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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Taking it Backwards: Tackling Prostitution In Canada

Many will say I'm bass-ackwards about this, but are we not trying to solve the wrong problem?  Isn't cracking down on prostitution a bit like forcing women to wear more clothes so as not to tempt men, or penalizing drug users instead of the drug production chain?

If we're really concerned about women (and girls) being sexually exploited by men, it's more than just a prostitution thing - it happens in rape, in work-place harassment, in the home and all kinds of non-sex trade related contexts.  A focus on prostitution does nothing to address any of this; in fact, the sorts of suggestions Perrin brings forward will do nothing but drive existing practices underground, increasing the risk (and excitement, and profit margin) for johns and pimps, making the situation worse.

Why don't we spend more time teaching boys and men not to objectify women?  A little social-emotional learning here, a bit of self-regulation there, maybe some communication strategies.  Hell, if you want to be cheeky, teach proper courting techniques so boys can compete with each other for the affections of ladies through demonstrations of chivalry.  When you view women as products to be bought/earned through gift-giving, you're gonna be inclined to treat them as service providers instead of people.  That's easily addressed through education.

We've got this social cognitive dissonance where we want to believe it's wrong to influence behaviour, that "boys will be boys" but then end up spending far more on back-end justice measures when it would be far more effective to get in on the front end.

Instead of abolishing prostitution, why don't we instead focus on abolishing stigma, discrimination and misogyny?  Is that not a sexy enough goal to strive for?

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