Sexual Violence, Spaces, and Privilege

priv

Amidst the celebration and festivities that are the end of theses this past weekend, a conversation surrounding sexual violence continues to rage through our community, a topic this publication has covered many, many times before. These last few weeks, however, the discourse has intensified and fraternities, or more importantly the spaces in which they occupy, has become the center of attention and controversy.

There are a lot of angry people on campus right now, including me. More specifically, however, what bothers me the most about the way this conversation has taken place is that people continue to talk right past each other, and many times seem to completely disregard what others have to say.

So let’s talk about privilege for a little bit. Buzzfeed recently had another one of their typically useless quizzes going viral lately, this one asking, “How Privileged Are You?” It might be worth taking a look at the 100 point quiz and the contents of the criteria. Or go ahead, to take the quiz. “I went to an elite college,” for example, is something pretty much all of us should be checking off.

It may be kind of useless and just internet-buzz material, but for me, the quiz reminded me of two things: all of us have some form of privilege, and that sometimes we forget what privilege we hold. More importantly, however, it reminded me that some of us have significantly more privilege than others.

Hold on just a second. I hope you do not think I am digressing from the issue of sexual violence in this post, because privilege is an immense component of how we speak, what we say, and even how we say it. It shapes our views and beliefs, and those with privilege typically have a much easier time getting what they want compared to those who have much less. And in the discourse surrounding sexual assault at Wesleyan, privilege plays a huge role.

Thus my anger also stems from those who seem to have a lack of understanding of the privilege they wield. And if you already feel uncomfortable with the fact that I’m talking about privilege, even not just in this context but in general, chances are that you should probably think more about the privilege that you hold.

When I consider the privilege that I have, one of the first things I recognize is that as a cisgendered man, I hold considerable amounts of privilege right off the bat—which is why I sit my ass down and listen when others who do not identify as such have something to say. We undoubtedly live in a patriarchal society in which for every dollar a woman makes, a man makes roughly 28 cents more. But that is another topic, for another day. Male privilege is a thing—it’s real, and as it benefits men, it hurts women.

But that’s just about privilege. I haven’t even begun talking about the conversations on sexual violence yet.

Although Wesleyan began to admit women in 1968, patriarchal structures continue to exist on campus—that is something I am sure everyone can and should agree with. Any space in which there is an absence of women as equal stakeholders in that space is an example of patriarchy.

You got that right folks, I’m talking about frats. First, before the many of you that will undoubtedly leave a firestorm of comments, let me clear a few things off in a nice, easy to read list format:

  • Sexual violence occurs everywhere on campus, not just the frats, and I am indeed very cognizant of that. 
  • There will be no portion of this post in which I will ever call for the disbandment of fraternities, or Greek life in general, at all.
  • Everyone’s against rape culture and sexual assault, and I am not questioning anyone on that particular point.
  • No stereotypes or judgement is being made of any individual of any community, at all, period.
  • Privilege doesn’t just mean that you’re wealthy. Privilege also comes from many different facets of identity—including, but not limited to, gender, race, sexual orientation, or power. In fact, the privilege I’m talking about here isn’t really about wealth or class.

Are we good? Cool.

So the debate has become intimately personal, understandably, and the activism surrounding this grave issue has intensified in a manner that has called upon the entire campus to make some pretty significant changes. This has been best played out and exemplified in debates that have been taking place within the meetings of the Wesleyan Student Asembly (WSA). In the last General Assembly meeting about a hundred students, not including the student representatives themselves, attended to partake in the dialogue—as well as administrators who came to listen, including President Roth, Dean Mike Whaley, Sexual Violence Resource Coordinator Alysha Warren, Chief Diversity Officer Antonio Farias and others.

The WSA has been debating two resolutions, each representing two viewpoints—the first resolution entitled “The Future Role of Greek Organizations in the Wesleyan Community,” aka Resolution A, calls for fraternities to take sustained leadership on this issue and to undergo bystander intervention training, social host training, amongst other things with oversight. On the other hand, “Recommended Housing Policy Changes Concerning Greek Organizations,” or Resolution B, calls for many of the aforementioned pieces in Resolution A, but goes a step further calling for coeducation in Greek housing on campus.

With Resolution B, the language used emphasizes the need to focus on control of spaces—the residential spaces that fraternities on this campus control. It calls for fraternities with houses to become coeducational in constitution, membership, as well as residence, or for Wesleyan to remove program-housing status from those houses. Resolution A simply focuses on reforming the fraternities themselves directly, and does not reference any potential loss of program-housing status as a consequence for the frats.

