Frat 'Rape Survey' Should Wake Americans Up About Sexual Violence

sigma phi epsilonIn a bold move which should be seen simply as punishment befitting the crime, The University of Vermont is cracking down on the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity after a deplorable survey, which asked frat brothers who they would rape, popped up online.

The university is investigating the situation now, but in the meantime, the national Sigma Phi organization said that "the fraternity instructed the chapter to cease all operations, pending further investigation ... Any behavior that demeans women is not tolerated by the fraternity." Gotta give them credit for doing their best damage control here. I'm just hoping the school will find it wasn't more than a couple of guys -- and not the whole frat -- who are responsible for the survey.

Regardless, the situation is a frightening example of just how dismissive and disrespectful some people -- especially many young people -- are about rape and sexual assault.

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The fact of the matter is that it's a HUGE problem in the U.S. right now. One in five women have been sexually assaulted, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. One in four have been beaten by an intimate partner.

To think there are those out there who think this is a topic that's somehow OKAY to joke about makes my stomach turn. It's not just isolated incidents either. It seems like every now and then, you'll hear or see something that demonstrates a disturbing sense of humor about rape and sexual assault. Just look at some of the Facebook pages that exist (like "Wiping makeup off your shoe after a long day of kicking sluts in the face" or "If I wanted you to open your mouth I would of unzipped my pants"). Examples like these are incomprehensible and reprehensible.

What's more, if incidents like the one at the University of Vermont and Facebook pages like the above go unpunished, the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in this country is only destined to soar ... or at the very least, stay the same. And that is unacceptable. The national organization of SigEp and the students protesting at Vermont can't stand alone in refusing to tolerate behavior like this. It has to be a universal push-back. American women deserve better.

Do you think we as a society should be cracking down harder on "jokes" about rape?

 

Image via SigEp NV Alpha '03/Flickr

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