Ending Demand – Raising Healthy Boys
Cherish All Children’s mission to prevent child sexual exploitation means we need to look at the root causes and have open conversations in our communities to address these issues.
How we raise our boys and young men can play a significant role in ending the demand for commercial sexual exploitation.
“What might an intentional Christian masculine culture look like? First, men must talk with each other and with our sons about women in such a way that we insist that every woman is created in the image of God. (Genesis 1: 26-27) Second, we must talk to each other and our sons about all the behaviors and industries – such as so-called ‘gentlemen’s clubs,’ pornography, and hiring strippers – that provide gateway behaviors to trafficking or purchasing sex. These acts are, in themselves, sexual exploitation.”
Professor Rolf A. Jacobson, Luther Seminary, from "My Neighbor is Not for Sale" session 3: Ending Demand - Raising the Next Generation of Healthy Boys and Young Men.
Your church or community can engage men in being part of the solution – opening conversations, hosting events or connecting with organizations that offer tools and resources.
Organizations Working to Create a Healthy Culture of Masculinity
Men As Peacemakers (MAP) is building safe communities through programs that address and undermine the root causes of violence against women and children including sexism, male dominance, racism, homophobia, and transphobia. MAP is at the forefront of a movement to promote equality and end violence against women and children.
Their "Don't Buy It Project" engages men and people of all gender identities to create a culture where the demand for commercial sex is nonexistent. Check out their educational resources for your community to gain a deeper understanding of the harm caused by sexual exploitation and empower men to be a part of the solution.
Access a 15-20 minute online learning experience you can use to get this conversation started.
A CALL TO MEN is a violence prevention organization and respected leader on issues of manhood, male socialization and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls.
A CALL TO MEN works to promote a healthy and respectful manhood and shift attitudes and behaviors that devalue women, girls and other marginalized groups.
They work with coaches, youth groups, high schools, colleges, and more to promote healthy, respectful relationships. They offer free LIVERESPECT curriculum for middle school and high school age boys, a college campus curriculum and many more resources.
Watch one of their PSAs to get you motivated to begin. You don't need to be an expert – just get started to make meaningful, safe connections with youth.
Resources to Learn More and Take Action
"The Mask You Live In" A documentary that follows boys and young men as they negotiate society's narrow definition of masculinity, and how we can raise a healthier generation. A part of the Representation Project from director, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Host a community screening complete with discussion guide.
"Ten Simple Prevention Steps for Men" published by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2019.
"Ten Ways Men Can Prevent Sexual Violence" published by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 2013.
"Bought and Sold: The New Fight Against Teen Sex Trafficking" radio documentary by American Radio Works, 2016. Starting at about minute 27:55, there is significant discussion of how to end the demand for trafficking.
"Human Trafficking and Demand" published by the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force.
"Mapping the Demand, Sex Buyers in the State of Minnesota" published by the University of Minnesota's Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center with funding by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, 2017. Full Report. Executive Summary.
"The Trauma Economy: The Demand for Sex Trafficking and the Fight to End it" published on the Forbes website on January 27, 2016.
"Voices of Safe Harbor: Survivor and Youth Input for Minnesota's Model Protocol on Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Youth" published by Hennepin County, the Sexual Violence Justice Institute, and the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, 2015. There is a section on "Exploiters and Buyers" starting on page 41.
What the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Says
Address the demand for what the system of sexual exploitation offers. One way for congregations to address the demand stimulated by the sex industry is to provide safe settings for men, women, and youth to talk about their attitudes toward and struggles with prostitution, pornography, stripping, and appropriate uses of the Internet... Uncommon as such conversations may be in congregations, they are vital if the baptized are going to find support in the Church to resist our culture's ready acceptance of these practices. The Church Council urges congregations and men's, women's, and youth organizations to be pioneers in creating possibilities for this discussion to occur. (pg. 8)
Gender-based violence includes sex tourism, forced prostitution, and human trafficking for sex. (pg. 2)
"Because we are each loved by God, God grieves deeply when we inflict gender-based violence on someone. The violence we impose hurts someone God created, and this hurt spreads out through the community.” (pg. 3)
“Without self-control and giving priority to the needs of others to be safe and healthy, we are vulnerable to abusing our strength, thought and action by being violent.” (pg. 3)
“We believe all people are created equally in the image of God. Every individual is dependent upon God, and all share in the God-given vocation to contribute their gifts to help all of creation flourish.” (pg. 2)
“The far-reaching harm experienced by women and girls is rooted in a pattern of power, privilege, and prejudice, the key elements of any social system of oppression.” (pg. 3)
“Although men and boys often benefit from this social system, patriarchal structures and values also harm men and boys, including gay and transgender men. They are harmed when they are pressured to conform to narrow gender stereotypes or are unable to live out a false ideal of male superiority and control. People of all genders who do not conform to gender-based roles and stereotypes often are not seen or valued.” (pg. 4)
“We believe God provides resources within the Christian faith and the Lutheran tradition to challenge the harmful beliefs and effects of patriarchy and to bring forth new ways of living.” (pg. 4)