THERE'S no middle ground when it comes to the issue of S-E-X. It's either right out there, up front, bold, brash and totally explicit like in a) the Clinton/Lewinsky debacle, b) those hot-cha hostess bar ads in the newspaper and c) the community uproar over the new Inserection Adult Fantasy Store in McCully; or it is hidden and surreptitious, which is why sexual assault continues to be the most underreported of all crimes.
So it was no mere coincidence this Wednesday that I did some journalistic reconnaissance and visited the aforementioned Inserection, after attending a lunchtime fund-raiser for the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC).
First, a report on the porno place. I'm no prude but, egads, it was tacky. Inserection sells sex toys and implements like manacles, and videotapes divided into categories such as straight, gay, lesbian, bondage and amateur. Since the photos on the video boxes are graphic, this shop is not for the faint at heart. It is also not for minors or for a neighborhood like McCully.
The residents and landowner, 7-Eleven, are correct: This venture must relocate to a more, ahem, appropriate venue. That's why both people and politicos are making such a big fuss about it and rightly so.
Inserection's sleaze factor and the loud protests against it are on the opposite end of the taste and decorum spectrum from Wednesday's lunchtime fund-raiser for the SATC at Ruth's Chris Steak House.
Attendees weren't subjected to a large-scale, grandiose, noisy gala. They didn't get bored by a long, drawn-out program, or have to listen to a dramatic, imploring presentation by director Adriana Ramelli.
They simply sat at small tables, munched on chicken Caesar salad and somberly digested written case histories of adults and children in Hawaii helped by the Kapiolani Medical Center program.
It's no surprise that the low-profile SATC hosted such an understated event. The center has helped sex assault victims and their families deal with the crime for 22 years, although unfortunately most people in Hawaii don't learn about SATC until they need its services.
Sexual assault continues to be so underreported that the SATC estimates there are up to 10 times as many incidents as there are victims who go to police. With that in mind, consider that reported rapes in Hawaii increased by 13.8 percent from '96 to '97.
Manila folders on the tables of the fund-raiser cited SATC case histories, with names and facts changed to protect client confidentiality. Included was this note: "Victims suffer profound injury, for not only are the most private and intimate parts of the individual's body violated, the individual's very core is penetrated. As one victim stated several months after being victimized, 'It's not just your body that's raped, it's your whole life.' "
READING the case studies -- about men assaulting girls, raping women and molesting boys -- made me realize why places like Inserection cannot be allowed to flourish in a family setting like McCully.
Sure, there's a market for these things, but does that mean rolling out the red carpet to enterprises that objectify and demean individuals through an act that is supposed to demonstrate love and caring?
Message to Inserection: Move. Message to protesters of Inserection: Don't give up the fight. While you're at it, how about making a donation to the SATC? It helps victims deal with the realistic aftermath -- and not the fantasy world -- of sex at its worst.
Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday.
She can be reached by phone at 525-8607, via e-mail at
DianeChang@aol.com, or by fax at 523-7863.