richmond_goarmy_728x90

Because it was never adequately addressed at all

Published: April 21, 2011, 3:22 am ET
Contributor

I wrote what was supposed to be my last article last week. Upon reflection, yes, there are a lot more things that I could and should have written about, and I feel sincere regret for being unable to do so. There is one issue, though, that I cannot leave unaddressed without destroying my conscience — it is an issue that was hugely controversial two years ago, blew up into a debate, tilted to one side as one half of the debate grew increasingly intimidated and subsequently disappeared to the point of nonexistence for students admitted post-2008.

This issue is “the Kappa Sig email”. The email itself and its author, “Roscoe Jenkins” (yes, sadly but seriously, his codename), got an incredible dose of attention and scrutiny at the time of its circulation, and the other side needs the counter shout-out, loud and clear. I got this one.

I want to first preface my eventual claim with a little contextual information about Richmond’s campus (then and now — I promise, campus is the same), around which this infamous email circulated. Some of you know (and some of you, regrettably, may not know) that the national rape statistic is currently set at one out of six women — that is, that men sexually assault an average of one out of every six women every year in America. This statistic narrows to one out of every four women on college campuses nationwide.

These are just numbers, but put it in perspective. If you are hanging out with eight girls at D-hall, two of them have been or will be victims of sexual assault. If you are in a class of 24 people, 12 of which are female, three of them are likely to be victims. If you have four very close female friends — or, say, two close female friends and two biological sisters — on college campuses nationwide right now (and in 2008), you can expect one of them to be a target of sexual assault, at least once. That gets a little uncomfortable right?

Well the situation is significantly worse on Richmond’s campus. I’m not working with statistics on this one, but my own pretty intense experiences, which I strongly believe to be more convincing. Consider the following (names have been eliminated, including my own):

Out of eight female graduates with whom I consider myself close friends from the classes of 2007 and 2008, only one had not been the victim of attempted or completed sexual assault – and she felt the need to attribute this, when telling the story two years ago in a very casual setting, to the fact that she had an older male relative on campus.

Of the others, three were the victims of rape more than one time throughout their college career.

Rape experiences included waking up from an inebriated coma to find a man — a “close friend,” no less — engaging in sexual intercourse with what had been her sleeping body; being locked in a room with no way out and promised exit upon “consent” to do sexual acts, which were then pushed far beyond what “consent” (if that’s what it ever truly was in that perverse setting) had permitted; and being undressed and forcibly penetrated by a fraternity brother (which all of these attackers were, by the way) while in an inebriated and vulnerable state of visible nausea, even after distinctly, repetitively and clearly stating “no.”

These cases are among others, but I have listed the ones that I have heard from more than one girl on this campus at one point or another throughout my four years here. All these girls suffered in psychological, physical, and/or emotional ways following their respective rapes, but did not report the incidents out of embarrassment and fear, the latter of both social and physical consequences because of backlash from their rapists.

All of their rapists consider themselves “friends” of their victims to this day. All of the rapists had been fraternity members at the times when they raped these victims and others besides.

The following are stories I have collected throughout my time at this school, from people who are my age or younger (so, still on campus). Again, this is not an exhaustive account of all I have experienced and/or heard, but it is a representative sample of the types of stories I have heard time and again from multiple female students from various grade levels. Women report feeling hands up their skirts and dresses – even inside their panty-lines – from male counterparts with whom they have danced at various lodges.

Women report being pushed physically past limitations they had vocalized for “hooking up” with male partners they had known at a wide variety of intimacy levels (including campus boyfriends).

Women report being physically held down by men upon vocalizing their hesitation to engage in one or another sexual act, some men of whom appeared to exercise this physical restraint with a nonchalant or even humorous attitude.

Women report being verbally humiliated through threats and insults (in a wide variety of tones and volumes) – even genuine confused questions – by men who expressed a desire to engage in one or another sexual act with the female, who declined in response. Threats included social and sexual punishment (i.e. “Do you ever want to come back to this lodge again?,” “Come on, you don’t want me to tell all my friends that you’re a [insert any number of descriptive nouns]” or the two most-repeated in informal and formal interviews – “Don’t make me make you, I want to stay friends” and “Go ahead, tell whoever you want. No one will believe you, you know that”) and even vandalism, said to or about the victim (i.e. “I’m going to that [girl's] room and cutting up all of her stuffed animals,” or “That’s it – I’m keying her car”).

All of these are direct quotes, as reported or overheard, with foul language and curse words eliminated; think of any number of ways to dispute that they are, but I assure you once again that I have only repeated stories that I have heard more than once, from people that I have checked and double-checked do not know or have not conversed with one another (not just about this subject, but) at all.

The only girls who appear safe from these situations are the girls that someone in one of my classes recently labeled “honorary women” of fraternities. These are the women who have ultimately decided to dedicate their social life to one – and, generally, only one, unless given direct or indicated permission by “their” fraternity members otherwise – fraternity. They are forced to treat fraternity members with much more dedication and respect than they would their girlfriends, which obviously (but I’ll say it anyway) perpetuates a hierarchical system; they are also encouraged, through threat of replacement (and thus unsafe positioning relative to fraternity members) via new favorite “honorary women” or refusal to show mutual disdain towards women held in contempt by fraternity members.

These girls are generally isolated or in competition with their peers, and tend to take a leading stance on victim-blaming for “knowing the guys” that are accused. Many of them know their own traitorous position in defending rapists, but as all girls and few boys learn from an early age – “safety first.” The “you can’t beat ‘em, so join ‘em for sure” attitude endorsed by these women shows up in all women to a certain extent, and we who have engaged in “fratlife” have all felt that uneasy feeling of crossing a girlfriend in the name of an intimidating guy at one point or another throughout our college experience. As one woman reports:

“It makes me feel sick when I think about it now; all the [stuff] I knew was happening but still ignored or made fun of, and all the girls I threw under the bus to stay out of trouble with the guys I called my ‘friends.’ I tried to make myself believe even then that it really was girls’ faults – that skimpy outfits asked for ‘it,’ that stupid girls deserved what they got. Then of course, it happened to me, and no one believed me, and so I gave up but I couldn’t retreat. I still call them my ‘friends’ but now I know they’re not. Is that worse, actually? I don’t know…whatever….I have to stop talking about it or I really will be sick.” NOTE: this girl was not inebriated in any way, and the nausea she reports is presumably the direct results of emotions the above statement triggered.

Put — and I cannot stress this enough — very mildly, the email that “Roscoe Jenkins” (the recruitment chair of Kappa Sigma fraternity) sent around to new recruits during the fall of 2008 was absolutely and irrefutably repulsive. For those of you who were fortunate enough not to receive it in your email inboxes, it made references to all of the types of above reported situations. The statements were couched in slang language, however, such that refusal to take outward encouragement of (I would argue demands for) rapist behaviors was laughed off by the student body (with the exceptions of the women – women! – who stood behind “Roscoe Jenkins” in defense against his threatened suspension) and subsequently written off by the school administration.

