The editor of “Answer Me!” intended to show the heinous reality of rape through explicit articles in his fledgling magazine, not to encourage or titillate potential rapists, says an attorney for a news-stand that sold the publication.
“The prosecutor says that it promotes rape and violence against women,” said Breean Beggs, an attorney with Brett and Daugert in Bellingham, Wash. “In my opinion, he misses the whole point, which is that it’s so bad, you want to do something to stop it.”
What the state of Washington wants to stop is the sale of the Portland-based magazine, which features graphic cartoon drawings and grainy nude photos of mutilated women and children, including their corpses.
“The theme of this magazine is rape,” according to an affidavit filed by Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran.
Ira Stohl, owner of Newsstand International Business, which sold the 131-page publication, and Newsstand manager Kristina Hjelsand will appear in court today on a charge of promoting pornography.
The cover of issue No. 4 of “Answer Me!” is a cartoon drawing of a waitress with a black eye. Her name tag reads: “Hi! I asked for it.”
The center foldout of the 131-page magazine is a game board: The Rape Game. “If you’re a loyal `Answer Me!’ reader, you’ve probably wanted to rape someone at some point in your life…” says the game introduction.
Articles in the magazine advocate the beating, rape and torture of women and children, the affidavit said.
Jim Goad, the magazine’s writer, editor and publisher, said he knew it would be controversial.
“I anticipated highly negative reaction to the issue, sure,” Goad said Wednesday. “It’s a hot topic and one in which sensitivity is undeniably heightened.”
But Goad denies that his or any publication promotes rape.
“Rape is just about the most unmentionable, unspeakable thing there is,” he said. If “Answer Me!” promotes rape, he argues, “you can make a similar case for the Bible.”
Goad said he moved to Oregon three months ago from Hollywood, Calif., and only recently devoted his efforts full-time to his magazine. The rape issue sold 13,000 copies, he said.
“Rape is about sex, with power merely the best means of achieving it,” Goad writes. “If men raped primarily out of an urge to dominate and humiliate, don’t you think they’d realize this?”
Goad said his magazine is protected by the Constitution.
“The First Amendment was written to protect unpopular opinions and keep government from meddling in the transmission of those opinions,” he said.
Stohl and Hjelsand also cited First Amendment protections when they refused to pull the magazine from their shelves. They said censorship of the magazine was a dangerous precedent they were unwilling to risk.
Beggs, who represents Stohl and Hjelsand, said the magazine is akin to a written documentary on rape.