Are brothels a solution for the #MeToo movement?

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Over the last few years, globally, we have experienced the powerful #MeToo movement, one where many women (including those of celebrity status) have joined the “coming out” bandwagon and admitted to being victims of sexual harassment/sexual abuse. Some of these women have also given a name to their perpetrators, notably Harvey Weinstein. Not only has this created reasons for many criminal cases, but it has also opened the floodgates for commentary and debates on topics surrounding the issue. One theme has been the suggestion that, rather than participating in unwanted sexual behaviour, perpetrators should visit brothels instead. This suggestion really got me fired up and I wanted to add my two cents on the matter as well.

Many people offering this argument haven’t visited legal brothels themselves. This is not surprising; it is a service that not everyone requires. So what precisely is the service? Well, the exact answer differs for everybody, but the general answer is rather simple. There is a sexual component to the service and there is a companionable component as well. How exactly each of those components look depends on the client and the lady. However, the reasons that perpetrators enforce sexual abuse on someone else have been shown over and over to be nothing about sexual urges or about companionship.

A great many studies have been conducted on this very question over the years. Sexual harassment and abuse happen because he/she is seeking power and control in their lives, and express it this way. Some people are insecure and afraid of being rejected. Stress, frustration and mental illness are culprits too. It’s certainly a complex issue, but it’s also illegal. Nobody deserves to be sexually harassed or abused. It’s a tragic experience in their lives that affect victims in many ways, for years. Clearly, this behaviour is something that as a society, we are looking to eradicate, rather than re-direct elsewhere.

Do I support the idea that they visit brothels with their deviant behaviour? If these people truly plan to sexually abuse our girls, absolutely not! Our girls are service providers too, just like hair dressers and medical specialists. None deserve to be sexually abused or harassed, and this is in fact a legal issue that gets referred to police as soon as we are made aware of it. Of course, if the customer was planning to create a role-play that the girl is willingly a part of and feels completely safe in, then that’s between the two of them. However, I don’t believe that the perpetrators of sexual harassment are looking to role-play. Why? Because they don’t engage in this appalling behaviour to be a little bit “deviant” to satisfy their sexual urges. Clearly their plan is to hurt their victim and the reasons are among those I listed earlier. Therefore, it is absolutely unwelcome at our, or any, brothel. Sexual harassment and abuse are the same, regardless of the victim. It is just as illegal at any workplace as it is at any brothel.

Sexual harassment and abuse may take the form of sex, but neither has anything to do with healthy sexual expression or companionship. The first is illegal and absolutely loathsome, the latter a service we joyfully provide. Suggesting that perpetrators “take out” their behaviour in our happy place is absolutely odious to us, and now I hope many more people can understand why. This behaviour is simply not acceptable anywhere in our society.