I know, I know – “He is the victim of his environment” and so on. But he isn’t. He is a product, yes, but he has not been victimized. Not in a way that he can understand the depth of humiliation involved in real sexual victimization at the whim of his own peers, or in a way that has enabled him to understand with pain and regret as other victims share their similar experiences just how pervasive and real this problem is. Not in the way that a disproportionate number of women we all know and love have been and will continue to be.

That is a pretty widespread understanding stretched beyond the mental capacity or compassion of someone who can find humor in the word “skeeza” without clamping his or her jaw mid-laughter in recognition and sadness of the fact that there are millions of “skeezas” worldwide, nationwide, and right here on this campus who hate themselves and their bodies; that every “skeeza” stripped of her clothing and pinned to the ground once sat in front of princess movies or played with baby dolls and stuffed animals in imaginary worlds where they truly believed they were real people with real feelings worthy of someone else’s love, and who face the cold realization after one or more incidents separating their bodies from their selves that they were mistaken.

Any person, male or female, who can genuinely and whole-heartedly feel like ridiculing – or even ignoring, or defending – these kinds of anti-woman, hateful (and undeniably effective) sentiments regarding male treatment of sex simply does not know what they do by so doing.

Am I angry that he is still here, suspension-free and walking with our class to collect his unblemished degree? Oh yes – there are no words to describe my outrage. On the other hand, I have to recognize the fact that he unknowingly set up a very appealing plan of action to fight exactly the rape culture he tried to perpetuate. His email highlighted the administrative apathy towards the unsettling status quo (he received no punishment of any kind, appallingly enough); even more importantly, he put that very status quo into writing better and more accessibly than anyone could have ever done before him. If we ever needed proof of a hostile environment, thanks to “Roscoe Jenkins” – we have it. As recent Yale investigations have shown us, we would be – and have been – extremely ill-advised not to use it.

This story has been UPDATED to remove the name of the author of the email, based on a prior agreement he had with The Collegian in Oct. 2008. At the time, The Collegian found the issue in question to be widespread and did not deem it appropriate to publish his name of one student. The Collegian also considered that the student had not been convicted of, or found guilty of, a crime.

The columnist’s claim that the author of the email did not receive punishment is INCORRECT. The Collegian reported Nov. 13, 2008, that the University Hearing Board reprimanded the student, but did not disclose publicly the nature of the punishment.

This version also CORRECTS that the email circulated in the fall of 2008, not the spring of 2008.

Related Article Topics

, ,
Comments »
To post a comment, leave your first and last name and a valid e-mail address. Comments may not appear immediately because they must be approved by a moderator before posting. No registration is required, but you may sign in with DISQUS, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, or OpenID.
  • John Alulis

    Broadly speaking, I have not been a fan of your writing during your tenure with the Collegian, but I think that this time, we find ourselves on the same page. Excellent article and an appropriately dramatic finish for your time here.

  • Jake Morrison

    Oh look, well-written investigative journalism involving a disturbing and controversial issue relevant to students at UR. In The Collegian no less. Bravo.

  • Johanna Gehlbach

    great, great article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

    Thank you for this, Fiona! An absolutely excellent way to end your Collegian career.

  • Erik Lampmann

    You’ve done a service to the school by publishing this article. Thank you for such a well-argued piece and for helping this year’s freshmen understand the seriousness of all that’s happened on this campus in the past.

    • Fiona Carmody

      Thank YOU for drawing attention to the importance of understanding!

  • Fiona Carmody

    Thanks John.

    Just an update: both men and women on this campus have contacted me over email and in person (15 women and 3 men, and counting….) to thank me for writing what they knew was true on campus, from personal experience or observation, but didn’t know how to address. 10 of these people candidly vocalized enthusiasm over the idea of filing the same Title XI claim for “hostile environment” that Yale did if nothing is done (and no administrative intent to do anything is indicated) by the upcoming fall semester – risk prevention education for women withstanding.

    I want to emphasize the fact that the article has been up for only 24 hours at this point. That’s a lot of feedback in not a lot of time.

    Looks like we’re onto something. If this article is taken down – and those involved in its contents are trying very, very hard to have this happen – I believe the case is made.

    • Fiona Carmody

      I’m sorry, Title IX, not XI. (Probably obvious, but better to be safe than sorry).

    • Fiona Carmody

      I’m sorry, Title IX, not XI. (Probably obvious, but better to be safe than sorry).

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

      Can you say much about that last comment – who is “those,” what are they trying to do, and why? And what can we do to help? (This is a silly, “duh” question, but all of the testimonies and experiences included in the article were printed with consent from the individuals, right? I know… definitely obvious. Just wanted to confirm for any other doubters out there!)

      • Fiona Carmody

        Actually Christine, I can’t tell you. Originally, I put people and organizations into my article by name. Interesting, right?

        • Fiona Carmody

          Woops, I thought this comment didn’t go up and rewrote it all in one post. Anyway, now it’s essentially up twice so….I guess you get the idea! :-)

      • Fiona Carmody

        Hey Christine,

        Yes, I conducted “formal” (but casual) interviews, so I could ask interviewees to indicate to me exactly what I could put in and what I couldn’t – which is frankly too bad, in some ways (myself included, I took some of my own experiences out), because the most horrific or recent stories had to be taken out. Don’t worry – I do not violate that kind of trust, ever. Especially not on dangerous topics like this I hope that assuages the doubt you encountered.

        Thanks for offering your help (I’ll let you know). And no, unfortunately, I can’t tell you who “those” are; I originally named them in my article, but they were subsequently taken out (there’s a disclaimer at the bottom that vaguely explains why).

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

          Fiona,

          With regards to the interviews, that’s what I figured. Thanks for clarifying!

          And I completely understand with regards to the details of the situation. Keep on fighting, and know that you have a whole army of readers ready for you to call upon us! :)

          • Fiona Carmody

            Thanks – I know. ;)

    • Fiona Carmody

      I guess they can’t take it down, so it will stay up. I guess this because of that new blurb with caps: INCORRECT, about something completely unimportant to my point. First of all, until someone wants to tell me what terrible punishment it was that this guy had to suffer through, I’m unconvinced. Second of all, most of campus believes exactly what I said in this article, meaning any punishment that incurred has been so well hidden it has escaped CAMPUS GOSSIP (and very, very little escapes that); that perpetuates a hostile environment just as much as no punishment does. Third of all, the hostile environment was exactly my point, and this case is still evidence.

      • Fiona Carmody

        Fourth of all, I have been notified by more than 5 people that their comments were censored.

  • Fiona Carmody

    Thanks John.

    Just an update: both men and women on this campus have contacted me over email and in person (15 women and 3 men, and counting….) to thank me for writing what they knew was true on campus, from personal experience or observation, but didn’t know how to address. 10 of these people candidly vocalized enthusiasm over the idea of filing the same Title XI claim for “hostile environment” that Yale did if nothing is done (and no administrative intent to do anything is indicated) by the upcoming fall semester – risk prevention education for women withstanding.

    I want to emphasize the fact that the article has been up for only 24 hours at this point. That’s a lot of feedback in not a lot of time.

    Looks like we’re onto something. If this article is taken down – and those involved in its contents are trying very, very hard to have this happen – I believe the case is made.

