To the Editor: Since counselors, administrators, and society at large refuse to confront the issue, I am offering this warning to the young women of Missouri who are heading off to college.
Statistics report that one in three women will be sexually assaulted in their lives. Of the 33% who are, one third of those will be assaulted between their graduation from high school and the end of their second year of college.
The typical campus social life does much to facilitate rape. Groups like fraternities have gotten rape down to an organized, mechanized art. Their parties are often specifically arranged to expedite rape. The (local paper), in it's May 13 (1997) issue, reported that the Chapel Hill Phi Gamma Delta chapter had advertised its parties as "so loaded with drunken sorority women that opportunities for sex (are) assured".
This is not an isolated incident. Many Greek organizations all over the country often condone--if not encourage or glorify--rape. Administrations often give frats free reign over the sexual freedom of anyone entering their houses. The "boys will be boys" mentality is still common among students and faculty, and drunkenness is considered willingness.
After going to college and seeing the crimes committed against my female friends--and the inaction of the administration--I felt I had to say something. I offer no solutions on how to change these men's behavior, because I don't know of any. I'm only attempting to let young women know what they're up against, so they may have a fighting chance.
To the Editor: I saw movies like "Animal House" growing up, and I thought the portrayals of college life were exaggerated. Then I got to college and saw how dangerous and insane the drinking scene really was. On any given night, and especially on weekends, you could find groups of individuals drinking with the expressed purpose of getting drunk. Drinking until you vomited was a feat to be bragged about, and not remembering your actions the next day was funny. I was considered a freak because I saw these behaviors as sad, if not scary.
Every now and then a fraternity pledge dies from drinking too much, and a dialogue is opened for a week or so on the problem of campus drinking. But a far more serious issue to me is the connection between campus drinking and rape. For every student who drinks him/herself to death, there are hundreds--if not thousands--of young women being sexually abused. Fraternities often condone--if not encourage--getting a woman drunk in order to have sex with her, and it's a pervasive mood across almost any campus that drunkenness equals willingness.
In my opinion, any institution serious about learning should not only have strict alcohol rules but also ban Greek organizations. Whatever public service or fund-raising activities fraternities may do, they are far outweighted by the physical and psychological damage done to the women they victimize.