Palo Alto High School

Student journalists at Palo Alto High School found themselves in the national spotlight when they decided to take an insider’s look at stories of rape within their own school. The article in “Verde,” Palo Alto’s student magazine, tells the story of two students who say they were raped while drunk. We’ll talk with the student journalists about what they call the “rape culture” in high school and beyond, which they say blames and silences victims.


Evelyn Wang, co-editor in chief for Verde Magazine, and California Student Journalist of the Year
Sharon Tseng, co-editor-in-chief of Verde Magazine
Lisie Sabbag, reporter for Verde Magazine
Paul Kandell, journalism teacher at Palo Alto High School and faculty advisor for Verde Magazine

  • loujudson

    I must mention this before even hearing your program:

    Congrats for making the alternative onlne press!


  • Albert

    Let’s face it, it’s not the 99% who are living in Palo Alto for the most part. These rápist kids are the children of the rich. They are embracing rápe culture in imitation of their parents who are already ráping us economically and politically. Daddy brags at the dinner table that he ráped some clients at his Goldman Sachs job or whatever and mommy brags that she scréwed the public at her Homeland Security job or corporate lawyer job, and what is teenager Johnny going to do but imitate them, maybe raping the daughter of an engineer or small businessman or janitor? Monkey see, monkey do.

    • Guest

      albert, unbelievably disgraceful remarks.

      • patti

        Get an education Albert, do your research. Rapists come from all walks of life.

        • thucy

          if rapists come from all walks of life, would it follow that false accusations of rape, also come from all walks of life?

          I don’t know. But one thing we do know based on US Justice Department stats is that the majority of male-on-male rape 1) occurs in the US; 2) it occurs in our prison system; and 3) it is enacted against poor whites and blacks and hispanics. And that’s a FACT that THIS feminist wants to see addressed FIRST. Because these men TRULY have no defense.

      • CriminalsRunTheUSA

        Calling rich people monkeys is both accurate and heroic.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Where are the parents of these males and females? Seems NO one is sitting down and talking about the dangers of alcohol and how it can cloud BOTH male and female thinking, resulting in BAD choices.

  • thucy

    As The New York Review of Books through its reporting managed to get the US Justice Department to FINALLY admit: the US is #1 in one category of rape:
    Male-on-male rape, which occurs in our human-rights-violating prisons,
    This highest incidence of male-on-male rape should not surprise us given that the US is ALSO #1 – literally – in prisons. We ARE the country that imprisons the highest number of its own citizens – even compared to Russia and China. Thanks largely to our inane war on drugs.
    This is the real story of rape in our United States, but you won’t hear about it on KQED, because skewing the discussion away from the real statistics and toward female teens is has the meretricious effect of appealing to, rather than turning away, KQED’s largely baby-boomer audience.
    I challenge Krasny and his staff to tell the REAL stats on rape in this country.

  • John

    Some blame should be assigned to the ubiquity of porn in modern society and its violent and sexualized portrayal of women.

  • thucy

    Credit where due: Krasny is right to bring up Camille Paglia’s point about female responsibility. To elaborate on that, Paglia argued that it was absurd for us, as women, to walk, completely inebriated, into the quarters of a man we barely knew, and later claim date rape.
    As feminists, we can’t simultaneously claim that we’re ready to run for office and lead the boardrooms, AND that we’re curiously incapable of making even semi-sensible decisions about imbibing large amounts of alcohol in company of men who are imbibing large amounts of alcohol.

    • mulza

      yes. and this is NOT blaming the victim. this is taking control & being responsible in attempt to avoid being the victim. this needs to be discussed with young females….what disturbs me is the lack of criticism regarding male behavior & their desire for dominance/conquering.

      • thucy

        Excellent point. I think the focus on female behavior is in some ways well-intentioned. Perhaps it’s my bias, but not only do we trust in the reality of a higher level of responsibility in young women, but we want to take the most pragmatic, effective action. We may view trying to rein in girls as potentially more effective than trying to figure out how to rein in high-testosterone males in a society that values males – and testosterone-type qualities like heavy labor – less than it used to.

        • You are so right about the differences in responsibility with teenage girls and boys. I loved the former Paly student, the boy, who said in the program what every male in my family knows. That he should treat women like you would your mother or your sister. And that if he saw a girl in a dangerous situation, to get her out of there, because he would want someone to help his older sister if she was in that kind of situation. At least some fathers out there get it! I’m so upset that society is still entrenched in the idea that “boys will be boys” and girls are supposed to be the responsible ones. We really have to be vigilant so that we don’t go back to the “bad old days” in terms of how women are treated. I mean, it was a struggle to get the Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act, for heaven’s sake. And I think that also stemmed from this attitude that men are justified or excused, no matter how they behave, and if women are beaten or raped, then they were “provoking” it.

