Claire L. Michigan

Rape Culture on Campus

This letter discusses the prevalence of rape culture on campus, primarily in fraternities, and how to address this issue.

September 22, 2016

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW

Washington, DC 20500


Currently, a surplus of major issues is disturbing the United States of America. One controversy that I am particularly passionate about handling is rape culture at college, especially in fraternities. A study conducted in 2014 by the Association of American Universities (AAU), found that 11.7% of students attending the 27 colleges surveyed had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact by force, threats of force, or incapacitation. Females surveyed reported a significantly higher percentage of these assaults compared to men.

Rape culture is everywhere: advertisements, dress codes, and articles objectify women every day. Women are taught their whole life that “boys will be boys” and we need to dress accordingly, so we do not distract them. One in four college women report surviving attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Although there are no dress codes at college and in fraternities, whenever there is a reported rape at a fraternity, which there are many, the victim is blamed. Dressing too provocatively or drinking an excessive amount is never an excuse for rape, yet this defense is still used. Members of fraternities are three times as likely to commit rape than other male college students, according to the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The issue is not only rape culture; it’s the fact that fraternity members accused of sexual violence are getting away with these acts of sexual assault.

Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman near the Kappa Alpha fraternity house in January of 2015. Two men passing by witnessed Turner on top of the victim. When police were called, they found her unconscious, in fetal position. The two witnesses had pinned down Brock Turner and kept him there until law enforcement arrived. Consequently, Turner was charged with five felony counts, which was later reduced to three, a sentence of a maximum 10 years in prison, and he would have to register as a sex offender. Even though there were two witnesses, the police caught Turner, and it was recorded that Turner had made unwanted advances towards women at parties previously. After getting a 6-month sentence, Brock Turner was granted an early release of 3 months. Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman and served less than half a year for it. Rape culture is still relevant due to situations like the Brock Turner case. Cases in which victim blaming is a large component make sexual assault seem justifiable by cause of a victim’s inappropriate clothing or incapacitation. The objectification and blaming of sexual assault victims is ubiquitous in the United States, and it urgently needs to be acknowledged.

To address the issue of rape culture in fraternities and on campus, we need to inform and educate upcoming college students on sexual assault and show them how prevalent rape culture is not only in fraternities but everyday life. Teaching children more about the objectification of women and what they can do to stop it may inspire them to stand up for the rights of sexual assault survivors. Rape culture in fraternities is not an issue that can be stopped instantly, but if parents and schools raise children with the right ideas and teach them how to handle this issue, by the time they arrive at college they will have the correct values and hopefully join forces to combat rape culture.