  • Grant Gibbs

    No doubt what you say is pretty much the truth…While Greek life may have its benefits for members, it most definitely creates an environment of adverse selection on campus.

    Many of the threats you highlighted as being used to manipulate women have to do with social collusion as a means of coercion. That that’s the whole point of traditional Frats- to accumulate enough of the attractive and wealthy-born men on campus to significantly restrict the options of women on the dating market.

    While sororities function similarly, they don’t throw enough parties to affect the dating scene. Perhaps they should start, and in doing so even the playing field.

    I wish I could say eliminating Greek life would solve the problem…but it wouldn’t. There will always be social hierarchies, with the associated problems.

    • Fiona Carmody

      My first reaction upon my recognition of this problem was to address the issue of sorority/fraternity sameness (for lack of better phrasing), particularly with regard to the lodges. While sororities are getting new houses next year (I believe they differ from the lodges in that they are residential, although I could be wrong), sorority members nationwide are actually not allowed to serve alcohol in affiliation with the sorority they are in. This national policy manifests itself in 3 ways at our school, as far as I know (NOTE: I have noticed that sororities at other schools break the rules more, but I would guess that has more to do with population camouflage on bigger campuses): 1) Sorority women must have a 3rd venue serve alcohol for any event at which they would like alcohol served (this is where “mixers” and “socials” come in, with frats and outside venues to mediate, respectively); 2) Sorority women cannot wear sorority clothing or affiliate any other indicator of their sorority membership with the party scene (i.e. cannot wear sorority shirts out, have sorority paraphernalia in the background of facebook pictures depicting alcohol consumption, etc…I think this deteriorates a certain sense of bonding in some ways and contexts, but I can see how that might be perceived as a bit far-fetched); and 3) Sorority women are reprimanded and penalized by their chapter honor boards (if the national code is followed by their chapter) for being too intoxicated in sorority contexts (socials, etc). I have heard of #3 happening for girls seen as too intoxicated outside of sorority events as well.

      That’s sort of a supersized explanation of the uneven playing field, but anyway – there you have it. There might always be social hierarchies, but there will not always be sexual assault. I agree with you – I don’t think eliminating Greek life would help the problem either (although a few regulations could obviously be changed). I do think it could be used to mandate certain types of education, but that’s not to say that there aren’t other ways as well. If you end up thinking about it more and have any ideas, please let me know.

  • Alex Vlasic

    Thank you!

  • Ralitza Dionissieva

    University of Richmond can use a reality check. Thank you for this article.

  • Jan van den Bos

    Thank you for addressing the tremendously important problems of sexual assault of women by men, verbal and physical humiliation of women by men, and the existence of a patriarchal culture in which women are dehumanized. Your story provides shocking evidence to how real these problems are on our campus, and I hope it will cause anyone who reads it to reflect on the need for activism in order to change certain accepted patterns of behavior.

    It is incredibly sad and frustrating that women are verbally, physically and sexually violated while the problems remain unaddressed and the violator (and cultural consensus) seem to be indifferent or ignorant. Therefore, I want to applaud you for writing a story that reaches out to vulnerable victims and women in general, and strongly approve of your mission to change the way we think about this.

    I do think that the Collegian made a huge and unforgivable mistake by printing the name (and initially publishing it online) of the author of the email. Collegian writers choose to have their names displayed publicly, but the author of the email did not. No matter how much you feel that this person deserves some form of punishment, there is something incredibly risky about accusing someone in public of something so severe, while at the same time making known to the entire world who exactly it is that you are targeting.

    Do you really want this individual to be haunted by this for his entire life? Do you really want him to receive numerous weird messages and hateful emails? Do you really want to damage his chances of finding a job, perhaps preventing him from doing what he loves for the rest of his life? Do you really want all his relatives, now and in the future, to be able to read this just by googling his name? Could you not have contacted him in person to address your concerns, while writing this piece without mentioning his full name?

    By mistakenly stating that the author of the email did not receive any form of punishment, it appears that you have not taken the effort to ask him how he looks back on the entire situation. If he do not wishes to comment on the situation, logical thinking suggests that there are reasons why it would not be pleasant to have to go through this again during finals week/graduation, after having had this experience years ago. In my opinion, this particular email received a disproportional amount of attention: not because the issue is not incredibly important (please don’t get me wrong!), not because the writer wasn’t incredibly disrespectful, but because one individual was put on the spotlight and was trialled with everyone on campus knowing about it. Sure, an adequate response is justified. This includes punishment for the author of the email, which happened. No matter what you think of the severity of that punishment, what makes you think that it would help anyone if you used your platform in the collegian to publish the name of that student? I would like to ask you to reflect on the impact that that might have on somebody’s life, and how strange it must be to go through this, particularly after having been threatened with expulsion from this university for sending out an email in the past.

    I condemn the contents of the email, but think that it is out of proportion and uncalled for to attempt to eternally link the person behind the email to that one email he wrote. By publishing a full name, you’re identifying a person and not the misdoings of that person. I think that if you had recalled how wrong that email was, your article could have been equally as effective, and it would have read as a genuine call to awareness and activism rather than like a story of personal prosecution. You don’t help victims by creating new victims. The author of the email too, deserves the chance to change, to redeem himself, to be able to start anew at some point.

    If you hadn’t published the full name of the author of the email, this would have been one of the most impressive collegian articles I’ve ever read. Again, I think it is terrific that you are addressing these problems, but think that you went too far by including the person’s full name. I’m also very surprised that the Collegian publishes the names of unknowing students in such a sensitive context, with the impact on that person’s life possibly being very significant. Even if the Collegian considers it somehow justified, I think it’s incredibly wrong not to contact the student beforehand.

    I would regret it if my comment distracts people from the actual message of the article, but felt it necessary to defend the right to privacy of my fellow student. For anyone who has bothered to read this entire comment, please join the author of this article in her efforts to make our campus a safe environment for everyone, and please consider the impact your actions can have on the sense of safety of others.

    • Fiona Carmody

      Thank you for your post.

      My response to some of your questions might be too controversial to what I take as your position if given, and 1) I understand that he is your friend and you care about his well-being, and want to avoid personal conflict on that front (there might be some fundamental disagreements) and 2) do not want to detract attention from the focal point, which the email incident – and the way it was handled – serves as evidence of. I am therefore going to leave them unanswered. I will point out that The Collegian editorial staff has taken the names out of the article, and did so a very short time after the article was initially posted; the emailer doesn’t need to worry about the Google-search issue.

      Thanks again for posting, and for being so careful and fair in your approach – I really appreciate the effort. I’m glad we can agree on the central problem.

    • Melanie Watkins

      Although Fiona chose not to respond to specific points you made in your comment regarding her article, I feel the need to address a couple of the issues you mentioned. I am personally disappointed in the fact that the name of the author who wrote the leaked email was retracted so quickly from the article. This is not because I particularly want bad things to happen to the individual who wrote it, but because of the significance it would have in holding him personally responsible. By identifying the individual who wrote the email (by name), it sends a message to ALL men that if you do choose to engage in this “frat culture” which encourages homo-social bonding around the sexual victimization of women, you better be ready to accept the consequences. Those who CHOOSE to endorse and perpetuate a culture that systematically exploits women causing irreversible trauma (not only for those women, but also for the men who will love them later in life), will UNQUESTIONABLY be held PERSONALLY responsible in doing so, and will be forced to suffer serious and long-term consequences.