    • Ocelot Carter

      “it was absurd for us, as women, to walk, completely inebriated, into the
      quarters of a man we barely knew, and later claim date rape…”
      Except this can happen when the woman is with a man she thinks she knows well. Many women have stories about being attacked by people they thought were their friends. So is the answer that women should never be allowed to drink? Paglia implies that, if a woman is drunk, it’s not rape. But legally, a drunk person cannot give consent, so it very clearly IS rape.
      There are also many cases where women have been drugged (see below). How are they supposed to guard against this? Just never go to a party?
      I agree that our culture is way too involved in drinking in general, and kids should quit thinking they can only have fun if they’re drunk. But don’t say that women who use alcohol in the presence of men are surrendering their right to their own safety. It’s an insult to men, too.

  • bob

    what a dumb show

  • Matt Weems

    One of the subjects the girls talked about didn’t think she had been raped until the student journalists pointed out she was too drunk to have given her consent. Is it possible she was better off thinking it was consensual? Is it more traumatic for her to have been persuaded she was raped?

    • MichinCal

      Do you realize what you are saying? If you were a victim of a crime, would you prefer the criminal go free to victimize others and you be left ignorant to “save your feelings”? Really, man, you need some adjusting of your moral compass! Rape is rape!

  • PALY graduate

    This is being talked about as if it is a new issue. I graduated from PALY in ’87 and this was prevalent then, unfortunately.

  • thucy

    this psychologist who just called in and keeps talking about “her identity” after taking nearly a decade to “realize” she was “date-raped” is really a piece of work.

    • Ocelot Carter

      I know it seems bizarre, but it can be really hard to admit that you were raped. Some victims don’t call it rape at first even if they were brutalized–there was a case last year in Orange County where the victim didn’t immediately report the case because she thought it didn’t count as rape if she had been drinking, even though the guy threatened her with a heated screwdriver. (This was the shocking case where Judge Derek Johnson reduced the sentence because he thought the victim didn’t fight back hard enough.)

  • Sitanshu Gupta

    I believe that this hails from the “I want to be cool” culture. I see immense amount of peer pressure in colleges/univs to be cool. And the way “cool” is defined there, does never really lead to anything good. Furthermore, I would like to teach the following to students in school, if you never venture into rock climbing because you are scared of heights, then dont venture out into something like this.

  • Lance

    Years of conditioning children to remove impulse control, this is a cultural problem.

  • What is being taught about the meaning of sex, its place in a loving relationship? What is being taught regarding wasting a young lives with drugs and alcohol? People need to learn how to socialize without depending upon Alcohol & drugs. Alcohol lowers sexual boundaries.
    Michael, glad to hear you mention Antioch college, my alma mater, that upheld values of consent.

  • disqus_q4y22kduwl

    This behavior is unfortunately, not new. This is something that happened in the 80s when I was in high school. The change is the magnifying glass that social media has created. This is terrible for the victim but will also hopefully, inform our kids about this behavior. As for the issue of consent, girls are told it is their responsibility to say “No”. Boys will try to have sex with you and it is your responsibility as a “good girl” to decline. Girls who get drunk can’t say “no” – which is why the culture says they consented. It is terrible and needs to change.

  • Another Mike

    While lack of effective consent is rape, alcohol is known for lowering inhibitions — do no adult women get tipsy so that they can allow themselves to have sex?

    • Fiona

      There’s a huge difference between getting tipsy and being unconscious.
      They spoke about the “grey” area in between, but I think this is really a matter of common sense. You can tell when someone is so inebriated that they have lost control. Their eyelids droop, their speech is deeply slurred, they can’t process basic questions or keep track of the conversation. That person is not in a state to give consent. In fact, you should probably get this person some help.
      The problem is that we don’t talk to our children about this, not in specifics. As long as our young people think rape is just a stranger attacking you in the parking lot and forcing themselves on you violently, they will not understand the subtleties of the kinds of rapes that are actually likely to occur in their social circle, and they won’t know how to (or even be aware that they should) stop them.

  • Jerry Thornhill

    I’ve heard on your program that kids “aren’t being told” to watch their friends and that boys are being told to use condoms but not told that rape isn’t ok. Why aren’t they being told? And as to rape being a part of the culture, aren’t parents and teachers a part of a teenager’s culture anymore? Are the teenagers living in some kind of a separate bubble?

  • Guest

    I’m not hearing anything about parents’ responsibility. First of all, where are these incidents happening and why aren’t parents home when these parties go on? What are parents teaching their children? Sometimes it appears that parents’ main concern is being their children’s best friend. What about teaching integrity? Why the need for any discussion about rape and how wrong it is? If you’re taught integrity as a child, it’s a no-brainer that date rape or any form of rape is WRONG. And posting date rape or any form of rape on Facebook? The violation and repercussions of this is staggering….And, one more thought… whatever happened to modesty?

