Sunday, November 23, 2014

College rape prevention training should start with men

(Trigger warning:  this post is entirely about rape and rape culture.)

A recent NPR story discussed the challenges colleges are facing in doing rape-prevention training for women.  I'm not writing this to comment on that story; you can find plenty of such commentary online.  No, I'm here to point out that if we really want to stop rape and rid ourselves of rape culture, we must start by training the source of the problem:  men. 

Let's be clear:  rape is a male problem.  The victims of rape are never, repeat never, at fault.  The men who rape them are.  Period. 

Thus, if we want to stop rape, let's train men not to rape. 

Let's train them to understand, really and completely understand, that no means no.  Let's explain over and over again that no consent means no, that drunk or stoned or unconscious people cannot give consent and so you should not have sex with them.  Let's review the criminal penalties.  Let's talk about the damage these acts do, the lifetimes of trauma they leave their victims to handle.  Let's ask them to visualize how they would feel about their mothers or their sisters or their girlfriends--or themselves--being taken sexually against their will.  Let's explain that rape is never funny, that it's never cute, that it's not a good word, that we should never ever ever do it or condone it.

Have all the discussions you want about rape-prevention training for college women, but while you're at it, train every incoming college male that only they can stop rape, that it is their responsibility to behave better and never to descend to this depth. 

Rape is a male problem.  If we want to stop it, we have to stop men from doing it.  Maybe training would help. 


old aggie said...

Just tweeted this @scalzi - hoping he'll RT it & spread your wise ideas. As you said, this is common sense. I thought of my neice who will be in college next year, probably living on campus. She can do her best to avoid risks, but it is not in her power to "prevent" rape - only the guys are in a position to control it. Thank you Mark!

Mark said...

Thanks. We men have to fix this.

Anonymous said...

I know of some men that have been verbally or physically abused, or been falsely reported as abusers,and there are pedophiles who rape boys. It may not be a college problem; I don't know, but boys and men can get abused/raped also. All abuse needs to stop; that done to females and males both.

Mark said...

I completely agree that men are sometimes victims, too. I was a victim of child abuse. I agree that all abuse needs to stop. I just believe that for colleges, training men is the right place to start.

Anonymous said...

agree. I had my college and early 20's times I would like to forget but cannot. It did not help that I was raised to be passive and naive and to be both fearful of "adult" figures, especially men, but also, raised not to question anything I was commanded to do. I am so sorry that you had to endure a rough childhood. Take care


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