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EBONY: 5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not to Rape

Trigger warning for discussions of rape and rape culture.

Zerlina Maxwell offers ways to prevent rape without making women responsible for the crimes committed against them

I took part in a recent debate on Fox News’ Sean Hannity Show about whether women should just get guns in order to prevent rape. There I said the following

“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.” 

As a rape survivor, the conversation about how to best combat rape and domestic violence is personal and can be very challenging.  Rape culture is a pervasive part of our society because of social conditioning. Yet we struggle to find ways to avoid patterns of victim blaming and many of us would rather advise women on the precautions they should take to avoid being raped as opposed to starting at the root of the problem: teaching men and boys not to be rapists in the first place.

When I said that “We can prevent rape by telling men not to commit it,” I wasn’t expressing some simplistic, fantastical worldview.  There are organizations like Men Can Stop Rape and Men Stopping Violence that are already doing the work to train men from a young age to understand and challenge rape culture.  Interestingly enough, many who disagreed with my argument chose to send me rape threatsinsults, and dismissive remarks that in many ways proved my point. 

We need a cultural shift NOW. In hopes of getting a conversation started, here are five practical ways by which we can teach men not to rape…

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