Course Teaches Men to Avoid Sex-Trade Trap

Innovative program in Washington state aims to break stereotypes, the patriarchy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2017 3:48 PM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2017 4:40 PM CST

(Newser) – Ask a guy why he commissions a prostitute and he may come up with a variety of answers, or even a shrug and an "I'm not sure." But in King County, Wash., men who’ve been busted trying to pay for sex—many with girls they believed to be underage—are being forced to mull their motivations in an eight-week rehabilitation course teaching about "gender socialization and victim-blaming and toxic masculinity." Brooke Jarvis got permission to check out this unique type of rehab for her GQ investigation, which uncovers some unexpected insights. The program was started by Peter Qualliotine, who's long been involved in working with both men and women involved in the sex trade, and who didn't think other "john schools" for guys who'd been caught were particularly effective.

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"Patriarchy hurts you, too," he tells his students. "You deserve a healthy relationship that makes you happy." Qualliotine's program aims to keep men from becoming ensnared in the prostitution cycle, using stereotype-breaking exercises, role-playing, and explainers on how seemingly innocuous things like catcalls and rape jokes can be harmful, among other techniques. What Qualliotine found upon observing the men who end up in his class is that they are, in general, "more clueless than abusive or predatory." What money-driven sex comes down to, in his view: "men not having the social and emotional learning to deal with our s--t." One guy liked the class so much he took it three more times on his own. Read more about this fascinating program at GQ. (Would the class work on this defiant 90-year-old?)

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