  • Ehkzu

    Teenage boys and girls share one problem: their ability to make sound judgments isn’t fully developed yet. Their nervous systems aren’t fully myelinated.
    This means that nothing you teach teens about sex and love can substitute for supervision. There’s a reason why they can’t vote. They aren’t old enough, and they certainly aren’t old enough to party in private in the circumstances that lead to date rape.
    I’m not excusing anyone–female or male–for mistakes they make, or for criminal behavior. But I’m also not excusing these kids’ parents for letting their kids loose in circumstances where their raging hormones and undeveloped judgment are given free rein.

    • mulza

      yes. have we forgotten that the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 25?!?!

      • I think some people just don’t get that. They see adult bodies, doing adult things like driving, going to work, and dating, and don’t understand that the thought processes havent’ caught up with the hormones, basically. I’ve been an educator for over 20 years, and I know that the theories about how much even babies can learn has changed radically in that time. When I was a teenager in the 70’s, once you turned 18, that was the big benchmark of maturity. There was no talk of brain development, critical thinking skills and the prefrontal cortex. Even now parents don’t parent based on what they can read in Psychology Today; they parent from what they know and how they were raised.

  • trite

    Teach children from a very early age that we need to respect each other as human beings and look out for each other. It is extremely unmanly to be a predator and take advantage of any one weaker than oneself. Concentrate on the UNManliness of such behavior.

  • Amanda Stupi

    Here’s a link to our show on the Fantasy Slut League at Piedmont High School that a caller mentioned:

  • Tara Taupier

    I beleive we are failing to properly educate our young men and women about empathy. Students need to be exposed to seeing events from others’ point of view.

  • What in current high school culture allows or drives someone who rapes a passed out girl at a party to then share pictures of the crime on social media? This seems to be a trend, and a very harmful and troubling one, and I wonder if there is pressure for the perpetrators to prove that they’ve done what they are pressured to do. Thanks!

    • Another Mike

      The Internet meme “pics or it didn’t happen” is at least 10 years old.

  • J. Miakoda Taylor

    I am a survivor of multiple rapes, all by people I knew. one was a gang rape while under the date rape drug. one was date rape by someone I used to date and had previously had sex with. no alcohol was involved. I did say “please don’t” multiple times. I also know that if I had said “no” more firmly, perhaps without a “please” I would not have been raped. And sex is confusing, especially for young people as it gets mixed in with love, popularity, peer pressure. etc. it is important to not have such hard and fast lines of right/wrong, blame/innocence, victim offender, if we really want to break these cycles.

    In my experience, far worse than the violation of the body, rape is a violation of another person’s will. the violation of will, the inability to protect yourself from harm, is one of the most oppressive experiences one can have. As one of the young ladies mentioned, it is critically important that we be talking about the role of will in our sex ed classes. We should be teaching “radical consent” – the practice of asking for consent, asking again and then confirm that our partner really wants to have sex, before engaging. We should also be teaching girls (and boys for that matter) how to check in with themselves and determine if they really want to engage in sex. this checking in should happen before going on the date, to the party or drinking alcohol — that way they are prepared to give a clear “no” if that is their truth. that could be no to sex or to drinking. We should be teaching how we can all be responsible for making sure non-consensual sex never happens.

    Lastly, it is possible to have conversations about this that are healing and deeply transformative. Think Restorative Justice. As a result of my trauma I have been facilitating such dialogues between victims and offenders, including with incarcerated populations. what i have learned is that most violent offenders are also survivors of sexual abuse. In response to their will/power being taken away, they have been desperately trying to reclaim power and will, unfortunately in unskillful ways that perpetuate cycles of oppression. In short, if we want to end cycles of rape and violence we also need to look at the source of men’s (“offender’s”) desperate need for power. All this to say, we have a lot of work to do.

  • forum-comment

    It’s come to this?!

    “… a chemically treated coaster that purportedly detects the presence of drugs in a drink that’s been tainted.

    … the YWCA of Santa Clara Valley, Calif., told ABCNEWS station KGO-TV of San Francisco. … unit of the YWCA is giving hundreds of coasters to college students in its area.”


    “Land of Lincoln and Franklin and Melville, I love you and I wish you well. But into my heart blows a cold wind from the past; for I remember Babylon.” — Arthur C. Clarke

    • forum-comment

      Mr. Krasny speaking now as I listen — brings up porn and ‘roofies’ on the radio.

      I warned a young person who’s moving to the area from the Midwest about this stuff recently and she was incredulous — thought it never happened, was just stories. But, from everything I hear and read — it’s happening all the time now.

      Anyone too young to remember Clarke’s story — get it. It’s one of those scary science-fiction predictions, and the reality is worse than he imagined.

