The occurrence of sexual assault on college campuses gets a lot of attention because, frankly, it’s a big problem. It’s a problem because of its prevalence. It’s a problem because of universities’ responses. It’s a problem because college traditions around drinking and sex create abundant opportunities for people to misbehave. All of these problems are symptomatic of rape culture, in which sexual violence is normalized and condoned.
In discussing how to put an end to rape culture on college campuses, fraternities take a lot of blame for objectifying women, practicing shoddy consent, and facilitating and defending rape. Examples like the recent scandal involving the Penn State chapter of Kappa Delta Rho demonstrate that fraternities can create an environment that dehumanizes, degrades, and violates women. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fraternities have the potential to be organizations that empower and protect women. Scientists have tried their hand at using fraternities as tools in the fight against sexual assault, with promising results.
I am a developmental researcher focusing on relationships and health in adolescence and young adulthood. My goal is to enable people to have healthy, fulfilling sexual relationships.