We would like to say a few words to any men who visit this site.
We don’t believe that every man who buys sex means to hurt and control women. Although violence, threats, verbal abuse and boundary pushing are commonplace for a lot of women involved in prostitution, particularly on the streets, we recognise that there are also men who don’t behave in this way but who still choose to buy sex. If you’re one of those men, we understand that you don’t set out to harm, but have you ever wondered what path she might have trodden to get her to this point, how the pathway into prostitution might have started? You might want to look at some of the resources in Becoming more aware A particularly helpful book might be Prostitution Narratives. Stories of Sexual Exploitation in the Sex Trade by Caroline Norma and Melinda Tankard Reist. It’s a collection of short personal accounts of women who’ve survived the sex industry. They make it very clear that any enjoyment they felt they had to show wasn’t real, and that underneath their acting lay enormous psychological distress.
If you find it difficult to see women who sell sex as victims of exploitation, you might want to check out Reality Check’s short video here: Growing Up In The Porn Industry
Daniel Israeli, who features in this video, describes pornography as ‘filmed prostitution’. It’s a challenging insight. But watching pornography and buying sex doesn’t only abuse the ones being prostituted. It’s also a form of self-abuse. It doesn’t achieve intimacy; it compounds loneliness. We want to see everyone set free from this cycle of abuse and self-abuse. Our wish isn’t to shame anyone.
It takes courage to break the cycle. An honest look at the deeper needs is a starting place. Robert Weiss has some helpful things to say about this, and you can find resources by him online. Men’s support and accountability groups exist in a number of places around the country, addressing different aspects of life such as addiction, mental health or what one group calls ‘the battle for sexual sanity’. Some are Christian, some aren’t, so you need to find what works for you. Flint is a great example of one of these, helping men to break free specifically from compulsive habits around pornography and sex buying, and we would be glad to support any men wanting to establish a similar initiative locally. In the meantime, the Christian group TAG currently have online support options for men struggling with porn and sex addiction. You can find them here: TAG
Finally, we also recognise that there are men as well as women who sell sex so we don’t see this as exclusively a female issue. Just as with women, we realise that for men engaged in street prostitution it’s often tied to issues around substance misuse. Unfortunately we can’t support men right now, but Brighter Futures have an adult sex workers project that’s open to both men and women, and you can reach them here.
To the men who stand with us in what we do, thank you for your support and encouragement. We are deeply grateful. We welcome your help, your insight and your prayers. Although our front-facing roles are only for females, we value the many other ways in which you contribute to Yasha.