Russell talks to us about how toxic masculinity and the patriarchy can create vulnerabilities for boys and men who are victims of human trafficking and sexual trauma. He explains that the view of oneself as a young boy and young man, which is often shaped by societal pressures, can be exploited by traffickers and abusers. Russell believes that exploiters and traffickers count on the societal pressure of toxic masculinity and the patriarchy to get away with their actions. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the greater dynamics between toxic masculinity, the patriarchy, and the harm caused by exploiters and traffickers. Russell encourages survivors to recognize how societal constructs contribute to their experiences and to find support to confront their trauma.
And in my experience, my view of myself as a young boy and a young man really did contribute to how traffickers and abusers were able to exploit that view of myself as a means of taking advantage and exploiting me in a sexual way. Because I was not comfortable, of course, talking about this, because if I talked about it, it made me feel less than a man, less than a young boy. And I really believe that that's what exploiters and traffickers are counting on in order to get away with what they're doing and the harm they're causing.
So, I think it's really important that those of us who have had these experiences understand the greater dynamics between toxic masculinity and the patriarchy, and how exploiters and traffickers utilize that social pressure, that construct, that social construct, and how that creates an opportunity for them to cause harm and exploit young boys and young men.