Many in favor of Resolution A are worried that fraternities would lose their houses, and there have been various arguments in support of maintaining fraternity housing on campus—including but not limited to, historical precedence, their contribution to social life on campus, their assembly and formation of their brotherhood, and their commitment to change.

Those in strong support of Resolution B argue that these male-dominated patriarchal spaces need to be directly addressed because of the increased frequency of sexual violence that occurs in those spaces in comparison to the rest of campus. This is not to say sexual assault only happens in fraternities—everyone must acknowledge that it happens all over campus—but the proponents of Resolution B recognize that the gender inequalities that exist in these spaces are unsafe and reinforce rape culture.

Many in support of Resolution B have also noted that fraternities have had many chances to take leadership and commit to visible change, which they say has not taken place.

But I’d also like to add that just because some people feel safe in a space does not negate the fact that others do not feel safe in those spaces—so something needs to be done.

The conversation in WSA’s General Assembly last Sunday night extended from 8:30PM to past 11:30PM, with dozens of individuals speaking up about their experiences and viewpoints. The WSA releases their minutes one week after each meeting, so if you’re interested in what was said, I encourage you to read those minutes next week. The conversation encompassed not only arguments about residential spaces, but also how to improve sexual health education, awareness, and how to improve on sexual assault reporting—which is a grave issue that needs reform.

At the end of the day, I must bring what I’ve been writing about for about 1,300 words now back to privilege.

Attacking and dismantling privilege isn’t a punishment at all.

It’s a step for the community to move closer to some equality and equity on this campus—so long as there is any group on campus that feels like they do not hold a stake in any part of this community, something needs to be done to dismantle these barriers that are damaging.

Understandably, people only seem to rally around causes or issues when it affects them directly—which I think has been clear with the debates in the last few weeks. This is not to say any individual does not already care about this issue, but a guest pointed out at the WSA meeting this past Sunday that only a small handful—my quick estimate and count was just under ten—of men in the room were not already on the Assembly or in a frat. That’s saying something and begs the question: why are there are so many men from outside of those two groups missing from this community issue?

But that’s privilege, isn’t it?

These Greek residential houses on campus are also a form of privilege—living in these houses is a privilege that has not been granted to all students on this campus. Holding control of major social spaces, access to alcohol, control of entry are all other examples. And all these forms of privilege that is condoned by the university for a certain group of students and not others, an institutional barrier that creates these spaces. Trying to maintain privilege is one thing—trying to maintain a monopoly over it is another.

Wesleyan students are not exceptional—something that has been said many times that I think is worth repeating once again. We are not at an institution that is elevated above any others, so the forces of oppression and privilege that exist in the real world exist at Wesleyan as well. We may have had more women matriculating to Wesleyan in the last few years, but that’s not to say that patriarchy and male privilege does not continue to dominate this campus, not just in fraternities but in other parts of campus as well. Just a few examples: Out of ten people on President Roth’s leadership team, three are women and the other seven are men. On the Board of Trustees, there are notably more men than women. I’m sure I can go on.

Being a man already puts one in a more privileged position right off the bat. Power and control over spaces is just yet another dimension to it. Privilege doesn’t necessarily mean that you have any immediate benefit from your situation, in fact, it means that there are people who are damaged by the privilege and power you may hold.

I know I hold privilege. Heck, I’m demonstrating privilege by just writing this post, in assuming from the start that it is my right to write this post. But I strongly believe that we shouldn’t defend the privilege we hold, no matter how dear or close it is to our own identities, but instead use it to give a hand to those less-privileged.

So in this discourse, I simply encourage and hope you will consider the privilege and power you hold. And if someone in a position of less privilege or power needs you to listen, just listen. Listen to what they have to say, and why they are saying what they are, instead of defending yourself.

More importantly, in closing this long-winded post, I call upon all representatives on the WSA to not only take an active stance on this matter, but to also consider the underprivileged groups in the room that are rightfully asserting their voices. Listen to what they have to say, recognize the privilege you have in this conversation, and make the right decision.

  • spaces

    I don’t believe the Wesleyan community feels physically insecure entering a Wesleyan Fraternity during the daytime – therefore can we not distill the discussion to the parties they have? The darkroom, loud-music parties are the unsafe environments. This is the problem, so address the parties rather than the institution. The student body should work together to understand why 500+ students flock to these events every saturday. This subset of Wesleyan will simply find a substitution when the fraternity houses disappear.

