Stopping child sexual exploitation is complicated. For it to stop, everyone needs to play a part. That includes men.
More than 90% of child sex offenders are male. They come from every income bracket, profession and neighbourhood. It’s a very small percentage of men doing a huge amount of damage.
I’ve been on patrols with police officers from the Vice Squad – “John Sweeps” – late at night. Prostitution is NOT glamorous. The majority of the ‘girls’ are just that – young women under the age of 25. When I asked why they were selling 15-minute/$50 blowjobs (using condoms) in the front seats of vehicles, they said that they had dropped out of school/couldn’t get a well-paying job with their education/wanted to provide for their own kids, etc. They were selling a commodity – not their bodies, but that brief chunk of time during which the men thought that they had power over another human being. (Power? Really? So where was the blowee’s organ for however long it took him to blow his wad and how vulnerable was he? Who was really in control?) The Johns tended to be middle-aged, driving mini-vans or family sedans, some with child safety seats in the back. Probably spending grocery money. How pathetic and disgusting is that? The sad ones were the men with intellectual limitations or recent immigrants who were very lonely, who had no girlfriends or who simply could not find a girlfriend.
It’s time to man up!
We need more men taking action on this issue. Men have a unique role to play in stopping the demand side of child sexual exploitation. They can act as strong role models and can speak out against attitudes and actions that sexually victimize children and youth.
Sexual exploitation can be subtle, but it’s always harmful.
The other issue that has always puzzled me is the portrayal of women in videos – how they are described in negative terms, what they wear, how they act with each other and around men. Young women, especially, have to realize that they don’t have to ‘get their skank on’ to be attractive. But poor self esteem is a defining issue for many women, old and young. This kind of ‘fame’ is transitory and demeaning – ‘oh look, there I am, behind the speakers to the left of the car bumper. ‘Oops, you missed it.’