  • Rayme

    I don’t think it is a trend. I think it has existed for a very long time (from the beginning of time?). Social media and raised consciousness have just brought it into the light much as the lawsuits against the Catholic Church have brought sexual abuse by priests into common knowledge.

  • patti

    I am wondering how much the resistance to so-called “feminist” thoughts and issues in today’s youth culture, affects the attitude of teens today? Feminism is/can be an empowering movement for women – yet my teen girls dismiss discussions like this – saying that’s all “old fashioned”. If young women refuse to support each other and “take back the night” this will continue…

    • Nutty Professor

      Feminism went off the rails and into ditzy-land long ago.
      No one takes it seriously.

      White feminists discredited themselves: They care more about glass ceilings and maintaining their greed than about the oppression of women of color or women overseas.

      • Ocelot Carter

        There are many women of color who identify themselves as feminists.

  • pmychang

    People have talked about how girls dress provocatively and “ask for it”. I think girls see the most powerful women in the popular culture dress provocatively and act in sexually provocative ways-Rhianna, Britney Spears, the Kardashians. So for girls, dressing sexually, being provocative, may be seen as a form of power. Ironically, it also makes men want to dominate them through sex. I’d like to see people address the power of female sexual images as a double edged sword.

    • susan

      This is being talked about thanks to Miss Representation:

    • thucy

      Brilliant, thank you for that.

    • Another Mike

      I really don’t think that the typical Paly student, worrying about which Ivy she’s going to get into, is looking to the Kardashians as role models.

      • thucy

        True, but that doesn’t mean they’re not influenced by what Beyonce et alia WEAR.

      • Fiona

        Even if they dream of being Hilary Clinton, they dream of looking like Beyonce.

  • Paly Parent

    My daughters went to Paly; the youngest graduated in 2007 (and wrote for the Paly Voice — Paul Kandell is a terrific teacher). We had many conversations about socializing and staying in control of oneself. I also charged my kids with taking care of their friends by discouraging excessive drinking, or at least making sure their friends got home safely.

    Neither of my kids was into the drinking culture in high school which may have had a lot to do with the example set by our extended family. We just aren’t habitual drinkers. My kids both backed away from jr. high friends who got into binge drinking and found new friends. Neither was considered super-popular, but they weren’t willing to pay the price of joining in with the binge drinkers.

    One of the lessons I passed along to my daughters when we were discussing sex was to make a conscious choice to engage in sexual activity — not to use a buzz as an excuse. “I didn’t mean to do that, I was drunk,” is how a lot of lives have been changed.

    We parents need to talk with our kids about alcohol abuse, and about responsible sexual activity. We do not have to accept binge drinking as expected teenage behavior.

    • thucy

      “Neither of my kids was into the drinking culture in high school which may have had a lot to do with the example set by our extended family. ”

      Neither were we, but I suspect our alcohol abstinence was less a matter of willpower or family example, and more a reality that our gene pool wasn’t overly inclined to drink.

      That is: We’re not inherently better or better trained; we’re merely lucky, if only in regard to not enjoying more than one drink at a time, or simply preferring other highs, like sports or reading,

      • Paly Parent

        There are quite a few alcoholics in our family tree though, which is why those of us born in the “baby boom” generation practice moderation. My siblings and I saw alcohol abuse daily — and it didn’t look like a fun thing to do. My kids (and various nieces and nephews) see moderate alcohol consumption, usually a glass of wine with dinner. They don’t see parents who get sloppy drunk.

        I grew up thinking that alcohol was a real waste of time. I saw what it did to my parents. I was close to 30 before I started having wine with dinner regularly. But I’m aware that the world around us is really into binge drinking, and I wanted to make sure my kids knew that they didn’t have to drink to have fun.

        • thucy

          I think it’s possible that it’s not ONLY what you witnessed that influenced your behavior. (And your being a baby boomer may have nothing to do with it.) Even though you have drunks in your family, you probably didn’t inherit the same genes or gene expression.

          I guess what I’m suggesting is that we give ourselves more credit than we perhaps deserve.

          • MichinCal

            Paly Parent, while I comment your counseling your daughters on alcohol, you do them a disserve on how you discussed sex. No teen age girl is ready for sex. There is no condom for a person’s heart or soul, and sex is a language of total commitment. There is no such thing as safe sex – the majority of abortions are to women who were both using contraceptives and were pressured by the father/parents to abort. Sexually active teens suffer serious physical and mental health consequences, as well as greatly reduced academic performance. Let’s stop pretending that women were made for sex outside commitment. Girls deserve honesty: sex is for marriage, not recreation or “love”. There is nothing loving about risking an unwanted pregnancy or severe depression. Boys are twice as likely to suffer from depression is sexually active in school; girls are 3 times as likely! Let’s get real!