  • Spaaaaaaaces

    What are a hipster’s 3 favorite words??
    Privilege, sexual and spaces

  • sigh

    “Everyone’s against rape culture and sexual assault” –> Unfortunately, this obviously isn’t true…

  • WesGurl

    I think this post is great in starting to get men to recognize the privilege they hold, and I think as a campus we can defy privilege, but I don’t think you can add and subtract privilege by co-educating houses. As you said, privilege is something we carry with us. We need to actively defy it to achieve gender equality on campus. How we actively defy it is therefore the next question. Proposal A- educate, reform. Proposal B: Co-educate or eliminate. Let’s start with B because its at the height of controversy. By bringing women into a prominent social house previously owned by men, are we REALLY going against the grain? This campus has been co-ed since 1968, Clark is Co-ed, and Eclectic is Co-Ed, and yet male privilege permeates in all those spaces and more; through the freshman dorm where I was sexually assaulted (by a non-fraternity brother) and on High St. where I was verbally harassed. Personal issues aside… solving the campus-wide male privilege problem by turning to a group that is easy to label as misogynistic is not going to help me and my fellow females. It makes me SO MAD that the issue is being simplified to this part of our campus because I really really want ALL of us to change! You, my friend, are an educated, admirable male for understanding your privilege (I hope that doesn’t sound sarcastic), but you are one of a kind. We need to teach them, and taking their house away or adding females won’t teach them. Perhaps more women will have control over the space, but male privilege permeates anywhere women have equal control over a space. Co-educating will not teach men about their privilege because we already have so many co-ed spaces on campus that have failed to serve that purpose. If men cannot realize their privilege NOW, they will not when women start to live with them just like they do everywhere else on campus.

  • Ben Kurtz

    If the frats become coeducated they disappear as institutions. Fraternities would no longer exist on campus. A fraternity is a male only social club. While they have male only membership they do not pose any negative effects on women. Fraternities certainly are a priveledge to the males that are part of them. However this priveledge does not encroach on the rights of any other students on campus. Fraternities are national organizations and Wesleyan has been given the privelidge by these organizations to host chapters, and by definition, chapter houses. These houses are at this point not even owned by Wesleyan, so there is no obligation by the fraternity organizations to give equal access to all students. These fraternity organizations have their own rules and requirements and one of them is that they are male only. There is a large group of male students on campus to whom the idea of a fraternity appeals. These men’s opinions should not be disregarded. Wesleyan should be thankful that fraternity organizations have decided to put nationally recognized chapters here. Fraternities are popular among male students and are certainly a privelidge. A privelidge that many males at other schools do not have. Wesleyan should not do away with fraternities simply because some students feel that they privelidge males. This argument seems much along the lines of “you have something I don’t so you shouldn’t get to have it”. This is irrational since fraternities pose no negative effects to the women on campus. Perhaps Wesleyan should focus on giving all female groups like rho ep the same privelidges that fraternities receive. But taking away fraternities would only be doing away with a privelidge that Wesleyan was lucky enough to receive from national fraternity organizations.

    • #SexualAssaultIsNegative

      The fact that you can’t spell privilege is laughably ironic.

      • guest

        That’s really productive…Ben makes some good points. Address those rather than make fun of his misspellings. Grow up

        • #SexualAssaultIsNegative

          Okay, how about that “fraternities do not pose any negative effects on women.” Yeah, that whole rape thing is no biggie, huh?

          • guest

            Parties pose negative effects on women, so maybe they should be banned all over campus. Maybe alcohol should be banned too. Look at the stats for sexual assaults around campus versus fraternities and get back to me. I honestly don’t know the numbers, but just because sexual assaults in fraternities happen to be the ones publicized doesn’t mean that they happen in fraternities any more frequently than elsewhere on campus.

          • Educate Yourself
          • guest

            thanks, I appreciate it. But I also think that sexual assault is not a problem inherent with fraternities any more so than in other venues. I think that sexual assaults are likely to happen anywhere where there are parties.

          • Ohreally?

            Why don’t you do some of your own research and talk to women on this campus. Talk to people who have been sexually assaulted or harassed and find out where it happened and what kind of organizations the perpetrator was affiliated with. The majority of them will be sports teams and frats. Open your eyes. Denying the connection between frats and sexual assault makes you so much less credible.

          • Fedupwithclosedmindedness

            I have done the research and have talked to my fellow women on campus and guess what? Most of the assaults don’t happen in frats. But don’t worry I won’t try to demean you just because your opinion is different than mine as you did to “guest”.

