Thursday, April 01, 2010

Asking to be raped? We don't think so.

This great rebuttal came to us from Joseph Vidulich in D.C.
Brother,

I don’t know if you know about this, but all over the news in the D.C. region is this story about American University and condoning the notion that if young ladies get drunk at fraternity parties they are basically asking to be date-raped. Well the story has cause a significant amount of outrage around the campus and the region. See below.

Student's column stirs date-rape debate

Paper issues apology

The boys at D.C. Delta, in the wake of the outrage, wrote a letter to the campus paper, the Eagle, outlining the values they uphold and the standards they bring to the University. It is truly an honor to work with these boys on a daily basis. They set the standard for fraternalism on American University’s campus and makes this alum constantly proud.

The letter and links are below.
Letters to the Editor
Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity responds

We, the Brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon, take issue with Mr. Alex Knepper’s article “Dealing with AU’s anti-sex brigade.” We are offended with his portrayal of any person who attends a social function as passively accepting sexual intercourse regardless of actual consent. Going to a party does not mean anyone explicitly wants sex.

Sigma Phi Epsilon prides itself on keeping high standards of decency, community and respect. Rather than submit to stereotypes of the “frat,” SigEp created the Balanced Man Program which teaches members to care for our bodies, our minds and the people around us. SigEp Brothers have subsequently taken alcohol and date courses in show of support. We are positive that other fraternities on this campus are teaching similar values and should be commended for such. For anyone to throw around terms like “frat” and implications of enabling and threatening student bodies, is an insult to the values and mission that Fraternities provide.

It saddens us that the tragedy of date rape persists in our society and affects all campus communities. The fight to eradicate the violence is not helped by individuals who make over-arching statements that come to the conclusion that anyone who attends a party, fraternity affiliated or otherwise, is consenting to sex. Legally and morally, this is not the case. The most recent large-scale study conducted by the Department of Justice of rape on college campuses, found an average 35 rapes per 1,000 female students over seven months. But this shocking number doesn’t tell the full tale. These are not passive participants to be made light of, they are people. These are not just tragic numbers; they are fellow students sitting next to you in classes. These are not just sad statistics, they are strong survivors.

Mr. Knepper’s arguments may be illogical and hurtful, but he is not the source of the problem in this discussion. Date rape continues to occur with or without Mr. Knepper’s outrageous remarks. All college students must take it upon themselves to stop date rape. Whether that means talking to someone in the Women’s Initiative or the GLBTA Resource Center, participating in Take Back the Night, or even simply listening to a friend without judgment — we can all do something.

Date rape is an appalling epidemic that faces everyone. For ourselves, our friends and communities we must stand up. Instead of blaming the survivor, we can logically examine what causes a person to believe they have the right to another’s body. Instead of making inflammatory statements for personal fame, we can come up with solutions. Instead of blaming fraternities, we can reach out to them as an ally.

It pains us that Mr. Knepper’s article represents many ills of this world. Date rape is persistently robbing our communities of sexual security. The more we learn about the issue of date rape in our community the more active we can become. The more we understand the harm it does and the survivor’s strength, the more we can do to support those affected. The more individuals get invested in this issue, the faster an unwavering collective ‘we’ will stand up against this crime. American University, we must all stand up. We must stand together. Not just to stop hurtful speeches of one writer for The Eagle, but to stop painful actions across our community and across all college campuses. The Brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon pledge our continued support to the community, AU’s survivors, and the collective “we” to educate and eradicate this tragic plague.

The DC Delta Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon
Joseph Vidulich
DC Delta ‘08
Actually, with a response like that, those "boys" have shown themselves to be mature men.