Great recent PPH recent article titled “Women learn to avoid rape.”

Clearly, with domestic violence and sexual assault, women and girls have a lot to be concerned about. Thank you for calling the public’s attention to the ever present rape culture we face.

However, alongside every article like this, should be an article titled “Men learn not to rape.” The first step in defending ourselves against rape is: men stop themselves from raping. Right?

Given the previous straightforward and true statement, I fight the impulse to soften it, make nice, avoid offense, even apologize, as many, many women do. Why? It’s our learned-at-birth, proactive defense against violence. By the time a girl becomes a women, she has, sadly, been steeped in violence- and rape-avoidance strategies. But as we all know, that’s not enough.

We are, of course, empowered by rape-defense training. But, this heavy and terrifying burden to avoid rape is carried solely by (for the most part) women and girls. And, this shifts the responsibility for rape AWAY from the rapist.

Examining our optics around violence against women and girls can start in our local newspapers. Thank you in advance for articles examining why we need men to learn not to rape.

Pamela Cragin

South Portland