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STUDY: Men who pay for sex are more likely to rape and abuse

Study finds men who use prostitutes have less empathy for women and were more likely to rape and commit other sexual offenses.

By Jessica Vander Leahy
In news that will likely surprise no one a recent study has found men who pay for sex and use prostitutes are more likely to share characteristics with sexually violent men.
The study, published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, screened 1200 men in the Boston area and compared demographics to profile 101 men who buy sex and 101 men who didn’t buy sex and found that found that men who engage in paid sexual exchanges have less empathy for women and were more likely to rape and commit other sexual offenses.
UCLA professor Neil Malamuth, who co-authored the study, said that of men who use prostitutes and men who commit sexual violence both groups “tend to have a preference for impersonal sex, a fear of rejection by women, a history of having committed sexually aggressive acts and a hostile masculine self-identification.”
“Those who buy sex, on average, have less empathy for women in prostitution and view them as intrinsically different from other women,” said Malamuth.
One man who told researchers he bought sex he thought of the transaction like buying a cup of coffee: “When you’re done, you throw it out.”
Another man who admitted to paying for sex said of his paid encounters: "It's like she's not really there."
The study’s lead author is Melissa Farley, who is the director of Prostitution Research & Education, a San Francisco-based non-profit that studies prostitution and sex trafficking and is dedicated to abolishing the prostitution altogether.
"We hope this research will lead to a rejection of the myth that sex buyers are simply sexually frustrated nice guys," said Farley in a statement.
Farley conceded that had the study found no correlation between men who buy sex and men who commit sexual violence it might have given credibility to those who advocate legalising and regulating prostitution.
"However, given the significant levels of sexually aggressive attitudes and behavior found in sex buyers, a more progressive legal policy would be like that seen in Sweden and Norway, where prostitution is understood as a predatory crime against economically and ethnically marginalized women," she said.
"The Nordic model arrests sex buyers but decriminalises those in prostitution and provides them with exit services."
While in Australia statistics suggest 16.8 per cent of women have experienced sexual assault since the age of 15 (these are only according to reported cases) sex workers who have fallen prey to sexual assault in the workplace are not seen as victim/survivors, but as parties to crime.
In Australia, sex work is largely decriminalised and legalised but a government report on sex work said that “the safety and rights of individual sex workers has been neglected in favour of controlling an industry perceived as criminal, corrupt and morally questionable.”
According to the report, many laws in Australia require workers to operate alone or in isolated areas and the Self-health for Queensland Workers in the Sex Industry estimated that violence against Queensland (SQWISI) sex workers had increased 300 per cent since the introduction of the Prostitution Laws Amendment Act l992.
The government report notes that the SQWISI felt the current laws "favoured attackers because clients target private workers for the specific purpose of committing offences against them because they know they are alone and unlikely to report the assault".

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