"A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA"

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#1
So this article was just published in Rolling Stone yesterday. I know there have been threads on Fraternity/Sority life here before, but given how the reaction i've seen to this story has dwarfed those of similar nature in the past few years and seeing how this could potentially be more than about just fraternity culture, i figure this could use it's own thread. It's a pretty graphic retelling of a gang rape story at a fraternity at the University of Virginia in the US. Shockingly, the victim the article centers around was discouraged from reporting the assault by her friends. It feels surreal but it's not.

I don't want to go too much into how I feel about this in the opening post because I'm interested in your reactions to the article more than to my current state of opinion, but I'll give a few more questions/thoughts/pictures-of-the-now-vandalized-frat-house in the spoiler tags.

Today, you can walk by the fraternity where the incident in question allegedly took place (though it's far from the only one rumored of suspect activities) has been spraypainted and had some windows busted out. This happened late last night.





I've heard from siblings and college friends at other universities in the US about similar incidents and it's extremely upsetting. Did you or any friends of yours have similar experiences with fraternities at other universities? What about outside of fraternities or outside of the US? Do you think this is a fraternity based problem or a broader cultural issue that fraternities do (or do not? (in any exceptional way)) perpetuate or provide an outlet or catalyst for? Do you think there's a good way to go about stopping this and changing the way people think about sexual assault? Can universities effectively deal with these problems themselves? [not meant as a barrage of questions as much as a few potential conversation points]

And further reading if you're interested:
Another article from a student at this university advocates dismantling fraternities all together. The author claims there is no such thing as a separate rape culture because that presupposes there is some normal culture that exists outside of and exclusive to "rape culture." She proposes that capitalist mindsets even perpetuate rape, but this is could be another conversation altogether. (do cultures without capitalist systems suffer from the same problems etc)


TL;DR I'm pretty upset by this and was wondering if you guys had any similar or different reactions or insights into facing this issue. If you guys aren't up to talking about it, that's fine too, but I figure it's worth a shot because it feels pretty important for young people to think about.


Update: students who vandalized the house have released an anonymous letter making demands and threatening escalation (what they intend to do or are even capable of doing is really unclear at the moment. Presumably more vandalism?).
Protests/rallies set to continue tomorrow.
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Last edited by jiminizzle at Nov 21, 2014,
#2
this is frats


seriously, I hate frats and sororities. One here got kicked off campus recently for pushing a girl out of a moving vehicle as part of hazing.
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#3
Is there even a reason why universities encourage fraternities/sororities? Serious question, what do they do outside of what you see in the films and television programmes?
#4
Frats and sororities seem such an alien concept to me. They really have no parallel or equivalent in UK university. Maybe rugby/football and netball clubs, but they don't all live together. It's strange.
#5
I'm about 5 miles from UVA. I see the frat houses with the red cups all over the lawn and I shake my head. I hate college kids.
#6
Quote by chrismendiola
Is there even a reason why universities encourage fraternities/sororities? Serious question, what do they do outside of what you see in the films and television programmes?


Typically, it's cited as "Tradition" (but what's the worth of tradition if it sacrifices human decency? certain institutions should change as we become more enlightened as a race, right?) and encouraging philanthropy (they're required to do some sort of fundraising event every year i think?) but it seems pretty closely linked to alumni donations--frats are mostly composed of rich white kids (for a few reasons) and rich white kids (especially when aided by a network of rich fraternity brothers and alumni) tend to become even more rich as adults and give a lot of money to their universities to help keep their reputation strong and because it's something they feel good about doing. So universities are scared of losing that source of funding and income. Do note that this is somewhat speculative, I haven't seen any numbers or anything about this.


Also people will justify them as saying fraternity brothers have better grades and get better jobs but this could also be attributed to upper/upper-middle class upbringings, tutoring, private school educations, pressure from parents and so on. And regardless, if this is true, it may come with the question "at what cost?".
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Last edited by jiminizzle at Nov 20, 2014,
#7
From what I see, it's basically a place where people can do/say ****ed up things and it won't get out because people value membership for some reason. A bunch of my friends joined an off-campus one. It's not that bad but seems like all they do is go to meetings and dumb shit like that. and it costs money
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#8
Fraternities are dumb.
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#9
Quote by chrismendiola
Is there even a reason why universities encourage fraternities/sororities? Serious question, what do they do outside of what you see in the films and television programmes?


lots of things. universities, as a rule, turn a blind eye to rape whether it involves a fraternity or not. the stories about fraternities are particularly bait but the truth is that rape is an epidemic at american universities (and elsewhere). if you're not white, your chance of being taken seriously as a victim plummets to approximately 0%.
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#10
I have quite a few friends who were/are Greek. Not all fraternities and sororities are bad. I would never join one, but that has nothing to do with ethics or morals.

