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Stemming Sexual Assault on College Campuses: The Role of Fraternity and Hyper-masculinity

Jun 1, 2023 | 0 comments

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Jun 1, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

Sexual assault is a very a sensitive, traumatic, inhuman social crime that is common in our society yet very difficult to completely stem. It involves physical and emotion harassments in a sexual manner. Sexual assaults have been discovered to be very rampant in colleges and women are the major victims with men being the victimizers. Stemming the act requires education of women-who are vulnerable to assaults- and men- likely to be the perpetrators of that selfish act. Going about stemming this inhumane behavior has proved very challenging with people suggesting that women should change their dressing leaving unanswered question concerning who to blame in sexual assaults cases, the victim or the victimizer. At campus level, it is has been suggested that fraternity does play a role in perpetrating a rape culture which is discriminating thus making people suggest that the campaign against sexual assault should target male members of the fraternity as they tend to exhibit rape supportive attitudes. However, the unanswered question is whether that is a solution with others arguing that fraternity has as much chance of being victimizers as other normal individuals since sexual assault supportive attitudes have been seen in non-fraternity members as well.


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Bleecker & Murnen (487) does suggest that male groups such as fraternities do promote activities that support sexual aggression against women. For instance fraternities do reinforce traditional beliefs concerning hyper-masculinity that gives men dominance. They have various ways of expressing their dominance over women and some do believe that by sexually forcing themselves on women they achieve that control and make them feel powerful like real men they think they are. They tend to believe women are their sexual objects and treat them as one. A notion that has raised a lot of debate concerning its origin and how it manifests itself in an individual with some ideologists arguing that it is the outcome of poor upbringing while others claiming it is adopted from other members of the fraternity with research indicating that it is not exhibited in all fraternity members and some non-fraternity members also admit to having such notions.

In addition, fraternity members are said to be likely to believe in myths and misconception concerning rape, rape victims and victimizers that promote this insensitive selfish act that mushroomed from North America (Amstrong, Hamilton &Sweeney 4). For instance, the myths suggests that women ask for sex themselves especially in dress code they consider inappropriate or by being drunk as, in their view women getting drunk is a crime and they make it their duty bestowed upon them by the myth to teach them a lesson through sexual assault and that to them is not a crime yet rape is not a form of punished. However, research indicates that these myths could be believed by anyone man depending on their backgrounds and earlier interaction with men. Believing in something and living by it is more associated with upbringing and background more than a fraternity group because believers of such myths do have a mindset idea of how women should conduct themselves in the society and what they consider to be violation of that code.

There has been debate of whether fraternity parties held by university students are genuinely for fan or have a hidden agenda. Several cases of gang raping have been discovered to occur at these parties according to research conducted. It is suggested that fraternity tends to view gang raping as a game as implied by Ehrhart and Sandler (11). It is reasoned that they use parties as bait for women. However, Ehrhart and Sandler (11) goes further to explain that gung raping happening in all parties and is a way men exercise total control and power over women which is an emotion disorder not particularly limited to fraternity.

Negative peer influence is also said to be rampant in fraternities that do promote sexual aggressiveness against women. Peers do provide emotion support to members, a sense of belonging and identification (Hardit 54). However in their attempt to belong to a certain fraternity they are forced to engage in a lot of indecent activities; some of them involve harassing women thus develop habits they cannot part with. Sexual assault is said to be a habit cultivated out of association with people with similar habits. Male students fresh from high school attend college when naïve concerning how to handle women and courtship therefore tend to seek guidance from fraternity and practice them as implied by Schwartz& Nogrady (5). However, they are adults thus can differentiate between evil and noble. Therefore, fraternity ought not to be used as an excuse to the inappropriate choices they make including their mode of handling women. Furthermore, students who join fraternity are never forced implying that fraternity just provide an encouragement base for their already existing indecent attitude towards women and just assists them achieve that mission.

Schwartz& Nogrady (6) suggests that some theorists believe that alcoholism is used to justify victimizers’ action of sexual abuse arguing that alcohol combine with their already existing misconception about women and rape thus acting as a tool to accomplish their thoughts. However, excessive intake of alcohol and drugs has been identified as major factor contributing to sexual abuse of women as it makes both sexes lose control of their emotion thus become vulnerable to aggressiveness either as victims or perpetrators. When it comes to acting under the influence of drugs and alcohol, research indicate that both members of fraternity and non-fraternity are susceptible as it encourages them to engage in hostile activities. Therefore, rules out fraternity as the main agent of rape culture as implied by Schwartz& Nogrady (12).

In conclusion, the role of executing sexual assault in campus has been entirely blamed on fraternity yet the connection of supportive rape attitudes to specifically members of fraternity is not entirely justified because the characteristics they have been described with like believing in rape myths which justifies victimizers’ hostile sexual actions against women have also been identified in non-fraternity members. The abuse of drugs and excessive intake of alcohol has been identified as the main contributor to emotional aggressiveness that encourages sexual harassments assisting to execute rape culture and its impact is not limited to fraternity only. Peer pressure cultivates behavior but not everyone necessarily practice what they are told therefore being women sexual abuser is an art cultivated out of individual’s will since at college everyone is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong. Therefore, educators ought to aim at all college students, both male and female, creating awareness on the need of minimizing alcohol intake and drug abuse as it is not an excuse to taking advantage of a woman sexually, women have as much right as men in defining their code of conduct and having less physical energy does not make them lesser beings, and they should respect the institution of courtship as a whole and do direct their energy towards in noble activities. Let the educators take note that sexual abusers are social paths who are emotionally unstable probably as a result of poor upbringing and are not limited to any group specifically fraternity that need appropriate physiological guidance.

Works cited

Amstrong, Elizabeth A., Laura Hamilton, and Brian Sweeney. “Sexual Assault on Campus: A Multilevel, Integrative Approach to Party Rape.” Social Problems (2006):n. pag. Print.

Bleecker, E. T., and Sarah K. Murnen. “Fraternity Membership, the Display of Degrading Sexual Images of Women, and Rape Myth Acceptance.” Sex Roles (2005): n. pag. Print.

Ehrhart, Julie, K, and Bernice R. Sandler. Campus Gang Rape: Party Game? Washington D. C: Project on the Status and Education of Women, Association of American College, 1985. Print.

Saroj Hardit. Predicting Sexual Agression Among College Men: the Role of Male Peer Groups and Sexualized Media. (2012). Print.

Schwartz, M.D., And C. A. Nogrady. “Fraternity Membership, Rape Myths, and Sexual Aggression on a College Campus.” Violence Against Women (1996): n. pag. Print.

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