PODCAST: Do Our Beliefs Affect Sex Trafficking?

by | May 20, 2021 | Pornography, Sex, Uncategorized | 24 comments

Podcast: How do Our Beliefs Affect Sex Trafficking
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What if the things that we believe are similar to the way sex traffickers justify their actions?

Today on the podcast we’re going to travel across the world with Meghan Tschanz, author of Women Rising, and see what she discovered in the brothels in east Asia as she tried to help the women there. Then we’ll go closer to home and look at a new study that shows how our beliefs about God can affect our beliefs about abuse.

I had a wonderful conversation with Meghan, so listen in!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:


Timeline of the Podcast

0:40 Meghan Tschanz joins us and tells some of her story
3:45 How Christian views were repeated by men buying women
18:00 Does society see women as inherently less than?
20:10 Maybe it’s NOT individual sin
31:00 How the church and predators view women the same way
37:00 What does the research say? + False teaching of the week
42:45 RQ: My wife and I don’t fit typical gender roles
47:15 Encouragement!

Main Segment: Women Rising–How One Woman Found Her Voice

Meghan Tschanz spent several years on the mission field, specifically with sex trafficking, first as a year-long course and then leading short-term teams.

The more she talked to the women being trafficked, and the more she talked to the men buying these girls for sex, the more she realized that the rationale for so much of it was similar to what she had been taught about gender roles growing up in her evangelical churches.

She talks in her book (which I read last week–it’s amazing!) that one man from the U.S. said that he preferred Filippino women because they knew how to respect their men, unlike American women who did not. He felt that, because he was the man, he was owed respect. Yet he did not feel the need to respect these women at all.

Meghan realized that you can’t stop the sex trafficking crisis by dealing with the supply, because there will always be desperate people. You have to deal with the demand by dealing with the underlying beliefs that think it’s okay to treat other human beings that way. And unfortunately, many of those beliefs are also in our churches. So across the world, Meghan found her voice.

It’s a moving book, and I highly recommend it!

New Research: What beliefs are highly associated with domestic violence myths?

A “new to us” study (it’s actually three years old now) surveyed several hundred students at Bethel Seminary, and found that those who believed some typical Calvinist doctrines are more likely to believe myths that we know are associated with higher levels of domestic violence, or with covering up domestic violence or telling victims to remain in violent marriages. Here’s part of their findings:

The researchers found that Calvinist beliefs were positively associated with domestic violence myth acceptance. In other words, seminary students who agreed with statements like “Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only” and “God eternally perseveres in His faithfulness with those whom He has chosen” were more likely to also agree with statements like “A lot of domestic violence occurs because women keep on arguing about things with their partners” and “Many women have an unconscious wish to be dominated by their partners.”

Calvinist beliefs were also positively associated with endorsements of social hierarchy, and negatively related to social justice advocacy — such as speaking out for equality for women. In addition, Calvinist beliefs were linked to higher levels of existential defensiveness, or a belief that God would protect them more than other people.

Eric W. Dolan

Particular Christian beliefs linked to rationalizations of domestic violence against women

This doesn’t mean that all Calvinists abuse! We’re attending an online small Presbyterian church right now where the beliefs tend Calvinist, so that’s not what we’re saying. But it’s important to see how our beliefs can be used to justify bad things, and be aware of how our beliefs are easily twisted, because abusers tend to flock to communities that justify what they do.

John Piper wrote an article a while ago on how complementarianism protects women while the belief that men and women are equal leaves women vulnerable. Again, he did this with absolutely no research, simply his theological beliefs. When you look at it in the real world, you find that he’s absolutely wrong. Abuse is more likely to flourish in communities with strict gender hierarchies. Again, I’d point everyone to my article on how research is important when we talk about these things.

Reader Question: We don’t fit traditional gender roles, and we feel left out of our church

A man wrote in with this question:

My question is about “traditional marriage roles” (i.e. women stay home, raise children, cook, clean, etc. while the man is the primary breadwinner). It seems like the churches we’ve attended have failed to come to terms with the fact that society has changed and that many families now require both spouses to work which means that the household tasks need to be shared by both spouses. For me personally this has been a huge struggle, not the tasks themselves, but basically having to silence all the “teachings” in my head about what a “Godly home looks like” with the wife “making the home” and “greeting the husband with a clean house and dinner waiting, and the best behaved children on the planet.”

Our household is definitely not traditional. Both my wife and I work, and we both raise our two children together (my wife handles the brunt of the logistics and coordination), and the household work is split about 70/30 with me handling the brunt of that.

It’s lonely! In church we were always the odd ones out cause very few others could relate to us. None of the other husbands talked about doing dishes or cooking dinner 5-6 nights a week. The women didn’t know how to interact with my wife cause she isn’t the stereotypical “Godly wife.” We are currently not attending a church.