      Also, I was disappointed in (although not surprised by) all the questions directed toward the author of this article such as,… “Do you really want him to receive numerous weird messages and hateful emails? Do you really want to damage his chances of finding a job, perhaps preventing him from doing what he loves for the rest of his life? Do you really want all his relatives, now and in the future, to be able to read this just by googling his name?”

      Although I understand that these questions are coming from a place of concern for “Roscoe Jenkins”, it seemed all too familiar to the tactics used to prevent victims of sexual assault from reporting their offenders. However in response to these questions, although I cannot speak for Fiona, my answer is “no, I do not want this for HIM”.
      Now… do I want this aforementioned fate for ANY man who teaches other men that it is OK to sexually assault women? “Oh, you bet I do”.

      I am not trying to say that the author of the email is a “bad person”. I honestly doubt that he is. I think he is probably very much like the majority of guys out there, which is the exact problem. I know there are many men reading this who cannot honestly say that there have not been questionable times when they have pushed boundaries and had sexual intercourse with a girl KNOWING she was too drunk to consent… or even have pushed alcohol on a girl that he was interested in having sex with because she would be more likely to consent if she were to be drunk. Do I think that men who have done this are BAD men? No, I do not. I imagine I likely have male friends, possibly family members, and even male professors who are all guilty of sexually victimizing women at one point in their lives. Do I think that makes it excusable? Absolutely not. Do I WANT these men that I care about to be humiliated and be convicted of a crime? Obviously, I do not. Do I think that JUST because I have never witnessed what they are capable of, the women they have exploited do not deserve justice? Of course not. Do I think that they should have necessary legal action taken against them? Yes, I do.

      There needs to be a clear message that is sent to guys that this is NOT OK. If a man acts this way, he will be forced to suffer the consequences. Allowing men to believe that they will suffer no repercussions for doing things such as inebriating a girl to the point where she might say “yes” when the answer has ALWAYS been ‘no”, is NEVER OK. Men are often times unaware that what they are doing is even all THAT wrong. The cycle keeps being perpetuated and the lines get blurred because we always come to the defense of the offender arguing that “it’s unfair” because the lines were blurred of what was just “morally wrong” and “what would get them in trouble”. The way to break this cycle is UNBLUR these lines by holding these men personally accountable and to (without hesitation) punish those who act in victimizing ways.

      Lastly, I would like to address something. We think of this email in abstract terms. However, can you say with COMPLETE certainty that the author of that email has not aided in a sexual assault on campus in other ways? Can you be absolutely sure that that VERY email did not result in some pledge (desperate for the social status that comes with belonging to a fraternity) making it a point of going out and committing sexual assault against a girl (who otherwise might never have been sexually victimized), all because “that is what fraternity brothers do”. In which case, the author of that email should feel lucky that he is not being held legally responsible as an accomplice to rape. I most certainly believe if an authority figure pressures those he has power over (socially or physically) to act in sexually violent ways, he is being an accomplice to sexual assault.

      But wait… that’s ridiculous! Some kid reads THAT email, goes out and sexually assaults a girl, and somehow the author of AN EMAIL is to blame?!? The author of the email did not MAKE that kid sexually assault that girl, that boy did that of his own free will. The pledge who raped someone should be punished, not someone who only just endorsed it.

      My point exactly. Even though we live in a culture that produces men who sexually victimize women, sexual assault remains INEXCUSABLE . Although I agree that society-at-large is what is perpetuating this culture centered around the exploitation of women, EVERYONE is STILL responsible for their own actions. EVERY man on this campus is in control of what he CHOOSES to support and what he CHOOSES NOT TO, as well as the crimes he CHOOSES to commit, and those that he does NOT. I think I speak for every woman at University of Richmond (at least those who have responded positively to this article) that instead of boys who feel they need to have sex with women (by any means necessary) in order to gain status with other males, the University of Richmond needs some quality MEN. Men who are secure enough to reject a culture centered around boys who desperately and pathetically attempt to assert their masculinity, as well as their sexual and social dominance, by victimizing women.

  • Melanie Watkins

    In sum: administration began the appropriate response, but then cowered when other offenders and ignorant bystanders jumped to his defense. At least administration sent a CLEAR message to victims of (campus) sexual assault (whether they be victims before the kappa sig email, made victims since, or those who will be victimized in the future), as well those “men” who commit sexual assault on this campus (those who had before, those did afterwards, and those who will in the future) that:

    Westhampton women, we acknowledge that the possibility you’ll get sexually assaulted in a place where most of you call ‘home’ is pretty high… but (let’s just be honest) if it happens to you, you probably don’t want to say anything because we care more about possible future alumni contributions that we do about protecting the female population, or advocating for 1/4th of that population who has already been victimized.

    Richmond college Men: Sexual assault is unacceptable… well, unless you’re either rich, white, or in a frat (best if you’re all three!)… then NBD. However, if our efforts to silence women somehow fail (but really, how could they?) we may begin disciplinary action or send out an email saying that there has been “a reported sexual assault on campus” (but we’ll COMPLETELY back away at the first sign of opposition… *hint hint*). But don’t worry, we’ll stick by you in the end… we just need to do something to appease those drunk sluts that had it coming

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

      Melanie, your fabulous sassiness made me laugh SO hard.

      But then I realized it’s actually all completely true…

  • Ryan Erickson-Kulas

    Great article! I only wish the whole article had been printed in the Collegian.

  • Crystal Thornhill

    This article is great! Very well said!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Diane-Stevenson/688730239 Diane Stevenson

    Thank you for bringing up this issue again!

    Not only is it something that was poorly dealt with at the time, but as you’ve said nothing has been done since then and the issue entirely disappeared from the public view.

    This is obviously a huge issue on any campus, but the fact that this email (which I vividly remember) and all of the other incidents you’ve described here have gone unpunished, for all intents and purposes, is something that, as a member of Westhampton college, completely scares me. Should I be scared that my university’s policies don’t protect me or any of my friends, or your friends? No. But I am.

    I personally think that is the telling message in your article and I really want to thank you again for putting this out before you graduate!!!

  • Haley Jones

    Thank you for the article, Fiona.
    Here’s a scenario for the people who still think that girls in skimpy clothes and drinking a lot at parties are “asking for it”:
    Girl is in her room with her friends before a party. She goes through her closet, selects two outfits, and holds them up one at a time to her girlfriends. “I want to send the message that I want to get raped tonight,” she says. “Which shirt would be better? And how many beers do you think that’ll take to make me look vulnerable?”
    Sounds ridiculous? That’s because it is. Victim blaming has to stop.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Katherine-Schmidt/509342010 Katherine Schmidt

    Thank you, Fiona

  • Megan Molnar

    Before anyone berates me, I AM NOT VICTIM BLAMING. There is absolutely no excuse for the rape culture perpetuated at this school and all across the country. There is no excuse for sick men who think that non-consent means yes. Women do not “ask for it” by dressing a certain way, and there is NO excuse for what’s happened. NONE.

