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How would I go about writing an argumentative essay on sexual assault?

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The first thing you need to do when writing an argumentative essay is research your topic.  For a topic like sexual assault, we would suggest using a resource like RAINN, a nationwide resource with sexual assault data and information for sexual assault survivors.   For an argumentative essay about sexual assault, you may also want to read some resources that argue against criminalization of sexual assault.  Those resources can be more difficult to locate, as they are likely to lead you to sketchier areas of research.  However, the scholar Michel Foucault was a critic of modern rape laws, and while there have been tremendous advancements in how the criminal justice system treats sexual assault survivors and offenders since Foucault’s writing, visiting critical examinations of Foucault’s work is a good way to get perspective on that type of argument.

Once you have done your preliminary research, you are ready to decide what question you want to ask in your argumentative paper, and the answer you want to give to that question.  For example, if your research led you to wonder about whether chemical castration is an effective deterrent for those who have been convicted of sexual assault, you would find that there are some conflicting results.  It appears to be effective for some offenders, but other offenders simply continue to offend using phallic substitutes to assault their victims.  However, it is the type of question that would be perfect for an argumentative essay, because you could take a position that was either in favor or against chemical castration for rapists and back up your position with evidence, while still acknowledging that there is another side to the issue.  A good argumentative essay does not just provide evidence to support your position, but also acknowledges a strong argument against your position and then explain why that argument does not contradict your conclusion. 

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