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We have a serious problem

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“1 in 4 women in college today has been the victim of rape, and nearly 90% of them
knew their rapist.”

The above statistic makes me sick to my stomach. I have a daughter that will be off to college in a few years. But I also have a son. And as much as I pray for her to stay safe and smart, I’m teaching him to not be a rapist.

The statistics and numbers are staggering. Alarming. The case of campus rape and assault has been in the news a lot lately. The president addressed it in a speech. Rutger University students are creating apps to have on mobile phones to keep women safe on campus.

There’s nail polish that changes color in a drink to detect if it’s been rufied.

That’s great. But we have a problem folks.

We’re not changing the culture of our society. As brutal as it sounds, and like describing a middle eastern third world country, we are a rape culture people.

The United States of America is still a rape culture.


Because we still put the responsibility on the woman to keep herself safe. The problem is we aren’t teaching our sons to NOT RAPE.

Now while I really appreciate these apps and I will probably have my daughter download them on her own phone (You can read about the apps here.) But it troubles me when I keep hearing of all these measures for women to protect themselves and I don’t hear how we’re changing our culture and society for men to protect women instead of victimizing them. Girls are responsible to not dress provocatively. They can’t wear short skirts to school or school dances. Heaven forbid a boy would be distracted. Girls need to be responsible to not drink too much at a party. They need to stick together in a group. They need to check in with their friends. Reasonable measures indeed. But how nice it would be if men were gentlemen. Saints even.

We need to change when even fashion can dictate what’s cool for guys.

What about male clothing that promotes rape? Can you believe there are shirts with that message? (I will not offer the link, you can take my word for it) has shirts on their website, mind you, in over 350 colors and font styles, that read,

“It’s not rape. It’s a snuggle with a struggle.” sells shirts that read “I Love Motionless Girls”

People. This is war.

We have to stop this. It’s a huge battle on a steep hill, but can we please instill in our boys to respect women?

I know it’s not fun to teach our kids the birds and the bees. I know the conversations can be awkward.

But we need to be straightforward about sex, boundaries and respect. We need to talk to them about porn and not to download it. Yes. It’s degrading to women. So be up front with your boys. Tell them that is not how people have sex.

Tell them what is not okay when it comes to dating a girl.

Can we show them that the Ray Rice’s of the world and the Kobe Bryants are not heroes. Yeah. Remember Kobe was found not guilty of raping that woman in a hotel room, but I don’t believe it for a second that he’s innocent.

But let’s focus back on the campus situation. Women working together to protect each other is a great thing. Yes. Apps, buddy systems, staying sober; all of it, is important.

These are necessary since according to the Department of Justice, a college campus of 10,000 students could experience as many as 350 rapes per year.

If those numbers are unsettling (I attended the University of Washington, a campus of 50,000 students, that’s a potential 2400 rapes per year.) and make you want to bring your pitch fork to your nearest university, then listen to this:

Every 21 hours there is a rape on a college campus.

43% of college men admit to using coercive behavior to have sex, ignoring the woman’s protest.

1 in 12 college men admit to fulfilling the prevailing definition of rape, but don’t consider themselves rapists.

Only 10% of victims even report the rape.

And this is only the surface folks. There’s more stats where these came from. Shall we grab our torches now?

Do women just run around being all victimy? Or are young men predators? I’m sure most of these sons are good kids in all other areas.  Clearly we aren’t doing enough to keep them from thinking this behavior is okay. That along with teaching them to hold doors open for ladies, we haven’t pointed out it’s not okay to hold them down for a ‘snuggle with a struggle’.

What has to change? Let’s not make it the woman’s job to protect herself.

Is it some good ol’ boys club that encourages this behavior? That ‘bro code’ is more important than the safety of their girlfriends, co-eds and friends?

We need to teach our sons what rape is and not to do it. That there is no ‘gray area’. Where are the good boys? The gentlemen? Where are the young men to intervene in these frat house or dorm room situations? Because what is more important than a can of pepper spray to a woman, is a man setting an example and pulling back the curtain on his friends’ repugnant behavior.

Frugalista Blog tells us we need to teach our boys not to rape

I’m sickened after hearing even some of our senators and state representatives that still think there’s some justifiable reason to rape a woman.

No. There’s not.

What if she’s drunk? Nope. Not then.

What if she’s passed out? Nope. Not then.

What if she’s wearing a short skirt and you’re kissing her? Nope.

What if she came over when your parents weren’t home and you both got naked? Not even then.

I’m telling you moms and dads- it’s time we teach our boys about how to band together and honor women, and not just teach our daughters where to kick a guy in the groin or buy her magic rufie nail polish.

Are you with me?

For more information and sickening statistics-

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  1. Christopher Tipper says:


    Um, you’ve posted a lot of comments that have shocked me and left me speechless. But not like this one. I’m not sure if I can get my thoughts straight.

