You may have read the Nov. 7 letter to the editor that discussed how various factors of fraternity life facilitate a “perfect storm for sexual violence.” Some of the factors the author brought up included how fraternity men’s self-conscious fears of homosexuality, pressure to prove and assert themselves sexually and excessive drinking spawn a dangerous environment with the potential for violent sexual encounters.
My rebuttal is simple, sincere and with merit. You have no idea what you’re talking about.
I get it, we’re stereotyped, but fraternity life cannot be justifiably experienced on a stroll down University Avenue on a Friday night or depicted in the whisperings of folklore ever floating around campus. It can only be experienced living inside the walls of its institution, an institution where many individuals learn to thrive socially, academically and also call home. My house contains 40 live-in members that I’m proud to call brothers. We are not animals. We are students just like everybody else. We are not predators of the night preying upon the intoxicated and vulnerable.
Clearly, an injustice as severe as sexual assault or any vulgar act that can be labeled as sexual violence needs to be addressed with the utmost sensitivity and gravity. I wholeheartedly agree that the sexual violence that has occurred in fraternity housing on campus is a problem to be handled and solved by the greek community. However, to frame this issue as if it were facilitated by fraternity culture is both enormously irresponsible and naïve. It doesn’t matter if sexual violence occurs inside the home of a family, behind closed doors of a trusted superior, at a house party or a fraternity party. It’s an issue of individual moral depravity far more than a matter of circumstance. We now live in a society that’s more comfortable setting fire to a system than acknowledging the absence of personal accountability. The faults of a few cannot and should not define the character of our community. We are your classmates not sexual deviants.