But to answer the question at hand, no I don't think people in Greek are more likely to commit crimes than anyone else on campus. I think they're more likely to get caught and they're more likely to receive more attention if they do. I think its more of a case of confirmation bias than a case of Greek life being so much worse than unaffiliated students.
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#11
Even though I have no real evidence, I would totally blame frats for the significantly larger chance of rape on college campuses. Most frats on campus either party often or like ****ing binge drink and possibly drug people's drinks. It's that mentality where you're in a group so you can bully whomever you want.

so yea. frats are dumb
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#12
Quote by Eastwinn
lots of things. universities, as a rule, turn a blind eye to rape whether it involves a fraternity or not. the stories about fraternities are particularly bait but the truth is that rape is an epidemic at american universities (and elsewhere). if you're not white, your chance of being taken seriously as a victim plummets to approximately 0%.

I was wondering what the groups do except have parties and shit, not just how they are related to incidents of rape.
#13
Quote by BladeSlinger
Even though I have no real evidence, I would totally blame frats for the significantly larger chance of rape on college campuses. Most frats on campus either party often or like ****ing binge drink and possibly drug people's drinks. It's that mentality where you're in a group so you can bully whomever you want.

so yea. frats are dumb


i mean, this is exactly what stuffy old white me would want you to believe since it supports the idea that rape is the exception and not the rule. without actual evidence it seems fishy.

cue saadia with said evidence

Quote by chrismendiola
I was wondering what the groups do except have parties and shit, not just how they are related to incidents of rape.


they do a lot of charity work and events on campus. some are more academic than social. that's about all the detail i can give you. i was never interested in them.
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Last edited by Eastwinn at Nov 20, 2014,
#14
Also people will justify them as saying fraternity brothers have better grades


Bullshit. The dumbest people I know on campus are the ones with the most frat and sorority "pride", barring this one guy that's a double major and head of like five campus organizations. Him aside, they're all dense as lead. I know Greek freaks and I know honor roll students, I don't know anyone that's both.
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#15
Quote by BladeSlinger
Even though I have no real evidence, I would totally blame frats for the significantly larger chance of rape on college campuses. Most frats on campus either party often or like ****ing binge drink and possibly drug people's drinks. It's that mentality where you're in a group so you can bully whomever you want.

Maybe my school is just different but here there's tons of parties every weekend that are completely unaffiliated and tons of bars with drink specials that are packed to capacity. The same shit that happens at Greek parties is just as likely to happen at these places.

That's not even mentioning that almost every single dorm on campus is coed (only a very small portion of our student body even lives in them, but still), and I'm sure most schools in the country are like that too.

Quote by chrismendiola
I was wondering what the groups do except have parties and shit, not just how they are related to incidents of rape.

I can only speak for my school but they do a lot of charity. They raise waaaay more money than any of the other student organizations here do.

Quote by necrosis1193
Bullshit. The dumbest people I know on campus are the ones with the most frat and sorority "pride", barring this one guy that's a double major and head of like five campus organizations. Him aside, they're all dense as lead. I know Greek freaks and I know honor roll students, I don't know anyone that's both.

Again, I can only speak about my school but I know a lot of fraternities here will drop students if their GPA falls below a certain amount.


EDIT: Again, I'm not Greek so I'm not backing Greek life up out of conflict of interest. I just think it's stupid to act like Greek life is so much more prone to this shit when its a huge problem across the entire student body. Picking them as a scapegoat isn't going to stop the problems.
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Last edited by caeser1156 at Nov 20, 2014,
#16
Frats often do community service and fundraisers for good causes.

That being said, I agree with the sentiment that all fraternities and sororities are creepy honky clubs that encourage bad behavior.

