Rape in Fraternity Culture

Rape and assault is the most common violent crime committed on a college campus. Fraternity members objectify women and are more likely to commit sexual assault. How you may ask? In 2002, David Lisak did a study called “Repeat Rape and the Undetected Rapist.” He surveyed more than 2,000 men in college. Around6 percent of those surveyed had committed rape and a majority of them were repeat offenders. Lisak also recorded a reenactment of an interview transcript with a fraternity member and he described how freshman girls come to the parties. The frat member talked about how the freshman girls were the easiest and he described how they got them drunk using a special punch. He goes on to say that there are designated rooms in the house that the members use for sex. He also talks about how HE sexually assaulted a young woman in one of those rooms and how at the time he did not think it was rape. As you can see it is very common for a young girl to be raped by a fraternity member, so why is no one stopping them? Journalist Caitlin Flanagan spent a year investigating fraternities for the Atlantic. She pointed to a 2010 analysis by a major fraternity insurer that found sexual assaults accounted for 15 percent of the insurance claims filed against fraternities (Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem 2014). So what can we do about this problem? I believe that first and foremost that if you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted on campus by a fraternity member that you need to report it NOW. Also, I feel like each fraternity needs to have a meeting with all their members and talk about rape and sexual assault and ways to prevent it. At San Diego State University, 18 to 20 fraternity men cycle through a course called FratMANers, which stands for Fraternity Men Against Negative Environments and Rape Situations (Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem 2014). They spend three hours a week talking about sexual assault, parsing what it means to get consent for sex and describing signs of an assault about to happen. They then give workshops to their peers (Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem 2014). I feel like every fraternity should adapt what SDSU fraternity members are doing. Rape is a serious topic and issue and I feel like many universities brush it off and think nothing of it. Bringing awareness to the organization is another way to help end rape on campus. According to End Rape on Campus they suggest that each organization should: 1) host a screening of The Hunting Ground at your chapter 2) read and spread We Believe You, an anthology of 36 survivors stories, in your chapter to enhance your understanding of this critical issue 3) engage in conversations about affirmative consent, healthy relationships, and a culture of respect at chapter meetings 4) bring in speakers from your local rape crisis center or related campus organization and hot a teach-in and 5) require consent and bystander intervention trainings for all of your members (endrapeoncampus.org). Your voice matters.

Works Cited

“Greek Life.” END RAPE ON CAMPUS, endrapeoncampus.org/greek-life/.

Carone, Angela. “Fraternity Culture Linked To College Sexual Assault Problem.” KPBS Public Media, www.kpbs.org/news/2014/oct/21/fraternities-and-campus-sexual-assault-problem/.