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Evidence Shows The Fraternity Experience is The Problem

Posted by John D. Foubert, Ph.D. , Author, The Men’s and Women’s Programs at Ending Rape Through Peer Education on April 29, 2011 at 7:15am EDT

In 2007 I published a study of men who join fraternities, comparing their rates of sexual assault before they join and after they join. Before they join, their rates were statistically equal. After they join, men in fraternities commit much more sexual assault. This provides, at a minimum, preliminary evidence that the fraternity experience and culture that helps contribute to rape (Foubert, Newberry & Tatum, 2007). Furthermore, two different longitudinal studies have shown men in fraternities to be three times more likely to rape than other men on college campuses (Foubert, Newberry, & Tatum, 2007; Loh, Gidycz, Lobo, & Luthra, 2005). That is startling.

It is time for the national fraternity community to take responsibility for this data by doing something about their culture and the actions of their members on a broad scale, not just taking action against a chapter or two when an incident gets media attention. Not since the 1990s have I seen a shred of responsibility taken by a national fraternity organization for this problem. I have presented my research, cited above, repeatedly at national fraternity conventions and not a single organization in the national fraternity community has stepped forward to make a serious commitment to do anything to take responsibility for ending sexual assault using a research based rape prevention approach. Occasional lip service? Perhaps. It is time for a serious commitment, real change, and if it means that some national fraternities need to go bankrupt through litigation in the process through Title IX lawsuits, so be it. Wake up.