Are there any resources of encouragement out there? We just need encouragement—the husbands who cook and clean, and the wives who work out-of-the-home jobs. Or are we “in sin” because we don’t adhere to the “traditional roles of marriage.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on that one!

Then we read the Twitter thread that started off Monday’s post on research and Christian advice, and had some more encouragement from someone for whom the blog and podcast had changed her marriage.


Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

Do Our Beliefs Affect Sex Trafficking?

What do you think? Do you have any thoughts for the man who feels spiritually homeless? And have you seen any of the phenomenon that Meghan points out? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Emmy

    Such an interesting article/podcast again!
    As for the reader question, one resource that immediately occurred to me is the old classic What is a Family, by Edith Schaeffer. The book is, well, almost ancient but by no means outdated. It is probably out of print but I’d try to find it in libraries or second hand.
    In my opinion, the so called traditional gender roles are most of all, American Traditional Gender roles. In Europe, things have been different for decades, maybe even for centuries.

  2. Em

    To the spiritually homeless father…your family might be the only example of “non traditional” that the teenagers in the church have. If you otherwise like the church, I would encourage you to keep going and vocalize when you can about splitting housework, etc. The most contact you might ever have with the teens is them overhearing your conversations (or the conversations of other adults who talk about you!). I can just about guarantee your family will be remembered if you’re the odd one out.

    • Laura

      I disagree with one thing… I think gender roles (not gender identified jobs) are a gospel issue. It’s because of gender roles that women are left on the sidelines. (Gender identified jobs are a social construct and not a gospel issue, you’re right about that.)
      We just left a church because I offered to teach the youth group. The pastor didn’t even consider my offer to teach, but took the material and handed it to someone else. When asked why, his answers (that he thought were good and valid) were underlying misogynistic.
      After many heated text exchanges, my husband had to step in and be an ally for me. He stated that I didn’t need help, but the pastor did. (I love my hubby!) Anyway, the whole thing went very badly and we are leaving yet another church having been spirituality abused (this is the 3-4th time).
      I have told my husband that continuing to attend church is like an abused woman going back to her abusive boyfriend repeatedly. Until church can demonstrate that it is a safe place, I feel strongly that I will not attend. I refuse to continue to put myself in a place where I will repeatedly be dismissed and abused.
      Hear me Church- I’m tired. I’m done. You continue to abuse women. This is not the way of Jesus.

      • Other Em

        Actually, gender based career trends are not a social construct. In fact, the most egalitarian societies that offer the most choice to young people show the biggest split in career choices, with a majority of women choosing “people” jobs, and a majority of men choosing “thing” jobs. Of course, differences among women are greater than differences between average men and average women, but that doesn’t change the fact that the bulk of girls in Sweden, for example, choose jobs that the bulk of men don’t. This fact doesn’t detract from the fact that women can be wonderful pastors and teachers, and should be! It’s just that the “construct” argument is often ideologically based and ironically science-free.
        I’m sorry you experienced this! It must be so painful.

  3. Bethany#2

    So it seems like the “unconditional respect” and the porn culture have come together in making an exceptional growing place for sexual abuses. I guess that means these should be our focus with our children. And a proper understanding of respect, though I never understood that word. My older sister liked to try and command unconditional respect from us younger kids. Didn’t work out for her!

  4. Kay

    Piper is most assuredly to be **avoided** when it comes to marriage advice, since he teaches that women ought to endure being “smacked around for a night.” I wish I were joking.
    Overall I find Calvinism to be an atheist-making machine because the God they teach is the ultimate abuser. It’s no wonder they can’t spot abuse in their own ranks. (Forgive me, I have nothing kind to say about any faith tradition that starts with the premise that you are a worthless worm who deserves Hell by default. How could that not lead to thinking you deserve to be abused?)

    • Anonymous

      Agree. It’s been really sad for me to see how those teachings (worm theology and firm hierarchy) affect parent/ child relationships, self esteem, and spousal relationships, among other things. My circle is small and my observations are personal; I do not mean to cast aspersions on anyone who holds to those beliefs, it’s just that I can trace issues back to those teachings.

      • Amber

        I agree also. I’m not a fan of Piper, Calvin or their legalistic teachings. Christ was loving first and foremost and rooted the laws in our life for Him and e/o.
        As for the readers question- my husband and I can relate. But I certainly don’t think they are sinning by her working outside of the home. The Bible is full of examples of women who worked in various capacities. furthermore, the Great commission and the gifts of the spirit were given to all believers, not just men so working outside of the home gives a woman a chance to use her gifts for Christ’s glory. And I personally love it when my husband does dishes and cooks 😉

    • Leah

      YES!!!!! I couldn’t agree more!