          • fedupwithignorance

            Most women I know who’ve been assaulted on campus have had those experiences either in frats, with frat bros, or have been followed home from a frat party. Everyone shouldn’t have equal weight in this conversation. That’s what the article is about. I’m tired of hearing from guys that this doesn’t have to do with frats. I’m tired of people trying to silence others by negating their experiences. People, especially survivors or anyone who has experienced the shit that goes down in frats, shouldn’t have to cover up their emotions in this debate. It’s not a political issue. These are people’s lives. For some, fraternity life ends after college. But the trauma and torture that result from rape and sexual assault lasts for a lifetime. So consider that when you scold people for being upset and showing it.

          • GH

            Unfortunately, peoples lives are part of political issues. You cannot just separate the two.
            No one is asking people to silence their emotions. Nor is anyone scolding people for being emotionally invested in the topic at hand. But I have seen far too many examples of people using their emotions to justify attacks on an entire group of students. I hope we can at least agree that that is not ok.

          • assault more likely in frats

            It’s been well documented by social scientists that once he pledges a fraternity, a boy is 4X as likely to commit sexual assault. Being a part of a sports team also increases the likelihood of committing sexual assault. Of course sexual assault can and does happen everywhere, and that needs to be addressed, but we need to look at the facts here.

        • #SexualAssaultIsNegative

          Would you still buy this argument if we replaced “all male societies that have their own rules and requirements” with “all white societies that have their own rules and requirements?” Because that’s what privilege is, and yes, I think it’s relevant that Ben has no idea of what that means.

    • seriously?

      Ah, so you’re saying that just because you have something that other people don’t have, that only means that you have it and not that they don’t have it?

      Sound logic. Your ability to glean the correct spelling of “privilege” from this article matches your ability to understand its meaning.

    • James

      You can’t even spell privilege right. Like what?

      • Ben kurtz

        I’ll take it as a compliment that the biggest flaw you find in my argument is a grammatical error.

    • Alum ’77

      Ben, you make some great points and I’m also really impressed that you chose to post your name in such a volatile environment (you are braver than most, including myself!)

      I agree with a lot of your points, but i would like to suggest that giving Rho ep a house isn’t relevant to coeducation– it’s that Rho Ep (as well as aepi and chi psi) should be forced to coeducate as well. And if an argument against that is “no, sororities don’t have privilege because they’re female only” I would say this whole thing is crap. You cannot deny people the right to assemble as they so choose based on whether or not you deem them “privileged.” In fact, one may argue that if Wesleyan weren’t a private institution, this conversation would probably have more to do with the first amendment rights of fraternities, which I think, frankly, resolution be is encroaching upon.

  • Realtalk

    “Trying to maintain privilege is one thing—trying to maintain a monopoly over it is another.” Yet by any factual understanding of the term monopoly, the all male greek houses DO NOT HAVE A MONOPOLY on social spaces on this campus, which makes this line of argument rather, I don’t know, bizarre? Aside from the fact that there are tons of places folks can CHOOSE to congregate on any given weekend, if we are to look at the Greek houses, which no one is COERCED to attend, there are 3 all male, and two co-ed greek spaces, which, by definition, is not a monopoly. This isn’t a technicality, it changes the context with which we understand if an argument is cogent or not. That is, one’s choice of where they choose to congregate is not as limited as the sensationalist argument seems to imply. Yet what makes this argument even more problematic is that our institutional memory seems short. Eclectic’s sex party got banned because of sexual assaults…and eclectic was and is co-ed. Now thats not the end all, but should we really believe that co-ed houses are necessarily safer by having two socially constructed genders co-existing within the same house? Perhaps, but I doubt it, and I think if you critically think about it you will doubt it as well. Alas, a conscious or subconscious alternative argument emerges, which for whatever reason we are veiling in ingenious but noble language. That is, there is an a priori hatred for all-male fraternities, male privilege, etc. Depending where you stand, it is a political defensible position. For some its valid, for others it’s not, but the question doesn’t really seem to be about whether abolishing greek life as we know it will reduce incidents of sexual violence or make spaces safer, it’s about whether the school can and should attempt to appropriate private property from the privileged and redistribute it to those historically less-priveleged, with the HOPE that these spaces MIGHT then be safer. Now there is nothing wrong with this proposition, unless you are on the losing end of the appropriated private property. After all, rarely do those with privilege voluntarily give it up. But when we frame this as the “fact” that all male groups are gate-keepers deciding what gets to happen in their space, or the “fact” that females are “institutionally encouraged to ‘repay’ men for their hospitality, often with sex,” and this is understood as a legitimate reason for co-educating greek houses, you are literally granting monopolistic hegemony to the abstract conception of male-privilege. While that makes for a solid academic paper, it’s not all that convincing when we leave the ivory tower and try to grapple with life on planet earth. Just like its not all that convincing that you these private entities, blessed by the powers that capitalism privileges them with, will in reality sell their homes to Wesleyan. The specter of egalitarianism is looming, but can the revolution actually be won?

