What Do We Say To Our Sons About Rape?


Since SPEAK was published in 1999, I’ve had countless conversations about rape. I’ve talked to survivors and rapists, counselors, police, teachers, librarians, and teenagers… lots of teenagers.

But I’ve rarely talked with the parents of boys about this.

Why is that?

I suspect it’s because most people are decent and they cannot imagine their boy committing rape. It’s easier (and emotionally safer) to think of rapists as that stranger waiting in the bushes with a gun.

They are wrong.

A whooping 73% of sexual assaults are committed by someone that the victim knows.

44% of sexual assault victims are under age 18. 

If parents shy away from talking to their sons about rape, they are failing their sons.

I’ve never met a teenage boy who knew that when a girl is under the influence of alcohol or drugs she is not capable of giving informed consent to sexual activity. Teaching our sons about what sexual assault is and all of the reasons they shouldn’t do it makes the world a safer place for everyone.

(I talked about this more in this article.)

If you think it’s awkward talking to your son about this at the kitchen table, imagine how much harder it would be if he were in jail.

Here is how one mother started the conversation with her son about consent and rape. And  the editors of The Good Men Project wrote a guide to teaching kids of all ages about consent.

(Do you have other resources to share?)

Talk to your boys. Talk to your whole family. And then please make a $10 donation to RAINN, the best organization for victims of sexual assault. RAINN helps victims turn into survivors.



When we speak up, we make the world a better place.

Want me to critique your manuscript?


You read that right.

But there’s a catch. There’s always a catch. When it comes to me and manuscript critiques, that catch usually involves donating to a worthy cause.




From now until April 11th, you can bid to have me critique up to 300 pages of your manuscript. I usually only offer to critique 30 pages and a synopsis. I am willing to critique ten times that much because this is a cause near and dear to my heart.

What does RAINN do? In a nutshell, RAINN helps victims of sexual violence turn into survivors. It operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE and the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at rainn.org, educates the public about sexual violence; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual violence, improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

RAINN is all about speaking up. This month I’m leading the SPEAK4RAINN campaign to raise money for the group so they can help even more. After you put in your bid, please, please drop by the site and donate $10. Or, if you want a signed book from me, donate $75. Or, if you just won the lottery, donate $1,000,000. Your donation is completely deductible and goes to the people who need it most.

Thank you for helping sexual assault victims speak up!


Speaking up for RAINN

I am very happy to announce that Macmillan (SPEAK’s publisher) and I have partnered with RAINN (America’s best anti-sexual violence organization) to create the SPEAK4RAINN campaign!


How can you help? (I’m  so glad you asked!)

Donate $10. (Look for the red donation button on the right)

Get your students involved. Have them enter the “How SPEAK Spoke To Me” Creative Contest.


Fundraise in your school for a chance to have me come and give a free school visit.

All month long I will be sharing information about ways to reduce the amount of sexual violence. If we all speak up and remember to listen, we can change the world.