Fraternities and Rape on Campus

Topics: Fraternities and sororities, Sexual intercourse, Rape Pages: 22 (6200 words) Published: December 17, 2011
Fraternities and Rape on Campus Author(s): Patricia Yancey Martin and Robert A. Hummer Reviewed work(s): Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 3, No. 4, Special Issue: Violence against Women (Dec., 1989), pp. 457-473 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 16/11/2011 12:10 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

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Despite widespreadknowledge that fraternitymembersare frequently involved in the sexual assaults of women, fraternities are rarely studied as social contexts-groups and organizations-that encourage the sexual coercionof women.An analysis of the normsand dynamicsof the social construction of fraternity brotherhoodreveals the highly masculinistfeatures of fraternitystructureand process, includingconcern with a narrow,stereotypicalconceptionof masculinity and heterosexuality;a preoccupation with loyalty, protection of the group, and secrecy; the use of alcohol as a weapon against women'ssexual reluctance;the pervasiveness of violence and physicalforce; and an obsession withcompetition,superiority,and dominance. Interfraternityrivalry and competition-particularly over members, intramuralsports, and women-encourage fraternitymen'scommodification women.Weconclude thatfraternities of will continue to violate womensocially and sexually unless they change in fundamentalways.

Rapes are perpetrated on dates, at parties, in chance encounters, and in specially planned circumstances. That group structure and processes, rather than individual values or characteristics, are the impetus for many rape episodes was documented by Blanchard (1959) 30 years ago (also see Geis 1971), yet sociologists have failed to pursue this theme (for an exception, see Chancer 1987). A recent review of research (Muehlenhard and Linton 1987) on sexual violence, or rape, devotes only a few pages to the situational AUTHORS' NOTE: WegratefullythankMeena Harris and Diane Mennellafor assisting with data collection. The senior author thanks the graduate students in her fall 1988 graduate research methods seminarfor help with developing the initial conceptual framework.Judith Lorberand two anonymousGender& Societyrefereesmadenumerous suggestionsforimproving our article and we thankthemalso. REPRINT REQUESTS: Patricia Yancey Martin, Department of Sociology, Florida State University,Tallahassee,FL 32306-2011. GENDER & SOCIETY,Vol. 3 No. 4, December 1989 457-473 ? 1989 Sociologists for Womenin Society 457


(ENDER & SOCIETY / December 1989

contextsof rapeevents, andthese areconceptualizedas potentialriskfactors social contexts. for individualsratherthan qualitiesof rape-prone Many rapes, far more than come to the public's attention, occur in houses on college and universitycampuses,yet little researchhas fraternity analyzed fraternitiesat American colleges and universities as rape-prone contexts (cf. Ehrhart Sandler1985). Most of the researchon fraternities and reports on samples of individual fraternitymen. One group of studies compares the values, attitudes,perceptions,family socioeconomic status, psychological traits (aggressiveness, dependence),and so on, of fraternity and nonfraterity men (Bohrnstedt1969;Fox, Hodge,andWard1987; Kanin 1967; Lemire 1979; Miller 1973). A second group attemptsto identify...
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