous and abusive ideas, practices and traditions. My religious rights are now being violated by this censorship, which prevents me from bringing my daily work to a broader audience. My work is to make the world a better and safer place for innocents, including and especially children. I have now lost a major venue by which to do this work.
“The Unruh Civil Rights Act is a piece of California legislation that specifically outlaws discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. This law applies to all businesses such as hotels and motels, restaurants, theaters, hospitals, barber and beauty shops, housing accommodations, and retail establishments.”
Any lawyers out there?
Loads of great comments here and on the petition. I wish I could publish them all – here’s one from Ophelia’s blog:
Here are other great comments, from the petition page – there are loads more there:
??? So, violence against women is okay by Facebook, but female body parts and raising awareness about sexist abuse of little girls are not okay? Am I missing something here?
Meanwhile, Facebook allows a horrible image of violence committed against women in the Congo, one of the most dangerous places on Earth to be a woman – I ask you, how is this FB page not in violation of the same TOS my profile purportedly was? WARNING: Gruesome images at the link below.