Greek Life: Fraternities

Resources for Fraternities

Why is relationship abuse relevant to fraternities? There is no excuse for abusive behavior or sexual assault and you have the power to make a difference. In addition, if an incident happens at your party or house, it reflects negatively on your chapter and every member’s reputation is impacted. Most men are not abusive. However, the majority of perpetrators of relationship abuse and sexual violence are male. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female and 9% are male. Nearly 99% of the offenders they described in single-victim incidents were male. As leaders in your community, you can shape the way men and women view your fraternity…by your actions. The following resources, developed by frat dudes, show how your fraternity can make a difference on campus.

Tips for Fraternities

How to Take Action

More Resources

Party Planning Tips to Prevent Violence Against Women
Many would say that Greek parties are the center of a university social scene. Making sure you don’t promote, but rather, prevent violence against women is imperative. Here are some tips for planning parties:
  • Use positive images of both men and women in party fliers, advertisements, videos, or posters
  • Brainstorm non-offensive, but amusing and catchy party titles
  • Make sure that there are more places to sit besides someone’s room
  • Be equally inviting and receptive towards men and women
  • Think of creative costume themes that do not promote the degradation of women, cast women into a certain role, or enforce sexual stereotypes.
  • After parties and formals, make sure that a sober person is available to drive dates home, or call a campus service (such as 5-SURE at Stanford) or taxi.
  • Make sure that at least two fraternity members are sober monitors and available to address any questions or concerns during the party
  • Take accountability for your fraternity brothers’ actions—encourage them to act responsibly and respectfully toward women. That is:
  • Be aware if someone is disrupting a girl’s personal space on a dance floor and intervene.
  • If a girl is drunk, check in with her. Help her find her friends and a safe way home.

 

Recruitment Tips to Prevent Violence Against Women
Realize that prospective new members are young and impressionable. They are rushing your fraternity because they want to belong to your social group. Recognize that this places you in a position of power—use this position to show them that you do not tolerate violence against women.

  • Use positive images of both men and women in any recruitment advertisements, videos, or fliers
  • Be conscious of the language you use to talk about women. Don’t use words that promote the objectification of women.
  • Be conscious of sexual stereotypes. Don’t display or expect new or prospective members to live up to unhealthy masculine ideals.
  • If women are invited to recruitment events, treat them with respect and be a good role model for new or prospective members.
  • Let new or prospective members know that you do not tolerate relationship abuse or sexual assault and that you are an ally in the fight against violence against women.
  • Hold your brothers, new members, or prospective members accountable for inappropriate behavior or language during recruitment events.
  • Talk with new or prospective members about the stereotypes (with regards to violence against women) associated with fraternities and the experience of stereotype threat. Assure them that they are only stereotypes and not true for your fraternity.
  • Violence against women feeds off of other forms of prejudice. Speak out against racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination at recruitment events.
  • Host a training on violence against women for new pledges.

Day-to-Day Tips to Prevent Violence Against Women
Be an ALLY, not a bystander, in the movement to end violence against women. How to do this…

  • Hold your friends and other men accountable for their actions. Call them out if they are telling offensive jokes about women, if you think they may be abusing their partner, or if you think they may be mistreating women in general.
  • You may never see relationship abuse or sexual assault in progress, but you will see attitudes and behaviors that degrade women and promote these issues. Be conscious of how language and sexual stereotypes contribute to violence against women. Don’t participate in or support these behaviors or attitudes.
  • Have healthy relationships with your partners and take responsibility for your actions. Treat partners with respect, communicate with them, and be aware of their needs and boundaries.
  • Talk with female friends about relationship abuse and sexual assault. Believe them if they tell you it has happened to them, listen to their fears and concerns, and provide them with support. Focus on their healing instead of threatening to hurt the perpetrator.
  • Recognize that women never ask for or deserve to be abused or sexually assaulted. Speak out against myths about relationship abuse or sexual assault.
  • Approach gender violence as a MEN’s issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. Talk with men about their experience and feelings around these issues.
  • Be a mentor and good role model for younger men around these issues. Volunteer to work with gender violence prevention programs or provide education and leadership on these issues for new fraternity members.
  • Work against other forms of oppression. Sexual assault and relationship abuse feed off of other forms of prejudice such as racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination. Question your own attitudes and those of others.
  • Understand why it is important to get men involved in the movement against violence against women and encourage other men to get involved.

Additional Resources

For more information on relationship abuse and related issues, consult our Get Educated section.
For more ideas on how your chapter can get involved in ending gender-based violence, see our Take Action page.

A Note on Terminology

Domestic violence/relationship abuse refers to intimate relationships, not child abuse. Because the vast majority of relationship abuse is committed by men against women in heterosexual relationships, this website sometimes contains the female gender pronoun when referring to the abused person. Domestic violence/relationship abuse happens at the same rate in LGBTQQ relationships and all of the information on this site is relevant for male victims and for individuals in same-gender relationships. In addition, please see our resources on same-gender relationships. Our goal is to encourage helping professionals to be gender inclusive. This includes using gender-neutral language when working with individuals, while continuing to analyze gender as a construct that has implications on gender-based violence in both heterosexual and same-gender relationships.