The Power of Global Networks - Blog Series

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Do We Change Our "Culture of Sexual Assault"?

Yesterday, the Christian Science Monitor published a telling commentary on Western society's "culture of sexual assault" by Chloe Angyal. A group of male students from the University of Sydney created a "pro-rape" Facebook group. It has since been removed, but the simple act of creating that group speaks volumes about the widespread acceptance of sexual misconduct.

As I started reading this, I immediately thought of the California Bay Area (Richmond) gang-rape case from almost three months ago, in which a group of people simply stood by and watched instead of helping the 15-year-old girl. Angyal connects this incident with the Australian students:
"The ugly reality is that neither Australian nor American culture holds its young men to a high enough standard."
Angyal writes that our society implicitly condones this behavior, from the TV shows we watch to how we seem to quickly forget when rape occurs because it is so prevalent. A study by the Parents Television Council suggests that the incidents of violence against women on TV have increased by 120 percent from 2004 to 2009.

Angyal also cautions that
"...rape is no metaphor, no joke. It’s real, and it happens alarmingly often. We need to demand better of our young men... Their humanity, and women’s lives, depends on it."
The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault's (a grantee partner of New York Women’s Foundation) Project ENVISION conducted research last year on the root causes of sexual assault in the small communities of the Lower East Side, Manhattan; the South Bronx; and Williamsburg, Brooklyn . Project ENVISION is tackling sexual assault on a community scale, and have found that more than 50 percent of those surveyed in each community believe that educating the youth on sexual violence may be the best way to change perceptions of gender inequality.

Do you know of any other women-led organizations working on innovative solutions to this problem?


  1. Please go to to find the study (right side on page).

    Find also "Advertisers Accountability" a list for contact information. Advertisers get bad programming into the airwaves.

    Go to left side of webpage to find "Take Action" to write the networks (full contact info).

    The website is very useful.

    Silence is not an option.

    (MN Director of PTC)