    • yes

      I love it.

  • Alex

    It was really interesting being one of the few non-frat and non-WSA males at these meetings, and it really does go to show that it is hard to get people involved in issues that don’t seem to directly affect them. I’ve become convinced that resolution B is a strong step in creating spaces that are controlled by both females and males, and would be a positive thing for Wesleyan. Middlebury went through the same transition 10 years ago, and now the former frat houses are co-ed social houses. Wesleyan isn’t planning on banning frats though, and I’m glad that these forms of community will still exist. Frats are great community support systems, and at the meeting there definitely was a strong showing of people from frats that shared the significance of fraternities in their life, and I believe them. That still doesn’t mean I think they should control these huge social spaces, and I hope that Wesleyan, like Middlebury, will purchase these houses if the frats refuse to co-educate.

    TL;DR: I respect frats and know they’ll be important for some Wesleyan students for
    generations to come, but don’t believe they need to control the majority of large social spaces on campus. I appreciate them hosting some events for outside groups, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is an all male group of gate-keepers deciding what gets to happen in the space (i.e power).

    • Alex

      Sorry quick correction: Middlebury went through the transition 20 years ago in 1991.

  • funfacts

    1. Nobody said stopping privilege was the focus. However, acknowledging our privilege is a pretty good way to understand where our beliefs come from and where others’ beliefs might come from. Privilege also means power, and it is important to question whether that power comes at others’ expense. I don’t know about you, but I dream of a world as equitable as possible–“allowing everybody the privilege,” as you say. Fraternities reinforce a system of inequality and power afforded to some (fraternity brothers) at the expense of others (often women).
    2. Nobody said the fraternities will be lost, nor that these spaces will be lost. Co-education means dismantling a system that entitles males (often, but not always, white, heterosexual athletes) to ownership of an important social space on campus, and one that has been correlated with sexual violence against women. These buildings can still be social spaces, and with this action spaces that are more welcoming and inclusive to members of the community who previously felt threatened. Wouldn’t it be nice if MORE people felt more comfortable going to these places?
    3. It has been said many times but I will say it again: co-educating is NOT the only step that needs to be taken to reduce sexual assault, and promote equality and emotional safety on this campus. It is one important piece, but many other actions (proposals for which unfortunately have been largely drowned out by the polarized discussions surrounding the fraternities) can and should be taken to address these issues.

  • Michaela

    There’s privilege everywhere. Stopping privilege shouldn’t be the focus, allowing everyone the privilege should. Psi U held queer prom, team formals, and other events last year. Dke and Beta also open their doors for other groups to throw parties. They don’t just live it up in the house, they go thru a pledging process, learn the histories, endure some hardships, before finally being allowed to live there. Coeducating isn’t that big of a deal, but if they’re forced to coeducate DKE and Beta no longer exist, so we lose those social spaces completely. These houses serve purposes for the privileged and underprivileged on campus. Trying to limit privilege by losing the fraternities just hurts everybody because the spaces will be lost. And the argument that people feel uncomfortable there doesn’t really fly for me. If you feel uncomfortable don’t go. There’s really no reason to feel uncomfortable other than there’s parties going on. I’ve felt much more uncomfortable in senior houses and dorms.

    • Share the damn privilege

      When there are privileges that Group A has, and Group B does not (hosting events there is definitely not the same as living there), and there’s no other way to give Group B those privileges, the privileges of Group A should be shared with Group B.

      Let’s all note that non-male-identifying students are not ALLOWED to go through the pledging process, etc. They’re not allowed to be members. They’re not allowed to live there and enjoy the privileges of those houses.

      Do you think those spaces would just poof, disappear? No. The alumni would either allow the co-educated frats to live there or they would sell to the University.

