Fraternity students at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) recently transformed Facebook into a tool to sexually exploit female peers. The police received a tip regarding the private Facebook page, and what they discovered was disturbing.
The Facebook page consisted of 144 active members and posted to it were photos of nude, or partly nude, women in “sexual or embarrassing positions.” Taking the exploitation further, some of the women depicted in the photos were unconscious or asleep. It is apparent that these women did not give free consent for the photos to be taken or distributed. Consequently, PSU made the decision to suspend the fraternity for one year.
PSU is not unique in their situation. Colleges all across the nation are now hot spots for increased instances of sexual assault and rape. According to the National Institute of Justice, one in five women experiences rape during their college education. The problem only intensifies within fraternities and sororities. “Frat” guys are three times more likely to rape, and women in sororities are 74 percent more likely to experience rape than other college students. The explanation for the increased sexual assault and rape can be traced to the environment of these fraternities. Substantial alcohol, pornography use, and casual sex are the norm. This atmosphere and attitude toward sex is a breeding ground for increased assault and rapes.
The sexual exploitation of women is a significant problem that extends beyond the walls of fraternities houses. At Vanderbilt, four former football players were participants in a gang rape. The victim laid unconscious on the floor as rapist Cory Batey slapped and urinated on her. During the assault, Brandon Vandenburg, previous boyfriend of the victim, began touching himself and watched pornography on his laptop. The victim was irrefutably degraded and dehumanized in this attack.
As horrible as this attack was, Vanderbilt proceeded to host a sex workshop after the rape trial. The workshop bore the title, “How to be Brilliant in Bed” and offered a crash course in ‘sexy sex ed.’ These types of workshops fuel the permission giving beliefs and attitudes that result in horrific rapes like the one committed by the university’s football players.
Sexual assault and rape are an undeniable reality at universities. Colleges must take actions towards putting out this wildfire or it will continue to spread.
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