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Rape Forum Calls on Men To Change Culture

Whittney Evans
University of Utah students participate in Beta Theta Pi's sexual assault prevention forum.

The University of Utah Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity is partnering with The Rape Recovery Center to move the conversation about sexual assault and rape culture forward. And the fraternity’s sexual assault prevention forum Thursday night got students talking.

Melinda Pettingell is the clinical director of The Rape Recovery Center.  She told the crowd of about 200 students, society must first change the factors that contribute to rape culture if people want to curb sexual assault. That begins she says with men calling out their peers who perpetuate rape culture by cat-calling, telling rape jokes or otherwise minimizing sexual violence.

“We think of it the same way as death and taxes,” Petingell says. “’It’s going to happen’. As opposed to ‘it’s a set of beliefs and values that we actually can change’ and that we have to start really young.”

Derek Deitsch is a senior at the U. He’s responsible for Beta Theta Pi’s philanthropy efforts. Deitsch says the biggest lesson he’s learned in this partnership is that men are responsible for changing the culture.

“This is not something that women should have to do,” Deitch says. “It’s something that men need to be holding each other accountable for.”

According to national statistics one in five women on a college campus will be sexually assaulted while a student. 

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