CBS Atlanta News Exclusive: The culture of rape - CBS46 News


CBS Atlanta News Exclusive: The culture of rape

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Many people have been seeing more rape and sexual assault cases making national headlines this year.

Most recently, four Morehouse College athletes were arrested, accused in two separate rapes.

Now some are calling for men to be a part of the solution.

Steubenville, OH, was a small town in eastern Ohio that most Americans had never heard of until a high-profile rape case brought national attention to a star high school football team.

In March, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were found guilty of raping a girl, 16, on August 11, 2012.

Adding to the victim's humiliation, naked pictures were taken and students took to Twitter to joke about her looking like a "dead body" during the attack and saying "some people deserve to be peed on."

But why was the victim being blamed, instead of her rapists?

Some experts think, maybe because they don't want to believe this actually happens.

They said we are more likely to believe the case about a stranger attacking versus our neighbor, pastor or the school coach.

Jennifer Bivins, president and CEO of the Georgia Network To End Sexual Assault, says the tendency to blame the victims of sexual assaults is sadly familiar.

"Unfortunately, we see that a lot," said Bivins.

Whether we like it or not, more rapes are committed by acquaintances than a stranger in the bushes.

"Statistically, 80 to 85 percent of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows," said Bivins.

Is there a solution to end these acquaintance assaults and the stigma that follows the victims around for the rest of their lives?

Bivins believes rather than telling women not to wear short skirts or drink too much, we should be talking to the men.

"We need to be addressing the perpetrators, the rapists, not the victims," said Bivins.

One organization in metro Atlanta aims to do just that.

Lee Giordano is the training coordinator for Men Stopping Violence in Decatur.

"Men are committing most of the violence, men are learning that violence works through their relationships with other men and so it makes sense to work with men," said Giordano.

The organization seeks to change the way men think about women.

One way they do that is through their "Because We Have Daughters" campaign.

"A man's relationship with his daughter is motivating," said Giordano.

The program brings fathers and daughters together for about four hours on weekends.

"They're able to share from each other, learn from each other. And our hope is that through that sharing, through that learning, fathers begin to understand better what their daughters are going through," said Giordano.

Stacey Dougan, board chairman for Men Stopping Violence at Spellman College, believes that having men as allies in the fight against sexual violence is vital.

"Men as our allies play a really big role in this work," said Dougan. "It's a resource that we can't do without. It's a very powerful resource."

Another powerful resource in the fight against sexual violence is education.

One student who witnessed the rape in Steubenville said he didn't even realize what he saw was rape.

That's all too common among young men today.

"There have been a lot of conversations in schools and experts working with boys who say 'Do you know what rape is?' And they don't. They will look at something - like what happened in Steubenville - and to them it is not at all clear that was a rape," said Dougan.

If you'd like to learn more about the Georgia Network To End Sexual Assault, Click here.

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