Take Action: The Power of Accountability

Love. Care. Tenderness. Support. These are all character qualities that are essential to the Defenders. These qualities in my mind all describe one important value of the Defenders: accountability. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, accountability means “an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”

I always grew up with the term “brother’s keeper.” Brother’s Keeper is a simple term that means you love someone enough to hold them accountable to their actions. In my experience, accountability is only successfully done when both parties hold each other accountable out of common love for the wellbeing of the other person. Part two of The Defenders Pledge says “I will hold my friends accountable for their actions towards women and children.”

Women and Children deserve respect. They deserve to be honored, and we should treat them with that in mind. Human Trafficking and commercial sex takes advantage of women, makes them our objects, and that in no way is right. Out of love for our friends and the women and children who are involved in the industry, should we not hold each other accountable and stay away from that? Out of love and care for the wellbeing of our fellow men, should we not hold each other accountable to our actions? Should we not challenge each other? That’s why part two of the Defenders pledge exists. Out of love and respect for women and children, indulging in the commercial sex industry is clearly not an option.

But as I’ve said in previous blog posts, commercial sex can be an addictive indulgence. It can consume our lives, and pretty soon, quitting this terrible indulgence is harder than we thought. That is also where accountability comes in. Accountability can work as a powerful sword. Holding our fellow men accountable to their actions can fight those desires to indulge, and for some, completely eliminate them. For many, accountability also becomes a shield, which defends our hearts and restores our minds. I’ve experienced this effect personally through a Men’s group which I’ve called Men Mentoring Men.

This group consists of 5-8 men who are committed to meeting once each week to talk about life. We talk about the highs, lows, and struggles of the past week–both sexually and relationally. This group helps men grow in relationship with each other, and restore a healthy view of relationships and sexuality. We laugh, we cry, and we celebrate. This group creates a sword and shield for men who are struggling with commercial sex. It allows men to be vulnerable, and to acknowledge the pain in their life. Ultimately, this group effectively restores our desire to honor and respect women and children.

So today I’d encourage you to take action by starting an accountability group with 2 or more of your friends. It can be as simple as meeting up for coffee every Wednesday morning and talking about life, purity, and relationships. For more ideas, check out this Defenders resource: http://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/How-to-Start-a-Defenders-Mens-Accountability-Group.pdf.

Together, we can end demand.

About Taryn

Taryn Offenbacher is Director of Communications and joined Shared Hope International in 2009. She has completed field research and authored reports on the sex trafficking of U.S. citizen minors in Arizona and Virginia. Her ongoing concentration in leveraging social and digital media to generate awareness has resulted in extensive coverage and awareness of the dynamics of child sex trafficking in the U.S.

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