My Thoughts: This outstanding article is a must-read for everyone.
..."Between one in five to one in six men in the US self-report purchasing a human being for sex. The numbers are most likely even higher because many more will not admit to this. This statistic does not include men who spend their bachelor parties at a strip club or their Sunday evenings with their laptops open, masturbating to men’s sexual abuse of women in porn.
In other words, we’re looking at a church that claims to be outraged by sex trafficking while contributing significantly to the demand that sustains it.
Sex trafficking is a tale as old as time. It is even depicted in the Bible, under a different name. Female victims of male exploitation were blamed and dismissed as sinful harlots, while the men that bought and sold them as chattel were never questioned or held accountable.
Prostitution/trafficking was born from male entitlement, itself a product of the world’s oldest oppression: patriarchy (Gen. 3:16).
Now that the world is more aware of the problem of sex trafficking, the church has become very vocal about its desire to “rescue” victims.
Though well-intentioned, rescue does very little to help victims in the long run. If every single victim of trafficking were “rescued” today, trafficking would persist because of the demand for millions more bodies tomorrow.
Not only does the demand remain, but so do the reasons women are trafficked in the first place. Rescuing victims, on its own, neither eliminates the demand nor does it challenge an exploitative, male-centric culture. The conditions (both individually and structurally) that fuel sex trafficking have not changed.
While rescue makes the rescuer feel good and powerful, it leaves the victim still vulnerable. After she (or he) is rescued, then what? She can’t go back to the home where she was originally abused. She has no place to live. She doesn’t have a job. And if she has a criminal background, finding either is extremely difficult. She may not have an education or marketable skills.
She still lives in a world where her value is determined by men. She still lives in a world where men feel entitled to use and abuse her for selfish gratification. And they do. I believe this is primarily why, even after being rescued, some victims go right back to the people and systems that exploited them...
Victim/survivors, and all women, deserve more than short-lived, feel-good acts of chivalry or performative rescue missions. We need men to radically step out of their comfort zone and use their existing relationships and platforms to promote resistance and build long-term solutions.
I need more than grand acts of glory. I need to see men uphold the dignity of women in smaller moments that matter:
- Speak up when a friend or family member makes a sexist remark
- Challenge other men in your church or small group who endorse male authority, one-sided submission, or benevolent sexism
- Raise your sons to resist gender roles and stereotypes
- Refuse to use pornography
- Vocally and financially support egalitarian ministries and feminist women’s activism
- Use your platform to speak about misogyny, men’s violence, and the harm of patriarchy
- Give up your pulpit to women
- Ask women around you how you can be a safer presence to them
- Ask others to hold you accountable and call out your sexist behavior
- Don’t get defensive or make excuses when people do call you out; change your behavior
- Educate yourself and learn from women by reading egalitarian and feminist writing
- Volunteer and donate to trafficking, sexual, and domestic violence centers
- Confront your pastor if she/he reinforces gender stereotypes or makes a joke about women
- Invite a speaker to preach about patriarchy, rape culture, or egalitarianism/biblical equality
- Respect women’s boundaries (don’t pressure, guilt, or make women in your life feel obligated to do something you want)
- Counter sexist cultural messages that define girls/women’s value in domestic, sexual, and reproductive service to men
- Start or join a men’s group that promotes awareness and takes action to end men’s violence
- Believe victims; ask survivors how you can support them; and refuse to blame victims
- Take political action—protest unjust laws or practices; write letters; call; and lobby with public officials to support policies that promote justice for women and freedom from men’s violence and exploitation
Meaningful male resistance must be centered in personal responsibility and social accountability. I want to see men taking deliberate action against patriarchy—not for glory, praise, or “social justice cookies,” but because patriarchy is evil; justice is right; and women deserve better.
 “Percentage of Men (by Country) Who Paid for Sex at Least Once: The Johns Chart”, ProCon.org, January 6, 2011. Accessed September 15, 2017. https://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004119