          • MinchinCal: You have some interesting points that I would like to see some real proof on — and I notice you left how BOYS should act completely out of the equation (interesting!) But I want to speak to only one. There is research that I know of that indicates that sexual intercourse with a new person does create new neural connections in the brain — so the old saw “sex changes things” in terms of discussing relationships is not that far off. That does go to your point that sex is (or should be) the language of “total commitment”. However, premarital and extramarital sex has been around — and even accepted — for centuries. It’s in the Bible, in “The Canterbury Tales”, and authors as diverse as Shakespeare and Jane Austen wrote about it. It’s not a game or form of conquest, but it IS the way people in love do connect with each other. The problem is that we don’t really deal with sex properly, even as adults. We don’t teach our children (and so don’t learn later in life) how to deal with sexual urges in a healthy way. So, we have people who end up being promiscuous, instead of finding other ways to feel powerful. We have boys who take advantage of helpless girls as a way to assert their masculinity. Or we marry just so we can finally go to bed with someone that we might not like but that we lust for endlessly. I understand where you are coming from, I was raised a “good Catholic girl”, but I also know that any discussion about how to behave sexually is a lot more complicated than just saying, basically, “save yourself for marriage”.

  • Another Mike

    I note that this is the 40th anniversary of Jimmy Buffett’s novelty(?) song “Why Don’t We Get Drunk (And Screw)”

  • mulza

    why is the discussion focused on female behavior????

  • Julia

    I want to know if these girls are going to prosecute?

  • Yes, as young men we have urges, and yes, it’s hard to control them. Yes, there’s pressure to be a sexual conqueror. But each man, even a high-schooler, must hold himself accountable for behaving with dignity and forethought. I did. They can. Having 100% accountability for your actions is part of being a man.

    • MichinCal

      And being a real man is having self control. If you are having sex, expect to become a father soon! True story.

  • Carmen

    Sometimes I think schools are afraid of the parents and liability issues which causes them to not want touch these tipics with a 10 foot pole. A teacher might mention something about sex and then a parent rushes out complaining about that teacher. How can a space to discuss these issues be made in schools in such an atmosphere?

  • Ehkzu

    re: porn
    There was rape for at least 200,000 years before there was porn (that’s how long modern humans have existed).
    It is true that porn can encourage sexual desires. And it can give people ideas about sex that they might not have had otherwise. However, it’s also true that for males especially–males are more stimulated by appearances than females, screaming teens with Bieberfever notwithstanding–it’s true for males that viewing porn can lead to release of sexual tensions that they might not have experienced otherwise, and thus substitute for inappropriate behavior with real living females.
    Note that the biggest competition for gun sales is first person shooter videogames. That’s why the median age for gun owners is rising, and why most current gun sales are to people who already own guns.
    A lot of these first person shooter games could easily be called “Violence porn” and while the gun makers’ lobby (the NRA) claims that playing video games leads to shooting people (with zero statistical proof), as with sex porn, the low number of actual spree killers might lead you to suppose that the games serve as a release valve for most, rather than as incitement.
    After all, I think we can agree that vastly higher numbers of teens look at porn than engage in rape.

    • thucy

      You’re a guy, right? Because I know few women who think that the ubiquity of porn over the last 15 years has been without significant adverse effect on male behavior and attitudes toward women, specifically male sexual expectations/demands upon women.

      • Ehkzu

        You know nothing about the social sciences, right? Because porn has been studied cross-culturally and cross-temporally, and if anything it’s associated with a reduction in the incidence of rape.

        Take countries whose rape culture makes us Americans pikers–India, for example. Miniscule porn access compared to here.

        And cheap/free porn via the Internet is a phenomenon of only the last few decades, so it has been studied here in America across that timeframe.

        Here’s just one example from innumerable studies:

        “Pornography, Rape, and the Internet” by Todd D. Kendall,
        Clemson University, The John E. Walker Department of Economics, July, 2007:

        “Using state-level panel data from 1998-2003, I find that the arrival of the internet was associated with a reduction in rape incidence.

        “While the internet is obviously used for many purposes other than pornography, it is notable that growth in internet usage had no apparent effect on other crimes.

        “Moreover, when I disaggregate the rape data by offender age, I find that the effect of the internet on rape is concentrated among those for whom the internet-induced fall in the non-pecuniary price of pornography was the largest – men ages 15-19, who typically live with their parents.

        “These results, which suggest that pornography and rape are substitutes, are in contrast with previous laboratory studies, most of which do not allow for potential substitutability between pornography and rape.”

        You can read the detailed study here:

        Note that I was talking about rape, not consensual sex, and I noted that easy access to porn might well change people’s expectations about sex. Whether every single one of those “demans” are bad–as you obviously believe–is a different topic than the one here.

        But as far as rape is concerned, women are less likely to be raped when porn is ubiquitous.

        There is a difference between actual social research and anecdotal data. Anecdotes are good for illustrating ideas and positions. They are not a substitute for scientific research leading to social policy programs and decisions.