    Now, because we do live somewhere where this happens, women need to be responsible. Be mindful, be careful with alcohol. Be aware of what it does to you. A recent study stated that 90% of rapes on college campuses occurred when one or both parties was under the influence of alcohol. Be careful, be responsible. Unfortunately, as of right now, we as women are not safe.

    The fact that I even have to say this is a sad fact on this campus

    Great article, Fiona.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

      Such a tough situation to straddle. Women shouldn’t have to worry about guarding their drinks or not drinking too much… in an ideal world. But we don’t live in that world. And if we begin to act as if we lived in such a utopia – even on a mass scale – I fear that may only exacerbate the problem.

      Solution: Talk to men.

      Check out Jackson Katz’s “Tough Guise” video for some awesome information:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3exzMPT4nGI

      and…

      Check out Andrea Gibson’s poem “Blue Blanket” – it’s truly inspiring:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cEc3aQOP-o

      • Fiona Carmody

        i just cannot believe that jackson was here and so few people went. you would think organizations – particularly men’s given the topic of violence in masculinity – would have been REQUIRED to go.

      • Anonymous

        I liked that a lot. Thank you for posting it. Katz is a genius. Please post some more of these if you know of them.

    • Anonymous

      You are victim blaming all the way.

      “A recent study stated that 90% of rapes on college campuses occurred when one or both parties was under the influence of alcohol.” So you are saying that women need to more accountable of their own actions prior to rape? No, that’s part and parcel of what constitutes victim blaming.

      Take some WGSS classes, since you need to know that it is never okay to place neither blame NOR RESPONSIBILITY on potential rape victims.

  • D Rasheed Nazeri

    Thanks for bringing attention once again to what is a sad and disgraceful aspect of the “social scene” on college campuses all over.

    I was a student at UR when the 2008 incident happened; it created a shitstorm that ultimately amounted to no more than a bandaid solution to what is a problem of epidemic proportions; it was more a PR stunt than a real, comprehensive initiative to counter and reduce–if not eliminate–such incidents and attitudes.

    Perhaps we ought to reconsider what has become accepted–and tolerated–in the social scene; what we consider “fun” and “having a good time.” And while the main responsibility for these criminal and inhumane acts fall on the men who commit them, the university, the rest of student body–both men and women–and even parents need to work to prevent and eliminate them.

    An honest recognition of the problem is a good start. We would have to take concrete steps and invest resources if we are serious about fighting and solving it, however. A “bias response team” ain’t it.

    • Anonymous

      You’re absolutely right! The “bias response team” has become somewhat of a humorous meme at UR.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1234710145 Jessie Pascarelli

    I am reminded forcibly of the poem that Andrea Gibson performed a few months ago and that Christine Parker appropriately read at Take Back the Night…”she’s not asking what you’re gonna tell your daughter
    she asking what you’re gonna teach your son.”

    The attitude toward sexual assault has become “Don’t get raped”–why not, “Don’t rape”? Men on campus, and specifically those in fraternities, need to understand the hurt and shame that such actions perpetuate. Remember when fraternities and sororities were required to go to Take Back the Night–that one time? Sensitivity training and attendance at such events should be required to maintain their charter. Taking away their lodges is the only way to get their attention and force them to see the female side of the story.

    • Fiona Carmody

      I know. It’s so difficult to make people listen to something they don’t know why they don’t want to listen to.

  • Julia Picciotto

    Eye-opening and alarming, this is just what such a silenced issue needs. Thank you

  • Audrey Dignan

    Sexual assault is obviously a very serious issue, one that definitely merits much more attention than has been given on our campus, and the merit of this article is that it successfully draws attention to this subject. Unfortunately, the columnist chose to approach the problem by directly attacking a single individual. The issue to attack is not the morals of the individual nicknamed “Roscoe Jenkins”, but rather the social institution of masculinity and the social constructs that dictate the expression of masculinity (i.e. those actions and behaviors by men that are considered socially acceptable as dictated by our society). “Roscoe” is not the commander of an army of rapists, nor has he committed – as the Collegian states at the bottom of the article – any sort of criminal sexual assault whatsoever. It is not fair to label the individual who wrote the infamous e-mail as the poster child for rape and sexual assault on campus, nor is it right to attack the people who stood by him during this time. I do not condone the contents of the e-mail, and I agree that the e-mail was “absolutely and irrefutably repulsive”. But I also realize that it is important to address this issue on a broader scale that rises above issuing directed personal attacks.

    In addressing critical issues such as sexual assault on campus, it is important to avoid broad generalizations. The article not only unfairly attacks and accuses all fraternity members as committers of sexual assault, but also attacks the women who consider themselves close friends with fraternity members by generalizing their friendships. After four years here, I consider myself very close with a group of fraternity men (you could say I am an “honorary woman” myself), but I have never seen nor heard of this behavior from this group of men. Just because a guy is in a fraternity does not mean that he is out to assault any woman possible. Comments made by the columnist such as: “The ‘you can’t beat ‘em, so join ‘em for sure’ attitude endorsed by these women shows up in all women to a certain extent, and we who have engaged in ‘fratlife’ have all felt that uneasy feeling of crossing a girlfriend in the name of an intimidating guy at one point or another throughout our college experience” are generalizations that have no place in properly unbiased and balanced reporting. Frat guys who respect and maintain healthy relationships and friendships with women at this school DO exist – its not fair to lump all fraternity men into one “rapist” category, just as its not fair to lump all women who are friends with fraternity men into one large “traitors” category, as this article seems to do.

    As the author of the article has mentioned several times, both in the article itself and in the the subsequent responses, she, like the rest of the University community, is unaware of the punishment given to the individual – and for good reason. The details of this individual’s punishment are confindential details of a Judicial Council case. The strict confidentiality maintained by the Judicial Council is two-sided – it is against University policy for anyone involved in an Honor or Judicial Council case to share details of the case, both as a council member and as a defendant. For this reason, details of the sentance have not been disclosed, either from the JC itself nor from the individual involved in the case.

    This article addresses two issues, which, although strongly connected, should be treated in different ways: 1) The offensive and inappropriate e-mail and the University Administration’s response to it, which acted as as a springboard and emphasized, 2) The need for an interdisciplinary and on-going discussion addressing sexaul assault and rape on campus. The first of these was a single incident, and, while unfortunate and disheartening, should not be the central focus of this discussion.

    I do not by any means wish to appear dismissive of the abuse that victims of sexual assault or rape have experienced. I sincerely apologize if I have come across in this way.

    • Fiona Carmody

      Audrey,

      I can only say over and over again, what I wrote was the truth. I told true stories, that’s it. Maybe it seems like I’m generalizing fraternities, maybe you think that I’m calling your friend the emailer out. I’m sorry if this is the case, but if you read the article again, I hope you see that there isn’t much to dispute in what I said. I said what I know.

