Did you see the images from the protest in Wellington? The hundreds who marched on Parliament calling for an end to our rape culture, and to introduce compulsory consent education in high schools?



It was powerful. Youth rising up against youth, after those disturbing comments made by a group of Wellington College boys.



Should we introduce compulsory consent education? Yes, I think we should. I think we have to, don't we? Cases like this, cases like the Roastbusters, they all hideously illustrate a disturbing culture that's emerged in some of our schools.



The question is, what's fuelling it? And has it always been there?

I look back at my youth, and I don't think I was ever exposed to this sort of "culture", if that's what you call it.

I remember well my first disastrous foray into alcohol. It was a party at a friend's house. I think I was 16. And somehow I'd got my hands on a hipflask of Southern Comfort and managed to consume the lot. Not surprisingly, I ended up face down in a hedge. I still haven't lived that down. Because I couldn't walk, a group of boys I went to school with managed to get me out of the hedge and into a car. It was a mighty Ford Anglia. And Shawn drove me home with the window down and my head out the side, and threatening to leave me on the side of the road if I was ill in his beloved Angle-Box. Somehow he got me to the front door and delivered me home to my poor, horrified mother.

Sadly it wasn't the only time I ever found myself in that situation in my teenaged years, but there was always someone who graciously helped me home, or made sure I didn't end up in trouble.

And I spent a good few Saturday nights in rugby clubs too. That's what happens when you grow up in rural Canterbury. And yes, there was very much a culture of what I would call "booze and birds". Blokes would play a game of rugger, get on the turps that night, and then try a few lines on a woman. I don't deny that was a toxic culture. It was. But the comments by the Wellington College boys, the horror that unfolded in the Roastbusters scandal in West Auckland appears much more sinister.

So why is that? What's changed? How entrenched is it, in our schools? And beyond?

And why are some young men viewing women with a sense of entitlement, without empathy, and with a collective belief that a drunk woman is fair game?

How did that happen?

Part of the issue, I think, is the ease of accessibility to porn - and hard-core porn.

I can remember when I was at high school, a student brought a Playboy magazine to school. He was very popular that day. But that was about as good as it got for teenaged boys.

Now, on the internet, porn is everywhere.

And so much is lost in a 30-second clip of porn. So much can't be, or isn't, illustrated.

Issues such as consent, sensuality and romance. That's all lost in a porn scene. Every act is X-rated. It's aggressive. It often involves domination. Or force. And suddenly, particularly when it comes to young men who've had little experience with women, suddenly you can see how sexual assault becomes trivialised. Or normalised. Take what you want, when you want, and from whomever. Because that's what plays out on the net every minute of every day.

My issue isn't with the porn industry. My issue is with accessibility, and how it shapes and distorts curious young minds.

Do we have a rape culture in this country? I think we do across the western world. The question is: how do you stop it?

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Rachel Smalley hosts Early Edition on Newstalk ZB