By: Madeline Roper ‘21
On Friday, December 7th, my female cousin was physically assaulted at a fraternity party while trying to protect her brother. While I could tell you their names, their college, or why they were out that night, that’s not what matters.
What does matter is that instead of apologies, she received insults about her body, and instead of concern, she received threats.
In our world tragedy is so constant, violent, and abundant that we have become numb. We glance at a headline, hear a snippet on the radio, offer thoughts and prayers, then we turn away or change the radio station and continue with our day.
Fraternities on college campuses continue to be under scrutiny for their barbaric ways of treating others and their reactions when they go too far. While we hate to admit it, we are the perpetrators of letting these young men get away with horrendous actions. Sexist notions have been implemented in our heads from the moment we are born, so much so that accusing a young woman of being promiscuous or inebriated seems so much easier than accusing a young man of raping or assaulting someone.
I have heard of and read myriad cases against fraternities. I, too, have become numb to these stories and haven’t paid them a second thought.
Until it happened to someone I love.
In the past three years, more than 30 fraternities across the country have been shut down due to misconduct, and in the past year, more than ten universities have suspended Greek life on their campuses in response to horrendous events occurring within their fraternities. The fraternity involved in my cousin’s assault continues to dodge responsibility. This dark mindset is an extensive cultural problem that is commonly ignored or excused with the sexist notion of “boys will be boys.”
This incident happened less than a week ago, and the short-lasting flame of passion and anger is already fizzling out. Her bruise is fading, so persecuting the assaulter is less enticing, and the fraternity is using intimidation and guilt techniques to make the incident dissipate.
But we can’t let it. When I heard of what had happened, I felt angry, sad, upset, violated, and confused, as did others. But now it seems that only few people still feel this way. The heat of the moment has passed, but for her, the physical and mental battle wounds still are prominent. We have to refuse to become numb or accustomed to these incidents, and instead we have to persecute these bullies and their lies.
We have to talk about it.
We have to hold people accountable.
We have to take action.