      I hear in what you’re saying a fundamental disagreement in our stances: I think this campus fosters “rape culture,” and you think this is extreme and rather see some rapists instead. The experience you describe as being yours here supports your point of view.

      I want to consider your perspective, but the contradiction in it makes this hard. After all, for all your “healthy” relationships with men you still identified yourself as a construct that I created to describe quite the opposite.

      Because you know, Audrey, I never called you an “honorary woman.” You did.

      The truth speaks for itself –

      Fiona

      • Anonymous

        Fiona, you should also know that the majority of rape victims are men. Perhaps a rape culture does exist at UR, but its victims are not restricted to the female patrons of Kappa Sigma. It is not right to single out a single institution like that, especially when you could have talked about a few other fraternities and some of the more rowdy athletic teams. Do you really think that Kappa Sigma commits more rapes and sexual assaults than, say, KA or the football team? The facts simply do not hold, and although you didn’t lie in your article, your insinuations are extremely damaging.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vera.parker9 Vera Parker

    Fiona, thanks so much for writing this article. I graduated in 2008, and I believe everything you put down based on my own experiences. I can’t believe that the administration still won’t do anything about this! Every time UR asks me for money, I refuse and I still won’t give them a cent unless they shut down the frats and stop covering up the rape issue – I’m sure they won’t do it, and I agree it probably wouldn’t stop all of the problems, but at least own up to what is happening! I tell my younger female friends to STAY AWAY from UR because it just isn’t safe for women, and it sounds like that still hasn’t changed since I’ve been there…anyway, kudos to you for raising awareness!

    • Audrey Dignan

      The highest percentage of rapes and sexual assaults of women are committed by men in fraternities and athlethic teams. Shutting down the frats will not change this issue, just as shutting down male athletic teams will not change this issue – but raising awareness and beginning an inclusive and on-going discussion will. Let’s begin this discussion on campus in an open forum, and stop issuing accusatory statements and placing labels on people (the classic victim-blaming comment, “She’s wearing a short skirt – she must want to be sexually assaulted” is as unacceptable as generalizations like, “He’s in a frat – he must be a rapist.”). Generalized and accusatory comments and assumptions like these have been issued in both directions – against women and against men – and neither direction is acceptable. Rather than continuing to attack, let’s begin some way of fostering more positive behavior by men and women at this school. I understand that the disgusting actions of sexual assaulters and rapists instill such powerful emotions as anger and hatred, but its important to use that energy to make a positive change – to take the next step away from these behaviors and towards a healthier and safer community.

      Although I am posting this as a reply to Ms. Parker’s comment, I don’t wish to discredit her response in any way. I agree with Ms. Carmody and Ms. Parker and the many others who have commented in saying that this issue cannot be ignored and these behaviors cannot be accepted, but I am also agreeing with Mr. van den Bos in saying that the actions of both U of R students and the administration (including the contents of the e-mail) should be the center of the discussion, not the individual who wrote the e-mail nor our Greek system.

      • Melanie Watkins

        Audrey Dignan, although I understand and agree in some ways with what you saying, I think may be missing the point of the article. No, all men in fraternities are not rapists and many men are able to have meaningful relationships with the women; however, I do not believe that to be what Fiona Carmody was saying in her article. It would almost be beneficial if they all were rapists, because that way we would be able to spot them immediately!

        My interpretation of the article was that fraternity culture BREEDS sexual assault. It has been empirically supported that sexual aggression is learned in settings such as fraternities and is not part of predispositions or pre-exisiting attitudes (Boeringer, Shehan, and Akers, 1991). The reason that rape-culture is so accepted within fraternities as a whole, is because Rape culture is based on the assumptions that men are aggressive and dominant whereas women are passive and acquiescent (Bushwald et al., 1993). – this is apparent in the way that gender constructs itself on college campuses and especially within Fraternity party settings. Rape myths that are perpetuated by enforcing very rigid gender roles (men providing the place to party, and women batting their eye lashes to get in and to receive alcoholic beverages) portray women as “really wanting it; she just said no because she didn’t want me to think she was a [slut]” (Burke, Stets, and Pirog-Good, 1989).

        Studies done on the social behavior at fraternity parties show that men and women conform more to gender roles, men conform more to one another, and men also engage in behavior that is more objectifying and disrespectful of women than they do in other social environments. “The degree of conformity required by Greeks may be greater than that required in most social groups, with considerable pressure to adopt and maintain the image of their houses.” (Boswell, Spade, 1996). The fraternity system intensifies the “groupthink syndrome” (Janis, 1972). But you are right Audrey, no all fraternities/ fraternity members are like this; studies have also found that fraternities that hold parties where there is louder music, as well as a decreased ability to engage in conversation are more likely to commit sexual assault. (A lodge?)
        There is a lot more, but if I keep writing, no one will read this.

        It is not about the individual men who are admitted to Richmond, or even who they are outside of their fraternities- but the frat culture results in men sexually assaulting women at much higher rates than other party or alcohol environments. This is not a matter of personal opinion, it has been demonstrated numerous times empirically. There is further evidence that shows how college campuses where men control the party scene, as well as those that put a large emphasis on fraternity/ Greek life results in more frequent sexual assaults.
        Despite these findings (as well as the over whelming number of people who are sexually assaulted ON Richmond’s campus), nothing is being done. Fiona Carmody did an incredible first step in calling attention to an issue that should not be ignored any longer by the students of the University of Richmond, or the administration- something that I think we can both agree on!

      • Anonymous

        “The highest percentage of rapes and sexual assaults of women are committed by men in fraternities and athlethic teams.”

        Stop making sh*t up about frats.

        Athletes commit more crimes because of their hormones. You can’t blame them for that. If it weren’t for their hormones, they would not be athletes.

        If it were up to liberals, they would pump estrogen into all our potential felons on the football team.
        http://www2.timesdispatch.com/sports/2011/apr/15/tdsport01-legal-troubles-for-ur-football-ar-973915/

        In the spirit of equality, here’s UR baseball: http://www.wtvr.com/news/wtvr-baseball-player-arrests,0,3586341.story

        My solution: just segregate the male athletes, regardless of race, year in school, sport involvement, etc. And if someone cries rape then, it would be unfortunate, but at least we tried our best.

    • Fiona Carmody

      I have gotten so many emails from both male and female graduates saying the same exact sorts of things.

    • Anonymous

      Parker, I am sorry if you suffered from sexual assault and/or rape at UR. But, why are you blaming the admin? They didn’t commit the rapes…

      The frats do not force women to attend their parties, so on what grounds would UR admin close them down?

      And please know that even if the admin eliminated frats, they would not have prevented a majority of expected rapes. Would you also ask them to disband the athletic teams that are also commit rape on a disproportional level?

  • Zhivko I.

    What is a fraternity?

  • Ashley Miles

    Truly great article, I don’t know if you realize the many open, honest conversations among women, and mixed male/female groups, that your writing has inspired. Thank you for drawing attention to an issue that our campus’s culture perpetuates, and thank you for putting the Kappa Sig email back in the spotlight. I was on WCGA that year and though we spent hours talking about that email and how to best deal with the broader issues that it brought forward, ultimately it really was an incident that was never adequately addressed. It is truly sad that the University did not use that opportunity to send a message to all students that encouraging a culture of sexual assault is not okay. Anyway, thank you for your courage in writing such a wonderful article.

