To kick off Women’s History Month, on Tuesday, March 1st, Radford University in Radford, VA held a presentation called “Reimaging Consent: How Healthy Masculinity Can Prevent Rape.” The purpose of this is clear from its name: to educate people on what men can do to stop the sexual assault epidemic plaguing college campuses. This is an incredible assembly, and the Greek community at Radford was excited to partake.
It was a “mandatory” event for Greeks, which at most schools means that each Greek organization is required to either have a certain number of members, or certain percentage of the chapter at the event, but each organization had to be represented. Sororities were required to send every single member to this speaker. And the fraternity requirement?
Fraternities were only asked to send eight members to an event designed to educate men on rape — a figure that seems absurd when fraternities are under a microscope in terms of their sexual aggression. Note, I’m not trying to say that fraternity guys rape more, just that people think they rape more, and that people are looking for them to prove their preconceived notions true.
The Panhellenic community expressed its outrage over this in an email, obtained by TSM, to Robert Marias, the Director of Greek Life at Radford before the event.
I’m emailing you to discuss an issue that myself as well as the rest of the women of PC are enraged about. Tonight every member of every sorority in PC is being required to attend a presentation on how “Men Can Stop Rape.” I was so excited to hear this presentation was being put on; one of the largest parts of the fight against sexual assault on college campuses is subverting the belief that a woman’s actions play any part in her attack. I was happy that my school was supporting a cause so near and dear to me, in addition to being an issue that I can guarantee you is personal for at least five members of every sorority at Radford (one in five college women are sexually assaulted, so this number is actually very conservative.)
My excitement and support for this speaker was quickly extinguished when I learned that although all sorority women are required to attend, only eight members from each fraternity are being asked to go. How on earth is logical that the men of Radford IFC are not required to attend a presentation aimed at MEN about how MEN can stop rape??? What is more disturbing to me is the underlying message behind this decision made by IFC, whether or not it is intentional. By telling every sorority woman that she has to go to a presentation on preventing rape, while each fraternity only has to send a handful of brothers (and let’s be honest, sending eight brothers really means “send your pledges”), we are telling the women of PC, “It is your responsibility to put a stop to rape. It is your responsibility to not be raped.”
I implore you to make IFC rethink future decisions about this topic, and think about the precedent they are setting when they approve a presentation (that one of their own organizations, Pi Lambda Phi, is putting on) about sexual assault and don’t even make their own members go. Clearly PC cares about putting a stop to this horror, since we voted to make all of our members go. PC’s participation in all philanthropic efforts is always more than IFC, but that’s another issue entirely. This is about the standards we require from each of these councils. PC is required to have a higher GPA, a more structured recruitment, and are simply expected to act to a higher caliber. And now we’re being expected to prevent our own rapes.
The event and its attendance policies went on as planned that night..