Or course, I went to a very small college, so both of these things were exaggerated. Frat houses may have been the only place on campus to find a party with more than 20 people, but they were pretty pathetic compared to the usual idea of a "frat party."
Last edited by archangels at Nov 20, 2014,
#17
Quote by necrosis1193
Bullshit. The dumbest people I know on campus are the ones with the most frat and sorority "pride", barring this one guy that's a double major and head of like five campus organizations. Him aside, they're all dense as lead. I know Greek freaks and I know honor roll students, I don't know anyone that's both.


eh, sounds like this is different between schools then. I wouldn't call most of the people I knew in fraternities at uva especially bright, but for the most part they were capable of getting good grades. I know the sort that you're talking about too but they weren't really the bulk of the frat scene here. Some of the people I met at wvu and penn state though...
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#18
Persons responsible for the rape should be convicted for it, and everyone that had knowledge about it/was there at the time of it should be tried as an accomplice. **** rape. **** rapists. **** the ones that helped the cover up. Jail for all of them.
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#19
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EDIT: Again, I'm not Greek so I'm not backing Greek life up out of conflict of interest. I just think it's stupid to act like Greek life is so much more prone to this shit when its a huge problem across the entire student body. Picking them as a scapegoat isn't going to stop the problems.


this is a good point. I am not totally convinced yet (that is to say, i'm not biased against them, i lived with a bunch of fraternity guys one year and they were good people. i don't have an outright institutional hatred or anything like that.) that fraternities are not more prone to this behavior. I've never heard of a non fraternity affiliated university party here that served roofied drinks to girls, whereas i've heard several cases of that at fraternities. I just don't typically hear people talk about women the same way outside of fraternity settings. It could be the result of a convoluted hyper-masculine ideal but I almost never encountered such overt objectification among non-greek university students as among fraternity brothers. And that's not to say it doesn't exist, maybe even in equal measure there, but that maybe these settings make it feel okay to talk about and hold on to these ways of thinking and speaking. It isn't hard to fathom that it would be easier to get caught up in something wrong if you are surrounded by other people who condone or partake in it, so that being said, I wouldn't be surprised if isolated, individual cases of sexual assault by one person were just as common among fraternity brothers as any other university student, but there seem to be these other cases of groups (not the whole frat necessarily, but a subset) taking advantage of party goers. I really don't know if fraternity culture leads to more cases of sexual assault or if it enables it, and I don't want to write it all off on them either way. I agree, I think this goes well beyond fraternities and even universities. But there is some examination that needs to occur at some of these houses and how dangerous it is to go to some of them.
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#20
Unfortunately not entirely surprising. Universities grossly mishandle sexual assault, and have for decades. They don't seem to be getting any better, either, and it protects ****ed up organizations like so many "Greek" houses from experiencing justice or even real, public scrutiny.
#21
Quote by BladeSlinger
this is frats


seriously, I hate frats and sororities. One here got kicked off campus recently for pushing a girl out of a moving vehicle as part of hazing.
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#22
frats and sororities are ****ing dumb and made for people who are ****ing dumb.
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#23
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frats and sororities are ****ing dumb and made for people who are ****ing dumb.


alright let's chill here
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#24
I'm not a fan of frats. There are some legit ones that help people, then there are some that do nothing more than attract the people who would do bad anyway.

I've had limited good interaction with frats, though, so admittedly my view is biased. I know of one local fraternity who actually raped a male to haze him for being gay.

Of course, that could've happened even outside the frat community. But still.
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#25
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alright let's chill here

chill?

you're one "brah" away from being a frat douche, brah.
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#26
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chill?

you're one "brah" away from being a frat douche, brah.

You sound like you need a hug
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#27
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You sound like you need a hug

hugs are for frat boys.
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#28
I have a ton of experience in frats and sororities even though I'm not in one. My 2 best friends are, and a girl I dated all through college.

Do those stereotype bros and hoes exist? Yes, they do. But like with any group of people, you have good and bad people. I live by the rule of thirds. 1/3 I like, 1/3 I don't, and 1/3 I'm neutral about, and the Greek system is no different there than me walking down the streets of Seattle.

Look, it's a bunch of young horny kids with access to alcohol. That same shit happens outside the Greek system too. I've been to plenty of house parties and bars that were just as grimy as frat parties.
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#29
I could barely read through this without feeling unadulterated rage, hatred, and shame for being a male. At some points I was brought to the edge of tears reading this. I have had far to many friends involved in sexual assault and rape situations. It infuriates me.

Honestly I don't even have words right now. Anger doesn't cut it.

At yet, I am sitting here at a computer screen completely helpless to do anything about this.
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#30
I never understood the American college culture. Seems so ****ed up.

EDIT: Like, instead of designing your college institutions to allow uncontrollable parties, rape and mayhem, why don't you design them for...I dunno...encouraging studying?
Last edited by gonzaw at Nov 20, 2014,
#31
@All

It just seems to me that the members pledge to have a reason to be at parties. My posts in this thread show you everything I know about frats, so I'm probably wrong. I mean I'm sure that there are frats who actually have genuine intentions other than that, but that's the impression I'm getting.