    • Anonymous

      “A culture of sexual assault.”

      That is really not based on reality. The fraternities do not rely on forcible methods to get females. As a UR student, you probably know that most women attend the parties because they like to.

      Just because some Kappa Sigma brothers call for rape, doesn’t mean that there exists a culture of sexual assault at UR. I hate to say this, but you sound like the conservative wingnuts who blame rap music and video games for society’s woes.

  • Anonymous

    What you have done is close to libelous. Kappa Sigma is a traditional men’s only fraternity and it is not your place to speak of them in those terms. Have you ever been to their lodges? If yes, you should have been ready to act your gender. If not, then simply don’t go back.

    Other than UR’s social outcasts, no one should have been surprised by the leaked e-mail. The same outraged women and men who wrote opinion letters to The Collegian back then would, only weeks later, attend Kappa Sigma lodge parties to black out and grind. The content and explicit style of that leaked e-mail was appropriate for the kind of conversations that horny Kappa Sigma men, not all of whom are straight, tend to have. You need to be tolerant of deviant lifestyles, whether they be personified by fraternity bros, sorostitutes or the LGBT community.

    Your letter is offensive to all three of those groups and their allies. Please consider making an apology.

    I also hope that you did not motivate yourself to write this letter after you had a romantic falling out with a Kappa Sigma member.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

      Also, your standpoint baffles me:

      You claim that people “need to know that it is never okay to place neither blame NOR RESPONSIBILITY on potential rape victims” and demand that they “take some WGSS classes.”

      And then you revert to some pseudo-first/second-wave, extremely essentializing view that “athletes commit more crimes because of their hormones” and we “can’t blame them for that.” (Because they’re all just wild animals who can’t control themselves?!) And you propose a solution to “just segregate the male athletes.” A.) How? We just cage them all up and only let them out to eat and drink? B.) How does this solve the problem? These issues stem from a culture, not isolated instances, as you sorta indicate below?

      You claim that “perhaps a rape culture does exist at UR,” but then say that “just because some Kappa Sigma brothers call for rape, doesn’t mean that there exists a culture of sexual assault at UR.”

      • Anonymous

        How are my stances contradictory? Or are you not suggesting that they are?

        Athletes do commit more crimes because of their hormones. They are not all wild animals, but they are more likely than your average Gottwald geek to forcibly rape someone at a rowdy party. How can you possibly disagree with that statement?

        And segregating them could work as follows: they would have separate housing from the rest of the campus, and they would not need to get special approval from a probation officer before attending non-athletic events, including parties hosted by non-athletes. For them, it would be like living in perpetual probation. It’s a mild preventative measure when one considers that college lasts only four years, and that being a college athlete with a scholarship is a privilege, not a right. Yes, rape could still happen. Let’s say an athlete’s s/o visits him in his dorm, and is raped. That’s still possible, but at least we will have prevented so many other methods and cases of rape. It is foolish to not take into account the biology of potential criminals when one is thinking macroscopically.
        _________________________________________________________________

        You claim that “perhaps a rape culture does exist at UR,” but then say that “just because some Kappa Sigma brothers call for rape, doesn’t mean that there exists a culture of sexual assault at UR.”

        Yes, perhaps a rape culture exists at UR, but it does not necessarily exist because Kappa Sigma, and more specifically, Roscoe Jenkins, propagates it. I am saying that causation cannot be established.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

    xieJunta,

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your statistics from, but an overwhelming majority – approximately 90% – of victims of sexual assault are female.(Though a little outdated, according to RAINN, 9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.)

    • Anonymous

      False. I am quoting below:

      According to Human Rights Watch, at least 140,000 inmates are raped each year,[1] and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race. Stop Prisoner Rape, Inc. statistics indicate that there are more men raped in U.S. prisons than non-incarcerated women similarly assaulted. They estimate that young men are five times more likely to be attacked; and that the prison rape victims are ten times more likely to contract a deadly disease.

      From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_rape_in_the_United_States#cite_note-5

      I know Wikipedia isn’t a primary source, but go ahead and view those stats yourself. Males get raped more, and that’s just fact.

      • Melanie Watkins

        Inmate rape has nothing to do with sexual assault on college campuses. If anything, it further accentuates Fiona’s point. No one benefits from this macho mentality of males needing to constantly assert dominance. In prisons, there are no women to victimize, so in order to gain status as the alpha male in the group, they sexually victimize the weaker men. Men are the ones committing sexual assault either way for the same reason. Regardless of who it is done to (women or other men), let’s do something about it.

        • Anonymous

          Really? Do you think college rapes are not about dominance? All cases of forcible rape involve the reaffirmation of male dominance. If you did not know that, maybe you should look up the word “rape” in an encyclopedia. Seriously, do you think what you call “macho mentality” is causing the rapes that happen in UR’s fraternities? Do you really think that rape, the very action of forcibly penetrating another female or male, is a societal construct that is “taught” to men?

          I hope you answered “no” on all counts, since rape is universal. It is a base language, a way of keeping order and retaining the peace within the herd, within the barracks, within the locker rooms and, yes, within the lodges. Both males and females are victims of forcible rape, but that is inconsequential. The dehumanization inherent to rape sees to it that any and all gender identities are lost.

          Only certain kinds of males rape, and those are the kinds of males that women are most attracted to. The alpha males among us are not “taught” to be that way; they just are. Roscoe Jenkins’ e-mail would not make a rapist out of a computer nerd.

          How do you plan to combat rape? Closing the fraternities will make it harder for rape to happen, but is that fair to the the women who like being objectified and used as human currency? You might know of a few female friends who groom themselves to be what society calls “sluts,” and are proud of it. To prevent a handful of cases of non-consensual sex involving fraternity brothers, we would be jeopardizing the courtship and mating of hundreds of willing men and women. It is not for everyone; it’s a lifestyle that has its risks, but for some so-called “sluts,” those risks are not only acceptable, but inviting. Please do not marginalize those who embrace the fraternity+sorority dynamic. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

        • Anonymous

          Really? Do you think college rapes are not about dominance? All cases of forcible rape involve the reaffirmation of male dominance. If you did not know that, maybe you should look up the word “rape” in an encyclopedia. Seriously, do you think what you call “macho mentality” is causing the rapes that happen in UR’s fraternities? Do you really think that rape, the very action of forcibly penetrating another female or male, is a societal construct that is “taught” to men?

          I hope you answered “no” on all counts, since rape is universal. It is a base language, a way of keeping order and retaining the peace within the herd, within the barracks, within the locker rooms and, yes, within the lodges. Both males and females are victims of forcible rape, but that is inconsequential. The dehumanization inherent to rape sees to it that any and all gender identities are lost.

          Only certain kinds of males rape, and those are the kinds of males that women are most attracted to. The alpha males among us are not “taught” to be that way; they just are. Roscoe Jenkins’ e-mail would not make a rapist out of a computer nerd.