        Men and women who don’t know anything about the biological differences between human males and females often jump to wrong conclusions about the other gender. Such women see men as defective women, and vice versa.

        For example, men tend to be more visual than women. This difference starts in utero; female fetuses get more neural connections across the corpus callosum while male fetuses are getting more in their visual processing regions.

        Women dismiss men’s “visualness” as a moral failing, calling it “objectification.” While men, being less articulate on the whole, just groan when women want them to talk about their feelings. A lot of comedy exploits these facts.

        It certainly means that beautiful women can walk through life on a red carpet while their less beautiful peers grind their teeth. But biology is neither moral nor immoral. It’s just what works evolutionarily, regardless of whether it makes you or me happy or sad.

        And it means that porn is innately more satisfying for men than for women–as if the marketplace left any room for doubt about that–and women who don’t understand this will make mistakes of fact when they talk about it as a social issue.

        • thucy

          “But as far as rape is concerned, women are less likely to be raped when porn is ubiquitous.”

          I don’t think that’s supported either by the available evidence, or by your voluminous typing. It does seem that you evaded my first point – you’re a guy, right? And it now appears that you’re a guy who likes to objectify women through pornography, possibly because dealing with live, tangible, flesh-and-blood women has proved disappointing to you.
          Porn is an addiction. You might want to consider that,

        • MichinCal

          You are sadly mistaken. Porn is directly linked to increases in rape, other sexual crimes, and violence against women. It is highly addictive, and neurologically works on dopamine receptors – leading to impotence! Check out Psychology Today’s ‘Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction is a Growing Problem’ for more details. It’s causing impotence in guys in their prime!

          • MichinCal

            It sounds like you likely struggle with porn. You will likely find theporneffect dot com helpful. Includes interviews with porn stars and provides support for those effected. Best wishes!

  • Martha Allen

    Carmen: I wrote about that in a comment on the Verde website. Here’s where I think I addressed what you’re talking about: “I wonder if one reason for this emphasis more to try to lessen the impact of legal responsibility/liability of schools to teach and be
    involved in preventing rape, and there’s not really any similar sort of
    importance assigned to teaching consent? Schools are at least potentially liable when kids misbehave or flunk out of school, but above some sort of minimum standard there’s no reward for schools to have students to perform above average at least where misconduct issues are concerned, or – and you can laugh here if you like – or for their students to have an awesomely satisfying understanding of the concept of sexual consent. I think one real reason for what I’m observing isn’t so much “rape culture” as it is the financial bottom line and the potential liability schools face if they deal at all with these issues – so when rape is discussed, it’s at best discussed as we have here in this issue of Verde, and consent from the high school students’ perspective is hardly mentioned, or if it is we’re told we ought to already know what it means and if not we’ll probably figure it out later, once we’re over 18 and hopefully no
    longer a high school student at the school in question.”

    • Ehkzu

      The far right has been responsible for teaching less and less about values in the schools. They so fear liberal values being taught that they’d rather have no values taught at all, claiming that teaching values should be the exclusive domain of parents.
      This has made schools into moral zeros in many ways, and has also forced high school social studies/history textbooks to be so inoffensive as to make them virtually unreadable they’re so boring.
      The far left does this too, but the far right has really institutionalized this kind of censorship with watchdog committees/institutions that mobilize parents and demagogues rapidly if schools say anything the don’t like and/or see as usurping the parents 100% control over what their kids see and hear.
      Social gadfly Dianne Ravitch wrote a book about textbook censorship some years ago. It’s an eye-opening, because textbook censorship is mostly done on the downlow, before the books are even written.

  • Jamie

    Not to make light of this conversaion about rape culture and its effect on high school students, but I think it’s also important to discuss its growing effect on elementary students as well. It wasn’t long ago in the news that a 10 & 11yo (I think they were those ages), made plans to rape and murder a female peer from their class. They told police it wasn’t because they wanted to have sex with her, but because they wanted the power as a lesson to her because they thought she’d been “rude” to them and their friends. They were only caught because another child had seen them playing woth a knife on the bus. I can only imagine what they consider rude at those ages and in that kind of state of mind, that rape and murder as a form of punishment was acceptable. Children are bombarded by sex and violence everyday, but aren’t being taught morals and self control. Then they grow into high school where thier fellow peers become a strong influence. Respecting other people’s space, communicating ideas, valuing others despite their gender or color or beliefs, looking out for our neighbors; all are things that shouldn’t just be told but should be taught while children are still teachable. This, to me is where many a problem lies and seems the hardest issue to overcome.