    With how I think and how we were raised, I’m rather surprised that we have to teach our sons not to rape. I’m sure you’re trying to make a point, but I don’t think that’s really the right idea. Isn’t it more important, and possibly more effective over all, for us to show our sons how to treat women as equals? To not treat them as something weak or less than us?

    I don’t know. My 16 year old daughter keeps asking me if I’ve listened to Emma Thompson’s speech yet. I haven’t. Maybe I need to.

    You can do the math. She’ll be on some distant campus 23 months from now. This is something I worry about. I’ve raised a very strong, very determined young woman. I hope it’s enough. I’ve sent an 18 year old son off to college. I sure as hell never taught him to not rape women. He’s been raised in a family where we treat the women as full equals.

    And we’re not even going to start to discuss why it is that school officials get to decide how a rape accusation is followed up on.

    Okay. I guess I’mg going to start my drinking a little early today. Sigh.


    • My statements are sweeping, yes. It sounds crude and weird to say ‘teaching our sons not to rape’. However, who are all these young men that think what they’re doing is okay? I would never expect my son or your son to even venture a thought in this realm. (I did have a conversation with Austin when he was talking about girls crying rape after regretting what they’ve done. That is a whole can of worms of course.)
      But honestly, the statistics are glaring, young men have a skewed perception of ‘what’s okay’ to do to a girl. Yes, administrators are at the core of the problem too. Lawmakers as well. 40% of college boys have admitted to coercion. So yes, I do believe we need to talk and teach our boys what is not okay.

    • I think what she means by teaching them not to rape is to just raise them properly. These young men who are doing these things, are in one of two situations. They are either not quite right in the head. In which case they need mental help. Or they were not raised in a good loving caring environment where they were taught to treat women as equals and with proper respect. We need to teach our kids by example how to treat each other. They don’t magically learn these things on their own. They model what they see at home. Which means a lot of these young men have seen women treated this way, so they think it’s ok. My son was raised to see his sister who is two years younger than him as an equal. She mows the lawn just like he does. They both clean bathrooms once a week in our house. They both do their own laundry. And they help each other and look out for each other when it’s needed. I would hope that in his future endeavors he treats women the same way he treats his sister. As an equal. She has a very I can do anything he can do mindset. So teaching this to him was easy. However, teaching her how to protect herself when he’s not around, now that is challenging. Because I know all boys are not going to be like her brother. And she does have to be prepared for guys like the ones who wear those tshirts.

      • I appreciate your comment so much Susan, thank you. I think even boys who have been raised to see girls as their equal can do wrong things in the heat of the moment, at a frat house after drinking. I think we just need to have more frank talks with our sons so they have it ingrained from us, and not their surroundings or peers.

        • Agreed, @frugie. There were a bunch of times in college that I was in a situation with a regular, nice guy I knew and liked – not a random hookup – where the guy pressured me over and over to have sex. Every time I said no. And I was never raped. But I had to say no over and over in each of these situations. Over and over and over. Each of those guys I never hooked up with again and I distanced myself from them because I was so mad and embarrassed and disappointed in them. I questioned myself each time – did I lead him on? Should I have just done it and maybe he would have still been nice to me after? One guy even set me up to his friends as the one who seduced him, and I’m pretty sure he told them we had sex. And I was branded with that whole group of people after. I lost all those “friends.” But when it came down to it, I knew I was in the right each time. Just because we were hooking up and messing around didn’t mean I owed those guys anything. Hooking up does not mean you get sex. There are plenty of other fun things to do. No means no. End of story. That’s what nice, regular, everyday young men need to understand.

          • One more thing. I think the idea of treating women as equals is great, and all men should, of course. But I see “no means no” as separate. Related, yes, but separate. It’s crucial that nice guys understand that it’s really difficult in the heat of the moment to listen to a girl’s “no” – but you have to. It’s about decency and respect and treating the young woman you are messing around with as a human being who you don’t want to hurt. Yes, there are scumbag guys who wear rape t-shirts and obviously don’t think of women as equals. That’s not most of our sons. Our sons are the ones who are the nice kids who can find them in situations like I described above and need to learn it’s imperative that they do the right thing.

  2. Yes! Yes we do! I agree whole-heartedly with this. Every. Single. Word. While discussing porn, I think we need to explain (I already have to my kids) that aside from it not being real and objectifying women, etc., the real root of the downloadable porn problem is that it imprints on the brain, and becomes highly addictive…but leaves the viewer wanting more…and worse porn. You can’t recover from that. You can’t unsee things. It changes who you are.

    And I have taught my son not to rape. And I’ve unfortunately had to teach my daughter that all boys will lie to get what they want. That they don’t have to love you, or like you…they can, in fact, hate you and find you disgusting, but will still have sex with you – then call you a whore as a bonus.

    I need a drink, too.