      People should feel safe everywhere on campus. When they don’t, we should take steps to fix that. Especially given the centrality of frats in the social scene

      • guest

        Just a note. Good points, but DKE and Beta are not allowed to admit girls at all by their national chapter. Therefore they would no longer exist as fraternities. The houses belong to the alumni so they could be sold to Wesleyan or whomever but the fraternities would cease to exist

        • Share the damn privilege

          Sure, but they could call them Beta-prime, or whatever they want. Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity at Wesleyan ceased to exist in 1992 but was replaced by the Alpha Delta Phi Society.

          • jow

            It’s certainly possible that the houses would be sold to Wesleyan. But it’s also very possible that the houses wouldn’t be sold to Wes. The national organizations for the frats might not be apt to sell to us if we had just rejected them as a part of Wesleyan student life.

            Whether or not this affects people’s thoughts on the matter, I don’t know. But it’s something to consider.

          • it’s all about the monay

            Money is money. It’s possible the frats might be spiteful, but in a few years time I’m sure they would rather take the money. Also, Roth and other campus planners would be fine purchasing these centrally located spaces, they’ve said so themselves. We’ve currently been selling spaces on the outskirts of campus (part of a plan to centralize campus) and the money from these sales along with other money budgeted for this purpose seems to be more than enough.

          • fyi

            The local alumni own the houses (at least PsiU and Beta), not the nationals.

    • queer

      Psi U held queer prom, give them a cookie! LOL no. Doesn’t make them or other frats any less sexist or cissexist.

      • guest

        You are directly calling fraternities sexist and cissexist. Wanting to be in a fraternity, even if it is all male, doesn’t mean that they are. Is rho Ep sexist? And you wonder why they feel so attacked on campus…

        • guest2

          I think most of us think the implications and impacts of the fraternities are sexist and cissexist, not all the individuals. Not all University students are elitists (you could contest this, probably) but Universities do enforce elitism.

        • guestttt

          You can’t oppress the group in power.

  • ej

    Guys…can we hold this conversation outside of the abstract term of privilege? There’s no real definition for privilege – everyone has a different idea about what this encapsulates. The real problem is we spend to much time caught up in the general. Those who are victimized by sexual violence or by the so-called patriarchy have very personal and individual experiences with these painful events. Instead of being a conversation about who has more privilege or which institutions on campus are failing students, can we focus more on seeing people as individuals? I think the main reason for sexual assault or any mistreatment is because we fail to recognize another person as independent and thoughtful and capable of being hurt. Stop objectifying people or trying to categorize them by system of privilege, or wealth, or race, or gender. Recognize that these factors impact who they are as people and their experiences but don’t neglect anyone because they have or have not had the same experience as you expect. The frat bros are not bad people and nor are the uber-liberals on campus – no one is always right or wrong. People make bad choices and it’s better to work out how they made that choice and how they can change their perspective than it is to point fingers and dismantle institutions that can be very good for some people.

    • i can’t even

      “the so-called patriarchy” lol

    • anon

      Okay. As a survivor of sexual assault by a frat brother, let’s talk about individuals and hold people accountable. Let’s talk about how he lied about every part of that night in front of a panel who then found him not responsible and left me with few to no resources to get away from him. Let’s talk about his “brothers” who lied for him in their witness statements. Let’s talk about his “brothers” who stayed quiet and denied that this event happened (the same ones defending their sincerity and commitment to combating sexual assault in front of the WSA). Let’s talk about all the brothers who choose to stay out of these issues and deny any responsibility for sexually violent situations. This is the privilege to talk about. The privilege to rely on a “brotherhood” in which boys defend each other no matter how heinous their actions are. That is privilege and it absolutely should be discussed. There are some good people in frats but there are many capable of horrible things.

    • KatCo

      You lost me at “so-called patriarchy”.

      • ej

        I said that because it’s the term the author used. Again, I personally don’t like the term because I think it fails to recognize the many factors in discrimination. Don’t worry…I’m a feminist – I just prefer other terms and said so called because I’m responding to something the author said. Please reread my comment with the understanding that I’m not for the patriarchy. I just want people to be considerate of others. Dehumanizing people allows those who commit crimes to rationalize them. That’s all.

    • we all live in the system

      “can we focus more on seeing people as individuals?”
      no. the personal is political.

  • Lynn

    This is amazing. Thank you. My thoughts exactly. People need to step back and look beyond the individuals. There is a systemic problem. Fraternities create a type of environment that reinforces this privilege, and that is something we cannot ignore, no matter how badly we want to protect our friends in the frats.