We’ve all probably been to at least one frat party in our lives. If anyone ever wanted to learn about hookup culture all they would have to do is visit Greek Row on a Friday night. Frats are the sixth worst insurance liability, behind asbestos companies, so why are college campuses not addressing frats when talking about sexual assault?
Campuses have gone to some extreme measures to prevent sexual assault— bystander intervention, yes means yes bills…but there still hasn’t been any talk about Greek Life. In Jessica Valenti’s article “Frat brothers rape 300% more. One in 5 women is sexually assaulted on campus. Should we ban frats?” she says that men in frats are three times more likely to sexually assault someone, and women in sororities are more likely to be raped. She suggests that all these new efforts being put in by campus administrators is great, but they are still missing the big picture. She tells readers to follow the numbers, if men are seen to be more likely to rape if they are in a fraternity then it might be time to get rid of the frats. And there is evidence that she may be right.
Fraternities do seem to have a way of thinking they are invincible on some campuses. As part of the Clery Act, universities are not required to report exactly where a sexual assault happens, just whether or not it is on campus. This might give fraternities the idea that as long as the public doesn’t know that a large amount of sexual assaults are happening on Greek Row, then they won’t have any repercussions. Fraternities across the country are facing reports about date raping (University of Wisconsin-Milwakee) and joining together to rape innocent girls (University of Virginia just recently came under these accusations).
Frats are also known as the epicenter of underage drinking. There are rules against underage drinking over the whole campus, and frats have said that they only serve beer at their parties (no liquor)…but we all know that is not true. There’s no way to really regulate who is drinking and what they are drinking, the frats bring in too many people in too fast (and Vanderbilt is not even remotely a large Greek school), but is alcohol really the issue here? While alcohol is not a causation for rape, it is a large correlation. In my opinion, I believe when a frat boy finds a girl that he’s particularly interested in he tries to pump her with more alcohol. His motive is lesser known— is rape really on his mind, does he just truly believe that intoxicated sex is not rape, or is he trying to impress a girl by showing her how powerful he is because he has access to more than just beer? We will never actually know but we do know that this has to stop. Some schools have tried to introduce third party bartenders to regulate the alcohol going out (hint it doesn’t work).
As a Vanderbilt student, I am not blind to these rumors. There are certain fraternity houses on campus that girls are urged not to go to, because they are “rapey”. One night, our R.A actually told us to steer clear of a particular campus because her friends and herself had bad experiences there with boys. And this is not just a Vanderbilt issue. One fraternity at Wesleyan was in trouble because it was nicknamed “The Rape Factory”. The warning signs of here right in front us, but colleges are still not doing anything about. The list of colleges that are being investigated for wrongfully dealing with sexual assault is largely made up of prestigious schools. And if I was forced to guess why they were on the list I would say most of it has to do with them trying to save their wonderful reputations from sexual assault claims. These schools should not be worrying about what they might look like, instead they should be worrying about the student’s safety. If the schools are seeing most of these assaults taking place in the same place then they should start taking action against these. In my opinion completely banning frats would be counterproductive. If the school gets rid of Greek Life then it will just move off campus and become even more unregulated. Instead, I believe Vanderbilt should pay more attention to these accusations. If they are noticing one fraternity being accused over and over for sexual assault then they need to kick them off or make them answer to what they did. These boys need to know that they are responsible for every action they do, and the school will not protect them anymore.
Enough ranting, what are your opinions? What do you thing Vanderbilt specifically should do about sexual assault and fraternities? Do you even think there is a correlation between them? Do you think banning Greek Life will improve anything on campus?