A Remaining Dark Corner in the University Greek World:
A considerable amount of attention has been paid to the physical and emotional harm vested upon fraternity pledges as the result of hazing. Indeed, notice has also been had on the ongoing harm experienced by fraternity members during the entire course of their college careers as a result of dangerous activities sponsored by these organizations or even required of their members.
Despite the relatively significant amount of attention focused on fraternity hazing by colleges and universities, law enforcement, other governmental officials, and the media, there remains a yet to be fully exposed dark corner in the university Greek world. Specifically, there persists an ongoing quiet (or quieted) crisis involving the sexual assault of college women by fraternity brothers.
Every year, hundreds of female college students are sexually victimized in different ways by men in the fraternity system and schools across the country. (As an aside, there exists a far smaller but far more hidden number of university men who are sexually assaulted every year by men in the fraternity system.)
While the sexual assault of women by fraternity members remains significantly a clandestine offense, an attempt was made in 2019 to scientifically study whether fraternity membership makes a young man more likely to perpetrate sexual violence. The study also examined whether fraternity membership made fraternity members more accepting of sexual aggression, even if these young men didn’t perpetrate sexual abuse or assault themselves. The Center on Violence Against Women at Rutgers University also focused on a countervailing theory as to whether young men with proclivities to sexual abuse and sexual violence were attracted to fraternities in the first instance.
Although there were admitted constraints associated with the study, largely due to the limited number of men involved in the research, some basic findings nonetheless were realized. First, the study suggests a direct relationship between some young men, including high school juniors and seniors, with proclivities to sexual abuse and violence and a desire to become members of fraternities in college. The study also confirmed the hypothesis that fraternity members did make certain males more sexually aggressive or more accepting of men who were sexually abusive of even violent.
The bottom line of this first of its kind research is that a higher percentage of men with a propensity to sexually abuse women do join fraternities. Another piece of data from the study is that fraternity membership renders men more likely to act out in sexually abusive or violent ways if they’ve a proclivity to do so in the first instance. Finally, even among men with no discernable proclivity to sexual abuse or violence, fraternity memberships ups the odds that this cohort of males will become notable more tolerant of this type of conduct among their peers.
Every year in the past decade, college women are looking beyond the school setting to seek justice as a result of their sexual victimization by fraternity members. In years past (fortunately, to a large extent, years gone by), oftentimes all but the most egregious cases of sexual misconduct ended up getting a hearing outside of a college or university conduct board setting.
Particularly since the advent of the #MeToo movement, a larger number of victims of sexual abuse, assault, and violence by fraternity members (and other categories of college and university students) are seeking deserved justice and redress in the criminal and civil justice systems.
If you’ve been sexually victimized in some manner, you can learn more about your vital legal rights by visiting with a sexual assault lawyer from The Doan Law Firm. Understanding the uniquely difficult nature of these types of cases, our firm maintains a 24-hour phone line at (800) 349-0000 that is available to you 365 days a year, including on major holidays.
A coast to coast law practice, we can arrange an initial consultation with an experienced, compassionate sexual assault lawyer at any one of our office, at no cost or obligation to you. If you prefer, we can arrange a virtual initial consultation for you online.
Our firm also makes an attorney fee promise to you. You pay no attorney fee unless we win for you.
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