jessica valenti

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"University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police are currently investigating a fraternity after several women were found labeled with red and black X’s on their hands after they had to be hospitalized with memory lapses from intoxication at a fraternity party. Last year, three sexual assaults were reported at one Texas fraternity – within just one month. At Georgia Tech, a frat brother sent around an email guide called “Luring your rapebait”. Wesleyan had a frat that was nicknamed the “Rape Factory”. In 2010, fraternity brothers at Yale Universitymarched through campus yelling, “No means yes, yes means anal.”

These are not anomalies or bad apples: numerous studies have found that men who join fraternities are three times more likely to rape, that women in sororities are 74% more likely to experience rape than other college women, and that one in five women will be sexually assaulted in four years away at school. So it seems only natural to ask: With all of the current efforts, from the White House to college towns, to curb campus sexual assault – using “yes means yes” as a standard for consentholding administrators accountabletouting bystander intervention – why haven’t we addressed perhaps the most obvious solution?

It’s time to talk about banning fraternities.”

Read the full column at the Guardian US

The vast majority of college-age guys and twenty-something men I meet are engaged and smart about women’s issues – men, too, are horrified by sexual violence. Men don’t think rape is OK, or funny, or something to be taken lightly. Many men have witnessed (or experienced) domestic or sexual violence firsthand; these are issues that have touched – and hurt – their lives as well.

So please understand that when I say this, I say it with deep respect and empathy for your real-life experience:

Men, you need to do more.

I wrote about how men can help stop rape at the Guardian US.