Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Should we shut down fraternities?

Chloe Angyal over at Feministing just wrote an article about Caitlin Flanagan's piece (warning for date rape) over at the Wall Street Journal on why we should shutter fraternities for the good of young women. Caitlin Flanagan has a couple of good points-- she talks about a girl who was drugged and gang raped, and the Yale debacle of Delta Kappa Epsilon's "No means yes, yes means anal" that has led to a court case against the university. However, as Chloe says, it's not just about fraternities:
Yes, date rape happens at frat houses. It also happens at marching band parties, and at crew training camp, and in ROTC barracks and at chess club away meets. This is not to minimize what happens in frat houses or to tell women who have suffered sexual violence there that their experiences don’t matter. It is simply to say that sexual assault happens all over college campuses. And that’s what we need to change.
It's absolutely true that the atmosphere of fraternities is likely to lead to rape-- when you have a lot of guys trying to prove their masculinity, in a house that doesn't just encourage drinking, it requires it, and a lot of young women being plied with alcohol,  you're going to have a higher incidence of rape. But you can't just say to close the fraternities and all these women will be safe. Until you get rid of the atmosphere on the entire campus, you're going to have people raping others.

Furthermore, Chloe discusses the problem fraternities often have with the men involved, too. On our own campus, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was just shuttered in response to hazing allegations-- among other things, pledges were beaten with broomsticks, forced to drink regurgitated water with goldfish in it (why did this come back? I thought that frats torturing goldfish died in the 60s!), and pay for strippers, which to me is sexual harassment. Not only did University of Michigan ban it, as UM has no respect for Greek houses that haze, but the national branch of Sig A E has disbanded the local branch for a year as well. It's irresponsible to look at these problems and see only the women hurt by it, though the numbers are overwhelming. Something nobody seems to understand about feminism is that we don't want women to be better than men--we want the patriarchy dissolved because patriarchy hurts men too. For more information on this, I highly recommend Keith Edwards-- he came to speak at UM and I loved every second of his lecture.

Finally, I don't think frats have to be bad. Beta house recently came back to UM's campus after being banned, but it's distinctly trying to change. It's a dry house, and the president is making all of the members attend SAPAC training and genuinely attempting to make his house safe for everyone involved. How is dissolving fraternities better than that? Additionally, I think that, in the right hands, fraternities can create a sense of community among young men that is essential for building a better environment for everyone. We don't have to get rid of fraternities, but we need to get rid of the dangerous atmosphere that is destructive to young men and women alike.


Friday, April 22, 2011

So sorry about the hiatus!

Readers, I am so sorry about the lack of posts. We are all students at the University of Michigan, as you might have guessed, and holy shit it is exam time. I personally had a Spanish exam at eight this morning (no me gusta!), and we are all 3/4 dead and thus have been slacking on the blog. We haven't stopped keeping up on the news or working at the offices, but we've unfortunately let this fall by the wayside. Dear readers, we are so apologetic for this, but hopefully many of you know what it is like to be hopped up on caffeine in your econ test (by the way, bring a travel mug to Starbucks today for free coffee) or having friends throw things at you in the library to wake you back up to study for that evil organic chemistry exam. Please forgive us! Also, most of us will be leaving Ann Arbor for the summer for a number of places, among them Kentucky, Costa Rica, Washington D.C., France, and many more. I personally am staying in Ann Arbor for summer classes and work, so I will be trying my best to keep updating the blog.

Please don't lose faith in us, darlings!
Love, Briana

Friday, April 8, 2011

Eman al-Obeidy: Libyan rape survivor or Libyan whore?

I recently came across articles discussing an alleged rape that occurred in Libya. 
Eman al-Obeidy went to the press in a local hotel to try to tell her story of Libyan 
soldiers capturing her, raping her, and torturing her.  As she tried to tell her story 
she was taken away by police.  After this encounter there has been an interesting 
reaction from the media in how they have covered the incident.  In Libya they are 
show casing how not to support survivors and also victim blaming at its worst, by
calling Eman a whore, prostitute, and many other derogatory names making the rape seem
as though it is her fault.  Something I find interesting here though is that 98% of 
rape accusations are true, the same as any other violent crime.  So why do people think
Eman is being treated as lair? Also, this story also brings to mind for me how one 
should handle disclosures, and for SAPAC we use the approach BSR: believe, support, 
refer. Which none of these are happening with this case.  What do people think about

Here is another article I found if you would like more information: link

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Necto Party Flyer

As I was walking up the stairs of Dennison to Biology discussion today, I could not help but stop when I saw a flyer for a Stoplight Party being held at Necto on Thursday. Each floor had a different color flyer (either red, yellow, or green) and a little witty phrase to go along with the specific color. When I got to the third floor, I had to take my phone out and get a picture.
Gggrrreeeaaatttt. So basically, regardless of whether or not someone wants to be touched, it is completely okay because "we won't tell." Isn't this the definition of sexual assault? I am not sure if I am more disappointed in the makers of the flyer or the fact that these can be hung up around campus and most people do not even think twice.

-Lauren, NPA Volunteer

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Hostile Sexual Environment" at Yale University

A group of 16 Yale students and alumni feel that there has been a significant increase in the amount of negative sexual activity on campus in the past few years that has resulted in a "hostile sexual environment" at Yale. Some of the most prominent examples of this negative sexual activity include the case of the Delta Kappa Epsilon brothers. As I'm sure many of you have heard, back in October of 2010 DKE pledges went around campus singing, "No means yes! Yes means anal!" Another related case occurred in January of 2008 when Zeta Psi pledges stood in front of the Yale Women's Center with posters that read, "We love Yale sluts." While not all incidents have revolved around the misconduct of fraternities, they seem to be the ones that have received the most public attention. Many feel that the university has not taken these events seriously and that nothing has been done to enforce a change in this behavior. As a result, on March 31, 2011, these students voiced their complaints to the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. The OCR is now going to launch an investigation of Yale University for this hostile sexual environment that is in violation of Title IX.

Seeing as I am not an actual student at this university, I think it's hard to understand exactly what this "hostile sexual environment" feels like for the typical student. However, I can't imagine that being a female on this type of campus would be easy. I find it extremely shocking that a university, especially one as prestigious as Yale, would wait until a suit is filed against them before taking serious action on this issue. It makes me wonder what they were waiting for... did there have to be a certain number of these cases? Did the cases actually have to include some type of physical contact to warrant concern?

Also, why is that these fraternities thought that this was acceptable? Given that the brothers made their pledges say these statements, it is clear that they have some idea as to how inappropriate it was because pledges are always asked to do things that the other members would not want to do. However, why did they not realize that these statements were not just somewhat wrong, but completely wrong?

A link to the article can be found at http://jezebel.com/#!5787805/title-ix-suit-filed-against-yale-university-for-hostile-sexual-environment

Elizabeth O'Donnell
NPA volunteer