Today is Father’s Day. Sure, it is a fairly meaningless event, an event to sell cards.
But on many level, it can be a fun day to speak with a Dad – that is if the Dad is worth having fun with.
I feel honoured and very lucky that my Dad was such a good man.
It could never take away the pain and fear that too many other men put into me. But it could make it clear that was their choice, there was nothing innate in torturing women and girls.
I saw this as I saw males in my family have frustrations, get anger, lose out at work, get rejected and all the other common life events that brought them down.
But they did not rape, did not batter, did not fall into hard-core porn. They did not use their fear and unhappiness as an excuse to treat women and children like shit.
The men that do, do it because they don’t care, think it is their right, think women and children deserve it and want it.
They hurt women and children because no-one seriously stops them or punishes them enough.
For that I would blame the good men who do nothing but watch. I would blame even the relatives, including Dad, who I love deeply.
It is true that if good men do nothing, evil will flourish.
On Father’s Day, my heart aches from missing my Dad.
But my heart aches on a deeper level that the pain of prostitution will continue, as men who do not use prostitutes act as it is not their problem.
By doing nothing, by shutting their eyes and hoping the messiness of prostitution will just disappear – they are giving permission for the sex trade to continue as normal.
By doing nothing, good men are allowing the men who torture, rape and mentally abuse, on too many occasions murder prostituted women and girls – to believe it is fine, for no-one has taken any notice.
Too many good men let images of the sex trade go by without speaking against it.
They may not buy porn or go to porn sites, but they see no harm in other men having that choice. They choose to believe it must be fantasy, that if real that there is not too much harm. They choose to believe no woman would do something like that unless it was her choice.
These men may not go with a prostitute, but they will not dare to judge other men that make that choice.
They choose to not think about that there is hate, violence and degradation as the bedrock of prostitution. Instead, they choose to believe the myth that only mad men are violent to the prostitute.
Or they say that violence is just a game, a role they the prostitute gives her “client”.
Good men turn away from any reality of prostitution. They look into paintings saying the prostitutes is in control, they read novels saying it is just a rite of passage and watch TV seeing the dead prostitute without any background.
Good men may not use prostitutes, but they want her as entertainment, as a choice that other men can have.
Often these good men have a deep concern for human rights. They may be anti-racist, wanting equality for women, think children are misunderstood, certainly are not homophobic.
But, with prostitution they think of the men first, and sometimes remember that the prostitute is a human.
Unfortunately, it is very hard not to believe that their blind spot is that they are turned by the idea of prostitution and porn.
They need it stay as a choice for all men – for who knows given the opportunity they may give it a go.
I loved my Dad – but he had Playboy for many years. He could tell jokes about prostitutes.
I loved him, but I saw the part of the male in him that was stubbornly holding on to his want to be bad.
But, for many men being “bad” is to hate women and children. It is not badness, just indulging in their own power.
I did see my Dad change his attitude – but my trust was never fully there.
I saw my Dad see the pain, confusion and grief that I had.
Although, he never understood the reasons, he did connect it to male violence.
This give him so much guilt, though he was never one of the men that hurt me.
The fact he had guilt meant he saw beyond being turn-on, beyond thinking I was just bad or mentally ill daughter, beyond letting other men off with treating women and children as their playthings.
He saw the damage, and he wanted to help just had no idea how.
But, he did more than he knew by just loving and accepting me even when I made his life hell.
I miss him on Father’s Day.
He was not perfect, but he give me a home and stability.
He was my best friend when I was very lonely.
I want men to just let go of seeing the sex trade just from the male point of view – and feel and know the pain, grief and confusion of the prostituted.
Only then will they be truly good men who have compassion and empathy.
Forget being lead by your dicks – use your brain and your heart.
Be a man.