Quote by gonzaw
I never understood the American college culture. Seems so ****ed up.

EDIT: Like, instead of designing your college institutions to allow uncontrollable parties, rape and mayhem, why don't you design them for...I dunno...encouraging studying.

Because we pay loads of money/bury ourselves in debt to have a place to drink, have sex, and do drugs.
#32
People who think its acceptable to rape others would do it even if they weren't in a frat. People get raped at non-frat parties all the time. It sucks that universities don't take incidents like these more seriously, but if it occurred outside of a frat I doubt the response would be much better.
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#33
are people exclusively born as someone who rapes others or is it only the case that they develop that quality at an early age? I think a lot of people are questioning that if stories like the central one in the article are true, that it could be developed or brought out of what would otherwise be an at least "stable" (in this respect) person while in college in no small part as a result of fraternity culture. I'm not saying anything you said is incorrect, but maybe no less misleading than the article or it's primary response, if that makes sense?

Also, as you said, the other major issue is that the university's ability or lack thereof to keep it's students safe within it's community. Eliminating frats probably wouldn't eliminate the issue all of a sudden. Personally I think the power of influence that the way people around a person (and, in a way, the university's administration) act and speak is probably the most practical tool going forward in stopping this or at least helping, and it seems this article and the uproar it's caused in the town it's set in is pushing people in the right direction there. If the mindset about sexual assault of more and more people begins more rapidly to change, and if that mindset is open and obvious in the university community (and hopefully thereof as a partial microcosm of the broader society it inhabits), that will likely have a stunting effect on the frequency of these tragedies and hopefully have a positive effect in general on the treatment of women and all victims of sexual assault. It feels like the culture that has been in place has allowed these things to happen for too long without changing.
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#34
Greeks are actually pretty nice people. My friend Constantinos runs a bakery down on the Danforth and he always gives me free kourabiedes whenever I come to visit. He is what Greeks would call a "fee-los"!
#35
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Greeks are actually pretty nice people. My friend Constantinos runs a bakery down on the Danforth and he always gives me free kourabiedes whenever I come to visit. He is what Greeks would call a "fee-los"!


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#36
Quote by MinterMan22
Greeks are actually pretty nice people. My friend Constantinos runs a bakery down on the Danforth and he always gives me free kourabiedes whenever I come to visit. He is what Greeks would call a "fee-los"!

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#38
The men who raped her are all pieces of shit, but the one who led her to the assault is a special type of scum. I understand that they'll blame this on testosterone gathering around testosterone making these guys stupid and impulsive, but to carry on with that, and know what you're doing is just evil on its own.

Quote by necrosis1193
Bullshit. The dumbest people I know on campus are the ones with the most frat and sorority "pride", barring this one guy that's a double major and head of like five campus organizations. Him aside, they're all dense as lead. I know Greek freaks and I know honor roll students, I don't know anyone that's both.


Stupid or not, most of these men stick together. I've seen them at work at the universities I've attended. They tend to gather around and collectively gather resources that could better their grades. I've even seen a few develop methods of cheating, so they can all pass. They may not be engineers or doctor material, but many of them know how to work their system.
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#39
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Frats and sororities seem such an alien concept to me. They really have no parallel or equivalent in UK university. Maybe rugby/football and netball clubs, but they don't all live together. It's strange.

The article pointed out it's a way of getting booze when you're under 21. I'd imagine if that barrier disappeared, the incentive to go to a frat party/indulge in frat culture might dissipate over time.
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Last edited by Cianyx at Nov 21, 2014,
#40
Interesting thought as far as that route goes^

an anonymous letter from students who put bottles and bricks through the frat house windows and spraypainted "center for rape studies" and some other things on the stairs outside the house in which they threaten to continue. Wondering if this will bring any more positive or negative attention to their sentiments and demands. It could provide some route towards painting the house members as victims (though that's hard to imagine until some of the dust settles) but the disgust for their reputation (ive heard friends say they were known as the rape house at some points in time) and the fact of minor vandalism feeling insignificant when put alongside these allegations seems to be holding off much sympathy, as you might expect. So far the vandalism and letter seem somewhat well received. I suppose vandalism is far from absent in history when other means of making a statement against an institution seem futile?
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Last edited by jiminizzle at Nov 21, 2014,
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