No Girl Left Behind
Guest Blog Post by Dale Rylander
Abolishing the Demand for commercial sex is not about the legality or morality of commercial sex. At one extreme, there are countries like the Netherlands where prostitution is legal. Guess what? Too few women “want” to be prostituted women, so the supply is being met by women that are trafficked. At the other extreme, making all forms of sensual public displays by women illegal would require women to be fully covered anytime they are outside their home (Islamic Shar’iah laws).
Both extremes ignore the source of the problem – men’s inability to control themselves. The problem is the Demand. Reducing the Demand will have a dramatic impact on commercial sex because it reduces the number of buyers and thus removes the economic incentive. Furthermore, that Demand will not be reduced or abolished by laws.
The Demand can only be reduced when men and women individually decide to hold men accountable for their attitudes and actions. Yes, Women. Women must stop dismissing the behavior of their sons (and husbands) as “boys will be boys.”
How should we hold each other accountable? I am not a psychologist, but my typical reaction of destroying sexually explicit material in a burst of embarrassment, anger and shame is probably not the right answer. Neither is calmly sitting down to discuss my reaction to each image. To be honest, I am still struggling to find the best intervention strategy. What I do know is I have no problem talking about, even showing my children, friends and peers, how to do many things. Sex is not one of those things.
Surprise, surprise. There are people willing to fill the void left by my silence for a profit. For large profits because the Demand is so big. Profits so huge that people are even willing to commit crimes to meet the Demand.
Is every prostituted woman trafficked? Some reports suggest they are, if not overtly, then they are systemically forced into commercial sex by our society because women do not have equal employment opportunities.
Are there any women that want to be a prostituted woman? My daughter just returned from a semester studying abroad. She was in the Netherlands enrolled in a gender-study course approved by a respected and accredited US College. As part of her course she talked with some prostituted women. They told her they choose their profession.
There are many sides to this issue and our society needs to address them. But no matter what my opinion is regarding these issues, I have the power to do something about the fuel that is driving this Demand. I publicly pledge to not buy commercial sex and to hold everyone I know accountable for their attitudes and actions with respect to commercial sex. I challenge you to do the same.
If just one girl anywhere in the world is trafficked into commercial sex then a crime has been committed. If I know a crime has been, is being or could be committed and I do not do what I can to stop it – under US law I would be a criminal accessory.
We are proud our armed forces believe and practice “No Man Left Behind.” As American citizens we should be proud to pledge and practice “No Girl Left Behind.”
Dale Rylander is a professional technology consultant. He is married with three adult children. His wife challenged him to take the Defenders Pledge. Motivated by the enormous scope of this issue, he is working as the first Defenders Captain in Dallas to educate and challenge men in Dallas, in Texas, in the United States and around the world to change their attitudes and actions about commercial sex.