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Stopping rape in a man's world

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Following our stories on unreported rape and sexual assault cases, many have asked us to take a look at what can be done to stop it.

Everyone knows rape is a problem.  An estimated 65 percent of attacks are never even reported, but we found out there is a fairly simple solution to stopping sexual assaults.

If you've seen that video from Steubenville, Ohio, you know it is disgusting and difficult to watch.  The video shows a teenaged boy laughing about the rape of a 16-year-old girl.  Investigators believe she was carried unconscious into a house party where this boy was.  Two high school boys were caught on camera, carrying the girl, and are now charged with her rape.

"It's extremely disturbing," said Dr. Robert McLaughlin, a clinical psychologist at Baylor College of Medicine.

McLaughlin is also a licensed sex offender treatment provider who specializes in treating children who commit rape.

"My belief is that most, all individuals know that rape is monstrous but have a hard time understanding just what rape is," he said.

Unfortunately, many young men have learned to "score" or get lucky by just about any means necessary.

"Certain sub-cultures, particularly males, glorify any sort of sexual opportunity without the capacity of fully recognizing the consequences," McLaughlin said.

He said another issue is sexual assault prevention usually includes telling potential victims not to get into certain situations rather than telling perpetrators not to do the crime.

"Almost every rape prevention effort is telling girls and women what to do to minimize their risk situations," he said.  "I think it's a huge sociological issue and speaks to the primacy of men making laws and establishing a lot of the social customs in the first place."

He said parents must teach their sons what rape is and to respect and value intimacy, women and sexual encounters.

"It's important to be frank with kids," he said.  "It's important to share values with children, not simply do's and don'ts, but why's and understandings, and don't make it a one-time conversation."

He suggests you teach your child to always ask this one question before sex: do you really want to be doing this?

"In fact, that's one of the only ways to ensure you have true consent," he said.

If she doesn't say "yes", that means "no".  McLaughlin said he has heard too many times, "well, she didn't say no."  He said a growing number of youngsters are wrongfully learning what is sexually acceptable from Internet pornography, leading to this behavior where an entire group believes a sexual assault is "just sex".

Surprisingly, McLaughlin said children who rape are often not criminals starting early, but rather kids who have made a horrible choice.  With counseling and treatment, they can go on to lead productive and crime-free lives.

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