National speaker speaks on rape culture and how to end it

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Keith Edwards, a national speaker on sexual assault, delivered a speech Tuesday night on rape culture and how to end it on college campuses.

Edwards motivated men and women to be active in ending rape culture on campus, offering strategies to change the culture around rape.

The presentation aimed to empower college students to see the messages around them that nurture a rape culture on campus and in society. It challenges them to confront and intervene, as acknowledging rape culture is crucial in the plan.

“Sexual violence is a reality on campus,” Edwards said. Noticing the roots of sexual violence can help us do something about it every day. As a result, you can connect well with others, and be a friend to the community.

“No one has more power to change the culture than students,” Edwards said.

Edwards said the main cause of rape culture is miseducation. Every day of our lives, we are fed information by the media, society and the people around us that objectifies women and defines masculinity in terms of sexual conquest, Edwards said.

“We are all very miseducated,” Edwards said.

Because of this, rape culture is not just a women’s issue. It is also a men’s issue. A large portion of the speech was directed at the perpetrator of sexual violence, rather than the victim of sexual violence.

“[Edwards] talked about how this was just as much a men’s issue as women’s,” Trenton Colburn, graduate student in human ecology, said. “He went beyond how the perpetrators are misinformed.”

Alayna Colburn, graduate student in sociology, said she agreed.

“Sexual violence is normally discussed as a women’s issue,” she said. “I think it’s important that we talk about the perpetrator as well.”

Linda Teener, executive director at UFM Community Learning Center, sponsored the presentation.

“Rape culture on campus is exceedingly relevant,” Teener said. “It is important for both men and women to work together to prevent.”

Solving rape culture and sexual violence is far from easy, Emily Polston, senior in gender, women and sexuality studies and the lecture series coordinator, said.

“It is an intersectional issue,” Polston said. “We can’t look at one problem and solve it. We have to look at all experiences and walks of life.”

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