  • another Paly Parent

    I was very sorry to miss this program. But I finally read the entire Verde magazine last night and did NOT sleep well. I was a victim of date rape, twice. The first time, I was invited to a party and handed a heavily drugged drink – I had a few sips but could tell there was something wrong with it. However, it affected me enough that I remember it all and was terrified for my life. I never told a soul until this post. The second time, I denied anything ever happened though the boy bragged about it. There were no witnesses so it was my brushing him off as delusional versus his bragging about sex. I was a top student so people believed me… and he was knocked down a few notches. Ironic isn’t it. Social survival instincts perhaps.

    I had so many other issues to deal with that it’s a miracle I’m here today. So, now as my children go through the various milestones of growing up, we have a LOT of conversations at the dinner table about how to navigate the real world when they are out in it without a net. They WILL be reading the entire Verde magazine and we WILL be talking about it.

    What I would really love to see is a serious conversation about honorable behavior. So much is focused on responsible behavior (informed consent and protected sex, etc.) that everyone has forgotten that men (and women) who had control over their (sexual) urges were considered stronger and more powerful than those who didn’t. Chivalry is important and it’s high time for that code to be resurrected and modernized for today’s world.

  • paly parent

    “Rape” is a strong word with heavy connotations. But just like premeditated murder is more heinous than involuntary manslaughter, we should distinguish violent rape from date rape where there are many mitigating circumstances for both the victim and perpetrator. Our Judeo-Christian attitudes towards sex probably also make these experiences more traumatic than what they can be: experiential learning lessons. None of this is new other than the new consciousness and awareness we’re bringing to the issue. Let’s allow our children to enjoy consensual, healthy, safe and guilt-free sex, and let’s allow them to feel the complicity of sexual desire that’s natural between men and women without labeling them as sluts. Clearly, sex with someone who’s comatose and unresponsive is as unmanly as it gets… necrophilia and, by definition, rape. However, that’s very different than someone who’s approaching a new experience with apprehension and has mixed feelings… or needs time to get comfortable, or has regrets after the fact. Let’s make these distinctions and avoid the need to force fit everything into black or white.

  • MattCA12

    This rape culture is the direct and inevitable result of internet porn, which is everywhere. This is where boys today are receiving their sex education. Fathers, you need to work harder to counteract what your son is learning online.

    • MichinCal

      You are 100% correct! A good resource is theporneffect dot com.

    • MichinCal

      You are 100% correct! A good resource is theporneffect dot com.

  • MichinCal

    Some of the commentors suggest merely counseling daughters on alcohol is enough. This is a shocking disserve. No teen-age girl or boy is ready for sex. There is no condom for a person’s heart or soul, and sex is a language of total commitment. There is no such thing as safe sex – the majority of abortions are to women who were both using contraceptives and were pressured by the father/parents to abort. Sexually active teens suffer serious physical and mental health consequences, as well as greatly reduced academic performance. Let’s stop pretending that women were made for sex outside marriage. Our teens deserve honesty: sex is for marriage, not recreation or “love”. There is nothing “loving” about risking an unwanted pregnancy or severe depression or STD’s. Boys are twice as likely to suffer from depression if sexually active in school; girls are 3 times as likely! Let’s get real! I went to high school in Marin. Senior year, a classmate committed suicide: she had had sex with her boyfriend, they broke up, and she became severly depressed. Despite a caring family and professional help, she committed suicide. School days are for study, not for sex.

    • paly parent

      go back to Utah… bay area is not for you michinCal

      • MichinCal

        How sad for our high school and college students to read of a parent who speaks with such disrespect for their well being, and then cyberbullies to boot! I am not a Morman. My family, however, has lived in the Bay Area since the 1860’s! This is not a religious matter – all the medical and social sciences confirm what I said.

        • paly parent

          MichinCal, 1) As a paly parent, my #1 concern is the well being of my kids. I believe the repression you’re recommending is more harmful than being more open and tolerant 2) I did not intend to “cyber bully” you. We’re on equal footing here each expressing our viewpoints in a democratic society. Your anachronistic comments are offensive to me… in a knee jerk kind of way; 3) I did not mention religion… I simply suspect you would be more comfortable in a geography where more people share your thinking. Your bay area heritage notwithstanding, I think this area has evolved… but your thinking has not kept up.

    • Another Mike

      How are you able to communicate online from the 1950s?

      • MichinCal

        Ha, ha, but not coincidentally, women in the 1950’s had dramatically lower rates of depression, STD’s, cervical cancer, abortion, suicide, mental illness, divorce, and AIDS. Our grandmothers were wise! Modern women are more and more realizing that letting a man use her for his selfish pleasure is not love and doesn’t get her the love she craves – and not good for anyone! Real men have self control!

        • Another Mike

          Consider the unreliability of statistics on a surgical procedure when both patients and practitioners were considered criminals. i recommend you read Linda Reagan’s “When Abortion Was a Crime,” published by the UC Press. in 1997.

