“How come men buy women?”

We have visited Hvitfeldtska gymnasiet in Gothenburg three times the past week. Along with 90, 18-yearolds we have discussed some of our time’s biggest problems; Human slavery, sex-trade and the growing prostitution in Europe.

At one occasion we discussed a lot about laws, what actually happens when a trafficker cons and forces women and children into prostitution and also how all this effects everyone in Europe. We also brought to light the fact that legislation has a normative and symbolic effect on society. One of the students thought about this, as well as the statement “prostitution prevents rape”, a lot during one of the exercises.

The student said “I actually believe that it raises the amounts of rapes. Partially because the prostitutes can get raped, but also if you buy sex then that means that you have a messed up view on women. I believe that everyone who buys sex has that, even if they don’t think so. Your view on sex changes and thus the risk of raping increases.”

A question that’s probably on a lot of peoples lips but that only a few actually dare to ask was asked during one of our visits; How come men buy women? Why is that something that is desired?

We gave the students the question and asked how they thought about it. Why do they think that so many men buy women? At that point many students discussed a lot about the fact that it could be a question of power and that you feel that you have the right to do so because you are above the other person. Many also brought up the fact that it’s something that you can see in the rest of our society.

The sex-trade is ruled by a structure of power where men benefit on the loss of women. Generally speaking it’s men who possess power and resources. It’s not just in trafficking and prostitution, it’s important to do a gender analysis on our entire society.