International Women’s Day Men-led Pledge Campaign

Across the Country, UN Women have organised fantastic lunches, dinners and functions we hope you can be a part of.

These annual functions are a great reminder of how far we have come in relation to the fight for women’s rights. But there is still plenty of work to do. This International Women’s Day, Fighting for Justice Foundation is calling for men to take a stand against the exploitation of women and girls in the sex industry by participating in our “Prostitution, I don’t buy it” men-led campaign.

 

The harsh reality is that nearly all buyers of sex are men. And unfortunately, the demand for prostituted persons leads to a demand for trafficked persons. We are calling for men to champion a change in the social norm that says it is okay to buy and sell people.

Fighting for Justice Foundation wants to empower men to make positive and healthy choices. We honour the men who are part of this campaign because they have decided not to look back, but to look forward to a future where the commodification of flesh no longer exists.

As an international human rights advocate, the Founding Director of Fighting for Justice Foundation and a PhD researcher on gender-based violence, I strongly believe that we cannot curb the prevalence of gender-based violence without addressing the exploitation of women and girls through the legalised renting of their bodies.

The link between the legalisation of prostitution and the demand for trafficked and vulnerable persons has been recognised in over 7 countries. They recognise that the exchange of money for sex is violence against women on a human rights and gender equality platform, with the implementation of a model that criminalises demand – referred to as the Nordic Model.

The truth is, we will never address gender-based violence in our community if we continue to allow women and girls to be bought and sold in our communities.

Rachel Moran is a survivor of the trade-off between prostitution and poverty. She refers to this modern-day phenomena as the ‘paid abuse of women’. Rachel sees the legalisation of prostitution as legitimising ‘the sexual subordination of women in society, making both the immediate goal of women’s liberation and the end goal of gender equality twin impossibilities.’ (Norma & Tankard-Reist, 2016)

International human rights law also recognises forced prostitution as violence against women, noting that legislation should take all measures to suppress all forms of exploitation of prostitution of women.

In Article 2 of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, ‘violence against women’ is understood to include the trafficking in women and forced prostitution. Article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women states: “Governments shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women”.

Rachel Moran puts it in these terms: ‘If sex is just a service, then rape is just theft’, noting that she feels that ‘there has perhaps never been an ideological framework in history that so thoroughly condones and emboldens the practice of oppression by the oppressed’.

So, how many Aussie blokes have ever paid for sex? Surprisingly, nearly one in six men have paid for sex in their lifetime.

Men who pay for sex are average blokes: professionals, full-time workers and managers – those with significant others, and those in long-term committed relationships.

Evidence to suggests that men who buy sex from women often recognise that the women themselves do not want to be there, and their own choices and behaviours in becoming ‘Johns’ troubles them. (Flood,2009)  

The great news is, that we can all be a part of curbing the demand for the commodity of flesh!

Fighting for Justice Foundation is calling for men and boys to take a stand against prostitution today – International Women’s Day 2017.

We want to see change, right here in Australia. We demand that State and Territory jurisdictions change the laws that make exploitation and slavery a possibility in our nation.

Your voice in this petition can make that change.

From Doctors and Lawyers, Accountants and Educators, Radio Announcers and Law Professors, Electrical Apprentices and Surveyors, Government workers and Astrophysicists – men from around Australia have joined Fighting for Justice Foundation in our campaign standing for the rights of women not to be exploited or bought.

They have taken this Pledge and Oath:

The Pledge

“As a man, I pledge to celebrate and respect all women in my life. Respect for women is incompatible with buying sex from them. I reject the idea that a person can be sold, traded or bought for my personal sexual gratification. I believe that it is impossible to respect a person I have paid for. Buying sex is buying people. People cannot be owned.

I pledge to promote the empowerment of women and choose to support and extend full dignity to all persons. I pledge my support for the introduction of the Nordic Model in Australia – which acknowledges on a gender equality and human rights platform that the exchange of money for sex is violence against women.”

The Oath

I pledge to speak out against purchasing sex from women or any other person and pledge not to participate in any aspect of the sex trade, including the use of pornography. This is my Oath.

The Men Led Pledge is live today!

We look forward to a bigger campaign next year, giving a voice to those who are exploited, their rights ignored, and their equality unrealised!

Take the Pledge and sign the petition here.


 Fighting for Justice Foundation’s focus is the dignity and equality of women and children and the empowerment of men to make healthy choices.

We recognise that there is a bigger picture and that women are not the only minority suffering from exploitation.

Sources:

Norma & Tankard-Reist. (2016). Prostitution Narratives, Stories of Survivors in the Sex Industry. p.27. Spinifex Press
Flood, M. (2009). Men’s roles in sexual exploitation and its prevention. Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 March – 3 April

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