  5. Boone

    Human trafficking is not limited to other countries or big cities. There was a case in the next county. A man was roping in teenaged girls that lived there. These girls lived at home and went to the local high school. He talk them into having sex with his friends and film them. He then threatened to post the film on the internet along with their contact information if they gave him any trouble. He used them to work the conventions coming in to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as well and any individual trade they could pick up. One of the girls got beaten up badly and told her parents what was happening. It wasn’t long before he was arrested, Two weeks after he made bind he disappeared. His car and all of his stuff was still at his apt. He was just gone. Nobody knows what happened to him. My thoughts on the matter are that the mountains are old and hold their secrets well.

  6. Kya

    My husband and I have similarly odd gender roles to the question. He cooks EVERYTHING. All meals. He packs the picnic lunch when we go out for the day. He handles grocery shopping. All of it. I do most of the cleaning, but that has everything to do with the fact that I’m the neat freak in the relationship and nothing to do with me being the woman. Childcare is split 50/50, but he is a better parent than I am. He’s just so awesome with little kids.
    I have experienced exactly what this man is talking about. We are unique among almost all the Christian couples we know, and it makes it hard to relate. I don’t have any resources to recommend, but here is sort of how we deal with it:
    We attend a rather conservative church, and we actively seek out friends there. And most/all of them don’t have or understand our household dynamic, but that’s okay. We invite them over for supper anyway, and my husband cooks them a meal that knocks their socks off. I think it’s good for people living traditional gender roles to see a healthy marriage that doesn’t exactly adhere to that, and it has actually started conversations like, “Wait, you mean that when you get sick, your husband makes you stay in bed and handles the kid ALL DAY? That really happens?” It’s sad, but some people have no idea a marriage can look like that, with a husband who also serves his wife, and we like to show them it can.
    Also, our very best friends are a Baptist pastor and his wife who live the same gender roles we do. Even though we live 3 states apart now, we stay in touch and visit once or twice a year. So when you do find those couple friends who just GET you, put the work in and cling to them. They can be a lifeline, even from a distance.

    • Lisa Manske

      Such an important podcast! Every time I think you’ve covered all the angles of the dangerous teachings, you uncover more. Thank you for continuing the research and discussion. We can make a difference, each in our way.

  7. Lindsey

    “I’m the one who keeps getting pregnant”…is there an announcement coming? 😉

  8. Andrea

    Would Shaunti Feldhahn’s brain explode if she knew that even secular guys have that fruit of the spirit that is self-control? I dated one for a year in grad. school, I told him I didn’t want to have sex, we just kissed, and he never pushed me even once, even though he did have sex in his previous relationship. Also, none of my close secular female friends slept with their husbands on the first date even though they did eventually sleep with them before marriage. This means their secular boyfriends controlled themselves in the beginning of the relationship. The last of my close secular friends to get married told me she went home with her now husband on their first date cause they were having such a good time and eventually all the restaurants and bars closed, but they didn’t have sex because she wasn’t ready, she wanted to get to know him better. So they slept in the same bed, spent most of the night talking, and didn’t have sex. Evangelicals have no idea how rapey they sound to the outside world.

  9. Nathan

    Our beliefs probably do affect sex trafficking , but the idea that most aligns with sex trafficking seems to be “women were created to serve men”, not necessarily “the wife must always respect her husband”.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I think they all go together. The idea that woman is “less than” and is created to help her man and support her man, for instance, is also widely taught (which is an incorrect interpretation of ezer kenegdo in Genesis).

  10. KG

    Am I the only one who reads these blog posts & wonders where these people are going to church?? I’ve been raised in a Christian home my entire life (my dad was a pastor beginning my sophomore year of high school, & my mother was a Christian marriage/family therapist), & I’ve never experienced (in my church) the teachings you talk about… ever!! Funny thing is, I am a stay-at-home-wife/mom & my husband has ALWAYS helped around the home & NEVER once made me feel like it was MY job. I will say, he was raised in a home where his sisters had to do all of the housework & he & his brother got out of doing any of it! But, he has never subscribed to that way of thinking in our marriage! My mom was a stay-at-home-mom when I was little & my 4 brothers & I were ALL expected to help out around the house, learn how to cook, as well as helping on our family farm (my dad’s career prior to becoming a pastor, my mom also helped on the farm & dad helped out in the house). Most of these blogs about “Christian” teachings just baffle me!?! Makes me sad, really.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s amazing! I’m so glad. You likely go to a healthier denomination, then. This is actually really a helpful comment, because I keep telling people in our podcast, if you’re losing hope for the church becasue this is all you see, please know there are healthy churches and healthy denominations out there. You just have to find them.

      • Em

        Charismatic churches do better in this area! Lots of cooperation between men and women, from pulpit to pew.

  11. Estelle

    The whole ‘patriarchy protects women’ thing is to disguise the foxes guarding the henhouse.

    • Lea

      Right, patriarchy protects women from whom? Men?
      So…obviously it’s a problem they don’t see the flaws in this system!


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