    • Christopher Tipper says:

      Last summer I thought my daughter was old enough for me to finally have the “men are scum and you can’t trust any of them” talk. I think it went well.

      I hope.

      • I have no doubt of Hannah’s ability in this world. But have a frank discussion with Austin and see if he has anything to share from his friends or the college perspective of today. I’m curious.

  3. i knew my rapist. I also believe that because of everything I went through and the things people said to me. It made it harder to leave my abusive husband. I went through a period where I blamed myself for the way he treated me. It took me a long time to work up the courage to leave. I’m still struggling and I still live with a form of PTSD because of all of it.

    You can read my story here

  4. I hate that we have to specifically teach our sons not to be monsters. But you’re right, we do. And we need to teach them to hold their friends accountable, too. If my son ever attends a party where a rape is committed by ANYONE, I’ve failed as a mother.

  5. BRAVO!!! Fantastic post and yet, horrifying stats. My 17 y/o will probably be going to WVU next fall and I am scared to death for her. She’s a smart girl and very strong, but 350/10000 is a truly TERRIFYING statistic. We can teach girls every trick in the book on how to protect themselves, but seriously, does it do ANY good if our sons aren’t taught right from wrong, no means no and a snuggle with a struggle is 1 million percent wrong??

  6. I’m working really hard to raise a gentleman and a lady. My son is relentless when it comes to getting his way. Daily, I say, “Buddy, I said no. When a person says no, they mean it and you walk away.” I hope ingraining this in his head now will help him later. We need to change our culture. I love this well thought out piece. THANK YOU for writing it.

  7. I’m sitting here next to my sweet little three year old boy, and I can’t imagine him ever being violent toward a girl. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Since we all know a guy like this, since some of us have encountered a guy like this, it means they are out there. And they were all someone’s sweet little boy at one time. It starts with us reading this. Thank you for writing it, Frugie.

  8. I am with you. Thank you for writing this.

  9. I am terrified. I am also electrified. I teach my son to be aware of words and actions. I teach him to stop others when they aren’t doing the right thing. To speak up. I will teach my three young daughters they have the RIGHT to always say NO. I will encourage them to speak openly. The excuses and lip service given to rape and assault MUST STOP. I love the campaign right now saying no more to “boys will be boys.” Thank you for writing this and putting it out there! You. Rock.

  10. Not copping out as I totally support your views, but I think peer pressure needs to be added to the mix of causes. Also, it sounds like I am blaming or giving rapists an excuse, but I have to say, alcohol is a huge factor in most of these cases. I honestly don’t have an idea how to deal with that. I come from a family of heavy drinkers and I drank recklessly when I was in college. The Navy gives females a fact sheet on how to avoid sexual offense and one of the items is never take a drink from someone you don’t know. People got in a huff cuz they thought that took the blame off the guy. I am so much older than most of you, but never heard of this going on when I was younger, nor did my spouse when he was in the Navy. But I have personally heard recent stories of it close to home.

  11. Amen, Frugie, amen. Thanks for saying and discussing the hard stuff.

  12. Anony Mouse says:

    Yes, to all of this. I am that statistic–raped on a college campus while a student (freshman) and was acquainted with my rapist. I am now a mother of 2 young boys so the ”do not rape” speech is still down the road. My rape happened 30 years ago–I was appointed a male and a female legal reps, both encouraged me not to press charges. It was at a party in our co-ed dorm, I had been drinking (I was not drunk and there were no witness that said I was), I left with him willingly (we were meeting mutual friends at his apt), i was wearing a short skirt (it was a denim skirt mid-thigh, with opaque tights and a long sleeved high neck shirt; yes, I can picture it like it was yesterday; it was winter and snowed that evening as well. Every detail about ME was scrutinized, frowned upon (literally, tsk tsk), etc. etc. etc. And today, this is still happening.

    Without witnesses it can be a he-said she-said and regrets are real and alcohol dulled memories can differ greatly. So, in addition to your excellent post, let offer up that our sons also need to protect themselves. Why not similar advice to our boys–hang with groups, look out for your friends (boys and girls) and agree not go off alone with a girl/boy especially if one has had too much to drink, speak out against the “conquest” culture and call out their friends who are into such and tell girls that they are partying with, etc. If a boy ends up alone with a drunk girl and has sex with her, even if by all accounts appear consensual, he could find himself in his own dangerous situation afterward.

    Yes, teach our boys not to rape–i am on board. Then take it further and teach them how to protect themselves just like we instruct our girls. Scary times but we need to be speaking loud and clear about changing these statistics for the better!

    • Thank you for sharing your story. I am moved and appalled by all the stories people have shared with me privately since I posted this. Being honest and straight up with our sons and daughters is key. Your story sounds so typical of all the things they tried to blame on you for letting your attack happen. The only person responsible for your attack was your attacker and I’m sorry that your legal counsel didn’t represent you differently.