          How do you plan to combat rape? Closing the fraternities will make it harder for rape to happen, but is that fair to the the women who like being objectified and used as human currency? You might know of a few female friends who groom themselves to be what society calls “sluts,” and are proud of it. To prevent a handful of cases of non-consensual sex involving fraternity brothers, we would be jeopardizing the courtship and mating of hundreds of willing men and women. It is not for everyone; it’s a lifestyle that has its risks, but for some so-called “sluts,” those risks are not only acceptable, but inviting. Please do not marginalize those who embrace the fraternity+sorority dynamic. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=770886762 Christine Parker

    “you should have been ready to act your gender”

    Looks like someone else needs to be a little more tolerant of “deviant lifestyles.”

    • Anonymous

      I was less than clear. But, below I clarify:

      Women are expected to be objects, to be meat rather than human, when they walk into lodges and most mainstream apartment parties. It is the stereotypical masculine way of things, and some women like it, while some others don’t. If Fiona or anyone else did not appreciate that way of life, meaning that if Fiona or anyone else did not know what their gender roles entailed inside lodges, they had better keep out after finding out. Yet, girls keep coming back, perhaps including Fiona and her friends, and it is not right to blame the fraternities for the compulsive nature of these girls. If one enjoys the fraternity+sorostitute dynamic, one should embrace its unconventional gender constraints.

      The fraternity+sorostitute lifestyle, like the male homosexual lifestyle, can be risky. One needs to acknowledge and accept the hazards before one chooses to engage the lifestyle, and it is wrong to feel guilty about one’s choice. Some girls bear with this dissonance that gives to depression, the way a lot of puritanical/Christian homosexuals disavow their sexuality. Wouldn’t you want to discourage that feeling of guilt/blame?

      Yes, banning homosexuality would drastically reduce HIV infection rates, and banning frats would drastically reduce cases of female rape and sex abuse. But we need to let adults be adults, so that they can make the choices they feel comfortable with. Everyone has the freedom to live the way he or she wants to, and deviant lifestyles need to be protected, including homosexuality, sorostituion, Hellz Angel’s riders, pansexuality, etc.

      • Melanie Watkins

        XieJunta, the fact that you are comparing these so called “deviant” lifestyles to frat culture is almost comical. It is clear to anyone who reads this that you are just grasping at straws to try to make a point. No one grows up struggling or being ridiculed because they internally know they don’t want to be/ or do want to be in a fraternity. Frat culture is limited to 4 years. (yeah yeah, you’re in a fraternity for life.. but let’s be real).

        Also, surprising to you… not all girls are aware that they are supposed to “do their gender” at a lodge. Some women go into the lodges believing that they are human beings and just want to have fun with the people they meet in classes.

        And I have to ask, what else is there to do at the University of Richmond on a Friday and Saturday night? This frat culture is not a small subgroup of the university of Richmond. If you’re not a member of the Greek system, you have most certainly been to a lodge. And even if you have never gone to a lodge (or went and really did not like it), there is no way that you did not feel tremendous pressure to go every weekend of your freshman year (as well as your sophomore year).

        Someone put it really well for me, “our first two years we try to sell ourselves to the Fraternities”. Both men and women are put into a completely different atmosphere and each side desperately wants to fit in. Men desperately try to get into a frat and so they morph their personalities to become more like fraternity members; women want to be well-liked and popular as well, so they morph into who they think fraternities want them to be.

        Please do not equate fraternity life to something like homosexuality. Banning fraternities would be more like banning “gay bathhouses”, NOT homosexuality- or banning prostitution, NOT SEX. (an explanation would be a little long, but please let me know if you would like me to explain because I would be more than happy to go into it).

        Be whoever you want (bro), but it is not a right for you to have a house to throw a party in, or for you to run the entire social scene on campus.

  • Anonymous

    Just so we are clear about how susceptible our hormone-laden athletes really are to crime and violence, let me present facts:

    EXHIBIT A:

    Duke University announced it had appointed a committee to investigate “the extent to which the cumulative behavior of many [players] over a number of years signifies a deeper problem.”

    One study of sexual assault cases found that while male student athletes make up 3.3 percent of the college population, they committed 19 percent of the sexual assaults. The Benedict-Crosset Study of sexual assaults at 30 major Division I universities over a three-year period in the 1990s concludes that “male college student athletes, compared to the rest of the male population, are responsible for a significantly higher percentage of sexual assaults reported to judicial affairs on the campuses of Division I institutions.”

    Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/02/eveningnews/main20038475.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

    EXHIBIT B:

    One in three college sexual assaults are committed by athletes. (Benedict/Crosset Study)

    In 1995, while only 8.5% of the general population was charged with assault, 36.8% of athletes were charged with assault. (Benedict/Crosset Study)

    Source: http://www.ncava.org/Statistics.html

    EXHIBIT C:

    Although varsity student-athletes make up just over 11 percent of Georgetown’s undergraduate population, they have been arrested on and around Georgetown’s campus and charged with violent assaults by D.C. prosecutors at a rate more than double that of the general student body. And charges against them have been dismissed every time over the last year and a half, court records shows.

    Source: http://www.ncaabbs.com/showthread.php?tid=42503
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    If you want to curb rates of forcible rape, start with the athletes. You might think that they are just like the rest of us, but they are wired far differently. Before you call for frats to secede from Richmond, ask UR’s athletic directors to quarantine their beasts. One in three, ONE IN THREE, college sexual assaults are committed by athletes.

    In my time at Richmond, I have seen no other group of students act as brazenly and violently as football players. Both white and black athletes are volatile, (the infamous Duke Lacrosse team is almost all-white), so don’t discriminate based on race. If you are serious about campus rape, you must start by pointing your fingers at both the psychology and the biology of student athletes.

    • Johanna Gehlbach

      while you do make a good point about athletes being more frequently the perpetuators of rape, you need to look beyond biology. there are no credible studies done that even suggest that athletes are “wired” differently.

      the real issue within that demographic is purely social: rape myth acceptance. as has already been mentioned, jackson katz (who came to campus earlier this semester) has a superb documentary called “Tough Guise.” Its a really lame title, but it was made in the 90′s… definitely look into it.

      • Anonymous

        Sure, look at all the parameters. But, don’t be afraid to call out deficient biology.

        The people here are misguided. You are all more likely to be raped by a football/basketball/baseball/lacrosse player than by a pretentious frat boy.

        Fiona Carmody misses the point when it comes to addressing campus rape. It seems that she was frustrated by her and her friends’ experiences with fraternities, and she ends up slandering an entire lifestyle. She should have done some research before her tirade. She might not like the debauchery inherent to the lifestyle, but to distinguish such a large group of men as propagators of rape is libelous. She simply has no proof.

        On the other hand, we have statistics showing that athletes are more likely to be criminals, to be violent and to commit rape. Fear them more so than you do Roscoe Jenkins and his fellow clowns at Kappa Sigma.

        The worst part is that Fiona refuses to acknowledge these revelations. She is simply setting her agenda, like Fox News sets theirs.

  • Mary Struler

    This article brought me to tears upon the realization of its truth. Thank you, author