Engaging Male Allies

Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Updates

By combatting sexual assault on campus, opposing domestic violence, and preventing sex trafficking and prostitution, men are becoming increasingly involved in the fight against gender-based inequality and violence. Rejecting the tired cliché of “boys will be boys,” these principled men advance justice and mutual respect between the sexes—they don’t stand by when others are being exploited and hurt.

Buying Sex is Exploitation

Prostitution and sex trafficking are often seen as separate issues. Some believe that one involves consenting adults exchanging money for services, while the other is a predatory practice forcing sex on the unwilling. But the truth is the vast majority of women and children in prostitution are there under duress. They’re financially strapped, physically abused, or emotionally manipulated. They come from broken homes and have been failed by overburdened school systems or underfunded social programs. Many have endured years of sexual abuse. It’s easy for predatory pimps, traffickers, and sex buyers to exploit those without family or opportunities.

Most people in prostitution aren’t there by choice—they’re trapped—and those who buy them are perpetuating a cycle of abuse.

But what if men weren’t willing to buy vulnerable women and children for sex? Without sex buyers lining the pockets of pimps and traffickers, the exploitative sex industry and all its harms would end. If there were no buyers, there would be no business. No more harm.

Harnessing the Power of the Many to Change the Few

At least 15% of American males report having paid for sex, and a much smaller share do so actively. While that is a daunting problem, it’s not insurmountable. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of men do not buy sex—and those who do represent a mere fraction of the population. A very small segment of men are disproportionately fueling a criminal industry that violates the lives and bodies of thousands of women and girls.

If the many men who refuse to buy sex stand together and put social pressure on those who do, it could end the illegal sex industry outright. Men can serve as role models and influencers with the power to effect real change in the behavior of their peers and younger generations. There should be no passive bystanders. It’s up to principled men everywhere to denounce sex buying in all its forms and convince others to do the same.

Just as they have joined efforts to reduce domestic violence and rape, engaged men are crucial in turning the tide against the gender-based violence that is commercial sexual exploitation.

Demand Abolition is committed to supporting the men and male-led initiatives that are taking a stand against sexual exploitation. With your help, we can create a culture that respects the rights and dignity of all—a society that doesn’t tolerate buying people for sex.