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Reader's view: Speak up, dismantle Duluth's rape culture

The issue of rape culture is real in Duluth. The News Tribune's recent PressRoom Podcast session with Erin Naughton-Garrison, a volunteer coordinator for PAVSA (the Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault) in Duluth, highlighted one of the main factors that contribute to the rape culture: "toxic masculinity."

This letter isn't meant to call out men in an aggressive way but to encourage men and their "bro culture" to understand that to be a true man you don't try to "get with" as many girls as possible; it's encouraging your bro friends to honor women or trans folks and show respect.

As an educated female of 22 years of age, it has taken me a long time to understand what rape culture is. After being at the University of Minnesota Duluth for four years, I am slowly catching glimpses of who contributes to rape culture — and it's people I know, people on whom I can have an influence. As a person who identifies as female, I'm not going to belittle my guy friends. I'm going to gently and caringly call them out when I hear them say something or show behavior that objectifies women or trans folks.

People listen to what their friends have to say. So let's help each other do better and dismantle rape culture by using our voices to talk to our friends and not let "boys will be boys" slide anymore.

Emily Weber