Essay on News Article: Breaking the Silence on Prostitution and Rape Culture

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Middlebury College
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Source: Molisa, P. (2014). Breaking the silence on prostitution and rape culture. E-Tangata - A Maori and Pasifika Sunday magazine.

Ethical Decision Making

The Issue: Decriminalization of prostitution knowingly it is immoral activity

This article represents the reasons why prostitution has lead to many rape cases and how this violent behavior can be mitigated. The power that men are given over their partners make these predators take advantage of raping women since they know they cannot be taken to court or no legal action can be taken. The reasons why it is important to legalize prostitution is because the activity is accompanied by ugly scenes characterized by abuse, exploitation, and violence.

Stakeholders have been identified as; the government of various states that needs to mitigate the rape cases that are brought about by uncontrolled commercial sex activities.


When analyzing the situation, two options have been identified:

Legalize the whole commercial sex industry in the entire country

Decriminalize the activities in some parts of the main cities where the police can easily monitor the situation

Argument 1


Prostitution in itself accompanies various crimes such as human tracking and violence- the major one being rape cases. Many prostitution across the world, report to the police officers cases of where they have been abused especially through rape. According to Molisa (2015), prostitution is the major institution that fuels up male supremacy as well as strengths rape culture. But many people do not agree with this statement, and most of the dissent comes from individuals and women in the sex industry who have been voiceless and stigmatized. In New Zealand, a law passed that decriminalizes prostitution by trying it just like any other job or profession. The 2003 Act, and brought positive changes and progress compared to the earlier regime, when these persons were criminalized, denied fundamental employment rights, subjected to regular police harassment, and access to the justice system. Decriminalization of sexual activities has given these workers access to employment benefits and rights entitled to other employees.

Counter arguments

Although the rape cases are reduced after the government had legalized the commercial sex activities, there are many problems which would arise as a result. The government would not be able to take full advantage of these professions as there are criteria to be used to benefit the society in general. Also, this is the moral standard of many people in the society. For example, most of the religious institutions believe that sexual activities should be activities that should occur only between the married couple hence this would lead to further conflicts among the many bodies of the society including the family.


The legalization of the activity in New Zealand has reduced the rape and cases by a large margin and this why it is important to listen to the prostitutes who want such legislation to be passed. This will bring changes by recognizing their humanity and dignity. Another case which shows some positive impact of legalizing prostitution is when the Rhode Island accidentally decriminalized indoor prostitution for some years, reported rapes among the prostitutes decreased by 31% as well as cases of gonorrhea (Bass, 2017). The graph below compared the number of reported rape cases in Rhode Island with other states before and after the legalization of prostitution.

Figure 1: showing rape cases are affected by decriminalization of prostitution

Argument 2


In a similar study conducted in Netherlands, when prostitution was legalized in cities by opening tippelzor or sections where prostitutes were allowed to work legally, sexual abuse and rape cases reduced by about 30 to 40% around the areas where the activity was allowed. In cities where licenses were given to the prostitutes to work in these tippelzones, sexual abuses and rapes plummeted by 40%, but the decreases in sexual violence were slightly lower in areas that did not implement the process of licensing the sex workers (Bass, 2017). The women were spared after the selected zones were opened hence legalization of prostitution leads to a reduction in sexual violence among women. When prostitution activities are decriminalized and regulated in selected zones, sexual predators are not likely to strike women at random. This is because police officers monitor these areas more than any other parts of the city making the clients to pay for the services and retain their violent behaviors.


Even after the decriminalization of the activity, other associated acts such as pimping, streetwalking, and trafficking should remain illegal. This is because human trafficking would enroll even the young girls who are not interested in this profession. Also, the pimps will engage in trafficking as they want their business to by having the more clients of different varieties. In case, streetwalking is allowed, police officers would not be able to monitor the activity more efficiently (Ehrenfreund, 2014). When the prostitutes can comply with the set laws, in case of abuse the judge will be able to rule in their favor. Decriminalization of prostitution will also improve the working conditions for the workers. In the event of danger or problem with a client, they are in a position to threaten to call the legal team and get the required assistance. This will not only reduce the risk of physical abuse and violence but could allow prostitutes to demand their customers to use protection or condom.


Bass, A. (2017). Legal prostitution zones reduce incidents of rape and sexual abuse. HuffPost. Retrieved from

Ehrenfreund, M. (2014). When Rhode Island accidentally legalized prostitution, rape decreased sharply. Washington Post. Retrieved from

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