Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Go Newsweek!

My friend, Michelle, pointed me to "The John Next Door" in Newsweek.  Not a pretty topic, but I'm glad Newsweek had the guts to print it.  Melissa Farley, director of Prostitution Research and Education did a study comparing men who buy sex and men who don't.  She wanted to see if her findings regarding prostitution and sexual violence were "true of just sex buyers, or . . . of men in general."

In performing the study, Farley had a difficult time finding men who really don't buy any type of sex. She actually had to change her definition of a non-user from someone who doesn't buy any type of sex to one who only goes to a strip club 2 x a year and looks at porn only 1 x per month.   WOW.  So, does that say, those things are okay and normal?  Maybe normal, but definitely not okay.  Just because you're doing a little better than other people, does not mean it is good enough.  Being a religious person, you obviously strive to follow the laws of God, not just  be a little better than everyone else.  Just because everyone else is doing it does NOT make it okay.

Users were defined as those who purchased a lap dance, phone sex, gotten a sex worker, an escort, erotic masseuse, or a prostitute.

Many experts believe the digital age has spawned an enormous increase in sexual exploitation. . . .  The burgeoning demand has led to a dizzying proliferation of services so commonplace that many men don’t see erotic massages, strip clubs, or lap dances as forms of prostitution. “The more the commercial sex industry normalizes this behavior, the more of this behavior you get. . . .”
This is why we need to sustain a higher community standard!  When we let things like this into our communities, they become commonplace and fewer people object them because it is "normal" behavior.  What kind of world do we want our kids to grow up in?

Farley discovered that
  • those who buy sex enjoy the "servitude" and "unquestionable obedience" from the prostitutes.  
  • They "dehumanize and commodify women, view them with anger and contempt, lack empathy for their suffering, and relish their own ability to inflict pain and degradation."  
  • They also "were more likely to view sex as divorced from personal relationships than nonbuyers.
  • "They enjoyed the absence of emotional involvement with prostitutes."
  • They "voiced aggression toward women."
  • They "were nearly eight times as likely as nonbuyers to say they would rape a woman if they could get away with it."
  • They "committed more crimes of every kind than nonbuyers."
  • They "used significantly more pornography than nonbuyers."
  • "three quarters of them said they received their sex education from pornography" (compared with "slightly more than half of nonbuyers" -- that's terrible for buyers and non!)
  • They "view prostitutes as loving sex and enjoying their customers."
This whole buying of sex sounds like a great way to create a bunch of uncaring, unattached, violent men who are disassociated from the rest of humanity -- who cannot care for a family.  Satan is horribly brilliant.

"Farley is a leading proponent of the 'abolitionist' view that prostitution is inherently harmful and should be eradicated, and her findings are likely to inflame an already contentious issue."  Thank goodness someone wants to do away with this!  I'm amazed at the comments that so many people think she's nuts and inaccurate and that prostitution is work and if you like it stay in it, and if you don't, get out.  Perhaps all these people are sex addicts and just can't admit there's a problem.  OK, maybe some people do like the job, but it's totally against God's plan, which says to me no one should be doing it.

I remember high school class discussions about the book Crime and Punishment.  I don't remember a ton about the book, but I remember understanding that some women feel like prostitution is their only option for work.  I also remember feeling that of course men shouldn't get away with such behavior (boys will be boys mentality); I guess I was naive in thinking people in general thought the same.  I felt any educated person would see prostitution is a misuse of women and men who use and abuse prostitutes should know better.

Policies can be powerful things:  "In 1999 Sweden decided that prostitution was a form of violence against women and made it a crime to buy sex, although not to sell it. This approach dramatically reduced trafficking, whereas the legalization of prostitution in the Netherlands, Germany, and much of Australia led to an explosive growth in demand that generated an increase in trafficking and other crimes. Sweden’s success in dealing with the problem has persuaded other countries to follow suit. “The Swedish model passed in South Korea, Norway, and Iceland, and has been introduced in Israel and Mexico. . . .” 

Very fascinating article.  I hope it brings an awareness to users so that they will do something about changing their lives for the better and become more moral and humane people.


Bridget said...

Ahhh! What is wrong that any of this could be considered "normal"? I agree that it really has to start with fighting for higher community standards and talking about these issues not being okay. By the way, I'm so glad that LATG is back! I love your summaries!

Emily said...

Aw, summer has hit. There's no time for anything on line! Just time to be out, out, out!

Mormon Women: Who We Are said...

One of the things I appreciated about the article (was it this article?...my head hurts too much to go look again), was that it was said that whether the women know it or not, prostitution hurts them.

I still can hardly stomach reading all of this information, but I think we have to be aware so we can be smart.

I also think there are many things women need to do to keep this as far from our lives as possible. If we reject principles of modesty and chastity, we are part of the problem. We need to be part of the solution, from speaking up at grocery stores to not buying into the crazy media definitions of beauty to not buying sleazy clothes to teaching children (and reminding ourselves) that sex is not a right, it's a responsibility, a stewardship that is guarded by God's laws for a reason.

That's my not-so-humble opinion on this.


Stephanie said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! (P.S. I know what you mean about not having time during the summer).

I loved the point you kept emphasizing that just because the world's standards are so disgraceful doesn't mean we should feel justified when we are doing a little bit better.

Also, one thing I may end up writing a post on is how it frustrates me that we've defined pornography and sexually explicit activities as a form of "freedom of speech" protected by the constitution in the US. This creates lots of legal issues with communities that won't to crack down more on pornography/strip clubs/etc. But if there were more studies like this that could prove overwhelmingly the harm that befalls women because of the sex industry, there would be a much stronger argument in favor of regulating these activities more.