        • Oh, MinchinCal. I agree with you about real men (and I like the bit about modern women), but I don’t agree with much else. My mother and my aunt went to Catholic schools. My aunt remembers about three girls who didn’t march at graduation because they were pregnant. My mother was saluditorian of her high school class because the valedictorian got pregnant and didn’t graduate. Mom went to (the now-closed) Catholic nursing school in San Diego, and I remember her telling me stories of her classmates who would run into gas stations after dates to douche in the hopes they wouldn’t get pregnant. To say that our grandmothers and mothers weren’t sexually active before marriage is naive in the extreme. Since we didn’t treat or keep track of rates of depression, STD’s, cervical cancer, suicide, or mental illness like we do now, your beginning statement is shaky. Not to mention, AIDS wasn’t recognized as such until the 80’s, so of course the recorded rates in the 1950’s. Abortion was illegal, then, and likewise was not recorded. The divorce rate, I must tell you, has been steady for the last 50 years.

  • Dave Hoekenga

    I’m a philosophy professor, and after 10 years of coaching debate and teaching Ethics classes, after seeing several close friends from college recover slowly from being raped, I have to say: well done, Verde. You’re doing your best to blow the lid off an EXTREMELY volatile issue. Student journalism sure has come a long ways since I was in High School.

    But, speaking as a Critical Thinking geek who always zeros in on, “What would the other side think?” I have so strongly question your definition of rape as consent “without the influence” of alcohol or drugs. “Influence” is far too general a word. Science, psychology, and common sense dictate that one can have a couple of drinks, clearly be influenced by them somewhat, and still be capable of giving or not giving consent.

    Your definition implies a generalization that it is impossible to give consent when under any influence of alcohol at all, which I really don’t think was either your or quoted experts meant. Being lightly buzzed and giving your unambiguous and enthusiastic consent happens all the time, in both men and women, and has never before been categorized as rape, to my knowledge. In all the accounts of rape in your articles, the victims were intoxicated to the point where it impaired their ability to communicate and/or remain conscious. Rape is sex without consent, period, so these cases are obviously rape. They would be rape even if the young women in question had intended to have sex before getting drunk.

    Why am I nitpicking? Because there is most definitely in males of all ages, a very dark rape subculture, of men who believe that women are all fair game and that anything that a man can get away with is ok. They are the ones who need to be confronted and reached, so we need to be as clear as possible about what we are talking about.

    • Another Mike

      What adult women choose to do is another matter from girls who lack experience both in sex and in how their body reacts to alcohol.

  • Petsand

    I too was a victim of multiple rapes, which followed two earlier molestations. The mental effects of those molestations already instilled the shame that prevented me from speaking out and hence left me vulnerable for future attacks. I did not admit to myself that these were rapes until nearly 20 years after they happened. It affected me deeply for a very very long time and has affected my ability to have a successful relationship. This is a very serious and very common problem that transcends generations. In many of my rapes there was NO date rape drug involved. It was merely my drowning my inhibitions in alcohol and not knowing my limits. When you wake up from a night like that with vague memories of possibly having had sex with someone you wouldn’t have had sex with had you been sober, the shame is unbearable. So one drinks again to bury the shame, thus putting themselves in a vulnerable position. It’s a horrible vicious cycle. That said, seeing a girl/woman drunk and passed out on a bed is not an open invitation to have sex with her. Plain and simple. The girl/woman is not “asking for it”, she doesn’t “deserve it” because she was drunk or because she was dressed provocatively. The girl needs help. Nobody deserves rape. Rape isn’t always violent and involving bruises or being beaten. Boys/”men” who rape girls/women in these circumstances are of a deeper vile because of how they brag about these actions. This needs to be addressed in schools, colleges and in homes across the country. Girls/women need to be assured that by speaking up, they will be taken seriously and that they are doing the right thing. Thank you for keeping this in the spotlight.

  • Sanfordia113

    These girls apparently don’t live in our culture. Anti-rape messages are pervasive in American culture. Both political parties earn high marks on this matter. While Conservatives promote the idea of abstinence until marriage and severe punishment for criminals, even Democrats are opposed to sexual assault without consent. The anti-rape culture has been fervent since at least 1980, and only gets stronger every year.

  • And in all this conversation, we forgot to talk about the fact that any sexual assault, including rape, is about power. We frame these assaults in terms of sex because sexual acts are involved, but we neglect the real “elephant” in the room……that for the male who perpetrates this act, the sexual gratification is secondary to the power that he’s wielding, either in acting out his contempt for women (or one woman), and asserting his dominance. If and until we teach men how to feel powerful without demeaning people they are afraid of or have antagonism toward, not to mention people who are weaker and/or helpless, then these kinds of assaults will continue to plague us.

  • Julia

    The podcast is cut off. If possible can you re-post?

  • Kellybythebook

    Right after I heard this forum I got this link on Facebook:

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor